Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Coffee-staining paper...

Good morning my friends!

Years ago when I first started taking collage classes at one of the rubber stamp stores that my friend and I went to when I lived in Florida, we did some work with coffee-stained paper. In the essence of time, the instructor had already stained some tags for us to use, but I never actually did much coffee-staining myself. I always had the intention of doing more, but of course I never really did.

When I decided recently that I was going to start working on some junk journals, I looked at several tutorials on the process, and of course, everyone has their own way of doing it. This weekend I combined a few techniques and stained some myself, alternating between regular white printer paper and ivory resume paper just to compare the outcomes. There wasn't really a marked difference between the two, so when I do it again I will continue to alternate, using whatever I have on hand.

No complicated technique at all. Here is my process:
  1. Mix a strong batch of instant coffee. I mixed it in a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup, using two cups of almost-boiling water and a couple of heaping teaspoons of coffee.
  2. Cut several sheets of waxed paper to fit two old cookie sheets. You will need the same amount  as the number of pages you hope to stain. (For my first run I found 16 sheets of paper a good number to work with.)
  3. Lay one sheet of waxed paper down on one of the cookie sheets with a sheet of printer paper on top.
  4. Using a cheap 2-inch wide bristle brush, "paint" the coffee onto one side of the printer paper, then flip it over onto the waxed paper and "paint" the other side. Don't completely soak the paper. 
  5. If desired, you can sprinkle a few coffee granules randomly over some of the wet pages to give some of your sheets an even more aged look.
  6. Place another piece of waxed paper on top of the page you just stained, then add your second piece of printer paper to the top. "Paint" each side as you did in step 4.
  7. Repeat this process until about 8 pages are stained, each time alternating the paper with the waxed paper, stacking them as you go along. They will be a bit buckled but this is a good thing. 
  8. Do the same thing with another batch of papers on the second cookie sheet.
  9. Set the trays aside to dry over night.
  10. The next morning the top ones will be pretty dry, but the ones underneath will still be a little damp or wet. So spread them apart on a protected table or counter, each one with the sheet of waxed paper underneath it. This way they will dry faster.
  11. After they dry, iron the pages, one at a time, to flatten them out a bit. Place a piece of muslin over the paper, press using the cotton or linen setting, and do not use steam. Flip over the page, and iron the reverse side, this time without the sheet of muslin. They won't get real flat, but after all, they will be used in a junk journal!
  12. After each sheet is ironed, take a look at the waxed paper sheets. You will find that they are also coffee-stained and have a marvelous color and texture. They will take on a vellum effect and could be used for little aged envelopes, or additional pages in your book. Or, you could just reuse them for your next bout of coffee-staining!
Here is the batch I did this weekend.
The page in the middle with the dark stain was from
adding the extra coffee granules.
To me it looks really old...

Each page will be so different.
This one looks like a paw print from
an animal!...

The darkening at the edges happened all by itself.
Almost the way the pages in an old book
actually look.
And the delicious smell of coffee isn't bad either!...

So, since the first journal I hope to make will be
I couldn't resist copying a couple of pages from
one of my vintage botanical books
onto a piece of my lovely "aged" paper.
Happily, the paper slid through the copier without
a problem.
What a pretty effect this had,
and I didn't even use my printer's "best" setting...

And then, of course, this led to planning
some papers for the cover of my book,
which will be made from a vintage
Reader's Digest book cover,
 covered with this
pretty pink and green paper,
a little corrugated cardboard,
and whatever else I decide to add...

And here is how the waxed paper ended
up looking...

Here it is on an ivory quilt so that you can
get a better idea of how it looks.
This part wasn't mentioned in any of the
tutorials that I saw,
but I really liked getting twice as much
"stuff" for my efforts...

Next time I will try this with tea. Perhaps some nice cinnamon-apple. 
My, wouldn't that make my journal smell good!

I'd love to know about any experiences that you have had with aging paper.
Thanks for coming by!


  1. Sue, I love coffee and tea staining and do it on fabric too, I started when sewing all my dolls, as they were not be white in their faces, and the dye made it just right, for a skin look . Your papers are very lovely, and the waxed ones, too, so beautiful. Happy play time with it all, the old flower images are stunning ! xo, Dorthe

  2. Sue trying again, but yesterday my comment was returned to me, saying something was wrong, to receive it on your blog ?
    Love your coffee yes papers, they came out beautiful. xoxo

    1. Hi Dorthe. Both comments were here, so I'm not sure what happened. But thanks for both of them! Hugs to you.

  3. Hi Lady,
    I hope all is ok with you? thank you for sharing this project. Still not spring here, but getting there!

    1. HI Nancy. I am OK. We have been busy and I haven't had much time for blogging or much else. Spring is here but with that comes garden clean-up and all that fun. Hope you are well and on your way to your own spring! XO


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