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My Favorite DIY Gift Yet

Updated on January 6, 2016

Or maybe you could care less about being prepared, and you are just looking for a fun craft to spruce up your own place. That is totally acceptable, too.

So, the project is these super cute tea towels with recipes printed on them. Not just any recipes, though, but handwritten recipes from, like, you know, your great grandma!

The best part about this project is that it's super personal. I got this idea from an awesome blog (see link below) and the author said she gave these to her Mom for Mother's Day. That works, but I took it to the next level. My sweet, sweet Grandmother passed away shortly before Christmas, and she was known as the master of the kitchen in our family. I decided to make these for my Mom, Aunt, and Uncle for Christmas. Everyone loved them (yes, even my Uncle!).

All the steps to this project are listed on the blog, but I am going to delve a little deeper here.

What You'll Need

  • Flour Sack Tea Towels
  • Black Sharpie or fabric pen
  • Your favorite recipes
  • Fabric softener (1/2 tsp)
  • Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (or Borax - 2 1/2 tsp)
  • Alum (found in spices - 2 tbsp)
  • Boiling water (1 cup)

First of all, the blog author says the tea towels (or flour sack towels) can be purchased at Target. I searched high and low and do agree that Target is the best bang for your buck. You can get a pack of four for $3.99. However, if you're feeling extra creative you can look elsewhere for colored tea towels; I found some cute, teal ones at Home Goods once. I also found a box of borax at Target which can be substituted for the Arm & Hammer Washing Soda.

Next, if you are going to attempt this project, give yourself plenty of time to prep the towels. I did the washing process explained on the blog at night, hung the towels to dry, and then worked on them the next morning. You can do the whole project without buying the washing materials, but I don't recommend it. It's not worth putting in all the effort to make these and then having the ink smear right away!

Also, if you do get your tea towels from Target, you will need to at least double the amounts of the ingredients listed on the blog. The recommended amounts here will only get you through about two towels.

Ready, set, go!

To do the towel prep, I mixed the fabric softener, borax, alum, and water together and let it sit to cool for a bit. Once it wasn't too hot, I put the towels in the mixture until they were completely soaked. I let them sit all wadded up in the sink for at least ten minutes before rinsing them with cool water. Once they didn't feel all soapy, I hung them to dry overnight. They were completely dry when I woke up in the morning so I was able to get started right away.

Beware: Unless you have one of those fancy printing machines, this project requires hand tracing! Don't fret, you don't have to have good hand-writing for this part, just a big window you can use as a light box will do the trick.

To do the actual tracing, I scanned the recipes I was going to trace to my computer and then printed them to be the size that I wanted on the towel. The tea towels from Target are HUGE, so I printed my recipes on a normal 8.5" by 11" piece of paper then folded the towel in quarters so that it would hang with just one quarter showing, on which the printed recipe fit perfectly!

As stated, I taped the recipes to a huge window in my living room and then taped the towel over the recipe and did the tracing there. Just a tip: the bigger the recipes, the easier it will be to trace. My Grandmother has tiny, not-so-neat handwriting so it took me a while to get through her recipes.

Overall, the project is pretty easy, but it is time consuming. Take your time with the tracing or else it will look sloppy.

Don't be afraid to take this project a step further, either. You could get creative and trace on quotes or music lyrics. If you're feeling extra bold, you could even free-hand your own drawings! Let those creative juices flow.

Hope y'all enjoy this project as much as I did!

What do you think?

Did the project turn out how you wanted it to?

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    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 2 years ago from the short journey

      A really neat idea that would make a lovely family gifts.