It’s not waste! Tea-stained paper from used teabags

I drink tea a lot, mostly black tea. A few years back I decided to try staining paper with tea because I’ve read about how it can aged paper so I started to do this when I had the time after a cup of tea. I experiment too, with different ways of making stained marks on the paper for some variety, even though by the nature of it each paper would be unique. I was staining some papers again today so I though I share a little on my process.

I will make a cup of tea of myself, and once I have finished the tea I will use the teabag for staining. Most of my tea are store bought and in pre-packed teabags. Each teabag can stain several pieces of paper, depending on how large the paper is too. I usually stain 11″ x 14″ papers, and do about 2-3 sheets of them, though you can definitely do more should you wish to. One important thing: teabags are rather fragile, so they will break apart during this process, which will end up in some degree of mess when the tea leaves come spilling out everywhere. So work on a surface that can be easily cleaned up. I also don’t recommend cleaning up immediately after this project, because the tea leaves are wet and in a clump, which doesn’t clean off that well. It is easier to clean them when they are dry, unless you are using a vacuum cleaner.

Here’s a look at the two sheets of paper I stained today:

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First sheet of paper. Technique: dragging teabag across the paper
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Second sheet of paper. Technique: pouncing teabag across the paper

I often start off with a light touch, so that the teabag doesn’t break apart that easily. The more tea leaves you have in your hand, the more number of sheets you can work on, so keep them in mind if you would like to meet many sheets at once.

The first sheet of paper is done by simply dragging the tea bag across the paper. I use the string attached to the tea bag to pull it across the paper so you can tell that the stains are a little bit more continuous. You could fill up the entire sheet of paper with stains if you wanted to, but I left some white spaces around for some interest. Dragging the teabag is probably the gentlest form of staining, as you can tell by the lack of tea leaves on the paper (as compared to the second photo). Do also take note that the first sheet of paper you work on would also buckle more than the others, because the teabag would still be rather wet from the tea drinking session.

The second sheet of paper is done by holding the teabag with your hand and then randomly pouncing onto the paper. This is when it starts to get rough and the teabag starts to break apart. You can tell by the tea leaves that are scattered all over the paper. However, this technique also gives you better control and a much more varied look and intensity of stains.

You can go even rougher and more intense from here, though I didn’t do them today because I wasn’t in the mood to clean up from the mess it would create. You could rub the tea bag on the paper, in a motion similar to ink blending tools. This causes the tea bag to rupture the most, spilling the tea leaves everywhere. The resulting stain will leave the marks from the rubbing motion, so it’s another different look altogether.

To clean up, I would suggest leaving the paper to dry. Once they are fairly dry you can proceed to brush off the tea leaves off the paper. As I mentioned earlier, this would be a much easier way to clean up when the tea leaves are dry. I mostly use these pieces of paper to make my art journals, treating them like patterned papers. You could do the same technique on like cardstock for cards or scrapbooking and any kind of paper actually. Hope you would give this a try and if you have any other technique of making stained marks on paper with teabags, share them in the comments below!

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It’s not waste! Recycled envelopes from magazines

I was clearing out stuff from another room when I saw a stack old ikea catalogue that I have kept and collected. Since I had never actually used them for anything, I was going to throw them out until I thought: why not make some envelopes with them and see if I like them? And so I did.

I picked out the pages with mostly full blown images and got out my WRMK envelope punch board. That’s a handy tool to have if you like to make your own envelopes because it saves you quite a bit of hassle (I used to use my Martha Stewart scoreboard but getting the measurements right was rather tedious). Even though I tried to make the paper have minimal words, bring a catalogue there are inevitably some words on the envelope, which I wasn’t too happy with. I wanted to cover them up and thought of using my stash of deli paper that were already covered by paint.

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Deli paper covered recycled envelopes

I use deli paper like palette paper until I feel that it is colourful enough, but haven gotten an idea of how to use these paint covered deli paper before this.  So that’s killing two birds with one stone, for I am getting wary of my accumulating stash of deli paper.

