DIY: Coffee Dyeing Silk

Sooooo, following on from yesterday’s post about tea dyeing, I had ANOTHER silk top that was gifted to me by a lovely friend. The pale lilac colour really washed me out though so I’d never worn it. When googling info on tea dyeing it occurred to me that coffee might have similar dyeing/staining properties. After all, I’ve spilled enough coffee down my front to know that it doesn’t always come out in the wash! (I am a clumsy cow!) Sure enough….

I followed exactly the same process and timings as I did for the tea except this time I used a 100g jar of Tesco own brand coffee priced at £1.50. Unfortunately their 47p one wasn’t available in our local Tesco Express, grrr….!

Again, the finish was streak and blotch free and the colour much, much, much more me! Hurrah!
The one thing with both these projects that has yet to be determined is how the colour results stand up to washing. I’m fairly confident about this. For a start, these are silk tops and as such will be handwashed only which will limit the impact on the colour. Plus, everything I’ve researched online prior to trying this, suggests that it doesn’t require a fixative to be permanent; and at the very most it may fade a little, but for all intents and purposes is permanent. I will be sure to let you know how I get on with that!
In the meantime, I have plans afoot to try out some other “grocery” dyes. Turmeric and beetroot are both renowned for staining so it seems logical to me to try them on some silk. Onion skins are another source of natural dye that I fancy trying. Of course, all manner of plant materials and fibres have dyeing properties. Dyeing fabric goes right back to ancient times and would have been wholly achieved by using natural raw materials before the advent of chemical dyeing processes during the industrial revolution. Some of it though is akin to alchemy and beyond my level of patience!There are  more experiments to come though! For now, I’ve run out of silk tops to experiment with. Best get down the charity shop and have a rummage; and you know how I hate that 😉

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36 Comments

  1. Miriana January 17, 2013

    My mum dyes eggs with onion skins for Easter and they come out a lovely russetty red colour.

    Reply
    • Miss P January 27, 2013

      I’ve heard of this egg dyeing Miriana. May have to give it a go. Would love to know the process involved….
      Px

      Reply
  2. Sarah January 17, 2013

    Ooh looking forward to the beetroot test!

    Reply
    • Miss P January 27, 2013

      That’s if I don’t eat half of it first. LOVE beetroot!
      Px

      Reply
  3. alethia January 17, 2013

    You did a beautiful job on the blouse. When washing add a regular salt to the water. Salt keeps my jeans from fading and use shampoo instead of ivory or regular soap.

    Reply
    • Miss P January 27, 2013

      Ooooh good tips Alethia! Thankyou so much!
      Px

      Reply
  4. Sew little time January 17, 2013

    lovely! i’m really interested in shibori (blogged about by Ginger here: http://gingermakes.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/shibori-is-fun-and-so-are-bloggers/). have you ever tried that?

    Reply
    • Miss P January 27, 2013

      No never tried it but have read quite a bit about it. Some fabulous results around the internet!
      Px

      Reply
  5. Evie Jones January 17, 2013

    That is just a beautiful colour now. Just so soft and elegant!

    Reply
    • Miss P January 27, 2013

      I’m really chuffed with the colour too. Much more my palette!
      Thanks Evie!
      Px

      Reply
  6. Kimberly January 17, 2013

    This is just perfect timing. I just picked up a book about dyeing with plant-based stuff. The tea was neat, but I *really* like what the coffee did here! I’m interested to try it on some different fiber contents…

    Reply
    • Miss P January 27, 2013

      I must pick myself up a book. The possibilities once you look into it are infinite!
      I’m more sold on the coffee too! Although I suppose it’s difficult to compare as the base colours were so different…
      Px

      Reply
  7. Tania January 17, 2013

    How interesting! And what a lovely natural colour. Coffee coloured, in fact! 😉
    And if it does wash out, another dip in cheapo coffee and it’s back to fabbiness,I imagine? What a bargain! V impressed.

    Reply
    • Miss P January 27, 2013

      My thoughts exactly Tania. Another dip in the coffee is no hassle at all!
      Px

      Reply
  8. twotoast January 17, 2013

    Your top looks lovely – a great, rich color!

    Reply
    • Miss P January 27, 2013

      Thanks Two Toast. Much more me I think!
      Px

      Reply
  9. mrsmole January 17, 2013

    Here in the US folks have been using Kool-Aid powdered drink mix or Jell-o for years to dye wool roving. Both can be found easily at the grocery store and are strong enough to make their mark…try removing a stain when mixing that stuff wearing your favorite t-shirt! When I lived in the UK I loved Tesco trifles!!!!

