Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Coffee or Tea-Staining

Lacy one crafting accomplishment for the day.

So, I finally have one of those luxurious days where no one has to be at any certain place at any one time, the majority of the laundry is done and the house is relatively clean.  Yes, the perfect day to finish up projects and do some crafting!  Lovely!  Only, for some reason when I have a day like this...I don't know where to start and I end up wasting a lot of time walking from one room to another just staring at things, pulling fabric, ribbon and lace out of my craft closet and scheming...not crafting.  I did make one headband today...but I don't consider one headband a sufficient use of the hours of available time I've had.  I should note that I do have 2 little boys to tend to and play it hasn't been hours of time completely devoted to crafting...just more time than I am used to having!  I thought maybe if I did a brief tutorial-type post I would feel I had accomplished something creative, and something I had been meaning to do!  So, I am putting my unproductive craft scheming aside to discuss fabric staining. 

I am in love with the color combination of rose pink and linen cream...especially when it comes to lacy things!  I had this lovely rose pink lace that I thought would make a pretty bow for a headband...
Unfortunately when I poked around my crafting supplies, all I had was white ribbon and lace to go with it...nothing creamy like I'd imagined.  On a recent trip to the fabric/craft store, I ran into a similar problem.  I searched for the right cream ribbons and found nothing but bright white in the design I was looking for.  I have recently discovered that the solution is simple...grab the white and stain it for the perfect vintage cream!  Tea-staining is nothing new, in fact it is one of the oldest fabric dying methods.  For more detailed information on the tea-staining process, follow this link to a great, more in-depth article:  How to Tea Stain Fabric  My method is much more simplified and to be perfectly honest, I don't use tea!  You see, every morning I make a pot of husband fills his travel mug and I have one cup.  This leaves us with a few extra cups sitting in the pot at the end of the day.  So...when I have fabrics, ribbons or in this case lace that I want to stain, I use the leftover coffee.  I have used tea as well, and I have found that a cup of brewed black tea produces the same results as a cup of black coffee.  I simply use the coffee because it seems to be brewed and ready when I need it.  The following is my "coffee-staining" method:
Put your fabric in a big metal pot.  Poor 3-6 cups (the more coffee you use, the darker the resulted color) of brewed hot black coffee over the fabric.  Dilute with a bit of warm water and make sure that the fabric is completely submerged.
Stir your fabric a few times to ensure even staining.  Let stand at least 5 minutes.  Know that the longer you leave your fabric in the coffee, the darker it will be.  I don't usually leave my fabrics for more than 10 minutes because I like the creamy off-white color rather than the darker tan.  Once you've pulled your fabric out of the coffee, rinse it in cold water.  You'll see some of the new color wash away with the rinse, but rest assured that it is stained and will dry darker than it looks at that moment.

Once you've rinsed your fabric, you'll need to find a good place to hang it to dry.  As you can see, my old stripped lampshade comes in handy for me once again!
I took this photo to show the before and after of the coffee staining process.
 A couple of precautions...if the fabric you are staining has a pre-existing stain, the coffee or tea staining process will make it more prominent.  Know that your fabric will take on the fragrance of the coffee or tea that you either use the method that produces the most appealing scent to you, or be prepared to pull out the febreze or perfume to mask the coffee or tea smell that disagrees with you.  Either way, the smell will dissipate over time.  If you are staining something that will be washed frequently, the stain color will fade with each washing...but you can always stain it again if desired!

Have fun experimenting with fabric dying...the possibilities are endless!  Remember, you are not limited to the colors you find at the fabric store.  Also, think twice before discarding a table linen, dresser scarf or pillow sham...maybe all it needs is to be aged with the simple process of tea or coffee staining!
Thanks for stopping by!  Best wishes and God bless!