Coffee painting tutorial

Yes, you can paint with coffee. They lay extremely well on watercolor paper.And it can make your workspace smell like you’re in coffee heaven.At least till the painting dries that is!Read all on how to paint deliciously by following this coffee painting tutorial.

coffee painting tutorial by Inkstruck Studio

Ah! The fresh smell of morning coffee. A whiff and a sip is enough to brighten my day. (Cheesy much!)I’m sure it’s the same for many of you coffee lovers too.Now suppose I say you can paint with them too? Wouldn’t that be absolutely amazing?Coffee gives a dark,rich brown hue that can produce beautiful monochromatic paintings. The techniques are quite similar to that of watercolors.So,for people who are familiar with watercolors, this will come quite easy.In this coffee painting tutorial,I’m going to help you understand a few techniques.I’ve also included a simple tutorial of a fairly simple leaf.

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The materials required for the coffee painting tutorial are

  1. Winsor & Newton postcards watercolor paper
  2. Palette
  3. Watercolor brushes
  4. Pencil
  5. Water
  6. Instant coffee

coffee painting tutorial by Inkstruck Studio

Step 1:Drop some instant coffee powder on to a palette.By using a dropper,moisten the coffee powder.I used instant coffee powder because they were cheaper and I didn’t want to waste my precious espresso grind.Wait for the coffee to dissolve and mix well with a brush.

coffee painting tutorial by Inkstruck Studiocoffee painting tutorial by Inkstruck Studio

Step 2:To bring out a dark hue,mix the coffee powder with as little water as possible.The amount of powder should not be more than that of water.This will give a beautiful dark brown color.For the medium hue, dilute with some more water. Again for the light hue, add in some more water. You will see that I’ve shown the three swatches in the image below. I’ve done this so that you have an idea of how varying the amount of water can bring out the different shades of brown.Now that you’ve learn this simple technique, let’s get on with the tutorial.

coffee painting tutorial by Inkstruck Studiocoffee painting tutorial by Inkstruck Studio

Step 3:Take a watercolor paper. Stick it on to your worktable using painter’s tape.I’ve done this so that paper doesn’t warm or buckle.Get ready to paint!

coffee painting tutorial by Inkstruck Studio

Step 4:We are going to use the “wet in wet technique” to create the background.First lay down a light hue of coffee paint on your paper. While the paint is still wet, drop in more blobs of coffee paint.Do this randomly until you get a beautiful non-tactile texture that forms your background.This actually reminds of old parchment paper. I think it would look lovely as a map as well.

coffee painting tutorial by Inkstruck Studiocoffee painting tutorial by Inkstruck Studiocoffee painting tutorial by Inkstruck Studio

Step 5:Wait for the paint to dry. Draw the outline of a simple leaf in pencil very lightly.Using the medium hue, paint the leaf.Since the leaf is dry,leave spaces to show the torn areas.

coffee-painting-tutorial-9coffee painting tutorial by Inkstruck Studio

Step 6:Painting the veins. Using the dark hue, draw thin veins extending from the center.Don’t paint a dark line all through. Lighten the veins as it reaches the end.This is to show naturality. Paint smaller veins extending out from the main veins.Make sure the smaller veins are less prominent than the main ones.

coffee painting tutorial by Inkstruck Studiocoffee painting tutorial by Inkstruck Studio

Step 7:Take some clean water on a detail brush.Paint above the main vein.What this does is that it highlights the vein showing prominence. Water easily dilutes the coffee paint leaving it lighter wherever applied.Do the same for all the others.

coffee painting tutorial by Inkstruck Studio

Step 8:Paint with coffee at random places in the leaf to show texture.This helps to make it more realistic. Make sure you paint a bit darker around the places which are torn.And there you have it!You’ve just created your first painting by following this coffee painting tutorial.

coffee painting tutorial by Inkstruck Studio

 What do you think?

Who knew you could make fabulous looking paintings with coffee isn’t it?How did you like this tutorial? Would you like to see another tutorial using some other techniques with coffee?Let me know so that I can whip one up.

Did you know that you get a very cute illustration printable for free if you subscribe to the website?And like always don’t forget to hashtag with #makeinkstruck if you create using one of my tutorials or DIYs. I would love to see them. Have a lovely day everyone! Live beautiful .



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About zakkiya hamza @ inkstruck

Zakkiya is the creative blogger and founder of Inkstruck Studio. She’s a self taught artist who let go of her architecture profession to pursue her passion in art. Zakkiya likes to write detailed tutorials in watercolor, calligraphy, and hand lettering. She also teaches watercolor workshops occasionally in Doha where she’s based currently. Other passions include traveling, photography, and basketball.When she’s not working, you can find her cuddling and running around with her toddler boy.

47 thoughts on “Coffee painting tutorial

    1. Coffee does brilliant with aging paper. I’ve been thinking of creating a little wedding map using coffee as the medium. Thank you so much for your kind words and for stopping by 🙂 Have a nice day!

    1. Oh I’m beyond thrilled that you’re inspired to get back to painting because of me. Thank you for your kind words. I love all the cool furniture makeover you do and your IKEA Rast dresser transformation was super brilliant. I really hope you do some painting and I would absolutely love to see it. Thank you so much for stopping by. Have a splendid day!

