How To Make Your Own Tea Bags
Every once in a while when I’m in the midst of trying to figure something out, I end up making some other fun discovery at the same time. And that’s exactly what happened a few years ago when I was trying to make homemade flavored tea with loose tea and ground spices. That approach didn’t turn out liked I hoped it would – BUT – in the course of that experiment I learned I could make my own tea bags!
Now, I don’t make homemade tea bags all the time because let’s face it, there are lots of wonderful ready-made tea bags on the store shelves. But recently I saw some interesting loose teas at my local health food store and I didn’t hesitate to buy some (my current favorite is their organic bancha green tea) because I knew I could quickly make some homemade tea bags for using it. It doesn’t take much time and effort at all to create these DIY tea bags, and yes, it’s even kind of fun!
Another reason to make your own tea bags is that loose tea is thought to have superior taste because it’s made from the whole leaf rather than the smaller tea “fannings” used in ready-made tea bags. Plus, homemade tea bags can also be a cute gift idea customized with pretty string like this baker’s twine, colorful tags made from scrapbook paper, or with specialty flavored or organic loose teas that you can’t find ready-made in the stores.
How Do You Make Homemade Tea Bags?
To make your DIY tea bags, you’ll need some coffee filters, string or heavy thread, and loose tea. (I used to use the basic Lipton loose tea that can usually be found on grocery store shelves but as mentioned above, I’m now enjoying green tea instead). You’ll also need a scissors and a stapler. Finally, a small bit of pretty paper or card stock is nice to make a “tab” at the top of your string for holding as you dunk your tea bags.
Here’s the complete step-by-step process with photos:
1. Flatten out a coffee filter and then cut a little bit off each side to make a more rectangular shape.
2. Put about a teaspoon of loose tea in the center of the coffee filter.
3. Fold the coffee filter in half the long way, closing the tea inside.
4. Then fold the long sides back towards the middle, folding it over three times, making small folds.
5. Now that the tea is folded inside, you’ll want to re-center things, kind of rolling the package so that the folded seam is going down the middle.
6. Next fold the filter package in half.
7. I then cut about 3/4″ off the top so that the package wasn’t so long and skinny and was more the shape of a traditional tea bag.
8. Fold in the two top edges so that the top now comes to a point.
9. Fold over the top point of your filter package just a little bit. Lay a 5″ piece of string on top, and then staple. This will seal the package shut and also attach the string.
10. To make a little tab for the end of your string, cut a 1″ x 2″ piece of paper and fold it in half. Place the end of the string inside and then staple, centering the stapler over the string when stapling. Sometimes I also use double-sided tape inside the piece of paper (instead of the stapler) for securing the tab to the string.
Now you have your very own homemade tea bag!
Depending on how much you cut off your coffee filter in step 1, and how big or little your folds are in step 4, you can end up with skinny tea bags or fat tea bags.
I’m happy to say that here at The Make Your Own Zone homemade tea bags of all shapes and sizes are welcome! ♥
How To Make Homemade Tea Bags
- Coffee Filter
- 1 Tsp Loose Tea
- 5" Piece of String or Heavy Thread
- 1"x2" Piece of Paper or Card Stock
- Flatten out a coffee filter and then cut a little bit off each side to make a more rectangular shape.
- Put the teaspoon of loose tea in the center of the coffee filter.
- Fold the coffee filter in half the long way, closing the tea inside.
- Then fold the long sides back towards the middle, folding it over three times, making small folds.
- Now that the tea is folded inside, you'll want to re-center things, kind of rolling the package so that the folded seam is going down the middle.
- Next fold the filter package in half and cut about 3/4" off the top.
- Fold in the two top edges so that the top now comes to a point.
- Fold over the top point of your filter package just a little bit. Lay the 5" piece of string on top, and then staple. This will seal the package shut and also attach the string.
