I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love vintage looking kitchen towels! I love how they instantly give personality to a kitchen, and how simply switching them out gives a whole new feel to your decor! In fact I change my own kitchen towels out pretty often for this very reason. Though I must confess I hardly ever use them, I barely even touch them for fear of ruining them! That is until I realized I can make my very own inexpensively! This means I can actually use them, wash them, or even make some for gifts! Let me show you how with a quick tutorial:
Flour Sack Kitchen Towels (you can find these at Walmart, Target etc. for around $5 a pack)
Martha Stewart Multi Purpose Paint (your local crafts store, about $2 a bottle)
Mixing Bowls (or paper plates)
Cardboard/towel/foil (something to protect your work space)
Ok so let me start off by saying I have seen a few tutorials on this, and they have all said to use fabric medium to mix with your acrylic paint or even with the Martha Stewart paints. However I did not have fabric medium, and the Martha Stewart Multi Surface paints indicates that they can be used on fabric. So I figured why buy something I didn’t need! And it worked!
I also did not wash or iron my towels before painting. Other tutorials will vary on this. I found that the little fold squares were actually helpful in placing and centering my design. I also knew that I wanted to try and simplify this as much as possible, and I planned on washing and drying my towels at the end to give them that soft vintage look and feel (more on this later).
Once you have your supplies and your work area is set, it is time to paint! I didn’t have any stamps or stencils on hand so I decided to free hand my design. I find I do this on a majority of my projects because it saves me some money! I simply find a font I like via Microsoft Word and type out what I want my design to say, and then I just copy what I see (for example “What’s Cooking?)! I also refer to google images and things around my house for examples of things I want to paint and try to put my own spin on it. When crafting nothing has to be perfect, you will find the imperfections just add to the charm of it!
You can start by painting something like polka dots in different colors, or if you have a stamp you can try repeating it all over your towel! Or why not try writing something in cursive like “eat” or “la cucina!” Anything goes here!
I decided to stick with a color theme of red and silver/grey as I knew I would be making a few to sell in my Etsy shop. I did two baking theme towels and two cooking themed towels mixing both words and drawings.
Once I was happy with my designs I let them dry for 24 hours. I then ironed over the towels by following the heat setting instructions I found for the Martha Stewart paints I was using:
Place decorated item right side up on ironing board; cover with dry pressing cloth. Set iron to highest setting allowed for fabric used. Place dry iron (no steam) on area pressing for 30 seconds, lift iron moving to another area until all sections are heat set.
My towels still felt a little stiff, and were definitely wrinkly so I decided to wash them on cold (delicate cycle) and then tumble dry them on low. After they came out they were nice and soft and had that vintage look and feel I was going for! They are also ready to be washed and dried again and again after this as well!
Placing a towel underneath felt too bulky, I suggest using something thinner like foil or stiffer like cardboard. I ended up just painting over my desk top as I did not mind ruining it.
Be sure to hold your towel taut when painting.
If you mess up and get a big paint blob on it (like I did) – blot the area and then soak the spot with a wash cloth dipped in cold water to dilute it, it should go away or at the very least fade a lot.
Wrap them in twine or ribbon and give as gifts!
Be sure to send me any of the diy towels you make so I can feature them on the blog, or use #twineandvinesdiy
*Interested in purchasing any of the towels you see? Check out my Etsy shop for more, or to place a custom order!