10 Cool Traditional Art Tricks With Coffee Staining


If you are looking for your next art project or maybe want an interesting activity for your children during long school breaks, try a coffee art project. Coffee is readily available and you can get similar effects with both ground coffee and instant. For more unusual art, experiment with the same techniques using black tea.

Aging Paper

  • Make simple coffee-colored paper by laying a sheet of paper on a waterproof surface. Paint one side with cold coffee. Carefully lift the paper, turn and paint the other side. Dry between two pieces of waxed paper under a heavy book. You can make a whole stack of these in one go, as long as you separate each sheet with waxed paper.

Handmade Paper

  • Recycle used white paper and envelopes to make handmade coffee paper. Use an inexpensive paper making kit and follow the instructions. Add a cup of strong coffee to the pulp to produce a heavily textured, delicious-smelling paper. You also can sprinkle powdered cinnamon into the pulp for extra scent.


  • Use paper towels to dab strong coffee onto sheets of white paper. Allow to dry and use to wrap small gifts. Tie with raffia or string for an artful, eco-friendly solution to chemically dyed commercial wrapping paper.

Ageing Fabric Strips

  • Tear old white cotton fabric into strips and lay them into a container of coffee. You may need double or triple strength coffee to get the depth of color you want. Allow to stand for an hour or more. Squeeze out excess liquid and air dry. Use coffee-dyed fabric strips in collage and art quilts or on handmade cards.

Art Journal Backgrounds

  • Sponge coffee onto pages in your journal. Use a dampened sponge rather than a soaked one, as the coffee can weaken the pages if it gets into the binding. Allow to dry, then journal on to the coffee-stained pages.

Painting With Coffee

  • Paint with coffee as you would with watercolor. Coffee makes a sepia-colored wash, which looks effective as skin tones and shadows.

Stamping with Coffee

Coffee Filter Collage Papers

  • Dispose of the coffee in used filters, allow to dry and brush out any remaining grounds. Cut up the filter to make interestingly textured and colored papers. Incorporate into art projects such as collages.

Coffee Blotching

  • Soak paper in coffee and while it is still wet, sprinkle instant coffee granules onto it. The coffee granules will partially dissolve, leaving a spotted, blotchy effect.

Treasure Map

  • Create treasure maps by drawing a primitive map with waterproof ink. Stain the paper as described previously in the blotching method. Allow to dry. Carefully light one edge of the paper on fire and quickly blow out the flame to produce the famous singed look. Repeat around the edge as desired. If this is for a children's game, consider laminating the map to protect it.

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