- To make a little tab for the end of your string, fold your 1" x 2" piece of paper in half. Place the end of the string inside and then staple, centering the stapler over the string when stapling. Sometimes I also use double-sided tape inside the piece of paper (instead of the stapler) for securing the tab to the string.
- Your homemade tea bag is now complete!
I hope you’ll enjoy making your own tea bags too. I have a hunch you will!
(Note: This post was originally published February, 2014 and updated August, 2019. Here is the original picture on this post which you may have seen around on Pinterest.)
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This is exactly what I needed! I bought recently, for the first time, loose leaf tea. I am not liking the stainless steel ball thing to put the leaf tea in…. Found your article, and BAM! Guess what I’m doing tonight? Making teabags, of course!!!
This is very clever! However, loose leaf tea benefits very much from having a lot of room to expand. A good old fashion tea ball or strainer is my preference. Very inexpensive and no prep or waste. I love the ones that are basket shaped that sit over the edges of your cup rather than a traditional ball. If you go this route you can get one that’s big enough to fit in your mug, but not a small guy with hardly any room to expand. Also, Harney and Sons has a huge selection of loose leaf teas online if you want to branch out on flavors!
Your staple looks like stainless steel. Where do you get the small stapler to seal the bag?
I’ve had my little stapler for so many years, I don’t remember where it was purchased. It’s a Swingline stapler though, so a very common brand.
Is there any concern about leaching metal from staple from hot water?
Good point. I’m going to buy a tea kettle with herb infuser built in for loose tea
Thanks for the way to make teabags
Ya había hecho antes bolsitas de té , pero está manera fue la ganadora en lo rápido que se puede hacer. No sabía doblarlas tan rápido!!! Gracias!!!
I don’t have a coffee filter any other way to make one?
I bought some loose tea and this tea bag tutorial was very helpful. Thanks!
Glad it was helpful for you Robin!
It would be better if the string is just stitched, instead of staple wire. Most of staple wires are made of metal and contain lead and it will react when it dip into hot water!!
RaBa Ali: You can sew it, use needle and cotton thread.
Beverly: Thank you so much for the diy 🙂
Very interesting and good .
I like it.
Very intresting ,, i like it
This is brilliant! Thanks
Love it ! Love it! I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile now and finally decided to look online to find some info about it. So glad I did! I’m going to buy some coffee filters tomorrow so I can try it out. Thanks so much for this post!
I use a coffee filter. Put my coffee in it and tie it up. VERY simple and it works perfect!
Thank you, grew my own lemongrass and made my own tea.
Love this idea but if I go to all work of making my own tea bags Lipton, a highly polluted brand, is not going to be a choice for tea.
Thank you. This is a great idea. I’m travelling and I think this is exactly what I was looking for.
Great help, I was searching a method to make sandalwood leaf tea and I got the tips ,thank you very much.
Yes, this can be a great method if you want to make your own tea bags in a specialized flavor. Sandalwood sounds interesting!
Love this idea! Bonus I can also use this for ground coffee, it will taste way better than just a packet of instant coffee.
Yes, coffee might work with this method too!
Genius, thank you so much. Your solution is so simple that I can’t stop being amazed. Good job!!! Again; thank you.
What a great idea! I have been boiling lemongrass, mint, sage, parsley, ginger, and some other spices and just storing it in jars. Maybe I will try to grind all of that up in my ninja and place it in homemade tea bags!
How to use rose hips to make tea? And citrus could be pieces of the Orange rind or rind thinking of sewing my tea pouches maybe the muslin then thought what about the mesh. Onion bags repurposing that for tea bags. What parts of camomile go in the teabag with the citrus? Just ideas
what specific string and paper are you using?
The paper tab at the end of the string is a small piece cut from scrapbook paper from the craft store. The string was just from a ball of string I’ve had around my house for so many years that I don’t even remember where it came from anymore (probably something my husband bought at a hardware store!)
Thank you! I’m not a bit crafty, but I was able to make these and had fun doing it!
