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Artist Revives Used Tea Bags by Painting UK Landmarks on Them

An artist has given used tea bags “another lease of life” by painting famous UK landmarks on them and turning an item that is often discarded into “something beautiful”.

Caroline West, 49, began painting on tea bags in August 2023 as sustainability has always been a passion of hers. She has depicted popular landmarks including Stonehenge and nature scenes on these unique canvases.

She has painted around 70 tea bags so far, each taking between an hour to an hour and a half to complete, depending on the level of detail. “I really love the idea of just taking something that you would normally discard or throw away and then transforming it into a work of art and giving it another lease of life,” Mrs. West, who is based in Waterlooville, Hampshire, told the PA news agency.

“I just think we’re all so busy all the time, and it’s hard to take the time to slow down and notice the beauty in everyday things that are often taken for granted. I liked the idea of using tea bags as a way to turn something mundane into something beautiful.”

The process begins by drying out used tea bags, which can take a few days. She then cuts them up, scrapes out all the tea, and irons them flat. The edges are then cut off, the tea bag is placed on backing paper, a base layer is applied, and then the art begins using acrylic paint.

“It’s quite a process because you’ve got to wait for that to fully dry because the tea bags are quite absorbent,” she added. “Then, you just gradually build up the layers, tape them up at the ends, take it off the backing paper, and hope it doesn’t tear and swear a lot if it does.”

Yorkshire Tea bags have been a popular choice for her miniature works of art, sourced from her mother as she herself is more of a fan of herbal tea. “Weirdly, I don’t actually drink normal tea – I drink herbal tea – so my mum saves me all the tea bags,” she said. “I have done a little series because she drinks Yorkshire Tea of Yorkshire landmarks on Yorkshire Tea tea bags.”

This series, which started around April, saw Mrs. West replicate places including Saltburn Pier, Scarborough Castle, Humber Bridge, and the Yorkshire Dales. Other landmarks she has painted in tiny form include Tower Bridge, Stonehenge, Blackpool Tower, and Snowdon.

“I just thought it would be really nice and British to have British landmarks on British tea bags,” she added.

She has also found ways to incorporate herbal tea bags in her work, noting that they provide different pops of color compared to their regular counterparts. “My husband drinks fruit teas, so that has a really nice pinky tone, and I drink chamomile, so that produces a yellow tone,” she explained.

Her favorite landmark to paint has been Stonehenge, with the most enjoyable part of the process being the start. “I really enjoy the beginning because I think the start of something is really exciting and the work is based on my ideas,” she said. “I also quite enjoy the intricacy because I do like painting small; I just think there’s something magical about having a really small painting.”

Mrs. West posts her work on social media and said that people expressing an interest “means a lot to me”. “It’s really lovely to get positive feedback on something I really love doing, and people are just really amazed by the fact these paintings are on tea bags,” she added.

She also dabbles in painting other small items, including pumpkin seeds and leaves, and has even turned crisp packets into keyrings and necklaces.

More information about Mrs. West’s work can be found at:

Source: PA News Agency