Tea Stained Paper

We have been experimenting with book making lately. Books are a big deal in my house and the girls love making them. The thing I love the most about book making is that the girls are so excited to write in them.


We were tired of the stale white paper we were using so we decided to “age” the paper.

For tea staining you need:

* 81/2″ x 11″ cardstock (we used cardstock because the girls wanted a thicker paper, you can do this activity with any kind of paper)
* 3 black tea bags
* water
* clothespins
* yarn
* a pan

To set up the activity:

1. Boil the water.
2. Add black tea bags and let steep for about 5-10 minutes.
3. Put up a line for the paper to dry.
4. Fold cardstock in half, this will make the tearing step easier.


We did the smearing and blotting method. We simply took the tea bags and smeared and blotted them directly onto the cardstock. Fauna LOVED this, anytime she can get messy for art, she is right there! She loved to smear!

Araina loved to blot!

Once the cardstock was good and wet we carefully tore the cardstock in half because we wanted a worn edge look. Then we clipped them on a line to dry.

When we were done staining the stack of paper we tried a drizzle effect on the paper by squeezing the tea bags over the paper hanging on the line. This left cool lines and patterns on the paper. We left specks of tea on the pages as well.

The Little Ladies had tea-covered hands in the end.

Once the papers were dry we took them off the line, stacked them and placed a concrete block on top of them to press them flat.

The hotter the water, the deeper and darker the color on the white cardstock. If you are not satisfied with the color after the first staining, do another tea stain to the cardstock. Coffee is a good stain for really dark pages. Keep experimenting until you get your pages just right.

*I will be posting more about what we are doing with these pages in future posts.

21 responses to “Tea Stained Paper”

  1. spring has sprung | 5 Orange Potatoes

    […] did some paper dying on Friday using coffee and tea. I love to dye paper. I’m planning to try with many different […]

  2. Brooke

    I love this post. :) I was intruiged because I too do works with coffee- and tea-stained papers. I wonder ~ blueberries? I’ve also seen cool suff with folded papers dipped in little jars of dyes: to make sort of tie-dye effects. Fun stuff. :)

  3. Jessica

    I’m glad I found this post again–I would like to have Benjamin make a Medieval Book of Days and this paper would be great!! I never thought to dye cardstock–I would’ve thought it wouldn’t take the stain. I’m glad to see it works!

    Last Christmas my mom tea-stained an old bedsheet and made the most adorable little dolls from the stained fabric. We love using tea to “age” things!

  4. Lisa

    Thanks everybody. We love this acitivity and the “weathered” cardstock takes watercolor painting really well.

    -Lisa :)

  5. Rachel@oneprettything.com

    Very cool! I’ll be linking.

  6. sunnymama

    I love the pictures of the paper drying on the line!

  7. MODsquad

    Oh, yes… we’re totally going to do this!! Fun idea!! Thank you!!

  8. Tan Family

    Wonderful pictures! We’ve always used coffee to stain pages and maps. We’ll have to try the tea blotting method in the future. Neat!

  9. denise

    Great idea! We love making our nature journals each season – we will definitely try this for our summer book making!

  10. Annie

    Definitely bookmarking this page, Lisa. Thanks!

  11. Toni

    I have always wanted to do this but thought it was difficult, thanks for this lesson today. It is easy enough I can do it:-)

    Your girls look like they are having the best time, I would love to see the book you make out the paper

  12. Manic Mother

    Hey Lisa, I just wanted to let you know I featured your blog today on mine :)

  13. Tara

    These look great!

    Anytime a craft is a bit messy, Owen is usually interested :0)

  14. Louise

    Thanks for sharing-
    I am keen to get your tutorial for the handmade books-
    We have stained treasure maps with tea bags and other “old” documents my boys have created- heiroglypic charts, pirate charts etc..

  15. Crunchy Christian Mom

    Oh, fun, we totally have to do this!

  16. karen m.

    Such a fun idea! We tried coffee-staining, but tea would look(and smell) more delicate. Many thanks for sharing your many creative, intriguing projects. We especially look forward to the flower press one. Wishing you a lovely week!

  17. Jane

    Another great idea.

  18. Alisha

    What fun! I remember doing this as a child as well.

  19. Jane

    I totally love this prodject. I have always wondered how they did that!
    Thanks for sharing your great ideas!

  20. kristen

    That turned out great! Your girls looks delighted!

    Also wanted to tell you that I’ve given you a blog award. :) Thanks for always sharing such good ideas with the blogging world!

  21. Jeannette

    Such a great idea!
    I´ve never tried it with paper but did use the tea staining for some linen. Love the old look you get.