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technique: coffee staining

March 28, 2010

So, I was checking out a bunch of fiber artists’ blogs yesterday, and ran across a mention of “coffee staining”, in the dyeing fabric a shade of brown sense. (I’ve been meaning to check out “tea staining” for months and months, but since I mostly drink herbal teas, and they aren’t always brown, I haven’t gotten around to it.) I had not made notes about the blogger’s technique, I just winged it. Hey, you gotta start somewhere.

And I totally love the results, and will definitely do this, or some variant, again in the future.

What I did:

  1. Made a pot of coffee with 2 (coffee) scoops of coffee grounds and 4 cups of distilled water.
  2. Poured about 3/4 of pot into a bowl that contained my fabric swatch, and crocheted lace.
  3. Later, added a narrow strip of a different fabric (yellow and white plaid). One half was submerged 3x as long as the other half.
  4. Steeped all the above. Original fabric and lace got 14 minutes; narrow plaid fabric strip – 1/2 got 9 minutes, 1/2 got 3 minutes.
  5. Squeezed them out, then ironed them dry.
  6. Took photos (see below).

Color on the original fabric is much darker than I was expecting based on the other blogger’s technique, but I didn’t follow her directions, and I do absolutely love the color!

Original fabric swatch, before coffee. (I had previously tried out fabric markers on it, hence the random coloration of some flowers and leaves, plus the “rainbow” of lines in the bottom right corner.)

Fabric that became narrow fabric strip (yellow & white plaid), and bleached-white crocheted lace; both before coffee.

Everything after coffee staining, as described above. (Left side of plaid fabric strip is the one that got more time in the coffee; right side’s color is barely changed.)

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