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Daily Deviation
January 30, 2008
How to Dye Paper by *hibbary makes it all look so easy, and with the examples included at the end it's sure to make you want to have a go at dying your own paper.
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hibbary's avatar

How to Dye Paper

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Edit: For those of you interested in larger versions of the paper texture examples, here is a packet containing those and a few extras [link]

Also, thankyou so much for the DD :3 I am glad that people find the information interesting and helpful.

A HUUUUUGE file! So please be patient! If you have any questions or need any help, just tell me.

This is very basic stuff, but paper dying is fairly intuitive. Sometimes, though, it's nice to have assurance that something is as easy as it seems. :3

Note: A few people have asked about the archival nature of the natural dyes, and another deviant has informed me that no, the teas, juices, and so forth are not archival and that they will alter in color as they age. Archival has never been a thing I have worried about (much to the distress of my drawing professor) and so I didn't even think about it. But if you want your paper to remain the same color forever and ever, an archival, artist's dye needs to be used.
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© 2008 - 2021 hibbary
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dixiekasilke's avatar
Thanks for sharing!!
rujiidragon's avatar
Hey Hibbary, I've tried doing what you've said on your tutorial with coffee,I let the  paper sit in coffee all night and the only thing it seems to do is make the paper wet, the paper doesn't even get a light tone. I've done this a few times with Bristol board but get no results. Are there some dyes that just won't color paper?
hibbary's avatar
That is most puzzling! It could be you are brewing a weak batch of coffee.  Bristol isn't terribly fibrous, either, so it doesn't suck up dye as well as rag papers. I've dyed it in the past, though, and had no trouble. 
rujiidragon's avatar
It might be the coffee, but I did add more coffee to water than normal when making it. I've used different types of coffee but got the same result. it either does nothing or makes it vaguely brownish even after a long soak. I can never make it as dark as what you do. What dyes have been successful for you?
hibbary's avatar
What I did for some of my paper was grind up the coffee to a mudlike sludge and include that sludge with the water. 

I've used all kinds of tea, coffee, rust, acrylic ink, ink, watercolor, and textile dye and it all produced interesting results. 
Crimson-Wolf2323's avatar
thanks i've all ways wanted to know how to die paper 
dracostarhome's avatar
one of my old ... ooooold teachers told me about this, but she never showed us how to do that.  thank you for this tutorial  :heart:
NinjaFoxsBuddy's avatar
Would this work with heavy-weight sketchbook paper?
hibbary's avatar
Sorry for taking so long to reply. I didn't see your comment.

It can if the sketchbook paper is heavy enough. The thing about paper is this: If the sheet is smaller, it can be thinner and still be flattened after it gets wet. The bigger paper is, the thicker it needs to be not to warp. So you could dye little tiny squares of very thin paper.

My suggestion is just to do a quick experiment to see what your paper can take.
NinjaFoxsBuddy's avatar
That's ok and thank you for the help :)
I did this for a history project and tried to get that old feeling..
You can try using printer paper crumbling it, open it, crumble it again, then straighten, and then stain it, dry it, and take a candle or stationary heat source and burn the edges and sort of leave those brown burn marks on some sides... it looks really nice!
KeennaK's avatar
It's very cool.

Since I was a little girl I wanted to someday use these methods to create a "treasure map" and play with my friends.

In recent years I'm very creative and motivated with a project, so I can use it to create some maps, but not with the same purpose as I was a child.

I will use your tutorials and publish the results on DeviantArt. ^^
ArcherBlack's avatar
This is great tutorial. I already used it once and it gave me fabulous result (both in colour and texture of paper).
redmanna's avatar
Thanks, I think I'll give it a try.
Vazchu's avatar
I've always been interested in how to dye paper (well, at least since I made my own paper in school nearly three years ago), so this was really fun to read and I'll probably try it asap. (: It seems to be a lot of fun to do it. ^^

I've one question though. After a paper has been dyed, does it work to paint on it with aquarelle paint, acrylic paint, watercolors, etc?
4nto's avatar
Awesome tutorial! Thank you!!!
BlkFlamez's avatar
This is awesome I will try it out when I get the time :3
StickyRicePlatter's avatar
I've tried coffee, but I never even thought of using steel wool! I've gotta try that some time... Thanks for the tip on keeping my paper from wrinkling! Sometimes stretching just doesn't work as well...
Fukoo-San's avatar
So cool! I have only dyed my paper with tea, but this looks interesting : ) Gotta try it out
geadizajn's avatar
HyperNoey's avatar
Wow!!! Amazing!!!
Say,can I translate this into hebrew for friends of mine? I'll give you all the credit for the method and tutorial! Pretty please!
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