Friday, August 31, 2012

Project: Tea and Coffee Dyeing Fabric

Dyeing fabrics is usually a messy, messy procedure.  Dyeing fabrics requires a lot of time, heat and water.  There are chemicals involved that dye the fabric and ones that set it as well.  Another method for dyeing fabrics is relatively simple, using tea and coffee.
Using tea and coffee, though is really more of a stain and will fade or wash out with wear and tear (and bleach).  There are some projects where you might want to dye fabrics, but won't necessarily need to wash the fabrics (at least not regularly).  Projects such as doll clothes, wall hangings, fabric journals are prime examples.  
Basic Procedure:
Heat up 4 - 6 cups of water until boiling.  
In a heat proof bowl, combine the hot water with either 4 - 6 tea bags or 3 T instant coffee (more or less as desired). Stir the coffee until dissolved or let the tea steep for 10 minutes.  Remove the tea bags.
Gently place the fabric that you want to dye into the hot tea or coffee.
Stir gently until the fabric is evenly covered.  Stir occasionally.
Check the fabric after 20 minutes by rinsing a small piece of it with clear water.  If you want a darker dye, put back in the bowl.  When it has achieved the desired color, rinse the fabric with cool water, until it runs clear.  Let dry.  Iron out any wrinkles.
You don't need a strict recipe. Just brew coffee or tea, strongly.  Use enough water so that the fabric can float freely.

To dye with tea or coffee, here are a few tips:
1. Use cotton or muslin as the fabric will absorb the stain.
2. Start with very hot water (boiling) and steep your tea for 10 minutes.
3. Expect a subdued stain - not a bold color.
4. You can go back and darken a stain.
5. You can also bleach an stain to lighten it, if you are not happy with the result.
6. This can all be done in your kitchen sink!
7. Always start with washed and dried fabrics.
8. Leave the fabric in the dye bath for anywhere from 20 in - 4 hours.
9. The color of the fabric will lighten further as it dries.
10. If using coffee brewed using grounds, sprinkling the grounds onto the fabric will create an interesting effect that you might like.  Also, some people scrub the grounds into the fabric and this creates a distressed look.

 Each of these fabrics soaked in the dye bath for 60 minutes.
 You can even dye printed fabrics.  Again, be sure to use 100% cotton fabrics.
 These remained the in dye bath for 2 hours. The dye has a subtle effect.
And lastly, I used a tie dye technique with some muslin pieces.  I scrunched up parts of the fabric and tied a rubber band around the spots.  Then, I dropped the rubber-banded fabric into a bowl of strong coffee for 90 minutes.  I rinsed off the fabric, keeping it in the rubber band and let it partially dry.  Then, I removed the rubber bands and rinsed off the fabric completely.
Serenity you


nami said...

I found you through the link party over at the winthrop chronicles.

Very interesting, never thought of it. Do you think it would work for paper, too?...


DannyB said...

Oh! I think it would work well on paper... I'll have to give that a try with watercolor paper or some heavy cardstock. Great idea!

Anonymous said...

That's great you've pictured the different types of teas to make "stains"! I have this linked to my DIY fabric dyes roundup post too today!

Leslie Lim said...

Thanks to the writer of this article. I appreciate your effort in making this informational blogs. I know it's not easy to do this but you have done a really great job. I'm pretty sure your readers enjoying it a lots.