I wanted new curtains for my windows, ones that matched the new covers I made for my throw pillows. As always, I wanted to recycle what I already had, if possible. Taking a look at my fabric stash, I pulled out a flat sheet that was getting too thin to use on the bed. It was white, with small pink flowers on it and in good shape with no rips or tears. Unfortunately, the white was too bright for the room. I needed something beige or tan.
Since the sheet was 100% cotton, I decided to dye it. I first consider tea dyeing, but after some online research decided coffee dyeing would produce a darker color, more what I was looking for.
What I really liked was I could reuse the coffee grounds that I normally threw away each day. Recycled sheet and recycled coffee grounds – win, win!
I found these instructions online – http://www.marthabeth.com/dye.html and used them to base my instructions on.
Used coffee grounds. The more fabric, the more grounds you will need. I collected mine daily in a plastic container that I stored in the refrigerator. If I had a bit of black coffee left, I poured that in as well. When it was full, it was time to dye the fabric.
Plastic container large enough to hold the fabric and the dye, allowing plenty of room to move around. DO NOT USE YOUR WASHING MACHINE since there are coffee grounds in the water; you don’t want them in your machine.
A place outside to do the dyeing and hang the fabric to dry.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS MESSY! You will need to do everything outside until the fabric is dry and you have gotten all the coffee grounds off.
1.Into the old storage container, add in the coffee grounds, leftover sludge, and cold water to fill the container about ½ full.
2.Mix it well and add the fabric, making sure there is enough liquid to cover the sheet. If not, add more cold water, but only enough to cover the fabric.
3.Mix it around and rub the grounds into the fabric to get a bit more color.
4.Let soak. After about 15 minutes, gently stir the fabric around. Check color to see if it is dark enough for you. If not, let soak another 15 minutes, then check again. Repeat every 15 minutes until the color is where you want it. I needed to let mine soak over an hour to get the color dark enough.
5.Add vinegar to the water. I didn’t really measure it, just poured some in – probably about 1/3 cup and let it soak about 15 more minutes.
6.Remove the sheet, wringing out as much liquid as possible.
7.DO NOT RINSE THE FABRIC! Otherwise, you will remove some of the color you dyed in.
8.Hang the sheet outside and out of the sun to dry. I draped the sheet over my patio table and chairs to dry. Since the fabric has not been rinsed there will be a lot of coffee grounds stuck to it. Many will fall off as the fabric dries which is why you need to dry it outside.
9.Shake the fabric to remove any remaining coffee grounds that remain on it.
10.Iron the fabric with a dry iron to help set the color.
11.If you now want to wash the fabric, test a small section to see if the color bleeds out. Even if it does not, I recommend washing it separately just to be sure.
There you have it – coffee dyed fabric!
If you try this, please leave a comment and let me know what you think!