a quick cup of tea


Today I present to you — a teacup book­mark, with a hang­ing tea tag! :D Pos­si­bly a father’s day gift for a tea-drink­ing, book-lov­ing dad?

Or for any­one who enjoys a good cup of tea. And a good book. At the same time.

So! Instead of favourite things Fri­day this week I’m going to share how I made this teacup book­mark, because one can only do so much in a week, and I’ve had this idea in my head for a while now. It was some­thing that Mike has seen some­where and told me about it, and I was inspired by the Vic­to­ri­an Tea we had at the Toll­house.

It may look like there are lots of steps, but it’s actu­al­ly a pret­ty quick project. It prob­a­bly took me under an hour to make all three, and that’s with my picture-taking.

So! It’s time to get out the glue and scissors!

… and a bunch of oth­er stuff… here are all the mate­ri­als and tools I used.

  • Used gift bags (one could use oth­er kinds of paper as well, but I thought gift bags would be a good idea because it’s coat­ed, so it’s slight­ly heav­ier and more durable than, say, con­struc­tion paper, and they have nice pat­terns. And because I save them when peo­ple give me gifts and I have tons on hand)
  • Cot­ton thread (I used cro­chet thread because that’s what I have, but thin yarn or kitchen twine should work too).
  • A glue stick
  • A mark­er (or pen)
  • Scis­sors
  • A thick tapes­try needle
  • A util­i­ty knife
  • White glue
  • A ruler (if you want to be precise)
  • A cut­ting mat (or some­thing to cut on, like old magazines)
  • Teacup tem­plates

I made up this project part­ly to learn how to use Illus­tra­tor, par­tic­u­lar­ly draw­ing sim­ple shapes and curves. So I made this set of tem­plates with dif­fer­ent teacups and a tea mug. Just click on either the image or the link above it and it will bring up a PDF file. Print it at 100% and you’ll get the same size teacups as the ones I made (each is 3 inch­es wide).

First, I cut out a tem­plate. It might be eas­i­er to cut out the part inside the teacup ear with a util­i­ty knife. (Or teacup han­dle? It’s “cup ear” in Chi­nese and I’ve always called it that…)

Next, I traced the tem­plate on a part of the bag with the pat­tern that I liked. (I used a Sharpie for this so it’s eas­i­er to pho­to­graph, but one could use a pen or a pencil)

Then I removed the side of the bag where it’s fold­ed, so it would be eas­i­er to cut out the teacup.

Then I cut along the top edge of the teacup, and the gen­er­al area around the teacup through BOTH lay­ers of the bag.

So now we have two pieces, with a straight edge at the top.

I then cut a piece of cot­ton thread, about 5 inch­es in length.

I tied a knot close to one end of the thread. Then I placed a drop of white glue on the back of the piece that does­n’t have the teacup trac­ing on it, about 3/4 inch from the top edge. I then put the end of the thread into the drop of glue, with the knot just below the glue, like so…

Then I cut out a scrap piece of paper (from the cut-off of the tem­plate) about 1/2 inch tall and 1 inch wide. I glued this piece of paper on top of the thread and glue dot, with the knot stick­ing out, like so…

The thread is now locked in and won’t get pulled out easily.

I then slather a gen­er­ous amount of glue from a glue stick onto the back of the piece with the teacup trac­ing on it (not white glue, or the paper will buck­le), and then pressed it onto the piece with the string, lin­ing up the top straight edges of the two pieces (it’s OK if the oth­er edges don’t line up, as long as the top edges are lined up).

Wait a moment or two for the glue to dry com­plete­ly, then cut out the teacup shape. Again, it’s prob­a­bly eas­i­er to use the util­i­ty knife to cut out the inside part of the mug ear (aka mug handle).

Ta-da! We’re almost done!

Now for the tea tag. One could do lots with it, like write a mes­sage (like hap­py father’s day?), make a mono­gram (cut out a let­ter from the mag­a­zine?), or just leave it blank. But here’s what I made…

I sal­vaged the fold­ed side of the bag that I removed ear­li­er, and cut out a 1“x2” rec­tan­gle, then fold­ed it in half, with the white side fac­ing out.

I then cut out some tea leaves on one half with the util­i­ty knife (free-hand too! I was pret­ty proud of myself).

I then used a tapes­try nee­dle to poke a hole through the mid­dle of the fold.

Then I thread­ed the end of the thread (with the oth­er end already attached to the teacup) through the hole. I then slather a gen­er­ous amount of glue with the glue stick on the half of the paper with the leaf design. I placed the thread end on mid­dle fold of the paper, so it lied along the fold, then I put a drop of white glue on the thread.

Fold the top down and… ta-da! A one-of-a-kind paper-cut tea tag!

And guess what? The book­mark is ready to mark those pages! :D

I also made a pink one, with a flower tea tag, for an herbal tea kind of day…


Now I’m going to make myself a nice cup of tea. Thanks for stop­ping by! Have a great weekend!