I started with some ATC blanks—I like the Art Canvas ATCs from USArtquest, which are lightweight and strong. I coated each blank with matte medium and gently placed the teabag on top. I pulled the bags carefully around the edges of the card, folding the corners so there would be no lumps or puckers, and wrapping them around the back.
The color of the teabags varies according to brewing time and type of tea. Ordinary tea gives a nice warm brown, and I love the Yogi tea called Muscle Recovery, which gives a pretty yellowish color. There are often happy accidents with staining on the folds that gives interesting texture to the bags.
I added an extra layer of matte medium on top of the bags—I was afraid that the wet paint might cause the bags to “grow” while I was stenciling, but the top coat of matte medium prevented any puckering or growth.
I tested three stencils: Balzer Flower Piecing, Balzer Deco Doily and Crafters Workshop Mini Damask. Two of three worked well, but the mini damask was so delicate that the thick white paint smeared and blobbed—most likely the fault of the sloppy artist more than the stencil. I wiped off the excess paint off the card and moved ahead anyway.
On the flower piecing card, I added a small vintage photo of my mother that had been output on printable cotton, and surrounded it with lyrics from of John Lennon’s “Instant Karma.”
For the doily stenciled ATC, I used the same photo and more Instant Karma lyrics, but arranged differently. For the ATC with the smeared stencil, I adhered a small image of my parent’s wedding photo (December 1945) with matte medium. The photo had been output in sepia tones on Extravorganza printable silk and was very delicate and sheer. I added a piece of lace at the bottom, and with a silver mini brad, attached a cross and an appropriate quote on love from a Yogi Tea hangtag.