I am so pleased with my new labels and cards, I had them printed as simple white business cards, as I had plans to give them a bath! I wanted them to look old, so I decided to stain them with coffee and I thought you might like to see how I did it.
This tutorial will show you how to create an aged, vintage finish to tags, cards, labels – anything you like! It’s very simple to do, and great of you want a vintage look for wedding invitations etc.
Firstly, I made the holes for the tags and trimmed the corners. It’s a good idea to do this first as any cut edges will be white if you cut them after dyeing.If you are just making a small number, you could string the tags first if you want the string to match. I have chosen a batch of 50 of each cards here.
To make a dye bath, you need:
- a jug or a Pyrex dish
- hot water
- vanilla extract (optional)
- baking sheet(s)
- large books or similar to press the cards flat
pre-heat the oven to about 80º. To make the coffee bath, you can either use some leftover coffee or mix a strong batch of cheapo instant coffee – 4-5 dessert spoons of coffee in your jug of water will do for what I wanted for these tags, but if you want a darker finish, make a stronger coffee bath. I make it hot to dissolve the granules, then top it up with some cold water, and add a few drops of vanilla extract to make them smell nice. Hot water breaks down paper fibres more rapidly so you don’t want it too hot.
Put your cards or tags into the bath one at a time, and prod them down with a spoon – that way they will all be covered and won’t stick together. Leave them in for between 10 mins and half an hour. keep and eye on your tags to make sure they do not start to come apart.
Lift out your tags (squeeze liquid off the string if your tags are pre-strung) and lay them on the baking sheet, and pop them in the oven for about 5 minutes – keep a really close eye on them, make sure they do not burn! They will darken slightly as they cook.
Now take them out of the oven. I like to turn them over to make sure there is no moisture trapped between the tags and the baking sheet. Make sure they are completely dry. You might want to leave them for a few hours or overnight. I am very impatient and like to cook them until they are completely dry.
When they are all dry, you will have beautifully aged, but rather crinkly tags, so I stick mine in the book press overnight. You can use big books etc of you don’t have book press. Sorry for the non glamorous photo of my radiator! I couldn’t lift the press into a more scenic place for the photo 🙂
I also dyed my whole ball of string. I need different lengths of string to fasten the tags around my toys, so this was the best option for me. Alternatively, you could string your tags first.
And here are my tags! I hope you like them. You can experiment with different strengths of coffee etc. I wanted these to look like they had been found in an old tin or cupboard somewhere, and it was great fun to do this again, I haven’t done it for ages! I hope you have as much fun as I did. x