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A couple months ago I made some beautiful coffee-dyed, wrought iron patterned paper completely by accident. I wanted coffee-dyed paper for a project so I boiled coffee grounds (about twice as strong as a usual pot of coffee) in water and let it steep about half an hour. I strained out most of the coffee grounds by pouring the mixture through a coffee filter and then added another couple tablespoons of instant coffee.

Even though it was spring, the sun was high in the sky and it was hot out so our cast aluminum, wrought iron-style table was hot. I figured all the heat would help the paper dry.

The day was bright and dry when I dyed  the wrought iron style paper. The  large pan of coffee dye was wide enough for the paper to fit comfortably.

The day was bright and and the sun was high when I dyed the paper. The large pan of coffee dye was wide enough for the paper to fit comfortably.

I dipped each sheet of drawing tablet paper into the coffee dye and let it drain a little against the edge of the pan. Within seconds of being laid on the table, the table design showed up on the paper! Here you can see the still-wet sheen of coffee on the paper.

The coffee pooled on the top of the paper and the pattern of the table magically showed up on the surface of the paper.

The coffee pooled on the top of the paper and the pattern of the table magically appeared on the surface of the paper.

I covered as much of the table as I could with the dipped paper and loved the variety of design on each sheet of paper.

The table is covered with wet paper. The edges of some sheets are already drying and curling up.

The table is covered with wet paper. The edges of some sheets are already drying and curling up.

I wish I had written down how long it took the paper to dry, perhaps half an hour. Once there were no more puddles on top, I flipped all the papers over to dry more. When I turned each sheet over, the design on the bottom looked amazing! It is beautiful on both sides but especially smooth and beautifully shaded on the bottom.

The wrought iron design on the bottom side of each sheet has a beautiful creamy color and delightful shading.

The wrought iron design on the bottom side of each sheet has a beautiful creamy color and delightful shading.

I will be using this paper to make handmade books and journals.

If you dye paper like this using a wrought iron table, please let me know how it turns out. Cast aluminum doesn’t rust so there was no rust residue on my paper. A wrought iron table might have a different effect on the paper.

The table surface was very hot. I haven’t experimented to see if this works on a cold table.

There may be coffee dripping from the paper so don’t do this over a deck surface that you don’t want brown drips on. There was very little coffee dripping from the paper because the day was hot and dry and the paper absorbed it very quickly and it didn’t matter to me if there were brown specks on my deck.

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