staining with tea! : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

Recently I subjected some 'discard' fiber based prints to various household staining products such as coffee, tea and wine. I found that warm dilute tea gave an unusual and quite pleasing affect to some images and even after 1 hour of washing the colour remained and also dried evenly without spots or streaks. I was wondering if anyone know's how long I can expect the tone to last or if it will degrade in a short time?

-- Andy Laycock (, April 24, 2000


It isn't an answer to your queries, but isn't Sally Mann going through a period where she is staining everything with tea these days? Hey, if it looks good who cares how long it lasts? If it goes bad, print up a new one.

-- Fritz M. Brown (, April 24, 2000.

What do you call a short time? I have had an old print about 80 years old which has coffee/tea stains and they are still there. Pat

-- pat j. krentz (, April 24, 2000.

I think using tea for toner was published in some old photo articles, maybe the photo section of Popular Mechanics (yes, they had extensive photo articles in the '30s to '60s) or some other mag. The stuff might be quite stable.

-- Conrad Hoffman (, April 25, 2000.

I have heard of staining cyanotypes with tea to get a brown/black color, but I have no experience with it. After reading this thread, I'll have to try it.

-- Steven Hupp (, April 25, 2000.

At Art Chicago last year I saw some beautiful coffee stained prints and also some that looked like they had been coated with asphaltum.


-- Christian Harkness (, April 25, 2000.

Andy, I actually had better results with coffee than tea. I used a 50-50 dilution (i.e. half ready to drink coffee and half water) and the color worked better for me than the tea. I might suggest a weaker ratio to start since 50/50 toned completely in about 30 seconds. Also, check out Tom Baril's new book, Botanica, for some great examples of tea staining.

-- Bill Noll (, April 26, 2000.

One of the problems I had when staining with coffee was that I got sort of an oily film on my print sometimes.


-- Christian Harkness (, April 26, 2000.

A couple of years ago, Tom Beril published a book of his prints, many were tea stained. When he did them, they looked good. Maybe there is hope for the rest of us. Also, a question. Since there are many types of tea, which differ in color, how different will lapsang souchong, oolong, china green, or other teas look in a final print???

-- Richard Newman (, April 26, 2000.

I have used several differant types of tea, and tried consecutive baths of different types. Some give dramatically different colors than others, most of which are fairly subtle (hibiscus being an obvious and repulsive exception, camomile is fairly green and can be mitigated with a small amount of hibiscus). Stacking one on top of another sometimes creates random staining unevenness, which is kinda cool.The most effective use for me was selectively painting tea into specific areas with a spotting brush. It's a lot less toxic than heavy metals.

I never found a color I was that crazy about. Coffee gave me a better skin tone, but that was 11 years ago (it still looks good) before I thought of this selective application stuff. Maybe I'll try that again... t

-- tom meyer (, April 26, 2000.

Thanks for all the responses, I wasn't expecting that many. Clearly there's lots of room for experimentation with various combinations of teas and coffee. So far I have only used a black tea and an orange herbal tea which turned the paper an ugly purple. I'll try camomille and green teas next. Thanks again.

-- Andy Laycock (, April 27, 2000.

Anyone tried Chicory? or coffe with Chicory? Does instant coffe work? What about de-caff? Is there such a thing as a Mocha-Latte- Chino print?

-- Sean yates (, May 07, 2000.

Sean...there is such a thing but you drink it...I think the milk would just make the print smell bad....I tea stained in a addition to weak viradon and liked what I got with only one print a Santa Fe sunflower..almost platinum range of tones it is really odd the whites remain white with a hint of sunlight yellow and only a hin...the process may work well with woods I'll try since I moved to forested area recently...

-- kirk kennelly (, May 27, 2000.

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