Introduction: Upcycled Tea Bag Organizer
I have recently gotten into the habit of drinking tea because of its great taste, and health benefits. For
Christmas this year, I received a bunch of boxes of tea from my relatives. While i realize that the boxes the tea bags come in are designed to dispense tea bags within a cabinet, etc, I figured I would make a small organizer for the individual bags that was made by upcycling (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upcycling) old cigar boxes from my father.
Things you will need:
1. empty cigar box of any size
2. tea bags
3. small diameter wooden dowel (circular or square)
4. wood glue/gorilla glue
7. measuring tape/ruler
(8.) vice for cutting wood
Step 1: Figure the Confingur(ation)
Take some tea bags and lay them in the cigar box so that they fit accordingly. I chose to go with a long, thin box that fits 3 different varieties of tea bag laying flat. I made another that can fit four varieties, but it was configured so the tea bags layed at an angle (see pictures) If you have a box/configuration that the tea bags lay flat in, trace lines for dividers to be put in using a pencil and a ruler. I.E. My box was 9 3/4 inches wide so i measured out 3 equal segments of around 3 1/4 inches. (in the end, each 'cell' with the added width of the dividers were exactly 2 3/4 inches wide and were a perfect fit for a tea bag.) If you want to make an organizer that holds the tea bags at an angle, you have to put a segment of dowel running along the bottom of the box left to right in order to make 2 'stops' for the tea bags. Then, a dowel must be cut that runs up and down in the box to separate the two sides, creating 4 'cells'
Step 2: Measure and Cut
Take your wooden dowel, whatever shape you may have, and cut it to the lengths you need. I needed two segments to make three cells in my flat organizer and two longer segments to make the layers of my tilted organizer. IMPORTANT: many cigar boxes come with 4 thin wall inserts that are up against the inner wall of the box. These are there to help the box close more snugly and stay closed. Remove these before measuring and gluing in your dowels because they are not secured to the box in any way and will move eventually. You can remove these inserts and use them as dividers if you don't want to measure and cut any dowels to length seeing as they are perfectly fit for the box already. Secure your wooden dowel on a workbench using a vice or two for easier cutting. Use whatever saw works best for you! For a nice touch, i sanded down the long edges of the dowels that face upwards for a smooth finish and for aesthetic purposes (you can choose to stain your dowels/dividers if you'd like.)
Step 3: Final Measurements and Glue
Take your dowels, lay them in position, and make sure that they are equidistant from each other using your ruler/measuring tape (if you're doing a symmetrical one like mine). Once you have them in the desired position, mark their location using a pencil on the walls of the box. Now you can use any sort of glue. but i had gorilla glue on hand so that is what i used. Apply a generous amount of glue to the bottom and ends of the dowel (any part that will be touching a wall or the bottom of the box) and press it into place using your pencil marks. Press down with force to ensure that the dowels are seated properly and that there are no air pockets between the two pieces of wood. Wipe away all excess glue from the edges of the dowel if any seeps out. I placed a couple of heavy candles on top of the dowels as they were drying to make the best possible seal.
Step 4: You're Finished!
Let the glue dry a full 24 hours for good measure and then stuff the organizer with tea bags of your choice! Later on i will be decorating my organizers with custom labels so people aren't confused by the cigar labels. I hope you've enjoyed this 'ible! Leave a comment if you have a question, concern, or if you want to show off your own custom organizer. The possibilities are endless because of the many shapes and sizes of cigar boxes to use and the different ways to configure your tea bags. Enjoy!
Edit: Later on I added a tree design to the inside using a wood-ink transfer technique found here-