DIY Tea Towel Tutorial (Stamped Kitchen Towels)

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What do you do with a pack of flour sack towels you uncovered in your craft stash?

flour sack towels

After coveting fancy but expensive tea towels, I decided to do-it-yourself (myself?).   Add some paint, a few stamps and a stencil and you’ve got fresh custom kitchen towels in about 10 minutes!

Stamped Tea Towel Tutorial

Your imagination is the limit for these.  You get to choose your colors, your phrase, your design– a DIYers dream come true.  Such an easy way to spice up your kitchen for about one dollar each.  And let me tell you, I could have kept stamping and stenciling all day!

stamped stenciled tea towel kitchen towel tutorial
stamped stenciled tea towel kitchen towel tutorial

These were not only easy, but inexpensive.  A 5-pack of flour sack towels (great for kitchen use) are only $4.99 at Walmart.

flour sack towels

The ideas are endless.  I used lowercase letter stamps, but you could use any stamp including those with patterns and designs.

apple of my eye?
easy as pie?
bring home the bacon?

The quotes write themselves, y’all.

File this under the ‘DIY gifts’ category, too.  My friends and family better be prepared– once I started stamping I couldn’t stop, and for about $1 each there’s no reason I should!  These would make great gifts, or for wrapping up treats, or just making tons to have on hand at all times.  Plus, who couldn’t use a bunch of extra dish towels hanging around?

Stamped Tea Towel Tutorial

Simple, fun, and easy– these usable kitchen towels were a cinch to make and give you so much bang for your buck!

stenciled and stamped Tea Towel Tutorial

1.  Start by washing and of course ironing the towels.  You wouldn’t want to simply open the package and start stamping just because you were impatient, would you?  {okay, I did.  please do as I say and not as I do.}

2.  Prepare your paint.  If you have fabric paint, then you can skip this step.  If you have craft paint, mix it with a two parts paint, one part Fabric Painting Medium.  It’s great stuff to have on hand, by the way– even though it’s white, it won’t change the color of the craft paint you are using.  It turns any craft paint into fabric paint!

stamped stenciled tea towel kitchen towel tutorial

3.  Lay out the towel and decide where you want the design to be.  Unless you are doing an allover design, it might help to first fold the towel as though you are hanging it.  See which part is showing, and that’s the part you’ll want to paint.  Feel free to mark with seamstress chalk or masking tape if you wish.

stamped stenciled tea towel kitchen towel tutorial

4.  Place a piece of cardboard underneath the fabric so paint doesn’t bleed through.

stamped stenciled tea towel kitchen towel tutorial

5a.  To stamp the towel:  I laid out the stencils to make sure they fit before applying the paint.

stamped stenciled tea towel kitchen towel tutorial

Load up your stamp with paint.  It’s important to get the right amount of paint on the surface; not too much or it will bleed, not too little or it will be spotty.  I used a spouncer to apply the paint.

stamped stenciled tea towel kitchen towel tutorial

Once loaded up with paint, I put the letter on the towel:

stamped stenciled tea towel kitchen towel tutorial

THEN I added the magnetic back and applied pressure.  If you add the magnetic back first, it’s hard to see the correct placement of the stamp.

stamped stenciled tea towel kitchen towel tutorial

I often get asked about the stamps.  These magnetic lowercase letter rubber stamps are one of the best crafting investments I’ve made, and I’ve only been able to find them on Amazon.  {update: this set seems to be only $7 today, but there’s only 3 left…  I paid almost $40!  Get them while they’re hot!!}

5b. To stencil the towel:  Tape your stencil in place using an easy release tape like painters or masking tape.  Use a spouncer to lightly tap paint all over the stencil.  I found this great Martha Stewart stencil pack at Michaels, and used soft gray paint with the honeycomb design.  Since it reminded me of bees, I stamped the words “Hi Honey” next to it in a buttery yellow.  There are so many ideas in that one pack, check out the design possibilities:

Martha Stewart stencils

6.  Let dry for 24-48 hours, and heat set with an iron.

7.  Hang them up and enjoy!  To be honest, at first I didn’t even want to use them in case they got ruined.  But for $1 each, if one gets dirty I’m not going to get upset– I’ll just get stamping.

