Thursday, May 7, 2009

Instant Coffee and Tea Stain

I get a lot of question asking me about different aspects of my basket making. I mentioned one time on Weavers Words that I like to use instant coffee or tea to stain my reed baskets and someone asked how I did this.

"Weavers Words" Vol. 4 Iss. 13
Date Sent: June 23, 2000
I usually only mix up enough to do one basket at a time and brush mine on, so I usually use one cup hot water and about 1/8 cup instant tea for a light golden color to about 1/4 cup for a medium color. I just start dumping some tea in and test a dab on the basket and see what I think. I add more tea or more water depending on what I want. I don't use much instant coffee anymore, but that is because I have a couple of big jars of the tea in the cabinet. I think the tea gives a slightly more golden yellow cast and the coffee a little more of a brown color. It is a pretty subtle difference. I have never mixed the 2 together as I don't really think it would make much difference. I have saved extra mix before in the refrigerator and heated it in the microwave when I wanted to use it again.
In a subsequent issue of Weavers Words some asked about water spotting on tea stained baskets and this was my response.

"Weavers Words" Vol. 4 Iss. 15
Date Sent: June 26, 2000
Yes, the instant tea/coffee stain will water spot. I have really only noticed it on the handle before, not on the body of the basket. I don't find the minor spotting to be offensive as it just adds to the overall patina of the basket. The tool basket I used for years was stained with instant tea and has gotten splashed many a time and it looks great still. I have used ultra-strong brewed tea from bags before to dye reed to be woven in a basket and I suspect that is as permanent as you can get. The brewed tea gave a different color, more grays and browns in shade than the instant tea. I haven't ever used any kind of finish on a tea stained basket.


  1. Thank you, I really appreciate having this recipe. The photos on your blog are beautiful.

  2. Nancy,

    Thank you. Just experiment with the concentration until you get the color you like. I don't think I mention in the post, but you can put it into a spray bottle and apply the color that way too.