Thanks! just what i needed! Found info on teas that boost metabolism and wanted to made my own combination!
Glad this was a solution for you Barbara! This strategy can certainly help you customize your own combination of teas in a teabag.
Which things boost motabolism ?
This make your own teabag idea is “GOLD” Thank you for sharing
We make our own loose tea using dries sweet basil, lemon grass and two kinds of mint. Now I can make a good Christmas gift of tea.
Awesome! Thanks for sharing
Thank you for making this! I was wondering if I can use regular mint for tea. I have an abundance of it and my mom won’t be mad if I use it. The chamomile isn’t in bloom yet, so mint is my only answer.
Yes, I think you could use the mint in your homemade tea bags. It should be dried if you want the tea bags to last on the shelf without going bad, but perhaps a few fresh sprigs of mint would work in your homemade tea bags too, as long as you used them quickly.
Thank you! I am making a surprise for my mother today!
This is a great guide, thank you.
I love this. It worked great!
i made my tea bags with paper towel there ani wrong
please answer this
Edie – Coffee filters will hold up better for homemade tea bags because coffee filters are designed to be able to get wet and not fall apart. Paper towels, on the other hand, are much more likely to fall apart when they get wet. If you really wanted to use paper towels for homemade tea bags, you should probably use a double layer of paper towels. However coffee filters don’t cost much at all to buy and are really the better choice for this project.
Have you ever seen the bulkherbstore website which lists for chai a recipe:
Turmeric Chai Latte Recipe
Makes 2 small servings
2 Cups Whole Milk
1 Tbsp Butter
1 tsp Turmeric Root Powder
1 tsp Ginger Root
15 Black Peppercorns (Black Pepper activates Turmeric)
1/2 tsp Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
1 Tbsp of Raw Honey to taste
Garnish with a pinch of Cinnamon or fresh ground Black Peppercorns to taste.
Thank you for sharing this homemade empty tea bag. What a great idea: to use paper coffee filters! I made one for myself so I could make some peppermint tea which had been dried & sifted. I didn’t staple the tea bag shut though, but just folded the top edge of the tea bag down a couple of times, microwaved a cup of water for 200 seconds, then added the tea bag, steeped it a couple of minutes and presto delicious peppermint tea. What a treat! And the tea stayed inside the tea bag the whole time while I was enjoying its taste.
you make mistake 1”X 2” paper connot possible make a teabag
The 1″x2″ piece of paper in the instructions is for the little tag at the top of the string. I’ve updated the instructions to make that more clear.
So let’s say I wanted my ground spices to be absorbed into the tea, like completely have the taste blended with the tea?Do I need to replace the coffee filter with something more permeable?
I experimented with adding spices and just could not get results I was happy with. I’m not sure of the best way to do this.
Have been looking for empty tea bags to fill with silica gel granules to put in buckets of some foods as a dessicant while stored. Would these bags work?
I think this would definitely work Flo! The paper of the coffee filter has a tight enough weave that the silica gel granules should stay contained in your homemade tea bag and not fall out. I think it will be a good solution for you!
Just one question:
what is the preferable size of the filter you use?
I will use this great idea in a children’s camp and I cannot decide which box to buy.
Sizes: 90/250 mm, 101/317 mm, 152/457 mm, 203/533 mm
Help, please! 🙂
The coffee filters sold where I am do not have that type of sizing on the package. I used filters sized for an 8 to 12 cup size coffeemaker, which is the most common size. I think as long as you don’t get the smallest size (for a 4 cup coffee maker) you should be OK with any of the other larger sizes.
i am so happy because i have a good idea for my research>>..project…
jounior high school ……
I would like to dry home grown peppermint leaves and blend them with green tea for a calming tea
I think making your own tea bags would be a great way to make tea from your home grown peppermint leaves Kathy!
Thanks! Im trying to make up some bags for Tub Teas =D and needed a tea bag instruction. This is perfect!
love this idea
Thank you. Tried it and love it.