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How To Paint With Coffee : Easy Sunset For Beginners

Learn how to can paint with coffee to make some brew-tastic coffee art! In this post you’ll learn the best coffee to use, the best paper and other supplies you’ll need. I’ll also show you step-by-step how to make your easy-peasy coffee paint recipe!

I’m an acrylic painter, and while l love using acrylics for my next painting idea, painting with coffee was an easy, fun and relaxing medium that I really enjoyed.

When I first grew curious about coffee art, I was amazed at the amazing coffee painting people have whipped up. From landscapes, to trees, sunsets and and even staining paper with coffee, there are a tons of coffee painting ideas to inspire you.

While I found many ideas were beautiful and intricate, they were also advanced and I could see how it would be intimidating for the beginner artist. Which is why I created this tutorial. I wanted this tutorial to be something that everyone could feel empowered to create.

And a rolling mountain sunset landscape is something EVERYONE can make.

In this tutorial I’ll also share a few different coffee painting techniques and tips to get your creative juices (or coffee!) flowing. From layering techniques, to the best coffee/paper to use, to a cool magic “resist” trick that’ll amaze you.

Let’s get brewing baby!

Best Coffee Painting Tips

I felt like a mad coffee scientist, testing various coffee concoctions and mixes in search to find the most perfect combo. No complaining here though- my house smelled divine! And I had more than just creativity to rev me up!

The first experiment encompassed a fresh cup of coffee using my Aeropress (it’s kind of like a french press). I used a dark roast espresso bean (Kicking-Horse coffee which is one of my go-to beans) and extracted my coffee into a cup.

which coffee to use for coffee painting

Without further diluting the concentrated coffee, I tried to see how dark the stain would be on paper. What I found was that it lacked strength and richness. I couldn’t achieve a rich dark stain with my coffee this way.

Tip #1: Best Coffee For Coffee Art

After doing some good old googling, I learned some awesome tips from some fellow coffee artists. They all swear by instant coffee!

So, I swinged by my local grocery store and bought a bottle of Nescafé Gold Dark Roast.

I found instant coffee much better compared to brewed coffee. With instant coffee you can achieved super dark coffee stains. At the same time, if you dilute instant coffee with more water you can get a beautiful variation of coffee strengths to paint with.

Instant coffee for the win!

After more mad coffee experiments and testing, here are the magic recipes I found to make the best-est variations:

  1. 1 tsp instant coffee + 1 tsp water = dark stain
  2. 1 tsp instant coffee + 2 tsp water = medium stain
  3. 1 tsp instant coffee + 4 tsp water = light stain

And….since painting with coffee will only ever give you one color, having different strengths of coffee on hand will be your biggest help. It will help build dimension, depth and giving your art a variation of tones/shades.

Which is what I did when making the mountain sunset painting below.

Tip # 2: Letting Layers Dry To Build Darker Colors

The other thing I did was letting the layer dry completed (I used a hairdryer) before building with the next concentration of stain.

Layering can be tricky in coffee painting, because coffee tends to reactivate with water. However, I still found that layering worked well, especially when painting with the thicker, less watery coffee concentrations for subsequent layers.

Tip #3: Best Paper to Use

I used 2 different types of paper when painting. The first was a mixed media paper with a 98lb weight and the second was a mixed media paper with 138lb weight. By the way the heavier the weight just means the thicker the paper is.

I found that when painting with the thinner more watery coffee, the 98lb weight paper buckled and warped when dried. It didn’t hold the water very well.

When I painting with the same watery paint on the 138lb paper there was no noticeable warping or bending once dry. So If you’re going to be making your coffee art on paper, use the heaviest weight you can find.

Tip #4: Coffee Resist Technique

A very neat technique you can do with this artform is use simple brushstrokes of plain water to create a resist technique. As mentioned above, dried coffee on paper reactivates when water touches it, so you can use this quality to create some nifty effects.

The key to this technique is letting your layer below completely dry to the touch before reactivating it with water. It doesn’t work so well if its still drying.

Some ideas you can do:

  • Splatter water by tapping a brush loading with water on another brush. Then use a paper towel to dab off water drops to reveal a starry sky look.
  • Paint circles with a brush, then use a q tip or paper towel to lift the coffee to paint a sun, moon or any circular patterns
  • paint lines and dots with a brush then use a paper towel to lift off to make some geometric patterns
Yield: 1

How to Paint With Coffee For Beginners

Coffee painting art easy sunset

Make a beautiful and easy coffee painting in this step by step tutorial.

Active Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Difficulty Easy


  • Instant Coffee
  • Water
  • Mixed Media Paper (138 lbs) or Canvas
  • 1/2" flat brush
  • size 4 round brush


  1. Watch the YouTube tutorial here.
  2. Make 3 different concentrations of coffee paint. The first one mix 1 tsp coffee to 1 tsp water. The second mix 1 tsp coffee to 2 tsp water. The third mix 1 tsp coffee to 4 tsp waterHow-to-paint-with-coffee-art
  3. Using your 1/2" wide brush and the thinnest coffee (1:4 coffee to water) paint in a circle background. Let air dry or dry with a hairdryer until dry to to paint with coffee easy for beginners
  4. With the 1:2 coffee to water paint and your round brush, paint a rolling hill at the halfway point in the circle. Paint all the way to bottom. Leave to painting sunset easy
  5. Using the same 1:2 coffee to water paint, paint another rolling hill below the first. This one should be slightly darker because we are building on the layer below.Leave to art easy sunset landscape
  6. Now with the 1:1 coffee to water paint and same brush, paint the third rolling hill. This one should be significantly darker.Leave to painting easy beginners mountains sunset
  7. Finally, with the same 1:1 coffee to water paint and same brush, paint the bottom hill. This should be the darkest hill. Leave to painting art sunset easy
  8. Clean off your round brush and load it with some clean water. Paint a circle shape in the sky. Use a q-tip or paper towel to lift the paintto reveal a whit setting sun in the painting easy landscape

Did you make this project?

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Coffee painting art easy sunset

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