When you have a craft project that requires aged fabric, you will find that it is possible to get a wonderfully aged look using coffee. Using coffee as a dye will give a very delicate brown tint to fabric that is white or beige, and it can be perfect when you are thinking about sewing, quilting or crafting.
Choose your fabric. Only natural fabric like cotton, linen or wool will take color from coffee. If you are using polyester, the color will simply wash right out. If you are dying clothing, make sure that it is clean, because oils from your skin can create irregular splotches of color on your fabric.
Mix the water and the coffee grounds in a large pot. Ideally, the ratio will be about 1 cup of coffee grounds for every gallon of water. A weaker solution will give you less dramatic coloring.
Heat the water and the coffee to boiling. When the water starts to boil, turn off the stove and allow the coffee to steep in the water while you prepare the cloth.
Soak the fabric in warm water before wringing it out. Wet fabric will absorb dye far better than dry fabric will. Make sure that the fabric is thoroughly wet. If there are dry spots in the fabric, it will lead to an uneven dyeing.
Place the fabric into the pot of water and coffee. Submerge the fabric into the water completely, pushing it down when it tries to float up. You can leave the fabric in the pot for half an hour or you can leave it overnight, depending on the color you want to achieve.
Stir the pot occasionally with a wooden spoon. This will ensure that the color distributes evenly.
Set the dye by adding 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to the water. The vinegar will act a mordant for the coffee. If you do not use the vinegar, the coffee probably will wash out the next time you wash the fabric, and it could even stain other clothes in the same laundry load.
Allow the fabric to sit for 15 minutes as the mordant does its work.
Rinse your fabric until the rinse water is clear.
Hang the fabric up to dry.