How to Paint with Coffee

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Happy New Year everyone! This week I tried painting with coffee, which is a simple and inexpensive way to make some art, which can be done on watercolor paper and also on wood burning projects. By using different tones of brown, you can create any kind of scene as you might with watercolor, as well as signs and abstract designs. I chose to paint a desert mountain landscape and here is how I did it.

What you’ll need:

  • Watercolor paper or wood

  • Instant coffee, cups and a spoon

  • Paintbrush

  • Water

  • Brown ink pen (optional)

I used this image from Pixabay and you can download it from it’s original source here if you would like to use it too.

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Then I used the Picture Stencil Maker on Rapid Resizer to turn an image into a line drawing, and you can also save the image below by right clicking on it.

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If you are a paid subscriber of Rapid Resizer then you can print this image to any size. I set it to print measurement to be 18 inches wide, which is the width of the watercolor paper I am using. It printed across three pages and I cut the borders off and taped the pages together.

I taped the printout to a window and taped the watercolor paper over it so I could trace it.

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Then I made three different cups of coffee with different amounts of granules so that there would be three different tones of brown. You can make as many variations as you want but three is the minimum to make light, medium, and dark tones. Add hot water and stir until the granules are totally dissolved.

If you are using watercolor paper, tape it down with low tack tape so that it won’t warp. If you are painting on wood then just paint directly onto it as you would with any stain. Begin by painting at the top of the page and work your way downwards so that you won’t smudge the coffee. I used the lightest coffee to paint the sky.

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Then I began painting the mountains. The coffee dries quickly, so wait five minutes between painting each layer of mountains so that the coffee can dry along the pencil lines or else the water will run between layers.

You can also darken areas by adding another layer of coffee, and again wait until it is dry or your brush will pick up the first coffee layer. If coffee pools in one area of the paper then spread it out with your brush or blot it with a paper towel.

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When it was finished I used a brown ink marker to add lines for definition. You can also use a white ink pen to add details like snow or light specks if you choose to paint a scene with water.

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If you try out this technique of painting with coffee please share your artwork with us, we would love to see it. Please comment below with any questions, and I hope you feel inspired to try this fun and easy project.

May you have a very creative 2019!

~Melissa