How to Stain Drop Cloths with Coffee

So, after we got the headboard turned bench for the entry completed, it looked a little plain…ok, so it looked a lot plain. Even Filbie was worried we weren’t going to be able to pull it off. The entry is roughly ***square feet with the large wall being 9 feet tall and wide. Luckily, the upcycled bench is built from a full size beadboard which is 60 inches long and takes up a good amount of space.


The entire entry is painted in Ralph Lauren’s Oatmeal which fits our neutral loving style and made layering gray and white paint on the bench seem a natural fit. I wanted to soften the space a bit and make the bench more comfortable so I decided to add a bench pad. Luckily, we had some foam left over from when we made the headboard out of a mantel in one of the bedrooms. At first I tried a few different fabric options but nothing really struck my fancy.

In my mind, I wanted something that was a little lighter than the wall color but not as light as the color of drop cloths you can find at the hardware store. Those notions all led to one thing…making my own color using coffee as a stain. This is the first time I’ve ever tried anything like this but it was so easy, I’ll definitely be staining more. Here’s a look at how everything came together….

I brewed two pots of coffee and poured them in a large stock pot making sure to keep the contents of both pots hot but not boiling. Use common sense and care when you’re pouring the brewed coffee into the stock pot as the coffee will be hot and may cause burns.


If you’re staining pre-used fabric make sure the fabric has been laundered prior to using coffee as a staining agent. This will ensure any soil or food particles have been removed. If the fabric you’re staining is new, rinse thoroughly taking care to wring any excess water but do not let the fabric dry out.


Insert the damp fabric into the stock pot of brewed coffee swirling the fabric around until it is completely submerged. You may have to use a spoon or other kitchen utensil to hold the fabric under the brewed coffee.


Allow the fabric to steep in the coffee for at least an hour. The longer you allow the fabric to steep the darker/deeper the stain will become. In addition, the stronger the coffee the darker/deeper the stain will become so keep that in mind. I set my timer for an hour but I read online some people let there fabric sit overnight.


When the fabric has finished steeping, carefully remove from the brew. Briefly rinse in a cold water bath with a splash of vinegar for approximately 10 minutes.


After the 10 minutes, I had planned to let the fabric dry completely but the mix of vinegar and coffee didn’t smell very well so I decided to place my fabric in the washing machine on the hand wash cycle. If you don’t have a hand wash cycle, wash and rinse your fabric in the sink with a gentle cleaner like Woolite. If the color is too light, you can repeat the steps mentioned above and stain the fabric again. It does take a bit of the coffee stain color out if you don’t use a gentle cleaner.


Here’s a look at drop cloth fabric has been washed with a bit of bleach and dried next to the coffee stained fabric washed on the gentle cycle. The difference is definitely different post gentle wash but the color was more in line with what I actually wanted.


We have 3 dogs which means we do a lot of laundry so I wanted to make sure this bench seat cover could be laundered too. I used the envelope closure method which is great if you have basic sewing skills like I do. First make sure the top flap will be long enough to tuck, then sew the sides,


sew a finished edge on the top flap and tuck the top flap into the envelope you’ve created for the sides.


Iron the fabric envelope prior to placing your foam and batting into place. I still need to sew a few pillows, we have to hang a few hooks and find a few baskets for shoes but it’s honestly all starting to come together so I’ll see you back here tomorrow.


Many blessings,


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  1. Hey CoCo – we never thought of using coffee as a stain…great idea! It definitely warmed up the look of the fabric and looks so pretty on your new bench! Your entryway is coming together fabulously!

  2. I’ve never thought about making drop cloth darker. What a great option! Thanks for the tutorial. P.S. Love the bench. Love the dog. Love how the foyer is shaping up.

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