Making Tea Towels

I used to hate tea towels. I remember the first time I ever picked one up and tried to use it. My thoughts were those of doubt, “why would any one make a towel so thin and useless for dish drying!” I was in 8th grade.

Since that time, I have learned that tea towels are perhaps the most versatile towels in the kitchen. You can use them to dry, that was one of their original uses, you know, back in the day of daily fine china and afternoon tea, but that is probably not their best use, especially if you are used to a thicker and more absorbent terry towel. Better ideas for them are to line bread baskets, wrap fruits, veggies, and cheeses, wrap a hostess gift, and a plethora of other around the house uses.

Since they are so versatile, I now love having them and having many options. I don’t really want to set out my bread basket with Santa Clause peering over the edge in the middle of summer, but I also do not want to be scouring the web and local boutiques for the perfect towel. I decided to DIY. I am not an artist, I don’t sit around sketching and drawing things in my free time. My portraits of people have always been stick figures, the same things they were in K5. However, I can draw lines and even circles and that would be enough to start designing my own tea towels.

Target had some good options for plain white tea towels, so I bought a pack of 4. I washed them and once they were dry I went to work. I have a friend who loves NYC and I wanted to include a towel in a gift for her. I googled “famous New York icons” and then printed off images of the Empire State, Statue of Liberty, stop lights, pretzels, etc. and set them in front of me. My lack of ability to draw did cause some frustration, but overall, with the images right in front of me, I was able to draw recognizable icons. I used sharpie and acrylic paint. My biggest self-critique is that I need to practice drawing… a lot. But, otherwise, I think it turned out great.

My other tea towel design is based on Christmas. We just made it through the season, but I took a moment to remember it with a “merry and bright” towel. For this towel, I printed off text from Adobe InDesign and then cut it out with an X-acto knife (cue the cramped hand). Once I was done cutting and hacking and sawing at the cardstock, I set my template on top of the towel and used a sponge brush to press the paint onto the towel.

Now back to the drawing board to make the rest of these seemingly useless towels into personalized kitchen gems.

inside the house
inside the house





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