Sketching on used teabags and preparing them is fairly simple and quick to do.
I have been experimenting with sketching on them after sticking them down in my journal which is an old book first printed in the seventies. It's actually a very young book since it was printed in the same year that I was born ;)
I do not prime my pages but you can if you want to. If you are thinking of using a book to journal in then my advise would be to test a few pages with different mediums to see how the paper handles them especially if you intend to saturate them with watercolour washes.
You can use most teabags but I just happened to have folded ones that look like these:
After you have used your teabag , put it in a warm place or out in the sun to dry out. This should take a couple of days depending on the temperature.
Step 1: unfold the bag from it's original state and carefully open it at one end.
Step 2: empty the dried tea into the soil of a plant or in your garden. It makes good feed.
Step 3: Now you have your bag ready to sketch on. No need to iron it out unless you want to.
Step 4: This is a picture of a typical square teabag. Follow previous steps but use a pair of scissors to open the bag on three of its side. You should have a nice rectangle shape to work with.
Step 5: I used a simple glue stick to adhere my teabag to my book page. It works fine for my paper but I have not tried it on watercolour paper yet. I like this glue because when my teabag gets damp from using watercolour and it can unstick around the edges. This gives me the option to play with the edges. If your bag un glues itself just go around the edges with the stick and stick it down again. An alternative to the glue stick would be a very light coating of PVA glue.
Step 6: This is what the bag looks like when stuck down. You will see that it has a nice aged look and that is because my teabag contained a black tea blend which creates a darker stain.
I also like the subtle stains created by Green Teas and herbal mixes. I work with whatever colour the bag is stained.
To prevent bleeding occurring on the bag I used pigment line markers to sketch on them or a fountain pen with a fine nib filled with Noodler's Bulletproof black ink. These do not seem to run or bleed.
Carbon ink should also work although I have not tried it or India ink using a dip pen.
In the above photo are the pens that I use to sketch with that do not seem to bleed whilst sketching on the bags. From the left : Staedtler pigment liner, Pentel brush pen, Artline Pigment liner, Zig Millennium pen and a Uni ball micro pen.
I am considering teaching this technique on an online class when I figure out how to set one up and depending on interest as this will take a lot of preparation and video editing. Included will be demonstrations on how I finish and start my pages, the techniques that I apply and materials that I use.