You know how sometimes in life you’re looking for something specific in your mind, however no matter how hard you look you just can’t find it. Yeah, me, too. I searched high and low all over town for some black and white tea towels – you know, the pretty kind? I couldn’t find them anywhere. I was ready to give up and then the thought struck me – why not just make your own ding dang tea towels. So I did. And guess what… you can, too. These DIY tea towels are so easy, and honestly at about $2 a towel you really can’t beat the price.
If you’ve been scared to touch a sewing machine, this is the beginner project you’ve been waiting for. Seriously. It’s a little ironing and four straight lines – it’s so easy that anyone can do it!
- fabric (at least 90% cotton)
- gold iron on vinyl (I’m smitten with this kind from my friends at Happy Crafters.)
- sewing machine
- Silhouette machine
- vinyl picker
- small piece of wood
Begin with a piece of fabric (at least 90% cotton) cut 22 inches by 28 inches and iron down a 1/2 inch seam all the way around.
Go all the way around, measuring and ironing down, just turning each side over the other as you go. Start on one side and work your way around.
When you get back to where you started, fold it over one more time and go right over what you just ironed, so you’re turning in that seam. Use your iron to really press the corners well, so it will hold them in place until you sew them down. (You can use pins if you’d like, but I’m sewing dare devil and go sans pins.)
When you make it all the way around, you’ll have turned all of the raw edges into the seams, so now you’re ready to sew.
Starting at the edge, run a few stitches (5-6) and then back stitch, then go all the way to the other edge. Where the flap folds over to the other side, be sure to back stitch when you get to those so those flaps are secure. No one likes flappy corners.
When you’ve made it all the way around, the towel part is complete – YAY! You could stop here… or you could make it even more awesome with a little word bling…
Choose your words, then build your graphics in the Silhouette software. Reverse the words so you can cut them out of the gold iron on vinyl (I’m so in love with this stuff it’s ridiculous!) With the shiny side down (white side up) cut your graphics out with your Silhouette.
After you’ve run it through the Silhouette, and before you pick off the extra, cut the phrases apart (one sheet did six phrases for me).
Using your pick, carefully peel away the negative space, so you only have the letters left for the next step.
I went with southern sayings – but you can bling it up with whatever… they’re your towels.
Fold the towel in thirds, so you can center up the image, the back of the film will be a bit stick and will help hold it (it’s not perfect though, so be careful.) On top of a small piece of wood (I used a scrap of 1×8), open up the towel and you’re going to iron straight onto the film to adhere the vinyl to your towel.
Press really hard, just like you would any iron on transfer. You’re smushing the vinyl onto the fabric with heat, so you need a lot of pressure (and NO STEAM!) Iron firmly for a couple of minutes, keeping the iron moving.
After you’ve ironed it down really well and you see the texture of the vinyl take on the texture of the fabric, use the tip of the iron to kind of burnish it into the fabric once more just to be sure. You want every little molecule of the vinyl to adhere, so take your time.
Give the transfer a few minutes to cool, then peel off the film and your towel is done!
And now you have no excuse to not have cute towels in your kitchen. Just sayin’….
*Thanks to Happy Crafters for partnering with me on this post. All ideas, words, photographs and opinions are 100% my own, yo.*
andrea cammarata says
These are SOOOOOOOO adorable!!!! I LOVE THEM!!!! hugs…
Cheryl at Snaps of Ginger says
Iron-on vinyl??!! I didn’t know they made that! I must get some immediately. Oh, the possibilities….
Loving those towels.
This is such a cute idea. Must pin it. Thank-you!
Trine @ Creative Pink Butterfly says
I love this!! Pinning Pinning Pinning!!
Do these laundry well? They are adorable! They would make great gifts!
Love these! Two points at least for giving such clear instructions. I can never seem to find cutting size on other tuts or I don’t believe them coz they seem too small. These are so cool with the words like that! Thanks so much for sharing this. Just finding this today April 27, 14.
Love these! Just curious-can you wash these towels or how does the vinyl react?
Gina Luker says
You can wash them in cool water and low heat. I’ve not had any problems with it.
Hollie @ Stuck on Hue says
Came across this and had to comment on the “oh my gravy” phrase. Gotta love the cowboys from Amazing Race!