Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tea Stained Paper

Limner sent me the box of hand towels above. The box got a little dinged up, but was still very much usable. Her note to me was that I should attempt to redecorate it. She had redone one herself which you can find here.

Well...I thought and thought...and thought some more before I decided what to do with mine. My original thought was to cover it in stamps. Doing so is one of my favorite things, however, I had already covered a cigar box in them..and wasn't sure I would have a good enough variety of stamps to cover the Kleenex box.

The idea came to me when I was cleaning out one of my craft drawers. I remember putting the tea containers in there..but it has been a while. Regardless, I saved some expired tea to do this very thing with. So I decided to try tea staining paper.

What you need to do (unfortunately no pics) is place hot water (close to boiling) in a basin or dish. I used a pyrex glass dish to prevent any staining on the dish itself. Then you place your paper and tea selections in and let them sit for a while. When you check on them you can see if they need to sit longer..it all depends on how strong of a color you want. Now for mine..I actually tore open the teabags to allow the leaves to sit directly on the papers. This gives a stronger color.

With black or green teas you will get a brownish color depending on the strength of the tea and how long you leave the paper sit. I used fruity teas, which is how I was able to come by that nice blue/green and a pinkish/purple shade.

I always let my paper dry flat overnight before messing with them. You might need to brush off the remaining tea leaves after the paper dries. And you want to be extra careful not to rip your paper (unless you want to do so).

I covered the whole box in the paper (bottom included) and then placed three coats of glue overtop to protect it. I used Elmer's (thinned out) for this project, but you really could use any of your favorite decoupage glues.

I am not sure what I will do once the towels are gone..perhaps make it into a hanging box to store outgoing mail. We shall see.

What items can you think to repurpose?


  1. Beautiful - looks like marble. What kind of paper did you use? When you refered to tea containers, I was thinking you were using the paper from the tea bags, but reading it over, it seems like maybe you were just using tea for staining, not the bags. How deep was the water? I guess you can tell this is one idea I want to try out. Some of the kids I work with want to make art boxes and this would be so nice on some shoe boxes. Thanks for the idea!

  2. Ginigin- The paper I used was actually just medium weight sketch paper. Like those found in sketching tablets. But I imagine you could use computer paper too. The tablet I have was relatively cheap. Maybe a few dollars. It's made by Pacon. As for the depth of the water, you want enough to cover the paper. I think I probably had around 1/4 to 1/2 inch of water. If you want similar results I would definitely choose a fruity tea and break open your bags. :) if you want further specifics ( like which tea I used) just let me know. I'm more than happy to help.