Saturday, June 27, 2015

Tutorial: Faux Lace from Recycled Tea Bags

-ATC Box with paisley stamped tea bag faux-lace,
lace trim and gold dotted accents-
Tired of spending a lot of money on art supplies? Here’s a frugal way to recycle and make some cool art and craft.
1)      Save your used teabags. Pull them out of the water BEFORE you add milk, sugar, honey, lemon or any other flavor-enhancer.
-figure A-
2)      When the bags are completely dry, carefully open them and remove the dried leaves. (The paper is very delicate.) [A]

3)      Flatten out the paper. You will see mottling/staining—that’s part of the fun. Paper will be different colors depending on what kind of tea you use and how long you steep it. [B]
-figure B-
4)      Choose a variety of stamps—I prefer lacey feminine ones with good detail. You will need to experiment to see what you like best. You can also use hand-carved stamps and/or wooden stamps. [C1, C2]
-figure C1, hand carved stamps-
-figure C2, commercial stamps-
5)      Apply white printmaking paint to the stamp. You can brush it on or use a brayer. (Printmaking paint stays wet longer than other paints.) [D]
-figure D-
6)      Drape the teabag over the stamp and gently press it down all over. [E]
-figure E-
7)      Gently pull the paper off the stamp. If it didn’t print perfectly, don’t worry…it can often add textural interest to have an imperfect stamp. (I use the imperfect ones for collage and the “perfect ones” for ATCs and tags.) [F1, F2]
-figure F1 shows the printed tea bag as it is pulled away from the stamp-

-figure F2-
8)      Drape the empty sections of the teabag over the stamp and press. (You will probably get paint on your fingertips. I keep a wet paper towel or rag nearby to wipe my fingers as I work.) I usually reapply paint every other time.

9)      Keep filling in sections until the whole teabag is covered. You can also mix stamps—you don’t have to use the same stamp on each teabag. [G1]

10)   Once the painted bags are dry, you can make all kinds of things with them:

a.       Collage them into one big piece and use it as a journal page or background for other artwork [G1, G2]
-figure G1-

-figure G2 has a tea bag lace background overlaid with a
vintage wedding photo printed on sheer silk, with lace and
button trim-
b.      Cover a small box with it and decorate with lace (atc box). Be sure to cover box with white gesso first (and let dry) so that the nuances of the printed tea bags show up. [H]. I often use recycled boxes but this one was purchased from Retro Café Arts.
c.       Wrap it around an ATC or tag for a base. You can also layer it over a colored paper or fabric background [I1-I5]
-figure I1-

-figure I2-

-figure I3-

-figure I4-
-figure I5-
d.      Scan the design into a photo editing program and manipulate or mix with other images to create very personal art or background papers. [J1-J4]
-figure J1-

-figure J2-
-figure J3-

-figure J4-

e.      Use it as “skin” or a base of a Santos cage on an arty paper doll [K1-K6]

-figure K1-
-figure K2-
-figure K3 used a Dina Wakley stamp face,
Graphics Fairy shoes and tea bag lace arms-


-figure K4 uses faux tea bag lace on a large paper doll template from
Retro Café Arts-
-figure K5 has a tea bag faux lace base and arms
with Graphics Fairy wings and face-
-figure K6 has faux lace arms and legs, an original face
hat made from a recycled, painted coffee filter and
Graphics Fairy butterflies -


sonja said...

lovely informative post Linda! I love your hand carved stamps and share you fascination of delicate paper like tea how your paisley-like stamps suggest lace! i have some t bags that are even round! i am excited to see shapes and suggestion in the stains for art inspiration in the empty flattened bags.i have pulled out horses, santa, monkeys and bikini ladies to use in art elements.thanks for sharing your art.


They are awesome, Linda! So much fun!

Retro Cafe' Art Gallery said...

Really fabulous technique Linda!!!

morgansilk said...

Wonderfully written, photographed; love Linda's blog posts!

Kim Collister said...

Love this idea! Thanks for sharing! Awesome information!