Creative Domestication

Wandering through domestic life with creative flair

How to Dye Coffee Filters for Crafts

I am dying to make a coffee filter wreath…..get it? “Dying” to make it…..and dying the coffee filters? HEHE…..Well, I thought it was funny! Anyway, I wanted to make a fall wreath for my home. I have been seeing several on Pinterest and Facebook and each one was prettier than the next. But, when I went to the instructions, there were several ways to go about coloring the coffee filters. There are also several different wreath forms and ways to attach as well but first things first.

I didn’t know which way was the best way to color my filters. Best being a relative word as, in crafting, there may not be a “best” way per se but just the method the crafter prefers. I thought the best thing for me to do was try several different methods and decide for myself which I preferred.

Before we discuss the different methods, let’s get prepared.

Since you will be working with various agents that may stain, be sure you cover your area with something to protect your surface. I just used some plastic grocery bags with newspaper over it to absorb any drips.

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Then, assemble some old bowls (I use stainless bowls I pick up at the thrift shops for 50 cents as they don’t stain), plastic spoons (stolen from fast food joints), paper towels and plastic gloves to protect your hands. I didn’t use gloves and it took some good scrubbing to get them clean afterward. In addition, you will need somewhere for the filters to dry so have some cookie sheets or cooling racks covered in waxed paper. Or, you can hang them from your clothesline like I did.

In addition to the basics above, you will need a package of coffee filters (around 200-300) and the source of your color. The methods I tried were paint, food coloring and tea stain. Here is how to prep the three methods:

Method 1: Paint

Put about 1/4 to 1/2 cup water in your bowl and put in a few squirts or spoons of paint. I used plain old craft paint in a pumpkin color. Stir very well until all is dissolved. It should be very watery and thin as this is a dye to be absorbed and not just stay on the surface. At this point, you can use a single filter to “test” to see if your dye is the color you want. It will be darker wet than dry so go darker than you want it to be.

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Paint dyed

Method 2: Food Color

Again, put 1/4 to 1/2 cup water in a bowl and add several drops of food coloring. I didn’t have orange so I used yellow and red mixed. You will want this to be very dark orange to almost red. Stir very well. Test on a filter to see the saturation. You can add more food color or more water depending on your preference.

Food coloring

Food coloring

Method 3: Coffee/tea stain

Add 2 tea bags of black tea to 1/2 cup of hot water. Let steep an hour or more until the desired saturation. Take out tea bags and discard. Or, brew a strong cup of coffee and let it set to cool. You may need to steep the filters or double dye them to get the color you desire.

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Tea stained

 

To begin dying:

Take about 10 coffee filters in a stack and flatten them. Then fold them in half and then half again and then half again so you are seeing 1/8 of the circle.

You can saturate them fully in the stain. Simply dunk the whole thing in the dye. Squeeze out the excess dye.

Or…..you can just have the ends dyed and the center still white. I went with this method since I wasn’t wearing gloves and wanted something clean to hold on to.

To achieve this look, dip the bigger end into the stain about an inch for just a second. Take it out and hold it up so the stain absorbs down toward the center of the filter. Squeeze any excess stain from the filter and unfold. The outer edge for about 2 inches will be stained but the center still white.

Partial dye

At this point, I simply separated the stack into two stacks of about 5 and hung them on my clothesline to dry. I found they are easier to separate once they dry. However, if you can’t hang them, lay the stacks of 5 on a layer of paper towels on a cookie sheet or drying rack or whatever you choose. It will take them longer to dry but once they start drying, they will be easier to separate. Separate and continue the drying process.

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Here is my honest opinion on the various methods. Drum roll please!……..I liked them all!!!!.   With the paint, the color was muted and soft which will be perfect for some applications. With the food color the colors were more translucent and vibrant, even when dry and reminded me of tie dye. And, the tea stain just reminded me of old lace.

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So, there you have it. You can get the look you want with one of the methods above. Each is simple and only takes a few minutes. I did the whole package of filters in about an hour including the set up and taking pictures along the way.

Next up: Making a Fall Coffee Filter Wreath!

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