Abstract Coffee Art – Home Learning Activity

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Coffee art is a great activity to do at home, especially if you don’t have any paint.  This coffee art is inspired by looking at tree bark.  To complete this activity you are going to need:

  • A paintbrush
  • Instant Coffee*
  • A pencil and paper

*Instant coffee works best but if you don’t have it try really, really strong espresso.

Read through all the stages of this process and then come back to the beginning and re-read the stages and complete them as you go along.

First, draw a very light spiral on your page.  It needs to be light as you are going to erase this line.  Next, go around the outside of the spiral with a wiggling line so you end up with something that looks like the image on the right below.

Next, look at all the shapes that you can see in the bark below.

In the spiral you have drawn, draw shapes inspired by the  bark above.  Save the above image to a device so you can easily view it when you are drawing.  Look at how the shapes, inspired by bark, have been drawn inside the spiral below.

When you have filled your spiral with shapes it should look like the image below.

Go over your pencil lines with a black ballpoint pen.  Sometimes ballpoint pen can look a little grey.  Go over the lines more than once if necessary to ensure your lines are black.

When you have finished, rub out your pencil lines.  You won’t be able to rub them out after you have applied the coffee.  Your drawing should look like the spiral below.

Mix up some instant coffee that is roughly one part coffee to 2 part water.  Carefully paint in three of your sections.  Crush some of the instant coffee granules  so they are really fine and sprinkle them on the wet coffee.  The granules will bleed into the wet coffee creating an interesting texture.

Continue painting 3 or 4 sections at a time and then sprinkling with crushed coffee.

When the spiral is complete, it should look like the picture below.

Now you need to paint in the background.  Protect the pages beneath with some newspaper or scrap paper.  Don’t worry if the coffee pools a little bit as this adds to the interesting texture.

Finally, mix up some really, really strong, instant coffee.  You need over 50% coffee in the mixture.  Add the dark coffee around the edge of the spiral, dabbing it on.  Your finished artwork will look something like the image below.

How will you be assessed?  When I mark your work I will be looking to see:

  • Has it been painted so that the white lines show clearly?
  • Is the pen work smooth and black?
  • Are the shapes inside the spiral, like bark?
  • Have the coffee sprinkles only be used on the spiral?
  • Has a darker tone/value of coffee been used outside of the spiral?

The Arty Teacher

Sarah Crowther is The Arty Teacher. She is a high school art teacher in the North West of England. She strives to share her enthusiasm for art by providing art teachers around the globe with high-quality resources and by sharing her expertise through this blog.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Creative tutorial! Good for the COVID social distancing activity! Thank you for your sharing, it is indeed very helpful for this situation, I would like to enjoy with this painting with a cup of coffee besides me and a music is another luxury that we can add it up to relax!

  2. Genius creative sense. Try looking with a magnifying glass close up on leaves, insects and or flowers. The world is an abundant gift of wonder. Express to your students the magic of “wonder”…I wonder what???…it feels like, looks like to be that honeybee??

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