Paint With Coffee!

What You Need:

  • Coffee grounds, used. The longer the grounds steep in the water the darker the "paint" will be. Instant coffee crystals work well to make different shades of color.
  • Paper
  • Bowls for shades
  • Paper towel
  • Strainer
  • Paintbrush
  • Newspaper
  • Apron or old shirt
  • Crayons (including a white one)

What You Do:

  1. Put a couple of tablespoons of coffee grounds in a bowl and cover it with water. Let it soak.
  2. Encourage your child to sketch a picture of whatever she wants, be it a house, an animal or something more abstract. Have her outline her drawing with white crayon. Press hard on the crayon and fill in as much of her outline as possible.
  3. Using the paintbrush, have her "paint" the coffee across her colored sketch. It doesn't matter if some of the grounds get onto the paper. The wax in the crayons will resist the coffee dye and keep the color of the crayon.
  4. Let the picture dry.
  5. Have your child again paint over the parts of the picture that she wants to be darker. Explain to your child that painting over the areas painted already will darken the shade.
  6. Strain the grounds from the leftover paint and have your child use her fingers to spread the grounds on one portion of the picture.
  7. Keep the picture flat to dry. It's fine if some of the grounds drop off after the picture dries. Now you should have a beautifully-stained drawing with the white image still shining through!

Did You Know?

  • Coffee painting uses the natural dye in coffee to stain the paper.
  • Coffee is only one natural stain or dye. Tea also creates stains. The gills, and dark parts of mushrooms produce some amazing shades of color. Ask your child if she can think of other substances that dye paper or cloth.

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