Thursday, March 3, 2011

Let’s Mottle Some Wool With Coffee Today!


I’m pretty sure that I’ve shown how this is done before but rather than search through all my posts to find it, I’ll just show it again!

I sometimes use coffee to dye my wools.  As long as it’s done right, the results are as good as, if not better than using regular dyes.

The coffee gives it a really nice rich brown color and is perfect for bunnies, sheep, and santa beards.

So let’s get started…

CIMG0101 First thing is to soak the wool in some warm soapy water.  I use regular hair shampoo for the soap but non-bleach type dish soap can be used too.

CIMG0103 While it soaks, I preheat the oven to 325.

CIMG0104 After soaking the wool for about 15 mins or so, I squish the wet wool onto my old baking sheet. 

Since this is a fairly large piece of wool … about 15” x 60”, I used this size baking sheet.  If I mottle or dye smaller pieces of wool, I adjust the size of the baking sheet accordingly.  I have a few assorted smaller baking dishes that I use for smaller amounts of wool.

I tried to evenly space and crumple the wool across the baking sheet.

The trick to good mottling is to crumble that wool to make high and low spaces.  So if you’re just doing a small piece of wool, just make sure that it’s bunched up on your baking surface.

CIMG0106 I pour spots of brewed coffee onto the wool.  To get good mottling, I don’t submerse the wool in coffee, I randomly spot it.

If I just want the wool mostly white with a little brown mottling, I lightly spot the wool with the coffee. 

In this case, I want more brown than white so naturally more coffee is poured on.

CIMG0107 Before putting this in the oven, I make sure that the wool is wet enough.  If needed, I put a little extra water on or add a little extra coffee.  I don’t want this to dry out and burn while it’s baking. 

I will bake this about 20-30 min, watching it closely to make sure it doesn’t get too dry.  If it’s getting too dry, I either add a little more water, or if I don’t mind if it gets darker, I’ll add more coffee.

CIMG0111 After the baking period, I rinse the wool well with cold water.

CIMG0112Then I soak it in some nice smelling shampoo to get rid of that coffee smell.  If you don’t mind your wool smelling like coffee then just skip this step!


After rinsing again, I’ll put this in the dryer with a couple pairs of old jeans.  The heavy weight of the jeans will fluff this wool up nicely while it’s drying.  I’ll dry it until it’s almost dry.  I want a little bit of moisture in it so that the wrinkles will easily smooth out. 

If I happen to dry it too much, I’ll just have to take extra time to steam iron the wrinkles out.

CIMG0118 And here it is, dried and ready to use!

The mottled wool is shown against the original color natural wool so that you can see the difference.


Happy Day everyone … and have some fun with coffee today!


Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

Thanks Cathy! This is a great tutorial on mottled coffee dying!

Michelle~Sugar House Creations said...

I've done muslin with coffee, but for some reason didn't think it was "good enough" for wool. Thanks for the tutorial!

paulette said...

THANK YOU, CATH!! Loved the fact you have done some awesome tutorials lately!! I have learned a lot and really appreciate it. Take care!

Molly Mandeville Fryer said...

Thanks, Cathy! I love working with wool. Just found your site nd will send some wool lovers your way. Visit me at Molly's Place

Liz said...

Thank you Cath, for pointing me towards your tutorials! Very informative.
Have you ever tried using instant coffee? I have added a bit of water to instant coffee and painted wood with it, and it does a great job staining it. Might work on wool, using it the same as perked?

Caths Pennies Designs said...

Liz, Yes, instant coffee will work too! Just be careful that it's completely dissolved with the water before adding the wool.