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Tea is created by using the leaves of a plant known as

Camellias sinensis. This plant is a native to China, South
Asia and Southeast Asia but is now found all over the world.
Tea-drinking can be traced back to the 10th century BC in
China before it was spread to Korea and Japan.
But in1903, the creation of the first teabags were recorded.
It was then in 1904that these were shipped around the world
and they are in fact still used until now. They are not only
cheaper, but also they are easier to find and to use in
making tea. The reason for their more affordable price

compared to loose tea leaves is because most companies

use fannings or the left-overs of larger tea leaves after they
are gathered to be sold.
Basically, this drink is made by brewing tea leaves to create
an extract. Due to the chlorophylls and other pigments in the
leaves, the extract commonly appears with a brown of color/7H.html, it was
mentioned that the aflavinis the reddish-brown pigment
found in tea. It is an example of a flavonoid which acts to
create color.
This research is being done to find out the potency of the
extract of the leaves from the plant Camellis sinensisas an
ink. Nowadays, ink is a pigment in a liquid or paste form
used as colorants and dyes. Also, they are becoming more
and more expensive because of their increasing purposes.
Our research aims to produce this ink as a cheaper
alternative to those commercial ones. Compared to the ink
we are aiming to create, commercially produced inks are
toxic and can be hazardous to a persons health once there
is inappropriate contact with it. To match with the color and
consistency of other inks, we will be adding other
substances, specifically vinegar and cornstarch, which hare
common and easy to find.


Generally, this investigatory project aims to find out if tea

bags can be used to create an ink.
Specifically, it aims to answer the following questions:
1. Can vinegar strengthen the color of the product, ink?
2. Can cornstarch contribute to achieving the right
consistency of the ink?
3. Are the processes boiling and straining efficient in taking
the extract out of the tea bags?


Extracts taken from tea bags have the potential to be made

into an ink.
If vinegar and cornstarch are added to the mixture, then the

product would have a stronger color and a thicker

consistency than that with none.

THE STUDYThis investigatory project will benefit us by producing an
alternative for other inks. These other manufactured inks
nowadays come quite expensive prices, but since the
materials to be used in our project are common and easy to
find, you will be spending less money. Also, no harmful
chemicals will be used in making our ink. Therefore, it is

non-toxic compared to commercially sold inks which have

the tendencies of causing harm to ones health and to the

LIMITATIONSOur research and experiments are only limited to
making a simple ink as a colorant. It does not include
inks that are used in machines such as printers,
copiers, etc.
Also, our study includes the effects of vinegar and
cornstarch on the product.
To have accurate observations, we will be creating two
set-ups: an ink without vinegar and cornstarch and one
with vinegar and cornstarch.

LITERATUREThe history of Chinese inks can be traced back to the 18th

century BC, with the utilization of natural plant (plant dyes),

animal, and mineral inks based on such materials as
graphite that were ground with water and applied with ink
brushes. Evidence for the earliest Chinese inks, similar to
modern ink sticks, is around 256 BC in the end of the
Warring States Period and produced from soot and animal
glue. (source:
The India ink used in ancient India since at least the
4th century BC was called masi, and was made of burnt
bones, tar, pitch, and other substances. Indian
documents written in Kharosthi with ink have been
unearthed in Chinese Turkestan. The practice of writing
with ink and a sharp pointed needle was common in
early South India. Several Jain sutras in India were
compiled in ink.(source:
Saffron (Crocus sativus) is well known as the source of
a truly brilliant if rather fugitive yellow and there is
evidence of its use, both as a colorant and medicine, in
the Greek and Persian civilizations of the same period.
(Cannon, 1995)
Pliny, in his Historia Naturalis, speaks of vegetable
dyeing in Egypt during Roman times (Ciba Review,
1938) and it is thought that these people could have
learned their craft from India, where textile dyeing had
reached a position of preeminence. Indian skill in
vegetable dyeing and painting reached a high point in
the two centuries from 1600 to 1800 AD, when the
painting and resist dyeing of cotton cloth known to uses
Chintz became the basis of the largest trade in textiles
that the world had ever seen. (Irwin and Brett,1970)
In Mediaeval and renaissance Europe treatises and
manuals on the preparation of artists colors contain
many references to plant colors, one such being
Cenninis, Il Libro dell Arte of 1437, in which he sets
out recipes for the preparation of block-printing inks
from saffron and brazil wood (Caesalpinia sp.) The
Strasbourgmanuscript, of an earlier period, also
describes the use of whole range of plants used in the
manufacture of inkstand watercolors. Later we see
developments in vegetable block-printing inks in 17th

