January 25, 2010

Coffee Staining Tutorial

I am a tea-a-holic (if you hadn't noticed already)! I never drink coffee but you will always find a tin of it in my fridge. Why? Well, although I do brew an occasional cup of coffee for my hubby, I use it mostly for staining fabric! Sometimes that perfect fabric for a project is hard to find especially when you are a perfectionist like me... this fabric is too white... that one is too bright... That's where coffee comes in.

I prefer fabrics and trims with a natural tone but sometimes they are hard to find. I will start with a fabric that has a white background, and a white cotton trim (sorry I forgot to take a before picture).

I hand-wash my trim in warm water and use a bit of soap to remove the sizing which are chemicals added to the fabric to make in more rigid and to protect it from stains. This will allow the fabric to to absorb the coffee stain evenly.

Fill a small sack with lots of ground coffee. I over-do it and use about a cup... much too strong to drink! Tie it closed and throw it into a pot of boiling water. Brew it for about 10 minutes and remove the sack.

Let your fabric simmer in the pot for 10-20 minutes depending on how dark you want to stain it. Remember: Once the fabric is dried, the stain will become MUCH lighter. Remove from the pot with tongs and immerse in very cold water with some white vinegar added. At this point, immersing the fabric in hot water would remove some of the stain. Rinse in cold water.

If you don't want to ruin your ironing board, cover it with an old pillowcase or spare cotton fabric. Iron the fabric or trim by sections with a hot dry iron until it is completely dry. The stain is now set.

Here is the fabric against a white background so you can see how it has been stained. Now, I don't use coffee purely because I would rather not sacrifice any of my precious tea... I find that different types of tea will yield different tints. Orange pekoe will give a much warmer yellow-orange tint. I prefer coffee because it produces a more neutral tint. I giggle when I think that I stain my tea fabric with coffee!

Sometimes if the colour or print of the fabric is too bright or if I want a more antique look, I will even bleach the fabric a bit before staining it. The cowboy fabric in this quilt started out as a very bright orange and green print...

See more of the Mister Peanut bunny quilt that I made in 2007 here.

Enjoy your afternoon tea & quilted crafts :o)


Sew Useful Designs said...

Wow Laurraine, your Mr Peanut quilt is absolutely stunning, I've just spent a happy time looking through your flickr pictures! :-)

Thank you for the tutorial on staining fabric... he he he... love that you use coffee! Got to save that precious tea! he he.. :-)

Warm regards!!! Vikki :-)

Vicki W said...

Great tutorial!

Sue SA said...

I have previously brought the cheapest tea bags in the supermarket I can find to tea dye fabric. However I have done it regularly because I didnt really like the mottled outcome - OK for homespun but not for good fabric. NOW however, thanks to your great tutorial I will be buying all the white fabric I previously dismissed and making it cream coloured to suit my preferred colour palette! We are celebrating Australia Day here with gorgeous summer weather (33C), so coffee or tea are off the menu, its beer and iced tea weather!

Ewa Kwiatkowska said...

Piękne prace.
Dziękuję za tutorial
Pozdrawiam Ewa Kwiatkowska

Anita said...

Ooo.. there's just something about coffee stained material. It gives things the charm and feel of yesteryear. I love your projects. Kind regards, Anita.

Marysia said...

Thank you for sharing your tricks! I especially like the one with bleaching to get more antique look.


agnes said...

genial, your tip's and tricks


Lisa at Lil Fish Studios said...

I love this sort of fabric manipulation. The results are fantastic too. And thanks for the tip, I hadn't tried ironing to set the stain, but that totally makes sense.

Anja said...

Great tutorial, I tried it out direct.
It works great, I´ll try again with different fabrics!

Thanks so much!


life in yonder said...

I'm so impressed Laurraine. It would be so much fun to hang out a weekend with you and watch, learn and have some tea & coockies!

andrea creates said...

Wow-thanks for sharing-I always want to do this but am never sure how to set the color after.
Interesting how the Cowboy fabric turned out-I'll have to try this for sure :)

Jean said...

Please tell where you got that adorable tea fabric from! I have a British friend that I'd love to make a bag for with it.

Adorable quilt!

Jean said...

I hit send too quickly

mayaluna said...

Another great tutorial! I'll tuck this one away! xo

Anonymous said...

I loved the bunnies
and I wish me a pdf pattern for an easter quilt with this lovly bunny ! ;o))
it's for my grandson ?the son of my son?

Anonymous said...

I loved the bunnies
and I wish me a pdf pattern for an easter quilt with this lovly bunny ! ;o))
it's for my grandson ?the son of my son?

chick chick sewing said...

Hello! This is my first comment but I've been enjoying your blog. I'm a green tea drinker myself but still have some coffee sitting in our fridge, and I'd definitely want to try the "coffee dye" fabric techniques! Thank you very much for sharing!!

charity said...

The patchwork of several ideas is nice.The quilt has really come up well.Love the design and the look.

Mônica Schmidt said...

If one day you can
me to visit my blog
for me would be an "honor"
I hope you!
Kisses, with love
Mô =)

patricia said...

holaaa!!!! muy lindo lo que compartes gracias me encantó.....amiga busqué si tenías traductor y no lo encontré,tu sabes colocar uno en tu página????? ojalá pudieras,no me manejo mucho con el computador y me pierdo copiando y pegando por partes lo que está escrito para traducirlo en mi traductor


mona said...

I purchased an old cotton table cloth to make a curtain for my new window over my sink at an Antiquw store for a small price because it was discolored on the edges. (yellowed) It was the "perfect" color for my kitchen,however the color was not consistant and more at the edges..sooooooo.. today I found your blog and now it is the "perfect" color ALL over!! Thanks for your wonderful advice about the coffee... I was pretty sure that coffee was what I would use due to the blotchy result I've had in the past with tea.. and low and behoold you concinced me. I am very happy with results...

Susan Ramsay said...

I heard that tea staining weakens fabric because it is acidic. Coffee is also acidic, isn't it? Would it also weaken fabric. In the case of a child's quilt it could go either way. The child uses the quilt to death, or outgrows it and it doesn't make any difference how 'strong' the fabric is!