I have a large bowl that sits on my counter that I toss my tea bags in after I use them. When it gets to the point where it is overflowing, kind of like now, I tear each one open and dump out the tea.
Then I flatten them out and put them in large ziplock bags.
I am saving tea bags not only for my own use, but also for my upcoming Tea & Ephemera workshops at Create in August.
I really like the tea bags that are folded in half with a staple at the top because they make a nice sized piece of paper and if you are lucky you can gets some pretty nice little labels too. Good fodder for collage.
Here are two types of tea bags opened up to show the size and shape of the paper.
In the Tea and Ephemera workshop we are going to be playing with several different ways to use the lowly tea bag as an artistic component in mixed media textile collage.
Why the tea bag? Well, tea bags are a thin light weight paper that is translucent allowing one to see through them, they have a lovely tea stained patina giving them a vintage paper look and they are so thin that when it is adhered to fabric it literally disappears. It also has the benefit of being paper so media like inks and colored pencils work beautifully on them.
One of the things that is fun to do with tea bags is print on them. The way to do this is scan an image into your computer or find some copyright free imagery on the net, and print it out on your printer. I have a black and white toner printer that I bought for this purpose, because toner ink will not bleed if it gets wet the way ink jet will.
Place a tea bag over the printed image and tack it in place with a small piece of scotch tape on each corner.
Place the paper with the tea bag on it in the paper tray in the correct position to print out, usually it is face down top of paper going into the printer first. To double check place an x or other mark on a blank piece of paper and print your image on it, making note of how you placed the paper in the paper tray and the direction of the image when it came out.
Here is the printed tea bag, ready to be collaged.
Another thing to try, is printing a color image on a tea bag.
Follow the same procedure as with the black and white toner image, lining up the tea bag on the printed photo and tape in place.
After printing out the image spray a coat of fixitive on the tea bag to keep image bleeding to a minimum when adhering it to the fabric. I usually use gel medium to glue the tea bags to my fabric, but in this case I might opt for using Mistyfuse.
If you want to spend an evening exploring multiple ways of using teabags in your art, join me Thursday, August 26, 6:00-9:00 pm at Create here in Chicago.
Now go over to Gloria's blog for a tutorial on Shibori with fabric paint
Then over to Alma's blog for a tutorial on recycling magazines.
Thanks for riding the wave with us. Here's a list of all the other artist tutorials participating in this tsunami.