Did you know some teabags contain plastic, so they will not decompose in your compost bin? Plastic is added to teabags to help them hold their shape. So beware of burying teabags in your garden unless you have researched your brand! If you want to be sure to avoid plastic, choose loose tea in a metal tea ball. But if you have a stash of teabags and want to use them up creatively, here’s great ideas and inspiration from artists around the world!
You can listen to my podcast episode about teabag art and recycling in this YouTube video. It originally aired in March 2018.
Tea is the most popular drink in the world other than water. It is consumed in almost 80 percent of US households. In 2015, the worldwide tea production was 5.2 million metric tons. Imagine how many teabags that creates?
How to Creatively Reuse Teabags at Home
In the Garden
- Remove tea leaves from teabags and put it directly in your garden.
- Teabags can be transformed into seed starter pots if you line them up in a dish and open up the tops.
- Wipe the dust off house plants with wet teabags.
- The tannins in used teabags will cut the grease on pans without using harsh chemicals. You can soak greasy dishes with used teabags.
- Tea leaves can reduce odors. Some people sprinkle tea leaves in kitty litter. You can put dried out used teabags at the bottom of your trash can. You can dry out a used teabag and put it inside smelly shoes to absorb odors.
- Reduce dark circles under your eyes with wet teabags. The caffeine shrinks the blood vessels around eyes, reducing the appearance of dark circles.
- A wet teabag can reduce the sting of insect bites or sunburn.
Artists Who Recycle Teabags
Mail empty teabags to T-Bag Designs, P.O. Box 26227, Hout Bay 7806, South Africa
She wrote a book called 363 Days of Tea which features her teabag paintings over the course of a year.Suzanne LeLoup-West
Her work typically features flowers, insects and angels.
Rather than painting on teabags, Miss Johns incorporates used teabags into her paintings. They look like farmer’s fields or little houses.
Her tea bag art combines painting and machine-stitching. She hangs teabags on ribbons to make garlands, or she binds them into little books called “Teabag Tales.”
She removes the leaves and sews the bags together into many objects – including clothing.
She hand-stitched a whole bed quilt from tea bags. She left the little strings and tags on the teabags.
She asks people to mail her dried teabags with the tea leaves inside them. Then she encourages people to follow her on social media to see what she will make with their teabags. She says, “My biggest vision would be that I could in some way influence about the importance of connecting to one another and a sense of contentment and peace.”
Mail tea bags to Ann Laser Teabag Project, PO Box 2769, Santa Fe, NM 87504-2769
She cuts her teabags into leaf shapes and embroiders the veins of the leaves.
She makes delicate flowers where the petals are dried teabags.
She takes the paper packaging found on the outside of teabags and folds them into beautiful origami ornaments.
She makes textured art paper and journal pages from dried teabags
She combines teabags with little pieces of art and lace to make collages.
Daniella Woolf and Wendy Aikin
They teach a workshop where they put stencils down on paper and then dab through the stencils with teabags to make cool designs.
How to Prepare a Painting Surface with Teabags
Sew Your Own Muslin Teabags
- Script for this podcast episode about creative reuse of teabags (not a transcript but gives the main ideas)
- The Trashmagination podcast theme music is Kitchen from the Marian Circle Drum Brigade.