brewing tea and ideas

I mentioned the other day that I have been drinking more tea lately. This new tea habit has been fueled by wanting to use the beautifully stained bags for art. We have been saving the used tea bags, letting them dry, and then emptying out the dried tea leaves.

For years I have tried to print images onto tissue paper and it worked once. I was still living in Seattle at the time. But ever since then, my printer would just protest. Loudly. And I would end up tearing out tissue paper from my printer. So I gave up.

I have received tips over the years on how to do this- tape the tissue onto a piece of paper or use temporary glue instead of tape. And I would follow each tip I got, but still to no avail. I thought that my manner of attaching the tissue to the paper was the issue. But it was actually how the paper was being pulled into my printer. So last week it occurred to me to print it from the bottom feeder of my printer. And it worked!


Isn’t that lovely?

So I finally got a chance to experiment with these printed tea bags.

First experiment:

experimenting with
a) printing on used teabag
b) wax and paper
c) creating 3-dimensional forms with encaustic and paper

Actually, I have an idea of the direction I want to go with this. Conceptually. But I think it will be something that I will develop slowly, in terms of form. Something that’s been brewing in my head during those middle of the night stints in the rocking chair with my daughter.


It kind of looks like a uterus to me. I think my late night reading of the works of Judy Chicago and Joan Snyder are infiltrating my brain.

I’ll save the second experiment for another post.

Have you visited Shannon Newby’s blog before? She recently created an intriguing installation using sheep casings and wax. She also shares other artwork of artists working in 3D. I always enjoy visiting her blog. Good stuff.


  1. Ooooh. Very interesting. I’m intrigued. I’ve had similar ideas to play with tea, coffee, filters, bags and the likes but never actually put my thoughts to action. Kudos to you for acting.

  2. Oups ! Thank you for this post ! It reminds me the stack of tea bags I had dried last summer and I completely forgot them ! lol

    I like how busy and creative you are at the moment and I’m glad you are. thank you for sharing.

  3. Love it! I’ve never been able to get tissue paper through my printer either. Don’t think mine feeds from the bottom though 🙁 Can’t wait to see how this develops.

  4. How on earth did you print an image on a tea bag? incredible– I used to save tea bags and I would put some collage on them and use them in a larger collage but it never dawned on me to print on them– unless one used a rubber stamp– can’t wait for your next blog post!

  5. do you need any more tea bags? lately i’ve been drinking pg tips, which comes in a pyramid shaped bag, so that might not be ideal, but i do sometimes drink other teas! you might also consider making friends at a tea shop, though i know a lot of them use loose tea.

  6. Ooh, I love, love, love this! And since I drink 6 0r 8 cups of tea a day, I should be well equipped to try it.

    On the subject of printing on non-standard papers: I’ve had good luck with spray adhesives.Follow the directions on the can to temporarily bond the art paper to a sheet of regular copy paper, then feed it through your printer.After the papers come out, gently peel them apart. I’ve been able to print text and images on rice paper in this way.

  7. I enjoyed reading about your experiments. I am far too afraid to mess around with my printer.

    Perhaps, in the vein of Judy Chicago, you could do a large series. Call it the tea party instead of the dinner party. Unfortunately, the words tea party don’t mean quite what they used to.

  8. Lovely inspiring posts as usual! I haven’t played with tea bags yet although I’ve dyed bits of cloth with coffee. Something new to try! And the lovely tree!

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