color, paper, tea, upcycle

Dying Paper with Tea

Dyeing Paper with Tea

(Reposted from January)

How would a mixed media artist celebrate National Hot Tea Month without dying paper with tea? I can't imagine. The question remained which method should I use? Well, why choose? I would just try them all.

First cycle of dyeing:

6 bargain grade tea bags

Pour 4 cups of boiling water over 6 tea bags in a glass cake pan. This will need to steep for 5 - 10 minutes, so this is a good time to gather the paper you want to dye. I collected a variety of art quality papers - watercolor paper, sketch paper, mixed media paper, and so on. When the tea has brewed submerge the papers in the tea. Each type will react differently. Some of them fell apart, but that was ok with me because I can use them in collage. They also take color differently. The range was rather surprising to me. When the paper seems to be a color that you like, you can take it out of the tea and put more paper into the bath.

When you take the paper out you have some choices. You can lay it on a surface to dry, but note that tea stains. You will want to put something between the paper and your counter. Some people put their papers on a cookie sheet and bake them at the lowest heat possible until dry. If you choose this option you should be checking often so you don't end up burning paper. I used my craft dryer to blow hot air on the papers. This worked well for me.

 

Second Dye Method

Take a wet tea bag and lay it on top of a piece of paper. Wait until the color is absorbed by the paper. Then either, remove the teabag and dry OR, move the tea bag to another area of the paper, and repeat. This can be a low-effort method for the tea drinker to continually add to their collection of tea-dyed paper.

If the tea pools on the paper, you can use the dryer to not only dry them but also to influence the pattern the tea will make. It's fun to create this way.

You can also layer tea bags and paper. You can even scatter wet tea leaves on paper. When they dry they are easy enough to clean up after.

 

Stay Tuned for More Methods

Honestly, I am not finished experimenting. Once you start the ideas keep coming. Lucky I am a dedicated tea drinker so I should have plenty of room to play with those ideas. I can't wait to try out some new ideas and share them with you.

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