Friday, April 19, 2024

A repurposed and recycled post


Today I'm sharing two posts I published in the past.  I'm sure some of you have seen these backgrounds before.  This is a very long post, and for that I apologize.  Tomorrow I will be back with a new background technique using recycled materials and coffee.  Please enjoy these backgrounds, even if you are not a coffee drinker.

For all of these techniques, I will be using 90 lb watercolor paper.  You can see the specifics here.

For all of these techniques, I have included these specific products.  I will add others as needed, but all will take these. From back to front:
Used pie tin
Instant coffee that got damp, then dried in one mass in my basement studio
Parchment paper (or any product that will keep excess water off your table)
Watercolor papers cut to 6 X 9 inches (15,24 X 22,9 cm)

For this first technique, we are going to do a bit of blowing.  I have included a spoon and a straw. 
 For the first technique, I withdrew blobs of coffee from the jar using the spoon.

Using the straw, I blew into it over the various blobs of coffee.

I had to remember to keep rotating the paper so the blobs were distributed.  Some of the coffee blobs overlapped each other.  I tried to wipe up the excess coffee using a paper (kitchen) towel (which I didn't think to show).

The next technique is quite simple.  I accidentally got some excess coffee on the paper when I was transferring the coffee to the pie tin, but didn't feel that would hurt anything.

 I pressed the bottom of the take-out cup to the coffee in the pie tin and stamped circles on the watercolor paper.

I swiped the next watercolor paper on the parchment paper to remove excess coffee.  I wanted the effect.  I have added another "stamp" from my stash of things with which to stamp. 

I was really very happy with the marks this made.

I couldn't have been more pleased.

Then I turned the "stamp" over and stamped the other side at a 90 degree angle.

This made me very happy, too.
I look forward to seeing this one after it's dry.

These three are finally dry.  I see a great deal of potential for great backgrounds.
Now let's play with a little resist.  I'm using sea salt, but I might throw in a bit of rock salt, too.

I have to add coffee to the watercolor paper first, though.

After adding the sea salt, I applied more coffee so it would saturate the salt.

While the other paper was drying, I decided to play with my food.

Rice absorbed the coffee nicely.

Once the rice was dry, and it had been removed from the paper,

this became my favorite design.  Personally, I'd like to make about a dozen of these.

What was possibly more interesting was when I turned the watercolor paper over.  The pattern on the back was note-worthy, too. 

Who knew rice could be so interesting from an art standpoint.

Finally, it was time to remove the sea salt from the watercolor paper.
This pattern was interesting, but what I was most pleased with

was how the coffee sparkled when I moved it back and forth in my hand.  Sadly, the camera doesn't pick up that sparkle.  

For this technique, I started by saturating a sheet of watercolor paper with coffee.  The shiny item in the background is cling wrap.

I've laid the cling wrap in place,

then scrunched the cling wrap to create patterns.

Unlike in the past, I allowed the coffee to completely dry under the cling wrap before I removed it.

It was at that time, I decided to update everyone with what I had created to date.

It was now time for my next technique,

but first, I had to saturate the watercolor paper with coffee.
It was then time to add the coffee crystals to the wet paper, much like I added the salt and rice in the previous post.  This time, the crystals dissolved into patterns.

For my next technique

I first soaked wax linen thread in coffee for a few days to soak up the coffee.

When I added more coffee, I kept moving the string.  Very frustrating.

It turned out better than I expected, but still left a few open spots in the grid.

For my final technique, I grabbed the Dawn I keep close at hand to wash my hands about a thousand times a day,

and a whisk.

Although I used the whisk to create froth, I fear I didn't use enough Dawn.

The froth wasn't as frothy as I had hoped.

As it dried, the froth didn't act as I envisioned it should.

Only one spot looked as I had envisioned the experiment.

This is how it looked when it was dry.

These are all the experiments

I created for both tutorials.

If you have a technique for making coffee backgrounds that I haven't thought of, please let me know and I will try it.


1. A few of these backgrounds turned out better in my head than on paper.

2. I used a paper/kitchen towel to wipe up excess coffee, but when I did, I often disturbed the pattern.  I'm sure there is a magic amount of coffee that should be used with this paper, but I haven't found it yet.

3. I need an area where I can dry my papers.  I had to wait while some dried because I didn't have enough space on my table and counter to dry all of these at once.

4.  By far and away, my favorite was the watercolor paper and rice.

This is Day 19 of 22 and I recycled two posts on creating backgrounds using coffee.   Thanks to all for your continued interest in this month's project.


11 thoughtful remarks:

Elephant's Child said...

I really like your coffee creations. Thank you for sharing the techniques.

kathyinozarks said...

How fun!! they all turned out awesome too

Valerie-Jael said...

You got some nice patterns! Hugs!

Tom said...

...WOW, this looks like something that even I could do!

My name is Erika. said...

It may have been a lot of techniques, but the results do have a whole lot of potential. The rice did come out great, but I love the string one. If you haven't used it yet that would make a great background for Valerie's Geometric forms challenge with all those quadrilaterals. I also like how they dried darker than they looked wet. Have a great Friday my friend. hugs-Erika

CJ Kennedy said...

These are all very beautiful. I bet they would work with tea, too. Enjoy the day

Mia said...

All your beautiful techniques in one post! Thank you so much, Elizabeth.

Jenn Jilks said...

You are amazingly creative! I love them all.

Rita said...

I've tried several of these techniques, but not with coffee--watercolors and inks. I love the difference when they are dried. What fun! :)

DVArtist said...

OMGosh!! These are brilliant! I never create with coffee but I think I will try some of these. Salt I use in painting. I really like the dawn piece. Wow this is a great post.

Spyder said...

I've done the coffee and also made my own 'rusty water' not tried the rice though! Great fun!