An Illustrated Guide to Tea Bag Embroidery

Updated on October 24, 2018
celeste inscribed profile image

I have been crafting since I could hold a paintbrush. I love to find ways to repurpose things. Most of my hubs are on this subject.

Why Tea Bag Embroidery?

I like to craft with tea bags because the paper of the bag is so versatile. When I first saw the colors of a natural tea bag, it ignited my imagination. I love that the paper soaks up the color. I’ve used turmeric powder, watercolors, ink, and food coloring to stain them and each time the results are amazing. Having a pile of these gorgeously stained tea bags was great, but I wanted to do more with them. This article will take you through a step by step tutorial on how to prepare the tea bag, stain it, and then embroider a design on the tea bag. I will also show you how to make a template of your design and how to transfer it to your tea bag.

You Will Need:

Used tea bags

Sharp nose scissors

White liquid glue

Matte Mod Podge

Embroidery thread


Food coloring

Plastic tray




White fine tip marker

How to Remove the Tea Leaves From the Tea Bag

This step will depend on how big you want your teabag canvas to be. I started small and didn’t open the bag up completely, but teabags come in all shapes and sizes. Most of them have a string, but you could also use the tagless square kind. See the leaf and heart example in this tutorial. Another alternative, if you want a larger area to work on, is to open the tea bag up completely. See the seahorse example in this tutorial.

For more information on how to open and clean a square tea bag see my article on tea bag roses.

In this illustration, I prepared a tea bag for the leaf example. Simply cut the bag open along the bottom fold and dump out the tea leaves. Brush out any leftover leaves with your fingers.

How to Stain the Tea Bag

Lay your cleaned tea bag in a waterproof vessel. I used a plastic tray that I picked up at the dollar store. Place a few drops of food coloring on the bag and repeat with a few drops of water directly on the color stains. The tea bag paper will drink up the water and spread the color. Leave the saturated tea bag to dry.

How to Seal the Tea Bag Paper

The tea bag paper tears easily so to strengthen it I painted it with matte Mod Podge. If you don’t have Mod Podge in your craft kit, then water down some white liquid glue (75% glue to 25% water solution). It will work just as well. This also makes the tea bag a little more rigid and easier to work with.

How to Draw the Design on the Tea Bag

To make your own template is super easy. Print off or draw a design on a piece of paper. Paste it on some card stock and cut it out. Then simply trace your design onto your tea bag with a white fine tip marker. I used an opaque white pen here.

You can find designs in kids coloring books, photocopy one from a magazine or print one off the internet. I just drew this leaf as an example.

Another design transfer idea is to lightly tape your picture to the back of the tea bag. Since you've already Mod Podged it by now, the tape will come off easily. Just pull gently. Tape the tea bag with the design taped to the back, to a window where the sun can shine through. Then trace the design onto the teabag paper with your fine tip marker. It’s much like using an artist’s lightbox without spending the money on buying one.

How to Punch out the Design and Embroider on the Tea Bag

Lay the tea bag on a firm surface. I used a cork board. It could accept the needle on the other end of the teabag once I punch it but still offer the firm backing needed. Use the needle that you are going to embroider with to push holes all along the design line that you drew. I spaced the holes just over an 1/8th of an inch apart (roughly ½ cm).

Stitching method

I used the backstitch method on all the designs in this project because it created a nice clean line. It allowed me to control the spacing of the holes in the paper to avoid tearing.

Only use the stab method for your tea bag embroidery. If you use the scoop method demonstrated in this video you run the risk of tearing the paper.

When stitching on a tea bag like the leaf design, make sure you open the flap. Don’t stitch the back flap to the front. You will use the back flap to hide the stitching.

Once you’ve completed embroidering your design, turn it over. Pour some glue over the stitching and close the back flap. By gluing the flaps together, you hide the back threads. When you are working with a square teabag like the heart example or an open tea bag like the seahorse example, you’ll have to glue a second teabag to the back.

Tea Bag Embroidery Ideas

Click thumbnail to view full-size


  • Embroidery thread is made up of around 6 individual strands. Cut the length of thread that you want to work with (around a foot or so), then pull 2 strands out to thread through your needle. Anything thicker than this might be too thick and tear your tea bag paper.
  • Remember the tea bag paper is not like fabric. Once you make a hole, it’s there to stay. So be sure about your design before you start punching out the holes in your design.
  • Keep designs simple because the holes can’t be too close together
  • If you don’t have any Mod Podge, you can also use a mix of white liquid glue and water to get the same effect. Mix 75% liquid white glue with 25% water, and shake well.
  • I prefer to dye the tea bags with darker colors because the lighter the color of the tea bag, the more chance you’ll have of seeing the stitches at the back of the tea bag. The darker the color, the more the back side stitches are hidden.

How to Do a Backstitch


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • celeste inscribed profile imageAUTHOR

      Celeste Wilson 

      21 months ago

      Hi Chitrangada, you are very welcome.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      21 months ago from New Delhi, India

      This looks interesting and creative. Would love to try this.

      Thanks for sharing the detailed instructions and pictures.

    • celeste inscribed profile imageAUTHOR

      Celeste Wilson 

      21 months ago

      Thank you Susan

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      21 months ago from Sunny Florida

      This is such a creative craft. I love it. I will definitely have to try it.

    • celeste inscribed profile imageAUTHOR

      Celeste Wilson 

      21 months ago

      Thank you Karen. I had loads of fun with this one.

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen A Szklany 

      21 months ago from New England

      This looks soooo cool! I'm looking forward to trying it.


    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      21 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hey, Celeste, I appreciated your comments.

    • celeste inscribed profile imageAUTHOR

      Celeste Wilson 

      21 months ago

      Hi Miebakagh, thank you

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      21 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hello, Celeste, this is an informative article. However, I just read for interest because I am not good for artistic works. Thanks for sharing.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)