Tuesday, November 29, 2011

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How to Coffee or Tea Stain Your American Duchess Silk Shoes


Miss Sharon asked me the other night about tea staining her silk Georgiana 18th century shoes.  She was reluctant to do it, so I embarked on that journey on her behalf, and learned some very important and cool things you all ought to know.  Ready?

Click "Read More" for the tutorials...


How to Tea Stain Your Georgianas - recommended for very light ivory/cream colors only

What You Will Need:


1. In 1/2 cup of cold water or less, let your tea bags brew.  Use a LOT of tea bags.  The more concentrated your tea dye is, the darker your shoes will come out.


2. Paint the tea onto your dry shoes.  Continue to apply until the whole shoe is covered.  Blot with the soft cloth as you go.  Remember that the color will be lighter when dry.

3. As the shoes begin to dry, you will see what we call "Dye Creep."  This is a common occurrence with three dimensional items, such as shoes.  Dye Creep shows up as lines and "bloom" where the dye has gathered, and happens with most at-home dye methods, including RIT and iDye.  Here's how to best it:

"Chase the Dye"
As the shoe dries, rub it with a damp soft cloth.  Really rub it, too, go ahead, rub all over.  You are dispersing the dye and redistributing it evenly across the shoe.  Rub on that shoe until the color is uniform again.  You can dip your cloth in the dye itself and rub, applying more color over the entire shoe.  You may need to chase the dye several times while the shoe is drying.


4. Once the shoes are completely dry, and you have achieved the color you want, spray them with Scotch Guard.

How to Coffee Stain Your Georgianas - recommended for darker ivory, gold, and brown colors


What You Will Need:


1. Mix the instant coffee in water - use a more concentrated solution (less water + lots of instant coffee) for stronger color.

2. Brush the coffee onto your dry Georgiana shoes, building up the layers until you've achieved the color you want.  Blot with a soft cloth as you go.

3. Once again you will see "Dye Creep" and will need to "Chase the Dye."  Here's how:


"Chase the Dye"
As the shoe dries, rub it with a damp soft cloth.  Really rub it, too, go ahead, rub all over.  You are dispersing the dye and redistributing it evenly across the shoe.  Rub on that shoe until the color is uniform again.  You can dip your cloth in the dye itself and rub, applying more color over the entire shoe.  You may need to chase the dye several times while the shoe is drying.

*I found with coffee, that rubbing the shoe with a cloth dipped in the coffee solution worked best and kept the color strong.



4. Once the shoes are completely dry, and you have achieved the color you want, spray them with Scotch Guard.

Lessons Learned | Do's and Don'ts:

  • "Dye Creep" happens with almost all at-home dye kits, and can be fixed by "chasing the dye."  This *must* be done while the shoes are drying, *not* after they've already dried.
  • DO NOT soak the shoes in very hot or boiling water.  This will melt the glue on the soles and you will be sad.
  • Tea staining is best for very light ivory colors; Coffee staining is best for darker tones.
  • Coffee is "stickier" than tea, and will dye your shoes more effectively.  I personally recommend coffee for all colors (light ivory included) over tea.
  • Your shoes will smell really good for awhile. :-)
A coffee-stained Georgiana

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12 comments:

  1. Did you heat the water to steep the tea and coffee first and then wait for it to cool? Or are you just steeping them in cold water? I really like the color results!

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  2. Beautiful colors! I absolutely love these. One day, I will buy a pair of your shoes... one day. And I will probably do this to them. Thanks so much for the tutorial!

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  3. This is a neat idea! Do you think vinegar would help the dye creep?

    I could see the look on my husbands face when I put tea or coffee on shoes......

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  4. Love the color of the coffee stained shoes!

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  5. How differently would it work on the Devies? I love the color of the tea stain but I'm imagining it'd come out very differently on leather (I also know nothing about dying....)...

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  6. Oh thank you! I think at last you have emboldened me to dye my hard-come-by silk shoes. And you have convinced me that coffee-stain is the way to go. Love the color! "Dye creep" after all turns out to be not so different from the water-rings that sometimes develop on sized silks if they get water-spotted, and the treatment is the same. Been there, done that, so I'm feeling more confident. I would love to keep the heels white if it's possible... But thank you again, you've done a great job of "tech-support" for your shoe-groupies.

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  7. Ah HA! This is obviously why I haven't coloured my shoes yet. I love the effect! The other idea I was toying with was trying 'walnut ink' which isn't made of walnut at all - it just has that colour. It's actually made of peat and it does have a lovely effect. I use it to 'age' things. Decisions, decisions.
    Thanks for the instructions.

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  8. Carly - I heated the water slightly for the tea, let it cool. I did not heat it at all for the coffee.

    Wendy, the Devonshires are waterproof, so nothing like this will stick to them, but leather dyes and paints certainly will :-).

    Laurie - Vinegar didn't seem to make a difference with the tea. Didn't try it with the coffee.

    Sharon - you can keep the heels white using coffee, yes. It didn't run every which way, but stays rather confined. The seam/line between the body of the shoe and the heel will provide a perfect break. :-)

    Glad this helped! I'm really stoked about the lovely color. I wish the coffee stained ones in the photos were my size, then I could wear them. Not sure what to do with them now, lol, they're too big for me. Maybe I will try to sell them on Etsy.

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  9. Do you think that starting with wet/damp shoes will help keep the color more even? Something about applying the dye to a dry shoe gives me the feeling that the streaks would be extra problematic?

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  10. Alyssa, I found that the more water that is in the silk on the shoes, the more dye creep you get. The coffee and tea didn't streak at all, but it has to be applied solidly, so that the whole surface of the shoe is wet with coffee/tea.

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  11. I love those colours! If I could afford the shoes right now I should coffee stain them! *sigh* Oh, I thought you'd be interested to see my new gown at http://rococoatelier.blogspot.com/

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  12. Sharon - If you wanted to make sure you kept the heels white you could use masking or painters tape to cover the area you don't want to dye. Just layer it on in smaller pieces to make sure you don't have any wrinkles or bubbles where dye might be able to get it. It is easily removable from fabric with no effects (at least the kinds I've tried!) and will usually stay on even if it gets a bit wet. The edge is the only thing you have to be careful around, but no more so than if you didn't cover it! If you rub the edge of the tape well into the fabric it usually helps a bit.

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