Monday, March 19, 2012

Faux Lace from Recycled Tea Bags

I have been saving tea bags and coffee filters for quite a while. I often adhere them to a big piece of fabric or paper, then stamp over them with my handcarved blocks. As I was silkscreening some small art-o-mat pieces last week, it occurred to me to try printing on the teabags.

I was inspired by Canadian mixed-media artist Deborah Burnahm's work. Her printmaking and painting has an ethereal quality that I admire. Some of her work has a very subtle, imperfect-on-purpose white lace in the background which adds depth and mystery. [Deborah's Esty shop is called Land of Nod Studios]

I grabbed some white printmaking paint and applied it to my own stamps. The first few attempts were awkward; the printed image was uneven and incomplete. I decided to try draping the teabag over the painted stamp and pressing gently to be sure the image transferred. The result was just what I wanted.

I stayed up until midnight playing with my ecru paper and white paint. I used two stamps: one was my own handcarved swirly tulip, and the other, a Tibetan carved wood paisley that I purchased at a little shop in New York's East Village.

At midnight, I snapped a quick photo, then emailed it to myself. The light was bad, but for a change the bad light gave it an interesting sepia color and made it look aged.

On my lunch hour, I played with the photo, and used it as a background, then photoshopped in two beautiful images from The Graphics Fairy,, for some romantic tags. I used words from a vintage French sign and a beautiful antique rose.

This weekend I used the stamped coffee and tea paper to make atcs. I glued the printed teabags to a cardboard atc base with PPA [perfect paper adhesive] and added a touch of lace that I found at M&J Trim to finish it off.

Here is a quick step-by-step on my printed tea bag lace:
1-save tea bags and let them completely dry out. It is best if you pull them out of the hot water before adding any sugar, milk or lemon...otherwise you will have a sticky mess and get holes when you try to use them.
2-carefully remove the staple and tag, and empty out the bag; then carefully open the teabag into one small sheet of paper. I love the uneven color that results.
3-take your favorite stamp [a lacy or floral one works well] and apply white acryllic paint.
4-drape your teabag over the stamp and gently press down. Remove carefully, and you should have a complete image.
5-repeat randomly. Try using an assortment of stamps. Also, the print does not have to be perfect; it adds depth when they are uneven or incomplete.


Janet Ghio said...

This is so pretty Linda!!

Edzellinni said...

Thank you Janet! I haven't had this much fun playing with art supplies since I learned to heat distress tyvek :-)))

Judith Tetley said...

Wow Linda...this is a great result! Love the combination of the elegance of the lace look and the rustic background of the tea bag paper.

RoseAddict said...

These are beautiful! Thank you for the how-to info. I have a question, though. Can the stamp still be used for normal stamping? How do you clean the paint off the stamp? Thanks.

Edzellinni said...

Thank you Judith & RoseAddict.
The paint is easily washed off the stamp. You may have to use a little soap and a gentle old toothbrush to clean the stamp. As long as it doesn't get dried on , any water-based paint will work. The effect is not as delicate as with ink, but that can be charming and rustic. It should not harm the stamp or hurt its reusability.