Turn tea bags into curtains
Skip your nightly wind-down drink and put those herbal bags to use, creating a scented window screen.
Mon Nov 9 2009
Photographs: Virginia Rollison
"The first thing I ever scanned was a grid of tea bags," says Este Lewis, a 25-year-old Brooklyn artist who creates digitally printed wallpaper patterned with everyday objects (soyeste.com) such as candy buttons, sticks of gum, napkins, matches and other trash-bound items. "I later used tea bags to make a book, and that project inspired this curtain idea." What's the fascination with tea bags (she's also wearing a T-shirt silk-screened with the tea bag pattern, which is for sale on her website)? "They're just so beautiful," she explains. "I love how the particles inside make up different landscapes in each bag depending on where they fall, and I like how light passes through them." Try this easy DIY project at home and brew up some privacy of your own.
* About 200 tea bags. "I suggest Celestial Seasonings' peppermint tea, but that's only because I like the patchwork on the bag's seams and the smell. A box of 20 normally costs $2.99 or less at C-Town (locations throughout the city; visit ctownsupermarkets.com)," Lewis says as she pulls out a fresh bag.
* Jade 403 glue, $6.20, at Talas (330 Morgan Ave at Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 212-219-0770, talasonline.com). Lewis used a needle and thread to sew the bags together, but for those less crafty, she says the glue works just as well.
* Scissors or a needle
Step by step
1 Measure the length and width of your window.
2 Measure one tea bag and then calculate how many you will need to fill the area.
3 Sew or glue the bags together in rows A. "Be as experimental as you want when putting them together—empty bags, tear them, leave parts of the grid empty, etc., B" Lewis suggests. "And don't worry about making the seams perfect. Imperfections just make it look more endearing."
4 To create the curtain tabs, Lewis used a different brand of tea, Twinings, because she liked the boat-shaped fold at the bottom. A Use a needle or scissors to tear a hole in the bags and empty the tea leaves. B
5 Spread open the loops so the curtain rod can pass through easily.
6 Glue or sew the Twinings bags to the top row of the curtain.
7 Hang A, breathe in the herbal aroma B and walk around naked.