    1. Thanks kindly Mary! It was one of those spur of the moment ideas which are the best really. My well thought ideas generally just end up in disasters. x

    1. Oh yes ! My workspace had this beautiful smell that was so therapeutic.But the smell disappears when the painting dries which is a shame really.! Thanks so much for stopping by! x

    1. Yay to being coffee addicts! I seriously can have coffee whenever possible. I don’t think there’s a beverage that’s as brilliant as this. Thank you for stopping by Elizabeth! Have a nice day.x

  1. Finally a use for coffee for the non-coffee drinker like myself 🙂 A painter I am not, but your post makes me want to give it a try for two reasons, it is such a clever, creative idea with beautiful results and also because I am a huge postcard/letter sending gal. Love. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Oh I would love for you to try this tutorial out. And I love sending out letters too. Snail mail team high five ! And please do share it with me if you get the time to try it out. I would love to see it. Thank you so much for stopping by and for all the kind and lovely words.have a nice day! x

  2. I love this! I totally get what you mean when you said that a whiff and a sip is all it takes to brighten your day. We are on the same coffee boat! I don’t have instant coffee in my pantry, but I am willing to sacrifice some coffee grains for art’s sake. Can’t wait to give this tutorial a try. 🙂

    1. I’m so glad someone likes my cheesy line ! 😀 Haha so glad to have found my coffee soul sister (cheesy again)!Oh it would break my heart to see precious coffee grains go away like that. But I sure would love to see what you come up with. Also my friend Lindsey of the postman’s knock did a brilliant envelope with calligraphy using coffee after seeing this. You’ll find it on her Facebook page(same name as above) if you scroll down a bit. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I love this technique. Can’t wait to teach it to my Grands! They love to paint and will have so much fun with this. Thank you.

    1. That would be so sweet of you. I love getting comments like this on my blog because that’s precisely why I do tutorials. Will you please share it with me if you teach them?I would so love to see.Thank YOU for the lovely words and for making my day! 🙂

  4. I am so trying this today! Will tag you if it comes out well :*

    Love you for sharing such fab out of the box ideas : *

    1. Hi Pong. Sorry for the late reply. I had to google what Oslo paper is. As long as the paper is thick and has some tooth in it, it should be good for watercolors. Ideally i would suggest you use something like Winsor & Newton Cotman cold pressed watercolor paper. They are perfect for beginners and no too expensive. But in terms of practice, i don’t see why you can’t use what you have in hand right now. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  5. Hello!

    I love this post! I’m always searching for innovative ways to make art. This is going to be a blast. Thank you so much. Also, I love your lush images.



    1. How extremely kind of you. Thank you so much for your sweet words. I think putting a bit of fun into anything creative is what I like to do best. Coffee is brilliant for maps, aging paper etc. I hope you try it out 🙂

  6. Thank you for this lovely tutorial! I never painted in my 18 years of existence (well, except maybe in kindergarten?) but I’m looking for something to do for the holidays. I think this would be really fun. I have a question, what’s the size of your paint brush? Just so I know I’m buying the right kind ?

    1. Thank you for stopping by to have a read. Such fun that you’re going to challenge yourself to trying this out for the holidays. Hm, you can use any size brush really but buying a number 2 size round brush should do fine. They’re easy to work with. If you’re looking to get the really fine lines of the vein, a spotter brush should do the trick. That being said, you can still work with the number 2 round as long as you keep the point sharp. Don’t hesitate to email me or ping me with any questions you have while trying it out. Have a lovely day !

  7. This is literally the coolest thing I’ve ever seen! It’s like my two favorite things in the
    world combined. Coffee, and painting!!!!!!!

  8. Hi, I have done like 3-4 painting using coffee powder. Its wonderful. I read it like now and got a clear image of certain things while painting. Thanks?

  9. Thank you for your clear tutorial. I have recently purchased a coffee painting, and I would like to know whether I can frame it behind glass. The painting is “dry.” It seems to have been finished with a varnish of some kind. I would like to put it behind glass, but I don’t want the coffee to transfer to the glass and ruin the painting. I want to protect it because I’m afraid dust or moisture would ruin it. I appreciate any knowledge you can pass on to me. Thank you.

    1. Hi Beth. Coffee as a material is not archival so what that essentially means is that you need to take proper care of it. I suggested framing and putting it under glass. Get it done professionally and mention that you don’t want the painting to touch the glass. Doing this will help protect it from dust. I also suggest not putting it in a place that gets direct sunlight which may result in damage. I hope this helps.

  10. Hi dear Zakkiya, I really enjoyed ur tutorial and I have the same doubt which asked by Ms.Beth above. I am also done around 10 to 12 paintings with coffee powder and facing the problem that it taking more time to dry especially the dark portion of the painting and feeling as sticky. So kindly suggest me how I can overcome this issue ?..can I use Varnish ,which I have seen some other videos regarding on the same. Waiting for ur reply..

    1. Hi Sadeesh. Coffee does some time in drying. I suggest using a hairdryer if you can. I think it should work though I’m not sure. But give it a good few days to let it dry. Yes, you can use varnish once the painting is dry. It will protect it to an extent. Of course since coffee is not archival, the life span may be lesser. Also don’t put it under direct sunlight . I hope that helps .

  11. Hi thanks for helpful and interesting tutorial! I’d love to make a card out of my coffee painting, possibly a postcard as well. Should I use acrylic spray sealer or mod podge to help protect its colour from fading and just to make it look nice as long as possible?

    1. Hi Alanna. Thanks for stopping by. This painting was done last year and I don’t see any sort of fading as such at present. The only thing I did was to keep it away from sunlight inside my plastic portfolio. But if you want to have it protected for a longer period of time, I suggest using Krylon Kamar varnish aerosol spray- . This product is used for watercolor and other wet media. I’m not really sure how mod podge work on this. I hope that helps. 🙂

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