and 18th century Japan where it is interesting to note

that some colors were actually leached from previously
dyed cloth. (Strange,1924) (source:
Its interesting to note that with all the attention given
today to the health benefits of tea, this wonderful plant
began in China not as beverage, but as a medicinal
herb. Have welcome full circle? Early historical
accounts of tea are unclear, for the Chinese character
for tea had not been standardized, and several other
Chinese characters appear in books referring very likely
to the same plant, Camellia Sinensis, what we now call
Flavonoids are the yellow plant pigments seen most
notably in lemons, oranges, and grapefruit. The name
stems from the Latin word "flavus," which means yellow.
Flavonoids in flowers and fruit provide visual cues for
animal pollinators and seed dispersers to locate their
targets. Flavonoids are located in the cytoplasm and
plastids. Many of the foods that we eat, including dark
chocolate, strawberries, blueberries, cinnamon, pecans,
walnuts, grapes, and cabbage, contain flavonoids.
These chemicals lower cholesterol levels, and many
have antioxidant properties. Anthocyanins and
proanthocyanidins, and the reddish-brown pigment the
aflavin found in tea, act to create color, while most other
flavonoids are visible only under UVlight.
The aflavin (TF) and its derivatives, known collectively
as the aflavins, are antioxidant polyphenols that are
formed from flavan-3-ols such as in tea leaves during
the enzymatic oxidation(called fermentation by the tea
trade) of tealeaves, such as in black tea. The aflavins
are types of the arubigins, and are therefore reddish in
color. Analogous compounds include EGCG in green
tea; the aflavins are not found in green tea.(source:
Extraction is very simple, and a few basic rules quickly
become apparent. I started by soaking plant material,
then simmering or boiling it to release the colour. Boiling
is not always advisable, particularly with reds, as some
tend to become browner or even disappear when
boiled. Thus if you know that a certain plant should
produce red then my advice would be not to heat above
800 C. until youre sure it wont spoil the resultant color.
Most plants do in fact produce some color especially in
soft, or artificially softened water(by adding washing
soda, SC), but many are simply too dull, weak or
uneconomic to persist
s/grow ink4.htm)

Tea dyeing is an easy way to mute fabrics or give them

an older, antiqued look. Tea stains the fibers and gives
a semi-permanent dull brown "dirty tone to the whole
piece. It is used when you want to "antique" a craft
textile such as a doll dress or small quilt. Because the
process uses tea bags it is not suggested for use on
large objects. Tea also leaves an irregular spotted stain
over the whole piece and it is not going to give you a
"perfect" or even color. If you want to color large objects
or get an even tone, use a commercial dye product.
Though we first introduced you to artist Carne Griffiths
by showing you his incredibly interesting light box
pieces, has actually known for his beautiful paintings
that are made with ink and tea. As he tells us, "I work in
an unusual medium, I draw in calligraphy ink and use
various types of tea to blend the lines - then I repeat the
process - layering the work. In the studio I have a host
of different flavored teas... chamomile, vanilla and
honey, chai, earl grey, fennel, green get
blogs/portra its-dripping-with-ink-and-tea)
Griffiths uses the medium of tea and ink (sometimes
graphite, vodka, whiskey, and others) to create these
pieces. Tea and ink as a medium has become a
trademark for Griffiths in the art world. While unique on
its own, tea has helped him develop palette of colors
that he is comfortable with. It goes without saying that
Griffiths work has distinct feel. The tea provides a
delicate saturation and texture that draws viewers in.


