Introduction: Tea Bag Crane

Picture of Tea Bag Crane

Tea bags on a string are a great invention for the lone tea-drinker, or the student without a tea pot*, but the string is often a problem; when it falls into the tea, you have to fish it out with a teaspoon, which defeats the original point of the string...

So, I came up with this, a decorative little thing that sits on the side of your mug and holds the string for you.

*You could say they're so poor, they don't have a pot to tea in...

Step 1: Sources

Picture of Sources

I knew I wanted to make a crane, and, as a nod to the industrial history of my home town, I wanted to make it a dockside crane.

Trawling through both my memory and the internet, the main source for my design was the photo above, of a model made from this kit.

I drew the design in Inkscape, which went through a variety of iterations before the final cutting. I have included the files on this step in a variety of formats.

Step 2: Cutting

Picture of Cutting

This version is cut from 3mm MDF, because I like the lack of wood-grain pattern on a small item.

You can use any material you like, but you may need to adjust the scale for materials of different thicknesses. Keep an eye on whether the size of the hole in the leg-section will cause issues with different materials.

Step 3: Construction

Picture of Construction

The main body of the crane is made of five layers, super-glued together.

The legs are fixed together (with more superglue) like a small table - take note of which way round the cut-out hole is.

Finally, the post on the main body fits snugly into the cut-out in the legs, and can be fixed firmly with one last drop of superglue.

Step 4: Use

Picture of Use

sing the crane is simple - slot the legs over the side of your mug, drop the tea bag into your hot water, and then drape the string over the slot in the arm of the crane.

The paper tag will keep the string from falling into the hot water until the tea is brewed, and you can lift the bag from the water.


Meglymoo87 (author)2016-04-02

love it! Gonna do this :)

Kiteman (author)Meglymoo872016-04-03

Cool - post a picture when you do!

Ehlers_TV (author)2016-03-05

This one is pretty cooooool :-D

Kiteman (author)Ehlers_TV2016-03-05

Thank you!

DelfinaFerris (author)2016-02-25

I like yur concept:)

Meredithwatkins (author)2016-02-18


Kiteman (author)Meredithwatkins2016-02-21

Thank you!

Meredithwatkins (author)2016-02-18


Trask River Productions (author)2016-01-28

Great concept and design!

Thank you!

mchau2 (author)2015-12-22

super meaningful to reflect your home town!

Kiteman (author)mchau22015-12-23


Raggamuffin314 (author)Kiteman2016-01-13

what is your home town ? (I'm British as well)

Kiteman (author)Raggamuffin3142016-01-14

I'm from the Cumbrian coast.

mchau2 (author)Kiteman2016-01-15

i am from hong kong, hehe us3 d to be British colony!

jeanniel1 (author)2015-12-08

Might consider this for handmade gifts and furniture contests!

Kiteman (author)jeanniel12015-12-08

Unfortunately, I published too early to enter those.

Raggamuffin314 (author)Kiteman2016-01-13

wasn't there an option to enter it after publishing the project? :-)

Kiteman (author)Raggamuffin3142016-01-14

No, that's not how it works.

jeanniel1 (author)Kiteman2015-12-08

It's still a great project - so clever that it's inspiring me to come up with some other designs!

Kiteman (author)jeanniel12015-12-08

Make sure you post when you do, maybe write your own instructable!

instructables fan (author)2015-12-28

I have a question. Do you think the purpose to instructables is to inspire to do, or show how to do?

Both, plus to share (show off) your skills & achievements.

jeanniel1 (author)2015-12-08

Would be awesome-r if there was a gear to crank the teabag up! I love the idea!

kelu28 made it! (author)2015-12-06

Nice thing !!!

Kiteman (author)kelu282015-12-06


kelu28 made it! (author)2015-12-06

Nice thing !!!

charmon9 (author)2015-12-05

my dad is an operator, and this is just what I should do for his Xmas gift!!

Kiteman (author)charmon92015-12-05

Cool - post a photo if you can!

Maximilian Rainer (author)2015-12-03

Now you should make a version with an attiny 45/85 and a servo that lifts the teabag out of the cup. Something like a "tea timer"

You know, I have never used a microcontroller, and never used a servo!

audreyobscura (author)2015-12-03

that PG tips mug is adorable! THIS WHOLE PROJECT IS ADORABLE! Great work!

Kiteman (author)audreyobscura2015-12-04

Hehe, thank you (that's got to be the first time a crane was referred to as "adorable", though)!

OutlawKtulu (author)2015-12-03

Your real name isn't "Doc Brown" is it? :D

Kiteman (author)2015-12-03

Oh, I know. It's still a grand project.

Kiteman (author)2015-12-02

That sounds like a grand project!

Kiteman (author)2015-12-02

Thank you!

M.C. Langer (author)2015-12-01

This is awesome!!! I love it!

Kiteman (author)M.C. Langer2015-12-02

Thank you!

Kiteman (author)M.C. Langer2015-12-02

Thank you!

Mark 42 (author)2015-12-01

I like this idea - I may look for an N scale or Z scale (model train) crane.
I like this simple one too, but a more detailed one could also be nice.

Kiteman (author)Mark 422015-12-01

Using a real crane? Cool!

Mark 42 (author)Kiteman2015-12-01

Here is an example:

Raitis (author)2015-11-28

Does steam from the tea affect the MDF? Just wondering, since it sure would plywood.

Kiteman (author)Raitis2015-11-29

It hasn't so far, but I think varnish would be wise.

bgunville (author)Kiteman2015-12-01

no varnish in my tea thank you but a food grade finish would work.

JaydenLawson (author)2015-12-01

Love it :D

Kiteman (author)JaydenLawson2015-12-01

Thank you!

YaënD (author)2015-12-01


this is great, i'm gonna do some and thanks for posting a .svg.

Kiteman (author)YaënD2015-12-01

You're welcome - post pictures when you make them.

About This Instructable




Bio: The answer is "lasers", now, what was the question? If you need help, feel free to contact me. Project previews on Tumblr & Twitter: @KitemanX
More by Kiteman:Fallen Astronaut 2Custom laser cut metal business cardsDashboard Phone Stand
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