What Is Tea Bag Painting: The Unexpected Art You Never Heard About

“Where the heck do you find these things, Lizzy”? I can hear you asking that question, and I am surprised myself that I tend to come up with these kinds of topics haha! Now, what is tea bag painting anyway, is it really doable, can I even do it, what kind of teabags do you need, etc?

Find out all about this very peculiar form of art in my new blog post!

And, at the end, you can even find a review of an online course that I personally joined to see what it is all about, so let’s go!

Robin, tea bag painting, by @hannahstaytonart

Can’t wait? Check out the complete tutorial on how to do tea bag painting here.

Introduction to tea bag painting, a unique art form

Tea bag painting is a unique and creative art form that has been around for centuries. It is said to have originated in China, where tea has been enjoyed for thousands of years.

The earliest tea bag paintings were simple designs, but as the art form developed, more complex and elaborate designs were created. Today, tea bag painting is enjoyed by people of all ages and skill levels.

The basic idea of tea bag painting is to use tea bags as a canvas for painting. The tea bags are opened up and the tea leaves are removed. The bags are then painted with watercolors, acrylics, or other paints. The natural tannins in the tea bags give the paintings a unique and muted color palette.

A garden of flowers on a tea bag by @ArtEssentialyYours

Tea bag painting is a versatile art form that can be used to create a wide variety of artwork. Landscapes, portraits, and still lifes are all popular subjects for tea bag painting.

Tea bags can also be used to create unique and personalized greeting cards, gift tags, and bookmarks.

2. Much needed Tools for the tea bag painting craft: Making Art with Your Tea

Types of Tea Bags for Painting

When it comes to tea bag painting, you’ve got a whole world of options to choose from. Different types of tea bags can produce varying shades and textures, adding a unique element to your artwork. Here’s a breakdown of some popular varieties:

  • Black Tea Bags: These are a classic choice for tea bag painting, offering a rich, deep brown color that lends itself to various artistic styles. Black tea bags are known for their strong tannin content, which can create a vibrant and textured surface when painted over.
  • Green Tea Bags: Green tea bags provide a brighter, more vibrant hue compared to black tea. Their natural green tones can be used to create delicate washes or bolder accents in your paintings. Green tea bags also tend to have a finer texture, making them suitable for intricate designs.
  • Herbal Tea Bags: If you’re looking for a variety of colors, herbal tea bags are a great option. Chamomile tea bags, for instance, typically produce a soft yellow color, while hibiscus tea bags offer a warm, reddish hue. Experimenting with different herbal teas can add a variety of shades to your artwork.
  • Fruit-Infused Tea Bags: For a touch of sweetness and color, fruit-infused tea bags can be a fun addition to your painting palette. Strawberry tea bags, for example, impart a delicate pink color, while peach tea bags can produce a warm peachy glow.

Miniature painting on a tea bag by @TiedupMemories

Essential tools for tea bag painting

Now that we discussed the types of tea bags, it is time for a list of the needed tools:

1. Tea Bags: The foundation of tea bag painting is, of course, the tea bags themselves. Gather a variety of tea bags, including black, green, herbal, and fruit-infused varieties, to experiment with different shades and textures.

2. Paints: Watercolors are a popular choice for tea bag painting due to their transparency and ability to blend seamlessly. Acrylic paints can also be used, but they may produce a bolder, more opaque effect.
White gouache is also used by the teacher in the Domestika course below.

3. Brushes: A variety of brush sizes will allow you to create both fine details and broad strokes. Synthetic brushes are generally preferred for tea bag painting as they can withstand moisture without losing their shape.

4. Water Container: Keep a container of clean water handy to dilute your paints and clean your brushes throughout the painting process.

5. Paper Towels: Paper towels are essential for wiping up excess paint, cleaning spills, and drying your tea bag paintings once they’re complete.

6. Flat Work Surface: A flat work surface, such as a desk or a table, will provide a stable base for your painting process.