MATERIALS 7 teabags
1 1/2 cups of water
3. 1 tablespoon of vinegar
4. Cornstarch

1. Place the 7 teabags in 1 cups of boiling water.
2. Create the tea for 6-8 minutes.
Remove the teabags from the boiling water. Use a
strainer and a fork to remove all of the extracts.
While stirring the tea, add a tablespoon of vinegar.
Continue to stir it. Add as much dissolved cornstarch as
you need to have your desired consistency.
Remove it from the heat and let it cool. When done,
store in a bottle.

2. 1 1/2 cups of water

PROCEDURE1. Place the 7 teabags in 1 cups of boiling water.

2. Create the tea for 6-8 minutes.
3. Remove the teabags from the boiling water. Use a
strainer and a fork to remove all of the extracts.
4. Remove it from the heat and let it cool. When done,
store in a bottle.


During the procedure itself, we have observed that

boiling is an effective process of extraction. Right after
we have placed the teabags in the boiling water, the
change of color is very noticeable. During this step the
mixture had a very strong smell from the tea. While
following the procedures for set-up A which included the
placing of vinegar, there was no immediate change in
color as we expected. Instead, the vinegars effect was
seen when we tried to paint the two inks on paper.
While applying the ink on paper, it was harder to use ink
because its consistency was very watery. Thus it
became runny and scattered unlike in ink A.
After letting them dry, it was seen that ink ahead a
darker color while ink Bs writings faded.

OF DATAOur hypothesis which states that tea bags have the potential
to be made into an ink if vinegar and cornstarch is added
disproven correct. We had two setups which were Setup A
that has vinegar and Setup B that has no vinegar. Vinegar is
mainly a dilute aqueous solution of acetic acid which is
unimportant reagent and industrial chemical, mainly used in
the production of cellulose acetate. A cellulose acetate is
used as film base in photography and a film base is a
transparent substance which acts as a support medium for
the photosensitive emulsion that lies atop it, its base
generally accounts for the vast majority of the thickness of
any given film stock. The addition of vinegar and cornstarch
in making an ink can result to a thicker consistency and
consistent color which is better for the usage of the ink.
Our observations prove that adding vinegar to the mixture
can be made into an ink because without the vinegar there
would be no consistency on the mixture and it will be less


Tea bags can be used to create an ink.

Vinegar can strengthen the color of the product, ink.

Cornstarch effectively contributes to achieving to the
right consistency of the ink.
The processes boiling and straining are efficient in
taking the extract out of the tea bags.


There are many different kinds of ink. In our experiment we

will use tea bags as the main component of our ink. Having
two different set- ups will provide the chance to compare the
colors and consistencies. Cornstarch is an efficient additive

to have the right consistency of the product. Also vinegar is

also efficient, though there is no obvious change in color, it
was seen that it gave the ink a consistent color whether wet
or dry.
We therefore conclude that one can create an improvised ink
using the extract from tea bags. This will be very convenient
and cheap because the ingredients to be used are
commonly found around the house. Also, the said
processes, boiling and straining, are efficient and can be
easily done.


Based on the conducted experiment, we recommend

the following for further improvements. To have better
results of extraction, suggest that there would be longer
minutes of boiling. We also recommend that one should
make use of large amount of corn starch, a thickening
agent, so the application of ink would be done easier.
Instead of directly placing your desired amount of
cornstarch in the mixture above low fire, it would be
better to dissolve it first in cold or warm water to avoid
forming lumps. We still recommend the usage of
vinegar because of the results we have observed.
Depending on the availability, one can also use
processed soybean oil as a drying oil. This is used as a
base for printing inks and oil paints.

BIBLIOGRAPHY1.Cannon, 1995 Ciba Review, 1938

2.Irwin and Brett, 1970
3.Strange, 1924
4. Internet