This can be easily done by spreading PVA mixture (PVA glue + some water) on where you want to cover and then placing the deli paper on top of it. To make sure the deli paper stick well, go over the top of it with glue as well. You can see from the picture that for some envelope I didn’t fully cover the envelope with deli paper while some is completely covered.  The prints from the catalogue do show through in some areas but it adds a nice texture to the envelope. It’s also a great way to turn your deli paper into colourful envelopes by just using the magazine paper as a backing to give it some weight. I didn’t cover the inside of the envelope with any deli paper but that could also be an option if you are bothered by how the paper looks when you open the envelope as well.

Hope you enjoy this mini recycling project and tips for prettifying the  recycling envelopes!

Note: I am not affiliated with the Amazon links provided, though I did purchase the score board and deli paper from Amazon. 

It’s not waste! Saved from packaging

We bought a new shelf for my room and my dad helped to put it together. While I am excited about the new shelf so I can be more productively organised (and also have more space which I can fill up with even more craft supplies) I am equally excited about all the random packaging that came with the shelf!

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Spot the cardboard and the sheer fabric/cotton like thingy. Photo isn’t too clear or focused but I tried my best and my phone camera doesn’t seem to want to do that right.

I can’t wait to put some use to these recycled supplies. Cardboard because it’s always always handy to have cardboard around. Also I watched a video earlier today in which the corrugated sides of the cardboard are used as stamps and I want to try it out for myself to see how it looks. And the fabric like thingy.. well it’s just seems such such a waste to throw away such perfectly good stuff! I might have a small stash of it that I have saved up somewhere but I’ll admit that I’ve actually never used it in a project before. Right now, I can foresee sewing it into some kind of pouch or travel shoe/laundry bags, or attaching it to paper for some texture. Well, one day I’ll find the perfect project for these kind of thing.

What was the last recycled object you saved up? You’ll be surprised what ideas come up when you start to seriously brainstorm on the many ways recycled objects are useful in the craft room.

(Links are not affiliated, I just want to let you know what I have purchased.)

It’s not waste! Patterned strips from glossy paper

I have a mini tutorial for you today, and it’s all about recycling! I like to minimise my crafty waste because I feel that all our crafting supplies costs quite a bit so I don’t want to throw them away if I can help it. Reducing waste is also another mantra I have because we are consuming so much in our everyday lives and throwing away as much too. As a crafty bonus, working my way around these supposedly waste items gives me new crafty ideas to work on a constrain so it’s definitely a good crafty exercise.

Today, the focus would be on glossy paper. Now, I use glossy paper as a generic term for the texture of the paper. So this includes leftover glossy coated photo paper, sticker release sheets and even release paper from double sided tape! If you are confused with why I have leftover photo paper, I use my Canon Selphy photo printer, and the papers have strips on either side of the photo that you tear off the perforated lines.

These are things that we often just discard without thinking too much about them. But with some markers and a little bit of doodling, they can be transformed into patterned strips that you can use them for borders, banners, labels, embellishments and anything you can think of!

Here’s how they look after I have decorated them:

DSCN7912editedAnd here are the close ups of the designs:

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Stars randomly arranged or in a line
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Hearts, dashed lines and decorative edge with decorative scissors

Some tips to work with these glossy coated paper:

  • Photo paper: Water based markers will not work on this surface, so you will have to use alcohol based markers. You can try to stamp on it, but because of the slick surface not all ink pads will dry on the surface so you need to experiment a little.
  • Sticker release sheet: I tried to use markers on the slippery side (where the stickers were), but the ink just puddle up. So I flipped it over and doodled on the non-slippery side instead. I used water based markers here so you can use any type of markers you want. (update: the markers didn’t dry completely even after weeks of putting them down, and will smudge a little, though some of the marks were absorbed into the paper)
  • Double sided tape release paper: The release paper is slippery on both sides, and like the slippery surface of the sticker release sheet, I couldn’t get ink to stay on the paper without puddling up. So instead, I used a decorative edged scissors to make a decorative edge. You can try this with any decorative scissors you might have and give a different edge. If you don’t own any decorative scissors, you can just freehand for some wonky waves or zigzags!

I hope you do give this idea a try and give some crafty life into these waste! Let me know any new ideas that you have in the comments below!

Update: I had problems adhering the strips made from the sticker release sheets and double sided tape release paper using a tape runner – probably because the surface was designed to removed such adhesive easily from the sheets. You should use a glue stick or any wet adhesive, though note that the surface will be slippery when you put it down.

Creative crafting!