Painting with tea

Posted By: Martin Kubec In: Tea story blog

Tea is a natural pigment that can be used to stain paper and some material to create different effects. Using watered-down tea to make a simple paint/stain can create paintings that play with light and dark shading. You can experiment with fruit teas, as well as the usual brown tea, to obtain different colours. Red-Coloured fruit teas such as strawberry and raspberry make successful pigments.


1. Put a tea bag in a cup and pour hot water over so that it just covers the tea bag. This releases the pigment into the water to make a darker paint. Squeeze the tea bag and pour a small amount of the tea water into a section of your palette. Add double the amount of water to the same cup, stir the tea bag then pour some of the mixture into another section of the palette. This will be a lighter shade. Repeat these steps a couple more times, increasing the water each time to weaken the pigment. This will give you a range of shades to paint with.

2. Go through each pigment in your palette and paint a sample line on a scrap piece of watercolour paper to show the depth of colour for each.

3. Lightly sketch the scene you wish to paint on the watercolour paper using the pencil. Begin painting the scene with the pigments in the same manner that you would a normal painting. Concentrate on the different shades to create contrasts in the painting. Use the sample lines as a guide to know which pigment strength to use.

Tips & Warnings:

– Regularly wash the brushes in fresh water and dry them to maintain the pigments’ strengths.
– You can use larger receptacles than a watercolour palette to store the paints in for pictures requiring a lot of tea paint.




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