experiments in coffee dye-ing

So we've recently been experimenting with using coffee to dye fabric. We have used some natural dyes before and never had great results. We've also gone back and forth with using natural dyes on our kimonos, but after a lot of research, it seems that natural dye isn't really much, if any, better than the dyes we've been using. But we won't get into that too much, this post is about coffee!!
As you can see, these pieces of fabric have a couple of colors on them. The olive green-ish color is not coffee. This piece of fabric was tie-dyed with coffee and then tie-dyed with green dye.
This piece was tie-dyed with coffee first and then dip dyed in the green dye. So you can see the coffee color a little better. It's a very light beige-y brown.
This one is probably my favorite because of the design the coffee created. This one was dip dyed with the coffee and you can see that the coffee left these lines just like spilled coffee does. What is annoying is that I couldn't re-create this effect.
Anyway, here are the four samples we did. We soaked the fabric beforehand in a mixture of soda ash and water and we also added urea to the coffee. We also made the coffee extremely concentrated. I read so many articles about how to dye with coffee and honestly, it wasn't too helpful. Some people say they just used coffee and they got this lovely rich brown color. That was not our case. Overall, I probably wouldn't use this method in mass. It is more of a supplemental thing. I probably won't ever dye something with just coffee, unless I really just want something that beige-y color. Plus, it was pretty messy and the combination of coffee and urea smells pretttty bad. Not to mention how expensive it gets to make concentrated coffee with ethically made coffee, and in the amount you need to use as a dye. All this to say, I really like these combinations of the coffee and the green color.

Have you ever used coffee as a dye? What was your experience like?

xo, Savannah

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