Thursday, April 7, 2011

Coffee stained paper

I am always searching for ways to decorate my horribly white walls.  I know that white walls are the thing right now (yes, they often make your furniture pop) but my first word was "cozy" (and it is still my favorite) and white walls just aren't.  So, I have painted and drawn and hung up all kids of stuff.  This always ends up being a big project (and a big mess), but I at least I have you to share my results with.  My latest project: coffee stained paper.

I am obsessed with this stuff and I make it all the time.  It's a little work and a little time drying, but you can print ANYTHING on it and it looks super classy and cool.  I like to use the paper to print black and white pen and ink sketches from the internet.  Recently, I printed a sketch of an owl on a piece of coffee stained paper.  It is adorable.  I also like to print a bunch of small Greek alphabet character on it and use it as a background for my other arts and crafts projects.

Here is how to make it.

You need:

6 pieces of white paper (or as many as you want to make)
cheap coffee (I use cheap instant coffee)
water (if you are using instant coffee)
a large shallow baking dish
a flat place to dry

Pour coffee (or warm water with two teaspoons of instant coffee) into the baking dish.  Carefully place the first sheet of paper in the water, hanging onto one of the long edges.

Pull it out and let the water run over it as you are pulling it up.  Turn it over and do the same with the other side.  The paper will become incredibly fragile at this stage and the first few you do will probably tear along the edges.  Once you get a little practice you will learn how to handle it carefully.

When the color is deep enough for you, lay it flat (maybe on a piece of paper towel) to dry.  It will go through your printer better the flatter it is. 

Once the paper is dry, you can print just about anything on it.  It looks great with a black and white image on top.  And it could easily be framed.  If I were less lazy and more wealthy, I would frame all of mine!

Here are some examples for you:

The brown paper in the printer after it has dried. 
 I printed this owl on my coffee stained paper.  It is just a black and white drawing. 

My Greek letters printed on the paper...used in another project that I will write about some other time. I like the smudges my printer made. 

 I bought these .pdf files off the internet from a graphic designer for 3 dollars for 12 different images.  They came colored and I printed them in black and white on my paper.  I love that the titles are in Spanish.  I think they are supposed to be Tarot cards or something. 

My next project is to print an Eiffel Tower on one of these coffee stained papers.  I have a piece of bright poppy colored tissue paper that I want to use with it.  I am obsessed with the poppy color (a bright red/orange) and kind of in a Paris phase.  I never really went through one, but then I saw the movie An Education and it put in me in a mood.  I will show you the results if I get to this project!

I hope you find this project interesting.  Talk to you soon. :-)

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