Transformational Tea

In this tutorial, watercolor pens and a squirt bottle magically transform paper towels, as the process of appreciation changes your reflections about yourself.


Meghan is retired and living a life close to nature in the Idaho mountains. Her hubby built her an art studio where she spends her days happily making art surrounded by tall trees and lots of birds. She joyfully connects her spirit with the earth when she creates beauty with her hands.

Hello creative friends, Meghan (aka Firebonnet) here. Let’s perform some wizardry with this page. We’ll magically transmute common paper towels into colorful woven objects as well as do some alchemy with your self esteem. The page can be broken down into five different processes for those of you who have only a few minutes each day for art.


  • Journal
  • Water based markers (variety of colors)
  • Paper towels (heavy duty preferred)
  • Patterned paper (or paint)
  • Scrap paper
  • Two sayings from tea bags (or make own with paper and string)
  • Pen and Pencil
  • Adhesive
  • Soft paint brush
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Ruler
  • Squirt bottle
  • Optional: Tracing paper
  • Optional: Rubber gloves
  • Optional: Gold ink or paint


Let me first introduce you to the Alphabet of Appreciation. Here is where the Season of Reflection comes into play. I ask you for some self reflection, to find words of appreciation about yourself for each letter of the alphabet. And please time yourself to work quickly, rather than get mired in perfection. It’s easiest if you prepare a paper with the letters of the alphabet already written, with two columns for words.

With your timer set for five minutes, do your best to come up with positive words about yourself for each letter (for x, y, z it is enough to have that letter somewhere within the word). No matter how much self esteem you have I can promise that you will write down some negative words, which is totally fine! That’s what the second column is for, simply write a positive word beside the negative, the transformation will come later on in the art.

Sketching out the main objects of the page on scrap paper turned out to be important for my own process. It allowed me to set the artistic balance and movement, and gave me a pattern for cutting out the woven paper towels into the teapot and cup.

I don’t know about you, but I love the simple acts of ripping paper and applying water to water based medium. So much magic! We do lots of both with ripping the paper towels into strips for weaving and then applying watercolor pens in our favorite colors. I used the brush side of Tombow Dual Brush Pens for this project. The colors are so deep and rich and they spread together beautifully when water is applied. As you notice on the finished page I also used them for the background, with a brush dipped in water to spread the color. Use whatever pens you have that are water soluble though, no need to buy new supplies for the magic to happen. Check out my paper towel strips drying on the counter in my art studio!

Remember when you are gluing down your cutout teapot and cup to leave the center portion (including the top) open. You will be inserting your positive words of appreciation into the pot and the words that are ready to be transformed into the cup, to steep. I used teabag sayings to add some positive sentiments to my page. If you don’t have any, you can make your own or leave them off. The alchemy will happen regardless.

Thank you for joining me for tea today. I look forward to seeing your creative wizardry as you transmute my tutorial into your own colorful page.

Action Steps


When the paper towel you use for cleaning up after spraying the strips dries, rip it into shapes and use it as a background for a new page.


Practice the Alphabet Appreciation game numerous times, especially if you find it hard to come up with positive words for yourself. Feel free to use the dictionary.


 Try different kinds of absorbent paper using the watercolor pens and squirt bottle technique. Rip into different shapes. I’ve made great pages using rice paper and ripping the paper into peaks and valleys before applying the pens.