re-purposing used tea bags into a fish

What do you do with your used tea bags? I dry mine out and collect them of course.

Doesn’t everyone?

Ok, I’m not normal.

I just love the tea coloured stains – I’ve used tea to dye things before, and used flattened tea bags on the dress I made recently.

Anyway, the tea bags and a trout seemed the perfect match for an art project. For Art From Trash of course. This is another of the projects I created at work with the help of one of the guys.

First I drew a trout on a large piece of paper (from a roll so it was long enough). Traced this onto some thin MDF and cut it using a jigsaw.

Since it was going to be a considerable size and moving it in a car would present a problem, I kept the trout in two parts. I glued strips of wood to the back of both pieces at either end. These served two purposes – the ensured the trout hung out from the wall a bit instead of sitting flat against it, adding dimension. It also gave me somewhere to attach hinges, making this a foldable piece of art!

Practical as well as pretty!

My assistant helped me paint on the face, tail and fins by adding all the spots. Then we began the long process of gluing on the tea bags together.

I left the strings on them on purpose – I think the movement of the strings in a breeze gives the illusion of movement.

In order to blend the 2D painted surface into the rich texture of the tea bags I used flattened bags which let the painted colours show through.

Add a hole for the ‘fishing hook’ and it was ready to hang.

Once we’d finished I sprayed it with clear varnish for protection. While that was still tacky I sprinkled it with some very fine aurora borealis glitter – cause, you know, trout shimmer!
This is the finished trout. 

 And here it is at Art From Trash.

Yep. That is a sold sticker! It sold pretty much straight away, and I’ve had enquiries as to whether it has any siblings.

It was a great success at the show.


5 thoughts on “re-purposing used tea bags into a fish

  1. That is just too incredible!!! I can understand why it sold right away, there can't possibly be another like it in the entire world!! I hope you received a price worthy of your ingenuity. 🙂
    Andi C.


  2. That is a fascinating piece of art. Brilliant! I love to try new and different things and since I am a tea drinker, I think it's time to start saving those bags again. I have used them for other things in the past – mostly using the staining “bag” without the tea leaves in them, but this is fantastic and I can't wait to try something similar. We are becoming a community with more appreciation for art so who knows? Thank you for sharing. Ranee (MN) USA


  3. Katie and I love this!!! Katie is a fish girl from way back(studied them in Ohio at the beginning of her college days all the way to the present!). I love the coloring and the texture of the tea bags! I don't doubt that it sold quickly. We don't drink tea here, so no tea bag trout for us…alas. So fun! Thank you for sharing…Fonda


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