Tea Bag Tiles

It's not a very popular term, but a tea bag tile is very easy to understand: it is a type of pattern of colors or prints that can be used both as backing paper for all sorts of projects as well as what it is named for, which is for folding tea bags. This does not, of course, refer to the tea bags themselves. The tea bags themselves need to be made of a special material that will allow the steeped tea to filter to the cup without the leaves (or dregs) swimming around. The tea bag tile's purpose is to create beautiful wrappers for the tea bags (which come in packs). People who have seen wrapped tea bags will understand what they are immediately.

The tiles generally come in a wild assortment of colors and patterns, but they have the same general rule: they all appear kaleidoscopic when flattened out. Kaleidoscopic meaning that the pattern is arranged in such a way that it is repetitive in a circular fashion around the center of the tile, with the design usually placed on the four corners, which allow the tea bag wrapper to be cut in four and subsequently folded to shape. This is from where the wildly colored tiles get their inspiration. Many tea bag tiles that can be found on pattern CDs or downloads as well as stores will have a wide variety of crazy patterns in various colors in spite of others still remaining understated and of a quiet wrapping appearance. The kaleidoscopic style is to ensure that when the tea bag is cut and folded (and the art of folding a tea bag rather straightforward and quite simple enough, and there are many tutorials on crafts for it that explain the step-by-step process as carefully as possible), the pattern will remain the same all around it and would appear as though it were printed the right way from all around. The European tiles are usually made so that they form "medallion" style tea bags--most familiar to Europeans who have their tea bags in boxes and come out in smaller wrapped individual packs. The tiles are used not only for tea bags but also for wrapping other small things as well as becoming backing paper for other craft projects. Some origami folders even utilize the colorful tea bag tiles (which are cut the perfect size of origami paper) for other paper folding images.