What is the Craft of Tea Bag Folding? Tea Bag Folding is one of the older crafting techniques that I still really enjoy. It's a paper craft which is one of my favorites because I love working with this medium and it involves making a series of folds, a little like modular origami. The big difference is that origami is an ancient art form that prides itself on using no adhesives or glue while this craft actually requires it.
The name of this is slightly unusual and it originated in a rather unique way too with a lady in Holland called Tiny van der Plass. She started playing around with her printed fruit teabag wrappers or envelopes which she folded up and used as an embellishment to create a pretty card for her sister and the whole craft developed from there. Just one woman and a really inventive and imaginative idea turned into something that now has rather a huge, niche following.
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How Does Tea Bag Folding Work and What Do You Make?
Just in the same way as you begin most origami models, you normally start out with a square piece of paper. This is not always the case since there are other shapes that you can use to fold as well and one of my personal favorites is the oval. The traditional shape, however, is a square and this is what most people use first.
Tea bag folded card made with a simple fold oval shape.
While traditional origami uses a 6 x 6 inch square or larger, tea bag folding is on a smaller scale. Squares are usually around 2-3 inches in size. You use several squares which are often folded in exactly the same way. One folded square is not of much interest with this craft since half of the fun is in arranging several into a pattern while, on the other hand, you can create the most amazing models with just one square of paper using origami techniques.
Because you use quite small squares to begin with, you tend to have just a small amount of total folds in each piece. You can then arrange these folded papers into patterns (often as simple shapes such as rosettes, fans, wreaths) by sticking them down and they can then be used as beautiful embellishments for handmade cards, gift tags, scrapbook pages, collages, framed pictures and more.
Starting Tea Bag Folding as a Complete Beginner
Starting this craft is easy and inexpensive too. You can buy pre-printed tiles and papers to cut squares from, sometimes you can find free ones on the Internet but actually you don't need any special papers at all - in fact, I prefer to use my own square templates so I can cut out squares from any decorative or scrapbooking papers I have stashed away.
Making your own paper squares gives you total freedom to use up really pretty decorative papers in your own collection (if it's anything like mine - that paper stash will be huge!) and you can use up small, scrap pieces of paper that might otherwise be wasted, use specialty papers such as foils, metallic, translucent, embossed, glittered, rubber stamped, book prints etc. You get to be more inventive and imaginative than just using something that's been pre-printed as a design for you.
Squares of tea bag folded paper arranged into a wreath shape on a Christmas card.
Who Will this Craft of Tea Bag Folding Appeal To?
This one will mainly suit people who just love working with paper and creating with this medium. If you love folding and gluing, I'd recommend it for sure. And it can be used to create both traditional and modern looking handmade cards and embellishments.
The resulting embellishments can look really unique and, often, like they took a long time to make, although they are normally pretty easy and quick once you master a few.
So mostly this tends to really appeal to people who love to make cards and beautiful paper items such as gift tags, gift decorations and the more elaborate and ornate items if you like.
Using Scrapbook and Decorative Papers
As I mentioned earlier, you can buy special pre-printed designs made specifically for this craft. I've used them before and I've also made my own versions up that I used to print off from my computer too. However, I always enjoy dipping into my scrapbook stash of paper instead.
Part of the fun of any papercrafting is with selecting papers and combining them together for projects. I enjoy dipping into my stash and seeing which pieces might work well together. You can do some great things with using your own choice of papers like having a very now and hot ombre scheme where a color is graduated in tone.
If you have concerns about picking scrapbook papers that co-ordinate well, perhaps because you lack in confidence or experience in choosing papers for crafting with, then have a look a getting a pad of scrapbook papers that are already chosen to work well with one another. You can buy loads of themed scrap pads which already have a selection of printed papers that will combine and match beautifully together. Look for ones that have small patterns that will work well once cut into little squares for your new Tea Bag craft.
It's amazing what fun can be had just from a few simple materials such as some paper, scissors and adhesive. You don't need expensive equipment to make beautiful cards and crafts at all. So if you're concerned about trying something new or different because of the cost, this one is really ideal. Great for group sessions and crafting with older children and adults. I hope you've enjoyed reading my craftymarie article today, thanks for your visit. I'd love to hear about any items you've made using these techniques.
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