Following on from my previous Teabag Art post, what to do with all that tea that came out of the teabags?? As this is such a frugal, recycling sort of project, it did seem a shame to waste it, and while working on the teabags, I had time to mull over how I might incorporate the dried, used tea in my Teabag Art projects. This is what I came up with.
Judi Hurwitt, whose blog I follow, recently posted about creating acrylic films for use in mixed media projects, and I knew I had the answer.
First of all I found a small piece of write-on acetate film, and onto this I drew the squiggles and text with Scotch Quick-Dry adhesive, which comes in a bottle with a nice small nozzle, and is good and sticky. I sprinkled the tea over this and shook off the excess, and set it aside to dry.
I laid the acetate with its tea design onto a larger piece of waxed paper, to catch any overflow of gel medium.
Judi used soft gloss gel medium but I thought this looked a bit thick in the pot, and likely to shift the tea if I started painting it on, or applying it with a palette knife, so instead I chose an acrylic polymer, which is a thickish liquid in a bottle, and squirted that all over the tea. I set it aside to dry, and this took a very long time indeed, because it was so fluid. I also had to try and disperse a number of tiny bubbles that had appeared – I may have been less than careful with the bottle – shaking the liquid introduces bubbles which can be hard to get rid of. I was unable to prick them as their surface tension seemed to be too great, so I pushed them to the edges using my pokey tool. Laborious and time-consuming, but worth the effort in the end.
I kept checking on it, and was not satisfied that it was dry enough to handle for several days. The joys of mixed media art… it certainly develops the virtue of patience (or not!!)… At least in my new ARTHaven, there is plenty of room for setting aside things to dry, while one can work on other things.
Eventually it was dry enough to peel off the waxed paper – the top felt quite dry if a little tacky, but as I peeled it off it was clear that it was still very wet underneath. However, I felt that removing the waxed paper gave the air a chance to get at it and speed up the drying process. After several days it was possible to peel off the acetate sheet, and then to leave it to dry completely.
It was very experimental, and I had no idea if the acrylic polymer would work, or whether it would contain the tea sufficiently for there to be no shedding, but all was well, and I will be able to cut this piece of film into pieces to use in different projects. Here is the video of the whole process.