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Why paint on tea bags?

Why paint on tea bags?

13-Aug-2020 08:54

I don't know how many times I've been asked this question. It seemed such a natural thing for me to do when I started years ago, but I guess it does need a bit of explaining.

Firstly, I didn't go out of my way to paint onto tea bags, just as I don't go out of my way to use all manner of upcycled packaging in my art too. It's just something I do as a way to deal with waste. I may be slightly OCD about throwing things away, I even have a stash of rusty nails that I'll use for something... oneday.

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But back to the tea bags. I love a nice cup of tea, from Earl Grey to Rose Pouchong to a calming chamomile. Mint when I get a tummy ache and anis when I need a sweet pick me up and of course a good old cassic cup of PG. So you can imagine the amount of tea bags I get through (that could be past tense, more on that later).

They used to go in my compost heap, until I learnt that they don't break down because of the plastic used to create the heat sealed edges - darn you invisible plastic. So I started to dry them and empty the leaves into the compost, leaving the bag.

And ping, an idea came into my head - well all that paper was just crying out to be painted on.

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Not all tea bags are made equal though. This was when I started my journey into experimenting to learn which take paint better, which keep their own colour (used blackcurrant tea bags turn a beautiful deep red, but unfortunately fade quickly). I was amazed at how many different types of bags there are, different ways of sealing, different sizes, honestly I could become a real tea bag bore if you let me ;-)

So there we are, it was a simple case of having a lot of them and seeing all that potential painting paper.

I do it with foils and corks and all sorts of other packaging.

We even built our home out of old tyres - what can I say, I'm the original womble at heart.

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Coming back to why tea bags may be past tense for me.

I've started using tea leaves, no bag. Not for all my teas, just some. So my tea bag pile has reduced.

But never fear, I've found manilla packing paper to use with pastels now, and watercolour paper made from upcyclded clothes.

Plus I have an ancient stash of art materials purchased and gifted to me that will keep me going for years. But more on that another time.

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Would you like to learn how to paint on tea bags?

Would you like to learn how to make larger sheets of paper using tea bags and other kitchen supplies?

Pop a comment below to let me know you're interested, I need at least 20 to make creating the training material viable.

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