Coffee Filter Prints

by Dina Kowal

Use coffee filters to transfer watercolor powders to photo paper.


  • Craft sheet
  • Coffee filters
  • Watercolor powders (Brusho and Color Burst used here)
  • Water mister
  • Glossy photo paper (HP glossy inkjet paper used here)
  • Stencil (The Crafter's Workshop® Ring Doily Stencil Template used here)
  • Roll of paper towels
  • Other supplies as needed to complete the project (used here: Impression Obsession stamps CL577 Maya, E13710 Curtsy Silhouette, C13499 Happy Everything, C13433 Never Give Up, Hero Arts May 2018 My Monthly Hero kit, Spellbinders August 2018 Small Die of the Month kit, Little Boys at Play die, Darice® 4.25 x 5.75 Embossing Folder: Wire Fence)


  1. Step 1

    Working on a craft sheet, sprinkle watercolor powders onto a flattened coffee filter.

  2. Step 2

    Mist the coffee filter with water, allowing the powders to activate and begin to bleed and blend.

  3. Add more powders as desired, and mist until the color has spread to your liking.

  4. Step 3

    Carefully lift the coffee filter and lay it over a piece of glossy photo paper.

    Glossy photo paper does not have the same properties as glossy cardstock. Results on glossy cardstock will not be the same.

  5. Step 4

    Roll a paper towel roll over the panel to blot the excess water. The photo paper will have taken an instant "print" of the coffee filter, which will not fade when dried.

    Rolling the full roll of paper towels allows for a quick and frictionless blotting of the moisture on the full panel. It's a great method, and the paper towels can be used on projects too!

  6. Step 5

    Repeat the previous steps to add more layers to the background, or leave the print as is.

  7. Use the panel to complete a card or other project.

  8. Step 6

    Multiple prints or layered prints can be made from a single coffee filter. Additional powder and water can be applied if needed.

    For this sample, a stencil was used to add a negative image to the print.

  9. To get into the smaller areas, crumple the filter and dab it through the stencil.

  10. Step 7

    Remove excess water with paper towels as above.

  11. Use the panel to complete a card or other project.

  12. Step 8

    Alternate method:

    Working on a craft sheet, sprinkle watercolor powders onto a flattened coffee filter. Mist the coffee filter with water lightly, allowing the powders to activate.

  13. Lay the filter over the photo paper and mist again until the powders begin to bleed and blend.

  14. Step 9

    Continue moving the filter around the panel, filling the background.

  15. Remove excess water with paper towels as above.

  16. Step 10

    Use the panel to complete a card or other project.

  17. Step 11

    Flatten out an inked, crumpled and damp coffee filter.

  18. Lay it over a piece of photo paper for a unique print.

  19. Step 12

    Crumple the filter again and dab it over the panel to fill in white spaces, or use several colored filters to make a design.

  20. Use the panel to complete a card or other project.

  21. Step 13

    Don’t throw those pretty coffee filters away! They can be used for background panels after they dry. Click over to the Tie Dye Background tutorial and follow steps 8-9 to mount them onto cardstock panels.

  22. Use the panel to complete a card or other project.


Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Coffee Filter Prints. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

***Please note - Internet Explorer/Edge is not a supported browser, and will not allow you to see the videos. Please use Chrome, Firefox or Safari to view our tutorial videos.

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

This looks brilliant! I have a ton of HP photo paper and even some of those non-European-standard coffee filters.
Cook22  |  Wed Aug 8, 2018 at 4:27 AM
I'm out of powders but I saw someone substitute kool aid! That would be a cheap substitute!
muscrat  |  Wed Aug 8, 2018 at 4:43 AM
This is so awesome and another wonderful idea for my Brusho powders! I have a lot of photo paper and this is such a great way to upcycle it....uses too much ink to print out a pic! YAY! Thanks, Dina....
jmhoffmann  |  Wed Aug 8, 2018 at 4:44 AM
Kathy, why not? smile Really, any dye based ink would work for this too.
dina  |  Wed Aug 8, 2018 at 4:52 AM
Really have to try this! thanks.
Jeanette Robertson  |  Wed Aug 8, 2018 at 5:43 AM
Such a cool effect with the photo paper! I can't wait to try it! Thanks for sharing the video as well as the instructions!
MamaBeth  |  Wed Aug 8, 2018 at 6:47 AM
Very neat idea! I don't have any watercolor powders though!!
Pam Pam  |  Wed Aug 8, 2018 at 7:10 AM
Great technique and sample projects. I'm looking forward to trying it asap!
Sue Fawcett  |  Wed Aug 8, 2018 at 7:17 AM
Wow what a great idea. No waste and another way to use the Brusho's Thanks so very much for sharing
Rommy  |  Wed Aug 8, 2018 at 7:18 AM
Dina, This is such an awesome tutorial! I don't have any photo paper, but surely have to get some now! LOVE your results!
Judy Rozema  |  Wed Aug 8, 2018 at 7:24 AM
Awesome, awesome, awesome. Love making background prints and this is going to be fun. Thanks for sharing, can't wait to give it a try and share with all my stampers!
Susan Webster  |  Wed Aug 8, 2018 at 7:56 AM
This is a fantastic technique. Thank you so very much for the tutorial. I love playing around with different mediums to create unique backgrounds. Your timing couldn't be better, as I came upon a stack of 4x6 photo papers (a friend gave me) and wondered how I could use them...well, thanks to you, now I know! Again, thank you and what beautiful cards!
Yvonne Boucher  |  Wed Aug 8, 2018 at 9:29 AM
Thank you, Dina! This is an awesome tutorial and I think my Paper Arts group will love trying it out. Can't wait to share it with them!
Vicky Wright  |  Wed Aug 8, 2018 at 9:39 AM
Absolutely brilliant! I can see spending this rainy afternoon getting messy. Thank you, Dina.
Traci Brennan  |  Wed Aug 8, 2018 at 10:58 AM
Love it!! I will try this technique later smile
Giogio  |  Wed Aug 8, 2018 at 12:30 PM
Great technique! Sometimes Crafter’s (talking about myself) have so much stuff and don’t utilize precious supplies. Finding different, quick and easy techniques can be difficult. I wasn’t using my color bursts at all. I love using watercolors and alcohol inks, but they require more work and sometimes you just want something quick and easy.

Where did you get the stamp “live as though life was created for you”; it’s a wonderful Maya Angelou quote and I would love to use it on some encouragement cards.
Robin Pollack  |  Wed Aug 8, 2018 at 12:37 PM
Just saw the notes - Impression obsession Maya clear stamp set, got it!
Robin Pollack  |  Wed Aug 8, 2018 at 12:40 PM
Hi Robin! Thanks for your kind words. That quote is found in a clear set at -- or in red rubber at
dina  |  Wed Aug 8, 2018 at 12:48 PM
Fabulous. It did get my mind spinning. Thank you Dina!

Shirley Baker  |  Wed Aug 8, 2018 at 2:08 PM
When you say carefully lift and lay it over the glossy paper, are you flipping it over onto the paper, or are the colors bleeding through the filter and onto the glossy paper, so one does not have to flip it?

Shirley Baker  |  Wed Aug 8, 2018 at 2:17 PM

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