Make Your Own Blooming Tea Balls From Your Garden
How-to instructions using mint and dandelion leaves, and clove flowers
Blooming tea balls are handcrafted and constructed to mimic a blooming flower when steeped in hot water. Or like confetti in your cup.
Not all teas are the made from leaves of the Oriental Camellia sinensis.
Many plants in garden make great tea material and great for inclusion in your next DIY craft: blossoming or flowering tea balls!
The instructions listed below are transcribed and adapted from this YouTube video
Further suggestions for your own recipe and experimentation at the bottom.
thread. don’t use synthetic threads. Use 100% cotton, hemp, pure natural fiber thread
(polyester thread will melt plastic in your tea)
small leaves (leave approx. 1/8″ stem)
larger leaves (leave approx. 1/8″ stem)
flower (leave approx. 1-2″ on the flower blossom)
Assemble Your Herb Ball
wash your leaves and flowers
pick 4 or so larger leaves to wrap around the sides (dandelion). Arrange the 4 leaves into an x shape, then lay the smaller
mint leaves in a spiral shape on on top of the larger dandelion leaves
Bundle all blossoms, with the stems at different lengths, gather the ends
You now have a bundle of 4 large dandelion leaves, 6 smaller mint leaves, and 3 clover blossoms
Now, run your needle & thread lengthwise through one clover stem, then the next clover stem, and the next, making sure to grab every stem with the thread.
Wind the thread around all clover three stems many times (~20). Then wind the needle back in between the wound stems and threads. This will knot and secure the clover bundle.
Next, join the small leaves to the clover. The tops of the leaves should face the inside of the bundle as you’re gathering them so that when the tea ball unfurls and blooms, the top will face the top of your cup.
One-by-one, place the smaller mint leaves where you want them relative to the clover flowers (in a flat spiral around the clover blossoms) and thread. Then, grab all the stems of the smaller leaves and blossom and wind thread tightly around all 3 blossoms and 6 leaves and knot.
Next, place the dandelion leaves flat on alternating sides of the clover and mint bundle, keeping the dandelion leaves facing the clover and mint while you thread.
Now you’re going to make a bottom-heavy barrel of interlaced, wound leaves. You will curl all the leaves and blossoms into a ball. Tuck in the flower blossoms first, then wind them anyway you want. Don’t pull too tight as you’re threading, or you’ll tear the delicate leaves. Pull just tight enough that the thread lies flat against the leaf.
Press the ball into the palms of your hand, while making a fist. Once you’ve compressed the leaves into a ball, wind your thread all ways around the ball to ensure it stays in a ball shape while it dries. Tie thread ears into a knot.
Last, dry the blossoming herb ball. You can dry in the sun, in a dehydrator, in your cabinet, or in the oven at a really low heat.
Remove the outer string wrap when it’s dry, place in a cup, pour boiling water in, let steep for a minute or two (depending on the herb’s strength), and enjoy!
Suggestions for other leaf, flower, and herb material
According to the National Garden Association, “many of the flowers that we grow today were originally chosen for the garden based upon their attributes of aroma and flavor, not their beauty.”
The best flowers to use for blossoming tea balls are flowers with entirely edible parts “such as violas, violets, scarlet runner beans, honeysuckle, and clover” This way, you can keep the stems to sew without any worry about departing a bitter taste or toxicity to your teas. Read the National Gardeners Association edible flowers page
When collecting wild material for use as teas, as always, <consult our guide on foraging ethics> to minimize negative impact. Collect young leaves for a lighter taste, and older leaves for a stronger flavor. In general, collect material during the dry season or in dry areas. Dry the fresh herbs you don’t immediately use by setting out them in a well-ventilated area either outside or inside, or in the oven at temperatures no higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, as these will break-down the aroma and flavor of the herbs. Preserve the dried herbs by storing in airtight glass jars, protected against oxygen, light, and moisture. Never use wilted or moldy leaves or flowers. Limit consumption to one or two cups of 1 teaspoon dry or 2 teaspoons fresh of herb per cup of tea until you’re comfortable.
Forage responsibly. I am not responsible for lack of cross-checking information listed in this article or improper identification.