I've been crafting since I could hold a paintbrush, and I love to repurpose random things. My arts & crafts articles are on this subject.
Upcycling Teabags for Art Projects
Since I wrote an article about using recycling teabags in an art project, my mind has been turning cartwheels with creative ideas. After completing the teabag canvas wrap project I felt that there was still so much more that I could do with the leftover teabags.
My collection of used teabags grew. I couldn’t throw a single one away. I started to experiment with colors. I used spices and food coloring. I tried wet grass clippings and a number of other mediums. In the end, I had a basket full of incredible colored teabags. It looked like a bowl of potpourri and that is when a light went off in my creative head. What if I could make flowers out of the teabags? Each looked like a petal from a rose or a lily.
Materials You Will Need
- White liquid glue: You can use any liquid glue. I like thicker fast acting multipurpose glue. Wood glue will work great too.
- Tape: Any half-inch wide clear adhesive tape will work.
- Teabags: I used square teabags for this project because they are thicker and hold their shape. Please see the pictures later in this hub where I show you how to remove the tea leaves and clean the teabags.
- Cotton swabs (Q-tips): These will become the stamen of your flower. I decided to soak my cotton swabs in a turmeric and water solution to achieve a yellow stain but you could stain them any color you like. Stamen could be red or green too. You could even leave them white.
- Stains: You could go for a natural tea stain for your rose and skip the staining part of this project. Your teabag roses will look incredible. For this project, I decided to use food coloring by dropping the food coloring directly onto the wet tea bag. I allowed it to dry lying flat on a Styrofoam plate.
- Florist's tape: I bought a roll of 5-inch (12.7 cm) wide florist’s tape with 90 feet (27.4 cm) on the roll. So far I have wrapped around 25 flowers and 3 extension skewers and I have only used half the roll.
- Toothpicks: Toothpicks are great if you’re thinking of arranging your teabag roses in a florist’s oasis or any other soft base.
- Skewers: To make a bouquet of teabag roses you will tie a few roses to a skewer and then tape them all together.
- Florist's foam (Oasis) (optional): Florist's foam is great for securing your arrangement in a pot. The toothpick will slide right into it. If you have any Styrofoam (polystyrene) lying around the house that could work too.
- Artificial grass or florist's moss (optional): The grass and moss work well to cover any florist foam or Styrofoam at the base of your arrangement.
- Empty pot, mason jar, or vase (optional): To arrange your bouquet in.
- Ribbon (optional): For decoration around your pot or vase or to wrap a few bunches together.
Instructions for Making the Rose
- Lay your used teabag out to dry. Drop some food coloring on them if you want to stain them. To speed up the drying process I used a heat gun.
- Once your teabag is completely dry remove the tea leaves by carefully piercing a hole in the corner of your teabag. Cut along the fold at the base of the bag and pour the leaves out. Gently brush the leaves out with a soft toothbrush or use your finger.
- It is up to you if you want to stain the teabag before you dry it or after you’ve removed the tea leaves. If your bags are dry, and the leaves have been removed, you can spritz the bags with water and drop food coloring onto individual bags. By wetting them first you are allowing the stain to spread. You could also soak the leaves in a jug of water and then add food coloring. Pouring stain directly onto the bags gives you more vibrant color.
- Glue six dry, empty teabags together side by side and allow the glue to dry.
- Then, place three cotton swabs (Q-tips) and a toothpick along one side of your row of teabags. You can glue them down if you want but I just hold them in place.
- Now, loosely wrap the teabags around the cotton swabs and toothpick. Scrunch the edge of the teabag as you wrap to create folds.
- If you find the scrunching is a bit of a challenge, you could glue folds into the teabag lineup first. Fold each bag in half at its base and glue down. (see pictures below)
- Wrap the florist’s tape around the base of your rose as tight as you can without ripping the tape. Keep wrapping downward until you have covered the cotton swabs and toothpick too.
Adding an Extension Skewer
- Place the stems of two roses next to a skewer and wrap them onto the skewer with some clear tape.
- Add another two or three roses and tape them on too.
- Now, cover the collection of roses on the skewer with florist’s tape. Wrap the tape all the way down to the bottom of the skewer.
Arranging Your Roses
You have several options:
- Arrange your bouquets in a vase or Mason jar.
- Arrange individual roses into florist’s foam (oasis) to make a table centerpiece.
- Use it as a 3D addition on a teabag-wrapped canvas.
The list is endless.
- Avoid using gel food coloring. It doesn’t dry well and leaves the teabag feeling sticky.
- Throw the tea leaves on a compost heap. It makes great fertilizer.
Janet Wilson on February 14, 2020:
Was looking at a scrunched up dried tea bag and thinking. Hmmm scented flowers searched flowers fom dried tea bags and found this.yayyyy.
Celeste Wilson (author) on September 04, 2018:
Thank you Chitrangada, I agree. Recycling is super important.
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on September 04, 2018:
This looks interesting and useful, as you are recycling the tea bags. Every little effort in this direction counts.
Thanks for sharing this creative work!
Celeste Wilson (author) on September 03, 2018:
You are very welcome RTalloni. Enjoy.
RTalloni on September 03, 2018:
Experimenting with this project would be great fun. Thanks for sharing your method.