Friday, April 29, 2016

Watercolor Painting with Coffee

My friend, Mary, told me about some portraits she'd seen that were painted with espresso!  She said they were striking and looked like sepia photos!!  She knows me and knew that I'd be challenged to give it a try!  Thanks, Mary!!  The most difficult part was brewing the coffee so I could get lots of different shades of brown to use.  I drink very weak coffee so the palest shade was easy.  The darker shades were much harder to achieve.  I felt like a mad scientist brewing espresso double strength multiple times, but that gave me the medium color, then I took some of that and added a few spoonfuls of instant coffee to get the darkest color.  Once I had the medium and dark color, I added some water to each to get shades in between.  Altogether I had 5 colors to paint with ranging from dark to light!

When I started painting, I was hooked!  The coffee behaved exactly like other watercolors and smelled delicious!!  I enjoyed it so much that I didn't want to stop so I have 3 cards to share with you.  On the first one, I used a flower from Tim Holtz Flower Garden stamp set.

After I finished painting with the coffee, I masked the flowers and added some interest to the background with stencils from My Favorite Things and Tim Holtz.  I used Distress ink and a blending tool for this.  The swirl at the top is from a Stampin' Up set called Baroque Motifs and the sentiment and "beautiful" die are from Concord & 9th.

I wanted to see how coffee painting would look on a more whimsical image, so I painted one of the cute little boy stamps from Lilli of the Valley.  I was very pleased with how it came out!  The browns fit perfectly with the old-timey look of the image!

For the extras on this card I used MFT's double stitched rectangle STAX and Picket Fence dies

On the last card I have to show you, I embossed Altenew's Persian Motif stamps with white embossing powder.  I was worried that the coffee might stain the white embossing, but it didn't.  I liked the simplicity of this card and thought it would make a good sympathy card.

The frame around the sentiment on this card is from MFT.  It is called Stitched Rectangle Scallop Frames and the sentiment is part of Hero Arts Prayers stamps and die set.

This was a really fun experiment.  I hope you enjoyed looking and that maybe you might give painting with coffee/espresso a try!  Thanks so much for visiting!



  1. These look fantastic Janet! Who would have thought that you could achieve such wonderful colouring with coffee. I do love the resist card at the end. What are going to try next, fruit teas perhaps :). Debra x

  2. Most wonderful. And then did you drink up the unused coffee?