An Illustrated Guide for Tea Stain Art

Updated on November 1, 2018
celeste inscribed profile image

Celeste drinks 3 or 4 cups of tea every day. After noticing the patterns her teabag made on paper, she began to see shapes and make art.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Finding Shapes in Random Places

When I was a little girl I remember lying on the grass with my friends. We would stare up at the clouds and find one that looked like a dog or a dragon. It became a game to see who could see the most pictures in the sky. As an adult I played the game with my son. Sometimes we’d look at the grain patterns on wooden floors or the squiggles on a granite counter top. Low and behold, he would find a duck and I would find a crocodile emerging from the water. It’s a fun game to pass the time but as my son’s learning coach at his school I also always felt that it stimulated his creativity. What I didn’t realize was that this was a phenomenon that entertained a number of scientific studies.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

What Is Pareidolia?

To see a definite shape in a random place actually had a name. In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it is defined as pareidolia. For years, I would find myself staring off into the distance and at that moment I would find a shape in a random object. It always had a calming effect on me. As if removing my mind from the present for a few seconds rewired my mood. After reading a number of articles about pareidolia I found that it wasn’t all that unusual. According to a number of studies, neuroscientists have discovered that the human brain finds a pattern in much of what it sees. It helps us make sense of our environment and this can calm many anxious moments. At least it does for me.

A Tea Stain or Art Stain

I drink about three or four cups of tea a day. You would think that I would have a saucer or dish of some sort nearby to put my soggy teabag in, but I never do. In our house, I am in trouble constantly for leaving the bag in my cup. So I started laying them on random pieces of paper on my desk. In my defense, I do clean up multiple times daily and that is when I started to notice the tea stain patterns on the paper. It was almost always a folded piece that I stole from the printer. So the tan colors showed up beautifully against the white. Even the lavender lemon tea that left a slightly yellow stain was clear enough to see a pattern in. See the duck on water greeting card in this article.

Next time you finish a cup of tea put your tea bag on some paper and see if you can make out a pattern. It surprised me how many images I could find.

Below is a stain which immediately looked like a cat to me, but when my son looked at it from across the table he saw a fish. I photocopied the stain to show both images.

One Stain, Two Possible Images

Click thumbnail to view full-size

You Will Need:

  • Printer paper
  • Wet tea bags
  • Black fine tip marker

Instructions

  1. After making a cup of your favorite tea, place the tea bag on some white printer paper.
  2. Allow the tea bag to sit for at least half an hour.
  3. Remove it carefully.
  4. Allow the paper to dry.
  5. You can iron the paper to straighten it out or leave it under a pile of heavy books overnight.
  6. Once your paper is dry you can trace the outline of the image you see or even draw inside the pattern. It’s totally up to you.

Ideas:

  • I have used the pictures on greeting cards or placed them in frames.
  • I found a tiny journal at the dollar store and used one of the pictures to decorate the cover.

Pasting onto a Tea Bag-Wrapped Canvas

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Above I used a tea bag wrapped canvas, some twine, glue, thumbtacks, a square of craft paper and a leaf design tea stain to make this wall hanging. I thought about the thumbtacks afterward so they are not in the materials picture.

A Duck on Water Greeting Card

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Good to Know

Cardboard or darker colored papers don’t work as well. I tried watercolor paper and it didn’t stain the paper at all.

Black tea or berry teas with a lot of fruit pigments like raspberry or blueberry work well.

Experiment!

I put a small drop of food color in the center of the paper and then place the wet tea bag on top of it.

If you see more than one pattern in one shape, photocopy your page. You can maybe make a collage from that one shape.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Celeste Wilson

    Comments

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

        Celeste Wilson 

        11 months ago

        You are most welcome Lorelei and you're right each piece is completely unique. :0)

      • Ladymermaid profile image

        Lorelei Cohen 

        11 months ago from Canada

        Using coffee and tea to create an old fashioned look on paper is an art theme I have been craving to use although I just haven't gotten around to it yet. Each piece would definitely be unique which is what I truly like about this idea. Thank you for sharing.

      • celeste inscribed profile imageAUTHOR

        Celeste Wilson 

        12 months ago

        Hi SS, you are very welcome. It is so special to have memories. My mom and I still look for patterns and pictures in random places. :0)

      • profile image

        SS 

        12 months ago

        OMG, this is what I did when I was a young girl, having no siblings or cousins I would amuse myself either staring at the clouds in the horizon, (we lived near the sea and waves would lash at our garden retaining wall).

        In the bathrooms, the floors were cemented and with age had developed cracks, that turned the fine cracks into unusual shapes dogs worms, and faces. I would take a lead pencil and go over the shapes that my eyes spied! Those were days when it was fun to let one's imagination run riot!

        Thanks for bringing my memories back

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, feltmagnet.com 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: https://feltmagnet.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      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 googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      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)
      Marketing
      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.
      Statistics
      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)