Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Crafting: Tea Bags for Gifts and Favors

Today I have a fun project that anyone can do. I will be showing you two different ways to make homemade tea bags and sharing lots of great ideas for what to do with them. One method requires some simple sewing while the other requires none at all. I also have a great project for making reusable tea bags and will show you that next time.

The materials needed are basic and I was able to make mine using scraps I had on hand. All you need is some lightweight fabric, cotton thread (I use size 10 crochet thread, you can also use embroidery floss), and loose tea. Use can use cheesecloth, muslin or any other lightweight fabric you have around. I had some left over from some sheer curtains I made, which is what I used today. Just be sure it's clean and untreated.

First I'll show you the no-sew method:

Start with a 6" square of fabric. Place about 1-2 Tbsp of tea (depending on what kind you use) at the top center. Begin rolling the fabric until you finish with the end in the middle.

Fold the roll in half and secure with a 12" piece of cotton thread. Wrap it around and knot it tightly a few times to make sure it is secure. If needed, you can trim the top. All that is left now is to make a little tag for the end of the string, which I show towards the end of the post.

Next I'll show you the simple sewn method:

Start with 3" x 2.5" rectangles of fabric. You will need 2 for each bag. Pin them together and sew along three edges, about 1/4" from the sides, leaving the top open. Be sure to double over your beginning and ending stitches. And don't worry about fraying edges, I think they add to the aesthetic!

When sewing around sharp corners, I find an easy way to continue at the end of a line is to leave the needle through the fabric, lift the foot, rotate the fabric, then put the foot back down and finish sewing.

Next you will hand stitch the closure thread onto the bag. Starting at one end, thread the string back and forth loosely until you get all the way around. Be sure to not sew the bag shut, you'll only go through one piece of fabric at a time. 

Now you are ready to make a tag for the ends of the string:

Here is just one way of making tag. This applies to both styles of bags shown. I made my tags 1" x 5/8" rectangles and you can download my design here if you would like, or you can make your own. If using my template, print it to size on the paper of your choice, I used a natural stock with some flecks in it. Cut out the tags along the crop lines and fold them in half. Apply a dab of craft glue or cover tag if using a glue stick, center the strings, fold and press until secure.

You can make your tags in a variety of shapes and colors and can also label them with the flavors. Another fun idea is to use craft punches in different shapes and different colored paper for each flavor, then make a key showing what shape is what flavor. This would be nice if you made a boxed set of these as a gift.

There are many great uses for both styles of these tea bags. The no-sew bags makes great gifts, perfect for Mother's Day coming up! Find a cute box or tin and make a little set. They also make great party favors. You can leave them in a basket for guests to pick up or package them individually in bags or envelopes - get creative!

The simple-sew bags are perfect for having a 'tea bar' at a party or shower. I think I'm going to do this at my wedding shower so I will be sure to share photos. Lay out the empty sewn bags on a table along with bowls of various loose teas. Guests can make up their own tea bags to drink at the party, or put out bags or envelopes if they would like to take them home. You can design the tags to match your event or include names and dates. 

You can also use the sewn bags to make a gift set by including the empty tea bags along with a variety of loose teas for the recipient to make up their own combinations. The possibilities are endless but there is no doubt this creative and unique gift will be much appreciated.

You can find lots of loose teas on Etsy, as well as other websites and local stores. The teas shown here are from Etsy sellers Tea for all Reasons, ruaTea and The Gypsy Caravan. You can find many interesting blends or buy the basics and make up your own.

Get creative! This project is easy, fun and inexpensive. I'd love to hear about your experiences if you try your hand at making tea bags and will soon be starting a flick group for you to share photos of your own projects. Have fun!


Sydney said...

great idea and it looks really easy

Anonymous said...

love this!

Sherry said...

These are so cute and something I really would enjoy making and giving. I even have some cheesecloth in the house. Thanks!

Cottage In The Sun said...

Great idea - I have a friend who I know will love it! Thanks!

Catherine Ivins said...

Wonderful project Nicole- thank you so much for posting it! I have some cheesecloth left from Thanksgiving - I wonder what it is looking like these days? I really want to make this one.

Erin L. Delaney said...

This is wonderful! I'm so glad I stumbled on your site through facebook's tea page!

Marguerite (Peggy) Manor said...

This would be a nice way to make up sachets too, I think. Thanks so much for the beautifully crafted post!

gift delivery Philippines said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial I like it its gonna be a perfect gift. Keep posting!


Sydney said...

I just saw this on Ruffled! I thought it was your project :)

Mia@ loose green tea said...

Those are lovely cute tea bags, perfect for some loose tea, very well crafted. So glad to have found your post, I'm a tea lover myself. Thanks for the tutorial, I'll definitely do this as well.