Tea or Coffee Dyeing Tips

Notes on Tea & Coffee Dyed Papers

 Are you confused about coffee & tea dyeing? – I was!

So I decided to try it out.

 What fun! And what a mess! I hung the wet papers on my drying rack in the laundry & had drip spots all over the floor. But I felt as though I was still in kindergarten or primary school – what a feeling.

Since that day, I have learned a lot more.

Let’s get more serious.

My Tips:

  • Tea or coffee – I do not think it matters a lot.  If you want a deep shade, then strong coffee seems to work best.  Tea is a more subtle shade.

What kind of papers? – Any.  I love vellum for its translucent look.

    • Vellum
    • Vellum envelopes
    • Envelopes in general
    • Scrapbook papers
    • Coloured papers
    • Cardstock
    • Maps, ledger, texts, dictionary, script, alphabet papers
    • Paper doilies look beautifully vintage

Make a jug of tea or coffee with hot water; let it steep.  There is no suggested time. After your first dyeings & you have defined the colour you want, you will have more of an idea of the time & how much tea or coffee – 3 tea bags, 2 tablespoons of coffee. 

  • Pour the dyeing liquid into your dyeing container – I use a shallow baking dish that fits A4 paper.  Add the paper – several sheets at a time – I usually find 2-3 sheets is more manageable.  Hold down the edges if they curl until they stop curling – back of a spoon works well; press down on any bubbles of air if you want them dyed.  Let the papers alone while they absorb the dye. 
  • Take out the papers.  You can dry them in the oven at medium heat for approx 5 minutes with foil underneath to stop drips.  I prefer to air dry them. Let the excess drips over the sink & then hang on a drying rack with a peg on 2 flat corners – paper towels on the floor.  This will give an overall cleaner dye.  To obtain a messy dye, add more of the dye into a spray bottle & add patches of colour to the paper. A cup with dye on the bottom will leave a ring. 
  • If the papers are wrinkled & you want them smooth, use a dry, low heat iron. 
  • Other tips:
    • you can create other colours with inks
    • if you want to stamp/print on the paper before dye, iron with plain paper on top
    • a spray bottle with tea or coffee after the papers are dry works well
    • Twinings Tea Infusions do not work