My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

An experiment in combining teabags and fabric.

Yeah, that's a weird title.  Teabags and fabric - not as in dyeing using tea, but adhering teabags to fabric.

I've seen people (namely Judy Coates Perez) use teabags -and I'm also guessing you could do this with tissue paper - in her quilts.  She draws on them and then sticks them to her quilts using painting mediums and then quilts right over the top.

So I thought I'd do a little experimenting.

I pulled out a dried, emptied and pressed teabag that I had stashed (the things I have stashed would boggle my Husband's mind) and wrote on it with three different markers.  I cut it into three and then used three different mediums I had to adhere the pieces to some calico fabric.

I put a thin layer of the medium on the fabric first, then the teabag and then another layer of medium over the top.  I let it dry and then assessed the results.

This is heavy gel medium.  I was really thick to apply and has dried shiny and thick and firm.

This is a transfer medium.  I was going to use a matte gel medium that I had but when I opened it up I found it had gone off - stinky!  Moral of the story - use up your products people!  So this transfer medium (used for transferring images to fabric) got used instead.  It dried firm and a little shiny.

This is fabric medium - what you add to acrylic paint to turn it into fabric paint.  It dried matte and thin.  All three adhered the teabag extremely well to the fabric.  You might be able to get it off but it would take a fair amount of scraping.

I'm going to use the fabric medium and a combination of the markers for the work I'm planning.  I'm glad I experimented first because I would have just used the gel mediums but I really didn't want such a shiny surface.  I'll put my sample in a folder for future reference and go drink a few more cups of tea!


  1. Thank you for the birthday wishes on your podcast. It was great to listen to on the way down to V's high school today. I love the idea of working with teabags. Had a quilty friend who used to collect all her teabags - then empty them, adhere them then draw on them - don't remember what medium she used though.

  2. When textile medium was hard to get I switched to bookbinding medium. Works really well.

  3. Out of my depth, but glad your experiment was successful??? Have always failed to understand why someone would want to use a used teabag. But knowing you... it'll turn out great.

  4. My grandfather was a tea taster so I have a heap of little bags that his tea samples used to be posted in. I've always wanted to find a use for them - this may be a start :)



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