When you’re finished brewing your loose-leaf tea, what do you do with your used tea leaves and bags? Maybe you throw them in the garbage, or even better, maybe you put your tea leaves in your compost bin. While these are all fine and dandy, did you know that you can create pieces of art with your used tea leaves and tea bags?
For some art projects, we like to leave it up to the pros. After all, we need inspiration for our own at-home projects that will likely be much simpler (but just as fun to make!).
Artist Austin Kleon makes what he calls “tea bag doodles,” where he drops his used tea bag onto an index card to create an array of “blobs, blurs, and smears.” Just like looking for shapes and objects in the clouds or in the Rorschach ink blot test, he searches for pictures in the tea stains and then uses a Sharpie to create sketches.
Another artist, Andrew Gorkovenko, creates illustrations using the actual loose-leaf tea leaves. This is something that you could take inspiration from if you have old or expired tea leaves that you don’t want to let go to waste! Gorkovenko uses the tea leaves to illustrate the origin of those particular leaves. For example, he’ll use green tea to depict the Great Wall of China because green tea originates in China.
Time to DIY…
Now that we’ve seen what professionals can create using tea, let’s take a look at how we can recreate some tea art ourselves at home!
Let’s take inspiration from Austin Kleon’s designs. To get started, you only need a few materials.
- Index Cards or Paper Cardstock
- Loose-leaf tea
- Disposable Tea Filter
- Black Marker
The first step is the easiest (and the tastiest!). Make yourself a cup of the loose-leaf tea of your choice using a disposable tea filter. Once it’s finished brewing, remove your tea filter and drop it onto your index card or paper cardstock until you have an assortment of blobs. You can either drop the tea filter randomly and find the shapes later, or stamp the tea filter strategically to create a picture (kind of like when you paint with your thumbs!). It’s important that you use a thick paper, like index cards or cardstock, since you don’t want to paper to rip from being damp.
Once your paper is dry, it’s time to get a little more creative! If you dropped your tea filter randomly, look for hidden pictures within your tea stains or shapes that you can make into pictures. If you need more inspiration, Kleon is the man for you!
This is a super fun project that you can do with your kids or your friends, and you’ll have a really great time doing it! What’s even better is that you get to enjoy a tasty cup of Dollar Tea Club’s loose-leaf tea and reuse your tea while you’re at it. Subscribe to Dollar Tea Club for only $1 per month to receive three samples of our favorite blends every month!