Do It Yourself: Crafting with Old Tea Boxes

flat lay of cards made with teabox art and watercolor paint

Repurposing Old Tea Boxes: 2 Ways

I developed recipes and wrote blog posts for Numi Organic Tea for about a year and one of the perks was receiving lots and lots of fair trade, organic tea. I drink tea at least three times a week, so I’ve put all those samples to good use, but I was left with dozens of perfectly good tea boxes. Tea boxes are generally recyclable, but it seemed a shame to send them off to be smashed if there was a way to repurpose them.

Due to a combination of personal and social stressors, I’ve been drawn back to crafting and working with my hands over the past year (I’m saving up for a larger loom so I can do bigger weavings). So, after giving a few boxes to our pet rats, I looked through my craft bin and thought up a few upcycling ideas…

Custom Note Cards

What You’ll Need

  • Numi Organic Holistic Tea boxes (or any tea boxes with pretty artwork)
  • Scissors
  • Watercolor palette
  • Jar with water
  • Paint brushes
  • 1 Sheet of Watercolor paper
  • Paper cutter
  • School glue (like Elmer’s)
To Make:
  1. Carefully cut out the artwork on the front of your Holistic Tea boxes with a pair of sharp scissors. Set aside. 
  2. Use a paper cutter to cut a sheet of sturdy water color into 4, notecard-sized pieces.
  3. Using your watercolor palette, select complementary paint colors and paint abstract backgrounds onto your notecards. Let dry for 15-30 minutes.
  4. Use a paint brush to “paint” glue onto the back of your tea art and affix them to your notecards.
  5. You may want to use a book to keep the tea art from warping as the glue dries. 
  6. Write a special note on the back of your cards and give them to loved ones!

Jute Wrapped Tea Caddy

crafting with old tea boxes - image shows jute wrapped box on gray panel with basket in background
What You’ll Need:
  • One Tea box
  • Matte acrylic paint in the color of your choice (I used black)
  • Paint brush
  • One roll of Jute Cording
  • Hot glue gun and glue
To Make:
  1. Carefully un-tape the side of your box and cut off the lid and side folds.
  2. Paint the exterior and interior of the box using the paint of your choice (you can leave the base unpainted to aid in drying). Set aside for 45 minutes to 1 hour. 
  3. Starting at a top corner of your box, apply a bead of hot glue and begin to wrap the jute.
  4. Continue adding small beads of hot glue to each corner until you’ve wrapped around the box once. 
  5. Continue wrapping without adding additional glue for 3 full rotations. Add glue to each corner on the next rotation, and continue the process – glue 1 rotation, no glue 3 rotations – until you’re near the base of the box.
  6. Add extra hot glue as you make your last rotation to ensure that the jute stays in place. Cut the jute to lie flush with a corner and carefully glue in place.

Leah Wise

Leah Wise is the founder of StyleWise Blog. She has been writing, speaking, and consulting on sustainable fashion, the fair trade and secondhand supply chain, and digital marketing for over ten years. An Episcopal priest, Leah holds a B.A. in Religion from Florida State University and an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School. When not working, you can find her looking for treasures at the thrift store.

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