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How can I fix the tea stain patterns left on flattened tea bag so it can be light/colorfast? Answered

I drip-dry a used tea bag (the folded sachet kind), then open it carefully, detach the stapler, string and label, remove the tea and flatten it wide. On the surface is the pattern left by the tea-stain. What kind of mordant or fixing agent can I use to preserve but not disturbing this pattern on the process? I will appreciate any help and suggestions.


What is your final purpose with your flattened tea bag?

From experience I know that tea (and coffee) stains in cotton fabric are usually persistent, if not fully colour fast, which is why quilters sometimes "tea dye" fabric.

Very few dyes are truly light fast over time in sunlight but as long as your final object is not in full light all day long it should not fade too fast.

I want to preserve the image/pattern left by the stain... for collage and art composition element.

Yeah, I agree the tea stain on the paper is stable enough. The paper, which I pressed between blank notebook pages gets darkened a little bit after some time, though, diffusing the contrast. I thought "mordanting" or applying some fixative will halt the color change.

The darkening of the tea bag paper may be due to it's composition - there is probably no need for tea bags to be acid free archival quality. If this is the case applying a mordant to fix the tea dye would probably make little difference in the long term as it is not the tea stain that is fading but the "unstained" paper darkening. What happens if you apply an "oxygen bleach" to the tea bag after using it but before drying it?



6 years ago

Scan it and convert it into a digital format.

thanks, Vyger. I would consider that. My main purpose, though, is to preserve the actual item(s).