Lately I have found myself drinking more and more tea… I was a huge fan of tea long before Covid 19 entered our world, but in this current environment, I’ve noticed tea having a greater presence in my daily life. Could be the calm and comfort that a cup of tea can offer… Could just be my need for caffeine to get me through the day, and the night. Either way, my favorite tea cup is rarely empty, so it should come as no surprise that tea was the inspiration for this week’s Goth-it-Yourself project…. DIY Gothic Black Tea Bags with Skull Tags.
Years ago I came across a picture of a set of fancy tea bags being marketed as a Mother’s Day gift idea. I think small tokens of appreciation for this particular holiday are perfect, and obviously I am a personal fan of anything tea related, but in my opinion this particular set was a big miss for me. I understand that Mother’s Day is in the spring, but everyone seems to get a little trapped in thinking Mother’s Day gifts are all flowers and butterflies. In the case of these tea bags, the tea tags were… you guessed it!… flowers and butterflies! Obviously nothing wrong with that for many people… but not for my people. 😉 I set the picture aside for a goth style remake one day.
That day has come. It finally seemed like perfect timing to dig that old picture out and get re-inspired! Not just because Mother’s Day happens to be around the corner…. but because this world is in a much different place than when I first thought of doing this project. With the Covid 19 Virus wreaking havoc on everyone’s lives…. everyone seems to have more time on their hands and less money in their wallet… why not fill your time with a little DIY project, and if you happen to be in the market for a Mother’s Day gift… save some money in the process by making a homemade gift. Not looking for a mother’s day gift? These tea bags make a great gift for anyone you know that may need a bit of comfort (goth style). The tea bags are also great party favors…. Can’t you just imagine serving a tray of these to your guests at your next Tea Party… or even sending all of your Wedding guests home with one! Add guest names to the tags, and they become wedding favors and seating cards in one!! Ah the possibilities!
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Here’s what you’ll need to make them:
If you research DIY Tea Bags, coffee filters are by far the most common household material used. A single layer of filter material holds loose leaf tea very well. It also provides crisp lines for the bag since the material can be folded and maintains a crease. The problem is that the material does not accept color very well. For this project, I was determined to get as close to a black bag as I could, so I turned to cheesecloth. If you don’t care about the color of the bag, either material will work.
Cut the cheesecloth into 8″ x 8″ squares. Because cheese cloth is so thin, I recommend using two squares for each tea bag.
In a saucepan over low heat, empty an activated charcoal capsule into water and stir until combined. I used 1 capsule for about 3/4 cup of water. You’ll need enough water to cover your cheesecloth squares. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure if heating the charcoal water is necessary… I just automatically did it. Just like dissolving sugar or jello in hot water… dissolving the charcoal seemed to make sense.
Please note.. activated charcoal may reduce the effectiveness of some medications and dietary supplements when taken at the same time.
Add the cheesecloth squares to the charcoal water, and keep submerged for at least 20 minutes… the longer you leave it, obviously the better chance of a darker color. Adding more charcoal capsules can also impact the color.
Make sure the squares do not bunch up in the water,…. this creates an effect very similar to tye dying, and the areas bunched together will not accept any color.
Remove the squares from the water and allow to dry.
You will notice that the squares shrivel up. Use a low setting on your iron to press the squares back to 8″ x 8″.
Layer two squares on top of one another.
Add 1-1 1/2 tablespoons of loose leaf tea centered along one edge of the square.
Fold that edge over the tea toward the center of the square.
Fold the opposite edge of the square towards the center, repeating until they overlap. Your square should now be 8″ by roughly 2″.
Fold in half bringing the two open ends together, and secure with the string.
Tie the string tightly around the neck of the tea bag. I wrapped the string around, tied in a knot, wrapped around again, tied in a knot, and repeated until I felt it was secure.
This creates a soft pouch-like tea bag.
Trim the tops of the bag if desired.
For the tags, I used a skull and crossbones shape cut out of black cardstock. If you have a cricut machine handy, it would certainly make quick work of cutting out the skulls. I bought my skull punch a while back, and it appears to no longer be available. I’m certainly not going to provide this whole tutorial and then leave you empty handed, especially because I personally feel the skull tags make these tea bags!, so in lieu of a skull punch, you can simply purchase the skull die cuts directly from my Etsy Shop!
To attach the tag, sandwich both ends of the string between two skulls glued together.
Allow the glue to dry and the tea bags are ready to brew a cup of tea, or be wrapped up as a gift!
When you’re all done, be sure to check out the MeandAnnabelLeeShop for a more permanent solution to your loose leaf tea needs… Just a few of the Victorian and Gothic Tea Ball Infusers available! Click on image to purchase.