Using coffee grounds as an artistic medium is something for young and old alike. Flour, salt and coffee grounds mixed together make a great dough for molding, and grounds can be mixed with water to make "paint." Grounds can be used as texture for an art project and as a dye for antiquing. One of the great things about coffee art is its lasting quality; coffee does not wash off of other surfaces easily. It is also an inexpensive medium and a good way to recycle the grounds.
Coffee dough is a great way to recycle coffee grounds and provide fun for the kids. Mix together 1 cup flour, 1/2-cup salt, 1 cup coffee grounds and 1/2-cup cool coffee to create the dough. The dough will be light brown in color, with darker specks of brown. The dough has a great texture and is easy to roll and mold. Let the molded works of art dry for keeping, or roll the dough in a ball to reuse another time. Store the dough in a zipped plastic bag to keep it fresh.
Coffee grounds mixed with water makes a beautifully colored "paint." Spoon some coffee grounds onto several different paper plates. Add varying amounts of water to the coffee to make different shades of brown. With a paintbrush, apply the coffee-like watercolor to your canvas or parchment. By using many different strengths of the mixture, you will end up with colors ranging from very light brown to almost black. The finished works look like sepia-toned pictures, with lots of depth and warm tones.
Grounds For Texture
Coffee grounds work well when you want an end product with texture. Cut an outline of a bear, dog or squirrel out of brown construction paper. Squirt some glue onto a paper plate and mix with a small amount of water to make it thinner. Paint the animal cut-out with the glue. While the glue is still wet, sprinkle coffee grounds onto the image, trying to cover the image completely. Use a button for an eye. When the glue is dry, shake off the excess coffee. The end result is a "furry" animal.
Coffee Grounds as Dye
Coffee grounds can be used to dye cloth or paper for an antique look. You may want an embroidered tea towel to have a tan, aged look, or paper can be laid in a coffee dye bath to make it look like old parchment. Place a pot's worth of used coffee grounds in mesh or a nylon stocking. Secure the top so the grounds will not come out. Soak the grounds in two cups of hot water for 10 minutes. Add two tablespoons of vinegar to set the solution. Place your fabric or paper in the dye solution. The longer it is left in, the darker it will become. Use double the amount of grounds for a darker end product.