{I even let the kiddos stamp a set for themselves.  But that’s another post for another day.  I’m still peeling paint out of my hair.}
stamped stenciled tea towel kitchen towel tutorial

Oh yes.  I let them go wild with the spouncers.  😉

How will you personalize your flour sack towels?  Stamps, stencils, spouncers-gone-wild?
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  1. They are really nice! Thanks for sharing such a nice craft! I hope you got all the paint out of your hair by now! LOL! that made me snort! 😉

  2. So smart with the masking tape! I obviously love this because you used our favorite stamps! I am adding this one to my list for sure.

  3. Gorgeous!!! These will make gorgeous christmas gifts! I can’t wait to make my own!

  4. These are so cute! I have some of these exact towels …..and stamps! Thanks so much for inspiring me!


  5. I love these!!! I will definitely be using them as Christmas gifts this year! Thanks so much for this amazing DIY!

  6. How cute! I am def. going to make some. I almost ordered one off Etsy that said “I love you more than biscuits and gravy”. Now I am just going to make it. Your newest follower coming over from the Home Stories link party.

    Sarah @ Our Family of Three

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  8. Hi! I love this idea and I have to confess, I’ve tried it. However, even after mixing the fabric medium with basic acrylic paint, the paint on my towels is coming out “crusty!” Not sure why this is, but I love the idea and even though it seems so simple, I can’t figure out what I am doing wrong! I tried using less paint, but after they dry, the towels are not soft and really useable. The painted areas are hard and crunchy, not something that you really want to wipe your hands on! I was hoping you might know what I could do to fix this. I can’t find any info on the internet that addresses this issue! Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Shana! I’m so sorry that happened. My towels didn’t turn out that way so I’m not sure what the difference was… perhaps the ratio of fabric medium to paint, or the amount of paint? But I have two ideas. Perhaps try again with actual fabric paint instead of making your own, OR use silkscreen ink for fabric. They sell it in craft stores and rumor has it that it comes out much more evenly and I’d assume binds with the fabric more. I’m actually looking for it in a pretty color so I can try the ink as well. Good luck, let me know if either of those ideas work out!

      1. Hi Carrie! Thank so much for getting back to me! That was really nice. I am going to try the paints you suggested. Many websites online post this project and many of them claim to be using regular acrylic paint mixed with the fabric medium, which is what I did. I even used more than the recommended amount of the medium to thin the paint out since the towels are pretty thin fabric. Anyhow, I suspected it’s a paint issue so I’ll give the other stuff a try! Thanks again! Great website!

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  10. Can you wash the painted towels with regular laundry?
    Thanks for the great step by step instructions.

    1. Yup! I throw them right in the wash. Just be sure to follow the directions on your fabric paint to make sure you’re finishing all the steps to make it colorfast.

  11. I’m so sad, just tried to buy the magnet letter set and they are sold out. Thought I’d found them on Amazon but the seller just e-mailed me to say they are out of stock. Do you know of a similar product?
    Thanks, I love this idea!!

    1. Oh no! I’m so sorry, I haven’t been able to find anything like them anywhere else. Drat, I sold a bunch of those on Amazon too… I’ll be sad if they’re gone for good. I checked the website and can’t find them, so I’m sorry to say they might be discontinued. Perhaps try eBay, you might be able to find a set there. So sorry, let me know if you find them!

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    1. YOU ARE THE BEST!!! Thank you for sharing, I get emails all the time asking about large ABC stamps and I can’t find them anywhere any more. If only I could make them myself I would. Thanks for finding these!

  13. This is such a great project and a great tutorial! I am featuring you on my upcoming Tea Towel Round-up post! Thanks for sharing!

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