Coffee and Tea Dyeing

Coffee or tea dyeing is a paper antiquing technique that gives your vintage junk journals an aged, worn appearance.

The technique is simple and was once used to dye crocheted doilies, curtains and tablecloths, back when commercial dyes weren't available in stores.

Vintage Junk Journal with Coffee Dyed Pages

Coffee and tea stained paper becomes unevenly colored and very crinkled, adding to the appeal for vintage junk journals.

I love to bake my paper, even though it can be time consuming. The baking not only speeds up the drying process but it also darkens the paper. I also sometimes let it air dry overnight on plain newsprint sheets.

There are a few pointers to keep in mind when making coffee or tea dyed papers for your creations:

  • inkjet printer images should not be immersed in a coffee/tea solution as the images will bleed. (Instead of dipping, I opt for spraying the mix on the plain back of printed images, and only after my images have been printed for at least 24 hours to allow the ink to set.)
  • coffee and tea are highly acidic and reduce the archival properties of the paper. Mounting photos may cause them to fade over time. 
  • laser printer images are not subject to running or bleeding when dipped in a coffee mixture.
  • 28 lb. copy paper is ideal.

More Tips

The following tutorial by Teresa Lafrentz has excellent tea dyeing tips.

Share Your Tips

Share how you tea or coffee dye your paper!

Tea and Coffee Dyeing Tips

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Beet Juice! 
Dipping in beet juice gives a beautiful range of colors. I lay my sheets out in my gravel driveway and dip my fingers into a cup of (undiluted) beet juice, …

Coffee Paper Tips 
I just made a whole batch of coffee paper and used a flat iron to dry them quickly. I saw that on YouTube I think. I did spray mine in the sink, so easy …

Spraying Doilies 
Because of their fragile nature, I color my doilies by spraying them. When I spray them I do so on the plain side of my papers. I then get a sprayed image …

Easy Way To Coffee Dye Paper 
I love coffee dyed paper however, I'm not into dipping and drying in the oven. I tried spraying it on and wasn't happy with that either. I got this …

Metallic Doilies and Tea Dyeing 
In my first foray into tea dyeing different types of paper this evening, I found that the metallic doilies are great to use for making the imprint designs …




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