    Reply
    • Miss P January 27, 2013

      Mrs Mole, is there a UK alternative to kool aid? I’ve not heard of Jelly dyeing before how exciting! Off to google both now! Thanks!
      Px

      Reply
    • Anonymous February 18, 2013

      Any artificial food coloring will work. I’ve heard that asian groceries are more likely to have artificial food colorings in Europe.

      Jello isn’t the best because you have to wash and wash the gelatin out. Food coloring, concentrated icing gel, or powdered drink mixes are best.

      Reply
  10. Marie January 17, 2013

    I love this and your last post – they both came out so perfect and so you! I recently tea dyed some lace and I’m definitely a convert. I’d love to see what happens with the beetroot, I definitely think it should work…my grandma uses beetroot to dye eggs for easter in Cyprus. Works a treat ;o)

    Reply
    • Miss P January 27, 2013

      As I said at the start of the tea post, it was your lace that inspired me Marie!
      I keep hearing about this egg dyeing malarkey. Might have to give it a go this year!
      Px

      Reply
  11. Emma S January 19, 2013

    Your posts make me want to try natural dyes on fabric. I really like how the tea and coffee experiments turned out. I wonder if turmeric would give nice mustard yellow color. And please tell us what happens when you wash the garments.

    Reply
    • Miss P January 27, 2013

      I’ll defo keep you all posted Emma. Just waiting for the right silk top to try out the turmeric!
      Px

      Reply
  12. Andrea B January 19, 2013

    Wow beautiful color!!

    Reply
    • Miss P January 27, 2013

      Aw, thanks Andrea! Really pleased with it!
      Px

      Reply
  13. Susan January 22, 2013

    Wow, this looks fantastic! I’d love to give this a try – would you be able to let us know how you did it, timings etc (I’m guessing you couldn’t make a giant tea bag like you did in your last post!).

    Reply
    • Miss P January 27, 2013

      Hi Susan,
      100g of cheap instant coffee dissolved in 5-6 pints of hot water in a big pan on the hob. I brought it up to a simmer and then turned to heat down low to keep the temperature constant. Then I soaked the silk top in it for about 40 mins, stirring frequently and turning it over now and then to ensure even coverage. I then rinsed in cold water until it ran clear and soaked in fabric conditioner for an hour or so. Finally rinsed in cool water and hung to dry.
      Let me know if you give it a go!
      Px

      Reply
    • Susan January 27, 2013

      Fantastic, thank you so so much for taking the time to write it all down, it’s really kind of you. Off to give it a go now 🙂 x

      Reply
  14. dixie January 24, 2013

    this is great, much better than before. and even if it does fade a little over time you could always just re-dye it and you’ll know it will look good!

    i’ve been wanting to try tumeric dying. i’ve seen a couple you tube videos and liked the results.

    Reply
    • Miss P January 27, 2013

      My only worry with the turmeric is that it’s not a colour I would naturally wear. But that won’t stop me giving it a go, lol!
      Px

      Reply
  15. Anonymous February 18, 2013

    Turmeric gives a bright yellow, but it’s not light or wash fast. At least if you don’t like it you won’t be stuck with it!

    Beetroot and berries aren’t fast either. They dull to brown or gray.

    Black beans are a nice one to try. Soak black beans overnight just like you would before cooking, don’t heat. Strain out the beans, keeping the liquid. Add the fabric/yarn and let sit until it’s a color you want. Don’t heat it at all! It’ll be a lovely shade of blue. Sometimes it’ll fade to gray depending on the fiber.

    Reply
  16. Anonymous February 18, 2013

    BTW, tannin dyes like tea and coffee are very fast. I wouldn’t worry about machine washing it or what kind of soap I used. It might lighten a bit but it’s very permanent.

    Reply
  17. GoofingOff March 3, 2013

    Glad I stumbled on your post. I’ve thought about using coffee…after all tea works so why not? I like the way it came out. What is fabric conditioner? Is it the same as fabric softener, like Downey?

    Reply
  18. Anonymous April 8, 2013

    thanks for sharing...

    Reply
  19. Shelley Carr September 18, 2013

    I know this is tremendously later than the original post, but I wanted to suggest two things: first, the best natural dying book I have yet to find is called “wild color”. It may be difficult to find, I had to purchase mine on ebay, but it truly is user friendly and incredibly thorough.

    Second, a fun natural dye is red cabbage. You would think it would dye it a purple color, but its actually a faint bluish greeny purple color. I think it might suit you, plus its a fun project if you are interested in natural dyeing ( grocery dyes!)

    Reply

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