DIY | Coffee & Tea Stained Paper Wreath
Since we started homeschooling this year I quickly learned that doing projects and making things together with my kids is the best (and maybe only) way we’ll get through any school this year! I remember being in fourth grade when I first experienced staining paper with tea bags and making an old antiqued map for my school project. I LOVED the process and seeing how cool each piece looked in its own unique way once it was dried.
When the kids and I started talking about how leaves change in the fall I wanted to come up with a fun project to do with them to experience the change in a tangible way. I remembered back this first experiment from when I was young and decided to do it with them.
We pulled out 2 different kinds of tea and used old coffee grounds to use. Before dipping our paper in each batch of liquid we all took predictions of colors and how dark or light we thought they’d turn out to be. It was so fun to see how into it they were and listening to all their different ideas of it all.
I’ll admit it was a bit chaotic trying to do this with 5 kids (the excitement and impatience of it all almost made me throw in the towel---after I used it multiple times with the amount of spills we had!) But I stuck it out with them and knew the end result would be worth it. And *hopefully* the overall process of it all together was something they’ll look back on with fun memories like I had when I was a kid!
Surprisingly, the colors of the paper turned out completely different than what any of us thought, but still turned out to be really pretty fall-ish colors. Once the paper was all stained and dried we cut out leaves in all different shapes and sizes. The girls made their own wreaths for their playhouse and had so much fun "decorating for fall" as they kept saying.
Overall, I think this was really fun to do with my kids and simple enough for them to participate in. It could be a great activity to do as a Thanksgiving day project or even for Christmas coming up. Plus! it makes for not only a cheap and easy decoration piece, but a meaningful one too.
Here’s some tips and what we used to make ours:
-Blank white printer paper
-Tea bags (we used strawberry tea & green tea)
(I just saved coffee grounds from my morning coffee a couple times)
(or cut out cardboard into a circle shape for your wreath foundation)
-Optional: dried florals or other garnishes to add
- Brew tea according to the package. I used about 8 tea bags for 8oz. of water to get more color out of it
- For coffee stain, take the old coffee grounds and add it to 8oz hot water. Stir it around a couple times then let it sit for a minute.
- Use a mesh strainer to pour coffee water into an empty jar. The water should sift through without the ground and you’ll have brown coffee water left over. *I did this process a couple times with the same water to try and get the water darker. The more coffee you use, the darker the stain will be*
- Pour your tea water and coffee water into different pans, being careful not to fill too much for overflowing. You will not need much liquid in the pan for the piece of paper.
- Take your paper and lay it into the water, pressing around the paper slowly until it is covered with the liquid.
- Let paper sit in the liquid for at least 2-3 minutes to ensure the paper will be stained. The longer you leave it in the liquid the darker it will be. *We experimented a lot with all of these. Some we left in longer than others and some we dipped in two different liquids to try making new colors. Have fun with it and experiment with your kiddos too, they'll love it!
- Once your paper is ready, slowly take it out. It will be really fragile so be sure to use two hands to lift it out to prevent it from ripping.
- Lastly, set it aside to air dry or turn you oven on the lowest heat possible and let it sit in there for a few minutes.
Making the wreath:
-Take your dried paper and cut out leaves in desired shapes and fold in half for the leaf crease
-Once you have enough leaves, start layering them around your wreath and glueing them as you layer them
-If you add in dried florals or berries, hot glue those in your desired spots on the wreath. I added in some small dried florals and some wooden beads I had left over for some added texture.
And there you have it! There’s so many fun things you can do with these. If you decide to make your own with your kids please share with me on Instagram and tag me, I’dl love to see how yours turn out too!
I hope this turns out to be a fun memory for you and your kiddos this season.
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