7. Optional: Tweezers: Tweezers can be helpful for handling delicate tea bags and placing them on the work surface.

8. A Palette: A palette will help you organize your paints and mix colors conveniently.

9. Watercolor paper: or something very absorbent

10. An eraser.

11. A pencil and a fine-point marker.

3. Stirring Creativity: Getting Started with Tea Bag Painting

Preparing Tea Bags for Painting

Once you’ve gathered your tea bags, it’s time to prepare them for painting. Here’s a simple process:

  1. Open and Empty: Carefully open the tea bag, removing the string and the tea leaves. Hold the bag open and gently shake it to remove any loose particles.
  2. Rinse and Dry: Rinse the empty tea bag under running water to remove any remaining tea dust or residue. Pat the bag dry with a paper towel or let it air dry completely.
  3. Optional: Bleaching: If you want a lighter shade, you can bleach the tea bags to remove any remaining color. Soak the empty tea bags in a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water for 5-10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and let them dry completely.

Check out the complete tutorial on how to do tea bag painting here.

Preparation measures before starting the painting process

As you embark on your teabag painting adventure, it’s crucial to create a dedicated workspace that fosters creativity and allows for the seamless execution of your artistic vision:

1. Clear the Clutter: Before delving into the world of teabag hues, ensure your workspace is free of distractions. Remove any unnecessary items that might hinder your focus and create a clutter-free environment.

2. Choose the Right Surface: Select a flat, stable surface that can accommodate your painting materials and provide ample space for your teabag canvases. A sturdy tabletop, or a dedicated art desk.

3. Secure Your Watercolor Paper: To prevent your watercolor paper from slipping or moving during the painting process, secure it to your workspace using tape.

4. Arrange Your Teabags: Gather your collection of tea bags, considering the variety of colors and textures they offer.

5. Avoid Taping the Teabags: Unlike the watercolor paper, it’s best to avoid taping the teabags directly to the paper. This will allow for more flexibility in your brushstrokes and prevent the teabags from becoming distorted or damaged.

7. Prepare Your Paints and Brushes: Have your selection of paints and brushes readily available. Watercolors are a popular choice for teabag painting due to their transparency and ability to blend seamlessly.

8. Have Paper Towels Handy: Keep a stack of paper towels nearby for wiping up any excess paint or cleaning spills.

9. Gather other necessary tools: Consider adding optional tools like tweezers for handling delicate tea bags and a palette for organizing and mixing your paints.

And get ready to paint!

Yellow wildflowers and butterfly on a tea bag by @ArtEssentialyYours

Check out the complete tutorial on how to do tea bag painting here.

4. Steeping Masterpieces: Exploring different Techniques in Tea Bag Painting

As you delve deeper into the world of tea bag painting, you’ll discover a vast array of techniques and approaches that can transform your tea bags into miniature masterpieces. Here’s a glimpse into the artistic possibilities that await you:

1. Layered Colorwash: Create a soft and ethereal effect by layering washes of watercolor paints. Start with light, translucent shades and gradually build up intensity to achieve a sense of depth and dimension.

2. Dry Brushing: Explore the subtle textures of tea bags by using dry brushstrokes. Lightly drag a dry brush across the tea bag, depositing paint only on the raised areas, creating a textured and rustic appearance.

3. Salt Resist: Introduce an element of surprise and spontaneity with the salt resist technique. Sprinkle salt crystals onto wet paint. As the paint dries, the salt crystals act as barriers, creating interesting patterns and textures.

4. Stenciling: Add precise details and intricate designs using stencils. Place stencils over the tea bags and apply paint through the cutouts, creating patterns and motifs that enhance your composition.

5. Stamping: Embrace the playful nature of stamping by incorporating rubber stamps into your tea bag painting. Experiment with different stamp designs to add unique elements and patterns to your artwork.

As you explore these techniques, you’ll discover a range of styles and aesthetics that can be achieved through tea bag painting. From delicate, watercolor-washed landscapes to bold abstracts, the possibilities are endless.

Springer Spaniel pair on a teabag by @ArtEssentialyYours

Tea bag painting: an online tutorial by Ruby Silvious- A review!

To delve into the world of tea bag painting, I took this English course on Domestika from Ruby Silvious, and I defenitely enjoyed how she took me step by step into her tiny painting world and how she manages the delicate tea bags!

