Woman dyes white shoelaces brown by soaking them in her cup of black coffee while she was drinking it

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

A family friend threw a baby shower for a mutual cousin and invited me. I had a wonderful time at the baby shower. We laughed and gossiped and grazed at the buffet while we watched the guest of honor open her presents.

At the baby shower, I met an interesting woman. As it turned out, she was a distant cousin whom I'd never met before. We were mid-conversation when another family member stormed up to us and said, "After all the trouble I went through to find you those white shoelaces, you didn't even wear them."

My new companion just laughed. "I am wearing them, but I dyed them brown because they matched my shoes better. See?" She raised her foot for us to admire her brown shoelaces.

I had no idea what was going on.

"If you ended up going to the store to buy brown dye, then you could have just bought brown shoelaces yourself," the second woman said.

"I didn't even leave the house," the first woman said. "I was looking at those crisp new white shoelaces and wishing they were darker when I realized I could probably just use something I had on hand to color them in. I thought about using a marker, but that seemed messy.

"Then I had a realization. I could just soak them in the cup of black coffee I was drinking, and that would probably dye them a nice near-black color, and it worked.

"After I gave them a nice long black coffee bath, they matched my shoes perfectly. They look pretty darned good if I do say so myself."

The woman who had purchased the white shoelaces, which were now brown shoelaces, mumbled something before walking away.

"That's my daughter-in-law," my new friend explained. "She's a nice enough girl, I guess, but she has no imagination."

This story really surprised me. I would never have thought to dye my shoelaces with coffee, but it actually worked well. This just goes to show that you can often find creative solutions to problems if you think outside the box a little. If you're reading this, thanks for sharing this story with me, new friend.

While I've never used black coffee as a fabric dye, I can see how it would work in a pinch. I've certainly stained a white blouse or two with spilled coffee. Beet juice would probably turn white cotton shoelaces a pretty shade of pinkish purple.

If you're in a bind and need to change the color of your shoelaces or any other fabric, think about what you have on hand that could do the trick. It might surprise you what works. And if all else fails, you can always buy a new pair of shoelaces in the color you need. Just don't wait until the last minute.

Have you ever used an unconventional dye to color your clothes or an art project? Comments are welcome.

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