Painting with Coffee

Painting with coffee can be as fun as working with ink or watercolors. The main issue with working with coffee is getting dark values.  To get the dark values you will need to boil down coffee in a sauce pan for a few minutes, or by half (PARENT SUPERVISION PLEASE).

This is the reference I used and my final result.  I didn’t make a video for it but the process for this was similar to watercolors.

  • Use watercolor paper and lightly block-in your wolf.
  • I added trees and a rabbit to make this a bit more interesting and perhaps make the wolf more menacing.
  • Get 4 small cups and add a little coffee to each and then add water (1:1) in the second cup, more water (2:1), and finally 3:1 to really water down the coffee.  Keep the boiled down coffee separate so you can always make more values.  There is a video below that describes this step visually.
  •  I used a large brush to fill in all the areas of the painting with a 2:1 watered down value.  Once the paper was covered with a thin layer I used the darkest value to fill in my darkest areas.
  • Details go last. I was able to keep the eyes draw and therefore bright white, but you can always add white acrylic to place in white if you make a mistake
  • Coffee is erasable on watercolor paper.  You can flood an area with water and press with paper towels moping up everything. It’s not perfect but it’s more forgiving than watercolors.


More references on Coffee Painting

Theses videos are a starting point.  If you do boil down the coffee to make a more intense dark brown color, please have your parents watching you – 5th and 6th grade, especially!

If you have instant coffee packets you can use this video as reference.


This video is my favorite as it shows you how to create the darker value browns by boiling it down.


This is another tutorial of what to paint once you have your coffee values created (from the video above).

Enjoy guys and email me what you create. I’ll post them here.



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