A few days ago I shared a picture on my Instagram Account, featuring an adult coloring page colored with regular, brewed tea. The post was a hit! I decided to share a tutorial, so you can try this technique at home.

Instagram Adult Coloring with Tea Painting with Tea watercolor sepia effect
Coloring: Personally Tea
Adult Coloring with Tea Tea Bags Twinings Lady Grey Anna Grunduls Design Coloring Postcard
Forest Animals Postcard from Anna Grunduls Design

It’s always a good time to grab a cup of tea (In fact, mine is standing in front of me right now!), but for this tutorial we won’t be drinking it. We’ll use a very intense tea essence as watercolor paint. Here’s what what’s needed:

This may come as a surprise, but I actually recommend using low quality, black tea for this purpose. Expensive tea may contain whole or broken tea leaves, which is great for brewing and drinking, but not so much for paint making 😉 Tea bags with powdered tea are going to work best here. I used Twinings Lady Grey, because it was too strong for my taste and I didn’t want to waste it.

1. Brewing

In 1/4 cup boiling water, put 2-3 bags of tea. Squeeze the essence out of the bags by tapping them with a tea spoon. Let the cool and brew for at least 30 minutes or even overnight. I like to brew my painting tea on the day before. During the night, some of the water evaporates and the essence is more pigmented in the morning.

Tea Brewing for Adult Coloring Tap Tea Bags with a Spoon to Squeeze The essence and tea powder

2. It’s all about the layers

Time to start painting! Keep in mind, our tea painting is going to be monochrome, so instead of various colors (like with pencils), we’ll be working with various shades of the same color. How do we achieve all of these shades with one and the same tea brew? My answer is: layers. Darker shades can be achieved by layering tea 4 or 5 times and lighter shades only need 1 or 2 layers. While I was waiting for my coloring to dry, I made a simple paint chip for your reference:

Tea Painting Paint Chip Reference Tea Shades Tea Colors Watercolor Sepia Monochrome Painting Color Palette
Tea Watercolor Adult Coloring Tutorial How to Color In with Tea Black Tea Twinings Lady Grey
Adult Coloring with Tea Painting with Tea Painting with Drinks First Layer Sepia Watercolor

For the first layer, I start off by coloring only the details I want to be the darkest. You’ll need a nice, thin brush for this. As you can tell from the pictures, I like to paint very thick layers. It causes the paper to wave more at first, but once it dries, the paper flattens out.

3. Let dry

When you’re done painting the first layer you’ll have to wait until it fully dries, before you start working on the second one. Otherwise, all layers will mix up and every element will end up having the same shade. I recommend setting the picture aside until it fully air dries, but if you’re impatient like me, you can dry it with a heat gun or hair dryer. Keep a fair distance between the dryer and the paper, so you don’t blow the tea drops outside the lines.

4. Reapeat for next layers

At this point you pretty much know what to do: Each next layer should cover the element you colored before AND some that you want to be slightly lighter. Let the layer dry and paint the next one, this time covering even more elements. Repeat the steps until your picture is finished!

Adult Coloring Tutorial Tea Painting Watercolor Layering Tutorial Anna Grunduls Design

You can see my finished picture above. How did I do? 🙂

Coloring postcards like this one can be found in this section of my shop.
Floral Mandala in the top picture was colored by Personally Tea.

Happy Coloring,
Anna

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