PDP Exclusives by Rebecca

Friday, February 3, 2012

Staining fabric with coffee

Dying fabric with natural materials has been around for hundreds of years, though it is not practices as much in modern-day applications. The results are extraordinary, and really eye-catching. Today, Wenchkin shows us how to stain your fabric with coffee!

So today I felt like experimenting. I have seen other artists work with tea stained paper. I have seen tea stained dresses to die for. I tried it myself once and was not really happy with the results I achieved. I then read of a woman who said she made dolls that she made looked antiqued by coffee staining them, she claimed she liked this better as it gave a darker result. I thought Huzzah! That is exactly why I was unhappy with tea. So here is a picture of my first test run, then the walk through on exactly what I did.

So I am basically starting with a piece of cotton fabric that I have screen printed my own design on using plastisol ink.

I take a good scoop of wet coffee grounds and stick it in the bottom of a cup. You do not have to use grounds. I am using what I have on hand. One tutorial I saw called for instant coffee. Whatever you choose to do make sure the coffee you use is strong enough to make the dead stand up. You want it thick and black hence part of why I am adding in the grounds.

I then balled up my fabric in no real order, jammed it in the cup, and added more coffee grounds on top.

Add steaming hot pitch black coffee, this was the dregs of my second pot that has now sat for three hours since my coffee maker is a cheap one with no timer and no auto shut off. If your coffee maker does not make hella hot coffee you might want to pull it out and boil it first or microwave it for a minute just to make sure it soaks into the fabric really well. Then you wait. I waited about an hour.

I then took it out, took it outside and laid it out to dry.
If you go back up to the top picture the one on the left is lighter then the one on the right because after it was dried I took and poured some more coffee around the edges and let that one dry a second time. That is what gave it the darker effect. This is the same reason I chose not to brush off the coffee grounds sitting on top of this, the longer they are wet sitting on it, the more potential it has to stain darker.

Now, this is a step I wanted to do but most people do not. I read that when staining a doll it is easier to do it after the fact then to do the fabric then make the doll so in that sense you do not since it out. I am giving mine a quick rinse mainly to get the rest of the coffee grounds off.

I then sandwiched it between a towel and rubbed all the excess water out

I also chose to take the wrinkles out, they may appeal to some people so this is in no way saying you have to do this. -but- if you do and you are staining plastisol NEVER run an iron directly over the print, it is plastic, it will melt. This is why I flip the print over and only give it a quick once over on the opposite side.

and here is my newly stained scissor print. I am totally entertained with this, it looks sorta marble-ish and smells like my favorite drink. Double win.

Wenchkin is an amazing artist, specializing in muerto-inspired drawings, and thick black outlines. You can find her on Google+, on Facebook, or you can shop her ArtFire shop! She currently resides in Albuquerque with artist Scott Krichau, and their tripod Jack Russell "P."