Coffee Dying Paper

I love the look of vintage papers, but after searching for awhile now, I haven’t been able to find any. So I decided to just make my own with coffee dye. This process is fairly easy, but it is a little messy. You can watch the video below for all the detail son creating your own vintage papers by coffee dying paper.


How to Coffee Dye Paper – The Video Tutorial


Supplies You’ll Need to Coffee Dye Paper

  • Instant Coffee
  • Hot Water
  • Roaster Pan or pan with tall sides
  • Gloves
  • Table covered with old cloth
  • Plastic Drop Cloth (optional)
  • Baking Soda (optional)
  • pH Test Strips (optional)
  • Iron (optional)

Coffee

I used instant coffee for my dye, however you can use leftover coffee grounds, fresh coffee grounds. You can even use tea bags or mix and match them all! Experiment with what look you like because each one will give you a different look.

Also, how much you add is going to be completely up to you. You can add a little for a more subtle effect or you can add a lot and achieve a darker, more intense color.

Why do I need baking soda and pH test strips?

Have you ever looked at your paper that you use when journaling or scrapbooking? It will almost always say that it is acid free. That’s because when you are creating a journal or a scrapbook, you more than likely want it to last more than one generation. If there is acid in the paper, it will start to break down faster and therefore won’t last as long.

Coffee is naturally acidic. When you add it to your water to dye your paper it can become SLIGHTLY acidic. To counteract that and bring your dying solution back to a more neutral pH you can add baking soda. HOWEVER, do so in very small increments, about 1/4 teaspoon, testing after each addition. Baking soda can VERY QUICKLY take your solution to the opposite end of the pH scale, which you don’t want either.

If you’re not making your paper for something that you intend to last for generations, you can skip this step. It’s completely optional!

Why do I need an iron?

Once you have dyed your paper and it has dried, you’ll notice the paper will be warped and can curl in some areas. An iron will help smooth the paper back out. This will help with storage especially. Plus, I just like the look of flatter paper.

Paper to Coffee Dye

You can dye any type of paper you want to, but here’s a look at the types I dyed and how they turned out. Remember, each time you dye the results will be different, so have fun and experiment!

Plain 20 lb. Computer/ Printer Paper

Plain printer paper is cheap and easily accessible. You can dye this paper and create a very vintage look which is beautiful!

Cardstock – Any Color Will Work!

Another type of paper that all of us paper crafters have in hoards! Cardstock, again, is readily available and you can find is priced pretty cheaply. You don’t need your most expensive cardstock for this technique! And any color of cardstock will work. I used both white and craft, but you can use any color you have on hand.

Construction Paper

Yes, construction paper! This is, surprisingly, one of my favorite results! I used regular kids construction paper and the results were beautiful!

Notebook Paper

Notebook paper is readily available, too, and there are so many different kinds to try! Each brand and type will yield different results depending on the thickness of the paper, the ink that was used to print the lines and the fibers of the paper. I used a cheap loose leaf, composition notebook paper, and graph paper. They all turned out different and unique!

Old Books

You can find older books for $0.50 at Goodwill. All you need to do then, is deconstruct the book (which I’ll show in a future video) and you can have hundreds of pages to dye! These are so much fun to use to create some fun projects, which I will show in my next video!

Coated Book Pages

The book pages in the photo above are plain, regular book pages. However, in some books, especially books with photos like guide books or picture books, you will find the pages are more slick and have a coating on them. You can definitely use these, too! The coating will resist a little of the color though and the results will be lighter.

Old Encyclopedias

So many people are getting rid of their encyclopedias these days and they are full of gorgeous photos and illustrations. They are a great resource for paper to dye and turn into beautiful vintage coffee dyed paper!

Old Textbooks, Workbooks, and Junk Mail

Textbooks, workbooks and junk mail are another great resource for paper to dye with coffee.

Old Sheet Music

Sheet music is another fun paper to dye with coffee and it’s great to have on hand for a number of projects!

I have looked and searched for old ledger paper. After several unsuccessful shopping trips I just decided to try and make my own.

I printed off ledger paper onto regular printer paper with my laser printer. It HAS to be laser printed as ink jet ink will just run once it hits the water in the coffee dye bath.

Once you have your printed paper or image all that’s left to do is dye it with the coffee. It turned out beautifully! I not only made ledger paper, but also dot grid paper like you would find in a bullet journal, old book pages and an old receipt!

Printing AFTER Coffee Dying

You can print onto coffee dyed paper. Making sure the paper is as flat as possible will help the paper go through the printer, so I like to iron my paper first. Then, you can send it through either an ink jet or a laser jet printer, as long as your printer will accept the paper. Here are a few images I printed AFTER dying the paper.


I hope this video and posted helped you and you’ll coffee dye some paper of your own! If you are interested in any of the supplies I used today, you can find them all listed and linked down below! Until next time, happy crafting!

Supply List

Affiliate links are used
Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee Crystals, 8 Ounces
Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee Crystals, 8 Ounces
Shop at:
AMZ
Reynolds Kitchens Turkey Size Roaster Pan
Reynolds Kitchens Turkey Size Roaster Pan
Shop at:
AMZ | SBP
Litmus pH Test Strips
Litmus pH Test Strips
Shop at:
AMZ
Hamilton Beach 40864 Electric Tea Kettle
Hamilton Beach 40864 Electric Tea Kettle
Shop at:
AMZ
Arm & Hammer, Pure Baking Soda 3.5 lb. Stand-Up Bag
Arm & Hammer, Pure Baking Soda 3.5 lb. Stand-Up Bag
Shop at:
AMZ
Disposable Vinyl Gloves Medium Size
Disposable Vinyl Gloves Medium Size
Shop at:
AMZ
Folding Table 6-Foot Plastic Trestle
Folding Table 6-Foot Plastic Trestle
Shop at:
AMZ
3 Clear Polyethylene Drop Cloths (3 Pack), 9' x 12' x 1Mil
3 Clear Polyethylene Drop Cloths (3 Pack), 9′ x 12′ x 1Mil
Shop at:
AMZ
150PCS 3ML Plastic Transfer Pipettes
150PCS 3ML Plastic Transfer Pipettes
Shop at:
AMZ
Sunbeam GreenSense SteamMaster Iron
Sunbeam GreenSense SteamMaster Iron
Shop at:
AMZ
Whitmor Tabletop Ironing Board, Cream
Whitmor Tabletop Ironing Board, Cream
Shop at:
AMZ
Accent Opaque White 8.5” x 11” Cardstock Paper, 100lb
Accent Opaque White 8.5” x 11” Cardstock Paper, 100lb
Shop at:
AMZ
Amazon Basics Multipurpose Copy Printer Paper, 8.5 x 11 Inch 20Lb Paper
Amazon Basics Multipurpose Copy Printer Paper, 8.5 x 11 Inch 20Lb Paper
Shop at:
AMZ
Brother Compact Monochrome Laser Printer
Brother Compact Monochrome Laser Printer
Shop at:
AMZ

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