My design from start to finish..

As a lover of coffee and being creative, I always knew I wanted to experience being a barista one day so I could one day tick off one of my life goals, learning to create latte art.

After spending a year in the industry and finally being able to create latte art (not the best, but I was proud regardless), I knew I had to combine my love of art, coffee and working in coffee shops together.

I decided I wanted to create designs based on some of my favourite independent coffee shops to work in, using the features of their interiors to create a piece specifically designed to them.

For me there was no more perfect place to start this project than Idle Hands.

A Hot Toddy with my designs
A ‘Hot Toddy’ with my designs.


Idle Hands is a wonderful little coffee shop situated on Tariff Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

Inside you will find an array of different plants and artwork whilst the wonderful smell of coffee and in-house baked pies embraces you.

It never fails to inspire me when I visit, so I knew it wouldn’t be hard to create a design based on this place.

People working in the window
People working in the window.


This place holds a very special place in my heart as it is where I have had countless meetings regarding the very website you’re reading this on now.

Nele (from The Navigatio) and I would meet at Idle Hands, grab a coffee and a pie and discuss all the magical things she could do on my website, helping me to bring another dream to life.

Watching other people working whilst we were surrounded by such beauty always helped to get our creative juices flowing and made creating this website such a fun process.

It was during this time that I decided I wanted to create a piece of artwork that contained as much imagery from inside the coffee shop as I could.

Working in Idle Hands
Working in Idle Hands.


Drawings may appear unfinished, untidy and a little messy, this is because a lot of each drawing is hidden under other layers in the overall design and you would not see them!

COLOUR PALETTE: I wanted to stay true to the actual colours in-store as possible, mainly focusing on earthy tones and highlighting them with some bursts of blue or pink (as seen in the wall art).

I decided to try and mix those highlights in with the leaves to help tie the whole piece together.

Idle Hands Colour Wheel

LOGO: I wanted the Idle Hands logo to take centre stage in the piece, putting it directly in the middle of the design.

The original concept of mandalas was for the centre to be “you” and the layers around are everything that represents you.

Using this I wanted to keep the logo in the middle and have all the layers around it everything that encompasses Idle Hands coffee shop.

Idle Hands Logo Sketch

LATTE ART/HEART: I needed a latte art pattern that was small enough to fit into the size of the “petals” of the mandala, so I opted for the more simple of latte art styles, the heart.

Sadly I couldn’t find any photos of latte art hearts I had made whilst I was a barista, so the closest I had to show you was this tulip design a friend once made me.

Idle Hands Latte Art Heart Sketch

PLANTS: There’s a beautiful selection of plants within Idle Hands, majority of which are green and leafy.

I took inspiration from this and decided to also add a couple of leafy plants that I thought would work really well in the design but weren’t actually in Idle Hands; the calathea.

I thought the patterns and colours featured in those plants would help tie the design together as they would add lovely little pops of colour.

I did tweak the colours in some of the leaves so they matched other aspects of the design a little better, but I still think it worked quite well.

Idle Hands Plant Sketch
Hanging plants
Lovely hanging plants.
A plant in the window
A plant in the window.
A selection of plants
A selection of plants.
A large plant
A large plant.

WALL ART/MARIEL OSBORN: I love the simple patterns and shapes Mariel uses within her work and thought they would look lovely within the design.

I decided to make a “petal” that featured a few different parts of her wall design in it, sticking to the original colours as best as I could.

Idle Hands Mariel Osborn Sketch

LATTE ART/ROSETTA: I really like the leaf-like design of the rosetta pattern and thought it would tie in really well with the earthy/nature vibe the overall piece was bringing.

I also used to really enjoy creating rosettas in coffee as the flow of creating them was super relaxing.

Now I must admit, this is the best rosetta photo I had on hand as it was taken back near the beginning of my barista career, however, I drew the pattern of the rosetta from memory rather than using the photo for guidenance.

Idle Hands Latte Art Rosetta Sketch

WALL ART/THE FRESH PRINTS: The Fresh Prints work is incredibly lovely and sticks to the same palette of yellow, teal, black and peach.

I wanted to use this colour palette to create a “petal” inspired by Harrison’s work.

Idle Hands The Fresh Prints Sketch

LATTE ART/SWAN: I just had to add the swan pattern in this piece as it is incredibly beautiful when mastered and is something I was never able to tackle whilst working as a barista.

Idle Hands Latte Art Swan Sketch


Overall this piece took me about 30 hours to complete as it involved a lot of detail and multiple “research” trips to Idle Hands (yum!).

I’m really happy with how the piece came together and I absolutely loved mixing nature and coffee together in the same design.

A selection of mandala designs
A selection of mandala designs.
Idle Hands mandala design
Idle Hands mandala design.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post.
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Demi x

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