Tea Bag Folding Projects

Written by nicholas rossillo
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Tea Bag Folding Projects
"Tea Bag" is a term used to describe a paper folding art similar to origami, but tea bags aren't actually used. (Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

Tea bag folding has only been a craft for a few decades, but people have created many projects using this folding technique. There have been several books written on the craft. Tea bag folding uses repetitive shapes to create a pattern, and these patterns have several decorative uses. In spite of its name, you are not actually folding tea bags to create the pattern.

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Learning to Tea Bag Fold

There is no formal training to learn tea bag folding. Most people learn this art by reading books or Internet sites that are dedicated to passing on the art of tea bag folding. There are a number of learning websites in addition to sites that offer free patterns and techniques. There are also several videos online that show the techniques being done. Completed tea bag folding projects resemble flowers or kaleidoscope patterns. Some of the art of tea bag folding is learning how to select colours and patterns in the paper and use it to create contrast in the final design of the project.

History

Tiny Van Der Plas was an artist in Holland. She developed this craft using the decorative bags, similar to an envelope, that her tea bags came in. She enjoyed it so much that she began writing books about the craft. It took off, and now crafters around the world enjoy this art.

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Greeting cards are the most common project made using tea bag folding. It has also become popular with scrapbooking fans. Gift tags, journals and other paper or gift items are also created using tea bag folding. People who enjoy tea bag folding say that it becomes addictive because there is no end to the things that you can create using the craft.

Making Medallions

A single completed project is called a medallion. Medallions are glued onto the final project, such as a greeting card or a scrapbook. It takes eight folded squares to create one medallion. For a few patterns, round scraps of paper are used, but most patterns require small squares (about 2 inches by 2 inches). The squares or circles used to make medallions are called tiles. These tiles can be folded into many shapes, including kite fold, half kite fold, arrow fold, waterbomb fold, waterbomb variation fold, pentagon fold or pentagon variation fold. The fold called "new fold" from My Studio 3D is an easy fold with which to learn. Complete the new fold on each of the eight tiles. Assemble the tiles together with glue. The completed medallions are usually octagons, squares or round flowerlike shapes.

Choosing Paper

There are printable papers available for free online, but many tea bag folders use any paper that they have laying around the house to cut into tiles to make medallions. Old calendars, sticky notes, inexpensive notepads and gift wrapping paper are all good candidates for making the tiles used for tea bag folding.

Completed medallions are often quite elaborate and are interesting to look at even when done on plain, white paper. The addition of colour and print makes them spectacularly beautiful.

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