Check out the complete tutorial on how to do tea bag painting here.

Who is the teacher in this tea bag painting course?

Residing in the United States, Ruby Silvious, a Visual Artist and Graphic Designer, has immersed herself in the creation of upcycled art since her retirement, and she is a fantastic teacher on Domestika on how to do tea bag painting.

By repurposing discarded materials, she crafts unique artistic universes. Her notable recognition comes from her innovative use of tea bags, which gained widespread attention on Instagram back in 2015.

On her Instagram, you can see that she doesn’t just paint tea bags, but also things like beans, eggshells, and more!

This attention extended to international platforms such as CNN Travel, PBS, The Guardian, Cosmopolitan China, and Vogue Italia. Her artistic endeavors have been showcased globally, spanning from the United States to Japan and throughout Europe.

The platforms where you can find her are:

What will you learn in this tea bag painting online tutorial?

Here’s a quick oversight of all the things you will see and learn in this Domestika course:

  • An Introduction: about the teacher and her influences
  • Preparing for the Tea Bag Painting
  • Inspiration and References for the Project
  • Understanding the Medium: Types of Tea Bags and How to Prepare Them for Painting
  • Painting Materials
  • Painting and Technique Exercises
  • Completing the Project
    • Painting a Tea Cup
    • Painting a Birch Tree
    • Painting a Hibiscus Flower
  • Display Options and Other Applications
    • Other Ideas for the Used Tea Bags
    • Sharing on Social Media
  • Final project
    • The Art of Tea Bag Painting

=> This online course has in total 11 lessons and 19 additional resources

=> It can be done at your own pace and is completely online

=> It has English audio, but is also available with subtitles in English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch


Check out the complete tutorial on how to do tea bag painting here.

My review of this tea bag painting course.

5 star reviews

This little review is totally based on my own experience on the course ànd I checked out other people’s remarks in the community as well, so let’s go!

The Good.

  • This online course has no time limit, it will stay yours forever
  • It is an in-depth tutorial from an expert
  • Very suitable for beginners
  • The teacher talks English, and there is a variety of different languages in the subtitles
  • I loved the way the teacher explains things clearly and in a calm and suiting way
  • there are terrific ideas in this course
  • Translation in the subtitles for other languages isn’t always correct
  • Some more details on different painting techniques would be welcome.

My final conclusion:

This online tutorial on what tea bag painting is, what you need, and how to do it was quite interesting and I enjoyed the lessons from the start. I would even just watch and listen to it without starting myself if I ever find the actual time to do this haha!

Check out the complete tutorial on how to do tea bag painting here.

Related article:

My Final Conclusion

I hope that you found this tutorial on tea bag painting informative and interesting, but if you have any more questions, please feel free to leave them down below in the comment section!

You can also join (one of) my social media channels below for more tutorials, show your own work, or watch other people’s work!

I wish you happy crafting!

Kind regards


4 thoughts on “What Is Tea Bag Painting: The Unexpected Art You Never Heard About”

  1. What an intriguing article! Tea bag painting sounds like a fascinating art form. Have you personally tried this technique, and if so, what type of tea bags did you find most interesting to work with? I’m curious to know more about your experience with tea bag painting!

    • Hi Michael,
      Yes I have tried it out, so that I write the review of the tea bag painting course 😉 I love working with regular black tea bags, they give that vintage look that I like.
      Thanks for the comment!

  2. What a fascinating read, Lizzy! I never would have imagined that tea bags could be transformed into a canvas for art. The historical roots of tea bag painting in China add a layer of cultural richness to this unique art form. I appreciate the detailed breakdown of the tools and techniques involved, especially the emphasis on using various types of tea bags for different effects.

    The idea of tea bag painting as a creative outlet is truly inspiring. It’s incredible how this art form has evolved from simple designs to more intricate and elaborate masterpieces. The review of the online tutorial by Ruby Silvious adds a practical dimension to the article, providing readers with the opportunity to explore this art form further.

    I’m definitely intrigued and can’t wait to try my hand at tea bag painting. Thanks for introducing me to this unexpected and delightful world of art! Looking forward to more surprising topics from you, Lizzy!


Leave a Comment