Coffee staining is an easy way to give an antique look to paper. Using coffee staining, you can give pristine white paper a browned, unevenly-colored aged appearance and parchment-like texture–just the effect that I wanted to give on my daughter’s pirate birthday party invitations!
Here’s how to do it:
To coffee stain paper, you will need:
- a pan large enough to hold your paper–If you don’t want to micromanage the staining, you can do this project in a large bucket; I’m picky about the effect that I want, so I stain in a shallow baking dish in which a single page can lie flat and be submerged.
- cheap coffee–I use a coffee:water ratio of 3:1, but the solution is quite forgiving; if your mixture is on the weaker side, you’ll simply need to wait longer for the paper to stain.
- boiling water–Straight from the tea kettle!
- a clothes line or other place to hang the wet paper–If it’s cold or rainy outside, you can also drape your pages over a drying rack that’s sitting on a dish towel to catch the coffee drips.
1. Set up your empty pan on a flat surface and pour in the coffee grounds. It’s fine if you don’t already know the amount of grounds that you’ll want to use; as the coffee steeps, you can always add more grounds to darken the color.
2. Pour boiling water into the pan to cover the grounds. Let the coffee steep for at least five minutes, then adjust its strength if you’d like.
3. Add a piece of paper to the pan, and let it steep. The amount of time that you allow the paper to steep is completely up to you and the degree of staining that you want on your paper. In various projects, I’ve steeped paper anywhere from five minutes to overnight, all with fine results.
4. When the paper is just a shade or two lighter than what you’d like it to be, remove it from the coffee. The paper will darken a little more as it dries.
5. Hang the paper until dry. Be mindful as you handle the paper, since it will be more fragile while it’s wet. When the paper is dry, you can return it to the coffee bath if it’s not dark enough for you. Otherwise, you can press it under a heavy book to flatten it, and then it’s ready to use!
PLEASE NOTE: Coffee stained paper is SO not archival, so be mindful when using it in scrapbooking or card-making if keeping your work archival is important to you.