How to Paint With Tea Bags


If you enjoy creating abstract paint effects or working with watercolour paints and want to try a new technique, then try painting with a used tea bag. With a little bit of practice this simple technique can produce an effective and unusual result - similar to sepia or two-tone brown marble. This simple method can even be used to create your very own writing or wrapping paper.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 tea bags
  • 2 tea cups
  • Water
  • 1 large soft paint brush
  • 1 paint brush with a pointed tip
  • Water-color paper
  • Make two cups of tea by placing each tea bag in a cup of hot water and stirring well to release the tea pigment.

  • Leave one tea bag in a cup for 1 hour. Leave the other tea bag in a cup overnight. After the allotted time squeeze out all the liquid from the tea bag and remove it from the cup. The water which is left will have been stained by the tea and can now be used to paint with.

  • Create the background with the 1 hour tea water, this will be paler in color. Dip a large soft brush into the cup. Try to soak up a lot of the liquid and paint this in wide even brush strokes across the water-color paper in horizontal lines.

  • Rinse the brush in a cup of clean water and use the damp brush edges to merge any obvious brown lines formed by the tea stain. Let the paint almost dry, so it is just slightly damp to the touch.

  • Create the marble effect detail with the darker 24 hour tea water. Dip a small pointed brush in to the tea water to soak up a small amount of liquid. You only need a small amount as this liquid is more concentrated and darker. Paint thin lines across the damp background. Place these at different angles similar to tree branches. Don't worry if they are different lengths or thicknesses, this is part of the design. Allow the lines to start to dry.

  • Rinse the brush in a cup of clean water and use the damp, pointed tip to softly wet some of the lines to smudge and merge paint into the background. Work over the lines to create a marbled effect. Allow to fully dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • The longer the tea bag is left in the water the darker the tea pigment will become and the darker the painted result.

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  • Photo Credit John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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