Recycled Coffee As Flocking Powder

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Introduction: Recycled Coffee As Flocking Powder

About: I play with light

This is an easy, low cost, non-toxic method to make diorama flocking powder out of recycled coffee and (non-toxic) paint.

BACKGROUND

I was asked to help make a series of dioramas for a friend’s classroom project. Since the project revolved around green spaces and what they mean to us as a society, I wanted to incorporate a practical lesson on conservation as well as arts and crafts. With that in mind, we used as much re-used material as possible, like paper scraps, old shipping boxed, and used coffee grounds.

Coffee was an obvious choice for a re-used material. It is readily available in large quantities in the teachers’ lounge (and in most of our homes), its clean, easy to use, and smells really good. This not only reduced cost, but it showed students that with a little creativity, we could turn large quantities of “trash” into something useful.

So here goes, my first Instructable...

Supplies:

  • Coffee maker/coffee/filter/water (or ask your local coffee shop for the next item and skip to the drying step )
  • Used Coffee Grounds
  • Small Mixing Cup
  • Craft Paint
  • Spatula
  • Small Plate
  • Paper Towel
  • Parchment Paper
  • Wire Mesh Strainer

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Make a Pot of Your Favourite Coffee

Step 2: Enjoy Your Coffee, Duh!

Let the coffee grounds cool while you enjoy your coffee and gather all your supplies

Step 3: Dry Coffee Grounds

WARNING!

DO NOT attempt to remove HOT coffee grounds. It will cause burns

  • Turn off the coffee maker
  • Open the filter compartment. This will let the coffee grounds cool off and speed up the drying process
  • Wait. When in doubt, just wait
  • Place a paper towel on a small plate
  • Once you are certain that everything is cool enough to handle safely, slowly pull the filter paper with the coffee out of coffee maker and place it on the paper towel-lined plate.
  • Carefully open up the filter to allow airflow
  • Leave overnight to dry

Step 4: Transfer Coffee Grounds to a Mixing Cup

  • Gently lift the filter paper and transfer the dry coffee to the mixing container
  • Fill the cup about halfway with dry coffee grounds
    • The mixture gets fluffy after you mix-in the paint, so do not over-fill

Step 5: Mix With Paint

  • Add paint to the coffee grounds
  • Stir with a spatula
  • Add paint as needed to mix homogeneously
    • Small amounts of water can be added to facilitate mixing, but obviously, it will take longer to dry

Step 6: Dry

  • Transfer mixture to a piece of parchment paper
  • Break up any big chunks with a spatula to speed up drying
  • Dry overnight

Step 7: Sieve Particles

  • Place a mesh strainer over the clean mixing cup
  • Transfer the dry coffee to the strainer
  • Push the particles through the mesh
    • Use the back end of the spatula or the bottom of the paint container

Step 8: Repeat With As Many Colors As Needed

Use as flocking powder as you would any store-bought flocking or ground covering for dioramas, model railroads, doll houses, etc.

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    22 Discussions

    0
    Upcycle Design Lab
    Upcycle Design Lab

    18 days ago

    I love this idea. I have never used flocking powder but now I want to make some and do some experiments to see what I can create. Thanks!

    0
    seamster
    seamster

    26 days ago

    This is an excellent idea! : )

    0
    inkybreadcrumbs
    inkybreadcrumbs

    Reply 22 days ago

    Hi Sam,
    Just curios, is the comment section always this positive and awesome? I was pleasantly surprised by all the nice people around here.

    0
    seamster
    seamster

    Reply 22 days ago

    Generally yes! There are occasional trolls and know-it-alls that show up, but most people who comment are just friendly creative types who enjoy the sharing and learning atmosphere on the site : )

    0
    inkybreadcrumbs
    inkybreadcrumbs

    Reply 22 days ago

    That's really cool. I'm glad I decided to join.

    0
    pothuset1
    pothuset1

    23 days ago

    Very good idea. I often use sawdust, but have to dissolve wood pellets in water before I can get the dust, And then I have to dry the dust before painting it. That takes a lot of time. I think this metod is faster.

    0
    inkybreadcrumbs
    inkybreadcrumbs

    Reply 22 days ago

    If you really want to speed up drying, you can use a dedicated (crafts only, not for food use) toaster oven set to the lowest temperature. Just make sure you do it in a well ventilated area, and of course with non-toxic water-based paint.

    0
    jlhgabel
    jlhgabel

    Question 24 days ago

    Does the coffee smell remain once the grounds are dried and mixed with the paint?

    0
    inkybreadcrumbs
    inkybreadcrumbs

    Answer 22 days ago

    It depends on the paint. Some colors neutralized the coffee aroma, some did not.

    0
    bjaunarajs
    bjaunarajs

    24 days ago

    Seriously great idea. So simple and conservation minded!

    0
    inkybreadcrumbs
    inkybreadcrumbs

    Reply 22 days ago

    Thanks. The kids loved playing with food too. And Any excuse to make another cup of coffee is always welcomed.

    0
    Overfinch
    Overfinch

    24 days ago

    Brilliant recycle hack awesome 👏

    0
    MarynelleD
    MarynelleD

    24 days ago on Step 8

    What a great recycling instructable. I wish I had known about this when my children were young and I had a Girl Scout troop.

    0
    inkybreadcrumbs
    inkybreadcrumbs

    Reply 22 days ago

    Sorry, it took me so long :)

    0
    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    24 days ago

    This looks like a great use for recycled coffee! Do you have any pictures of when you've used it as the flocking powder on something?

    0
    inkybreadcrumbs
    inkybreadcrumbs

    Reply 22 days ago

    I will add photos soon. Due to school privacy policy, I cannot share anything from the class room. But I am currently making a little diorama.

    0
    patriccaswe
    patriccaswe

    24 days ago

    Can't wait to try this! I work with natural materials for other crafts so this will be a welcome addition.

    0
    inkybreadcrumbs
    inkybreadcrumbs

    Reply 22 days ago

    Awesome. I'd love to see how you use it.