Introduction: Coffee Instead of Pyrography

The technique presented in this project allows you to make a drawing that is quite similar to one made by means of pyrography. An advantage of this ‘coffee-graphy’ is that you can easily produce various half-tones.


Materials and tools

A piece of plywood or wood

Soluble coffee


Razor blade




Fine sandpaper

Step 1: Base

I used a 9x13 cm piece of 4 mm thick plywood.The surface on which you will draw must be carefully sandpapered to become very smooth. I glued a piece of sandpaper on a small wood bar and used this bar as polishing tool.

Step 2: Image and Its Transfer

I chose the image of a football (soccer) player kicking the ball to realize an idea that seemed funny to me; you are free to choose any image you like. I printed the image and cut it to the size of the plywood plate.

To transfer the image to the plywood, I shaded the contour of the image on the back of the paper with a soft pencil. You can also use graphite paper for this purpose. The same technique would used to transfer the printed text to the wood.

I glued the image to the corners of the plate and passed a hard pencil on the lines which I wanted to transfer to the wood. You can see the result in pictures; the lines are visible enough to guide you when drawing.

Step 3: Paint and Stylus

The paint is made of soluble coffee; this kind of coffee allows you to get a dense liquid with very intense brown colour. The paint should be dense enough not to spread on the wood, otherwise the lines would blur; I made the paint as dense as liquid soap. The undiluted paint will be used to draw the contour lines and fill the areas of the most intense colour. You will obtain various intensities of colour by diluting this ‘initial’ paint with water.

To make the stylus, I took a toothpick and cut a part of its tip with a razor blade (a very sharp knife could also be used) to get a section instead of the pointed tip. The diameter of this section will approximately define the thickness of the lines drawn. A stylus used to draw the contour lines will have this diameter small, a stylus for making half-tones will have this diameter bigger.

Step 4: Drawing

First, I drew the contour lines and waited until they were dry. It’s necessary to wait until the paint is dry before filling the areas you need with half-tones to avoid blurring the main lines. Then I put some paint in a separate small cup and diluted the paint with water to get the desired intensity for half-tones. Several half-tones could be prepared this way. However, I chose not to overcharge my drawing with all half-tones that are present in the original image.

After the paint was dry, I varnished the image.

Coffee Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Coffee Speed Challenge