Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Embroidered, Transferred and Painted Tea Towels

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Craft up your own funky dish towels!

Kitschy Transferred-Image Dishtowel

woven cotton dishtowels
image to transfer (must be printed on a laser printer or copier)
iron or heat-transfer tool
masking tape

1. Choose an image to transfer and print it out with a laser printer or a laser copier. If the picture contains text, reverse the image before printing or copying. 

2. Attach the transfer tip to a heat tool and turn the tool on. Place the image face down on a dishtowel; secure in place with a piece of masking or low-tack tape along one edge. Working on a hard surface (not an ironing board), burnish the back of the paper with the heat tool, using moderate pressure. Heat tools get very hot, so keep the tool moving to prevent paper burns. Continue working until the image is fully transferred. You can peel the paper up as you work to see which areas of the image have transferred. 

3. If you don’t have a transfer tool, use a hot iron, applying pressure to the paper with the tip of the iron.

Lettuce-Stamped Towel
woven cotton dish towels
Romaine lettuce
paper towel
craft paint in two colors
textile medium
waxed paper
1. Wash and dry the towel according to the label care instructions.

2. Cut the lettuce roughly 3"-5" from the stalk end. The cut edge of the stalk end will become the stamp. Firmly blot the cut edge on a paper towel to remove excess moisture.

3. On a piece of waxed paper, mix craft paint with textile medium (we mixed one part paint with two parts textile medium, following the instructions on the back of the textile medium bottle). Pour a small portion of the second color of craft paint into the middle of the just-mixed paint. Swirl the second color around slightly, stopping before the color blends with the base paint. 

4. Place the towel over a piece of waxed paper to prevent the paint from bleeding through to the work surface. Press the cut edge of the lettuce into the paint mixture and stamp onto the dishtowel.
Optional: To create a leaf stamp, hold two or three leaves together in a bunch and press the cut end into green craft paint that has been mixed with textile medium.

Transfer Tips for Embroidered Dishtowels
1. Choose an image to embroider on the towel. There are numerous ways to transfer an image to a towel: e.g., transfer paper, pens and pencils. Choose one method and transfer the image, following the transfer manufacturer’s instructions. We used wax-free transfer paper and a serrated tracing wheel. For this method, place the paper, colored side down, on top of the towel; place the image on top, printed side up.

2. Use the tracing wheel to trace along the lines of the image. Use a pencil or ballpoint pen to trace the small details of the image. Remove the paper, and the image will be transferred to the towel.

3. Tighten the towel in an embroidery hoop and begin embroidering. Use different stitches and colors for the various areas of the design. When not working on the embroidery, remove the towel from the hoop to avoid stretching or warping the fabric.

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