Beginners Guide: Step-by-Step Coffee Painting Guide (+ Coffee Painting Examples for Inspiration)

Coffee painting


You can have coffee in your cake, in your gelato, and coffee designs in your art deco mug, but have you ever thought about coffee on your walls? Artists around the world have begun dipping their brushes in coffee and covering their canvases with beautiful masterpieces. Coffee painting is a beautiful art form that utilizes a common household item – coffee. It is not a new art form by any means, but recently, it has been sweeping the globe and has become increasingly popular. Coffee paintings smell great, are aesthetically pleasing to look at, and it is a great medium for any artist who is looking to try new things. 

If you are intrigued by this branch of coffee culture and want to give it a try, it is simple and easy to do at home – even beginners can do it! Coffee paint is simply created by adding coffee (usually instant) to water and varying the strength to get different colors and tones. Some people even boil the coffee to get the darkest colors possible. From that point on, all you need is a bit of talent and some watercolor paper to create your own coffee-based works of art. 

Coffee Painting for Beginners

New to the world of coffee painting? Here are some tips and guidelines for beginners.

Basic Materials

Here are the basic materials you need for a coffee painting: 

  • Instant coffee
  • Water
  • Watercolor paper
  • A set of brushes
  • Color palette for mixing
  • Scotch tape
  • Pencil 
  • Eraser 

Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Once you’ve got your basic materials, you can get started. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create your own coffee-based works of art. 

  1. Arrange your work space
    Organize your materials on your work space. Prepare a variety of brushes varying from the class flat brush that you’re going to use to cover large surfaces to delicate slim, pointy brushes for precise details. Also, prepare a pencil and eraser so you can sketch your design at the beginning. Use a scotch tape to secure your watercolor paper to prevent it from wrinkling.

    Bonus Tip: Make colors in different cups. Drop a small amount of instant coffee powder into different cups. You can use instant coffee to create different colors and tones – simply add more or less water until you reach the optimum medium.

  2. Sketch
    Draw whatever you want! You can draw something realistic, abstract, landscape, portrait – just about anything! The best thing about coffee painting is that it is monochromatic – this means that you’ll only be working with one color and take advantage of its many different shades.

    Bonus Tip: Think about what you want to paint. It’s very useful to lightly sketch your design onto the surface that you are going to paint on.

  3. Start with a Light Shade
    Lightly wet your brush with the light coffee solution. You can paint your entire sketch with the light coffee solution, or only paint parts that need a lighter shade. Let your lightly shaded parts dry first before adding a darker shade.

    Bonus Tip: Add paint when the first layer is completely dry. If you start to paint on top of a wet layer, the colors will mix and swirl in a way that’s very hard to control. If your colors do start to bleed, stop painting immediately and let them dry. Then, paint over the blended area with your desired color.

  4. Paint with a Dark Shade
    After the first layer of light coffee shade dries, it’s time to paint with a darker coffee shade. You can use the darker coffee shade to create details, outline your drawing, or emphasize certain parts of your sketch. Once you get used to it, you’ll know how and when to add the light coffee solution and the dark coffee solution.

    Bonus Tip: Add details using a small brush. Note that water easily dilutes the coffee paint which leaves it lighter wherever applied. So, lighten some small areas. After adding details to your design, go back and refine your piece. Correct any mistakes and add any finishing touches.

  5. Let It Dry and Frame It
    If your final piece is something that you’re really proud of, consider framing your coffee painting behind glass to protect it from aging and weathering. However, before you frame it, make sure to let it dry first! Dry it for at least a day before securing it with a glass frame.

    Bonus Tip: To preserve your coffee painting effectively, make sure that your painting has a considerable distance from the glass. You can do this by adding some matting around your painting before framing it. There are frame shops that can customize the frame and matting for you. 

Coffee Painting Well-Known Artists

These amazing artists are creating beautiful masterpieces out of coffee.

  • Michael Aaron Williams
    Sculptor, street artist, and in recent years, coffee artist, Michael Aaron Williams create unique works of art using ink and coffee on antique Appalachian ledger paper. His works has appeared in galleries across Europe and the United States.


  • Maria A. Aristidou
    Cake designer, illustrator, and commercial artist Maria A. Aristidou uses coffee, and sometimes watercolors, to create attractive images. Aristidou created her first coffee-based work of art by accident, but she says that coffee painting has grown on her. She takes her inspiration from her beloved pop culture characters.


  • The Coffee Artists
    Husband-and-wife creative team, Andrew Saur and Angel Sarkela-Saur, make up The Coffee Artists. They have been creating beautiful works of art with 100% pure coffee for over a decade.


Coffee Painting Ideas

Looking for some coffee painting ideas and inspiration? Below, we share some beautiful coffee paintings to stir up your creative juices. 

Simple Coffee Painting Designs

Here are some simple coffee painting designs that you can try out.





Coffee Painting Landscapes

Below are some examples of coffee painting landscapes to inspire you.



The Bottom Line

With coffee, some basic painting materials, and a little creativity, you can create your very own coffee painting masterpieces! We hope this step-by-step guide and coffee painting examples are able to help you on your coffee painting journey. Good luck!

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