How To Make Whimsical Vegetable-Stamped Tea Towels for Spring

How To Make Whimsical Vegetable-Stamped Tea Towels for Spring

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Coco Morante
Mar 29, 2015
(Image credit: Coco Morante)

Channel your inner crafter this weekend and get stamping! It’s time to raid the produce drawer for some artsy inspiration. Did you know that okra pods, when cut in half crosswise, look like cute little blooms? Celery resembles a rose, and cabbages make a dramatic print, like big mums or dahlias.

With that knowledge in hand, we're headed into the kitchen to make our own vegetable-stamped tea towels, just in time for spring.

(Image credit: Coco Morante)

I played around with a couple different styles on my tea towels. For one, I made a simple grassy border, then stamped a meadow of okra flowers. On the other, I did an all-over print of cabbage, okra, and celery blooms. Sketch out a few ideas before you start, and you’ll be more apt to end up with a design that makes you happy.

(Image credit: Coco Morante)

In order to make the grassy border on one of my tea towels, I made a super simple stamp that worked really well! As you can see, it's just a piece of cardboard wrapped with kitchen twine. Secure the ends of the twine with a little packing tape on the back, and you're done. It took about three minutes to make, at zero extra expense. If you don't have kitchen twine, any string will work.

My homemade "grass" stamp
(Image credit: Coco Morante)

For the fabric paint, you can go neon, primary, or pastel, and matte, shiny, or metallic. If you can't find the exact shades you want, just get a few primary colors (and white or black if you want to go lighter or darker), then mix up your own custom paints at home. Left out in their cups, these paints stay wet for a long time (a couple hours or so), so you won't have to worry about them drying out while you're crafting.

Where To Buy Fabric Paint

(Image credit: Coco Morante)

To figure out how much paint to brush on your stamps for the desired effect, play around with stamping on a sheet of paper before you start decorating your towels. I found that a thin, even layer of paint was enough for two impressions — after that, I had to reapply the paint for a nice, solid stamp.

And that's it, really. Just mix up your paints, cut up some produce, and you're ready to go. I hope you enjoy this little weekend project as much as I did!

How To Make Stamped Tea Towels Using Vegetables

Makes as many towels as you want to decorate

What You Need

Equipment
White kitchen towels (as many as you want to decorate)
Plastic trash bag or tarp
Sketch pad and pencil
Fabric paint
Disposable cup (or cups, if using multiple paint colors)
Bamboo skewers or popsicle sticks
Knife and cutting board
Vegetables for stamping (okra, cabbage, and celery work well)
Brush (or brushes, if using multiple paint colors)
Sheets of white paper
Mild soap and warm water

Instructions

  1. Prep a work surface: Line your work surface with a plastic trash bag or tarp.
  2. Prep the towels: Wash, dry, and iron the towels.
  3. Sketch out your design (optional): If you’re doing a simple design, such as grass with a few flowers, you might not need to plan in advance. If you’re going with a more abstract pattern, you might want to make a game plan before you start stamping.
  4. Apply fabric paint: In one or more disposable cups, squirt out your fabric paint and mix custom colors with a bamboo skewer or popsicle stick, if desired. For this springtime pattern, I added white to basic colors to create soft pastel tones.
  5. Create a grass stamp (optional): To make quick work of the grass border, make a disposable stamp using a piece of cardboard, kitchen twine, and a piece of tape. Cut one side of the cardboard into a zigzag pattern, then wrap the kitchen twine around the cardboard, securing the ends with tape on the back of the "stamp."
  6. Cut the vegetables to create stamps: When cut in half crosswise, small vegetables like okra, spring onions, and endives create adorable little flower-like stamps. Heads of celery and cabbage will make a stamp resembling a big spring bloom, such as a rose or dahlia.
  7. Cover your stamps with paint: Use the brush to cover your stamps with a thin layer of fabric paint, being sure to wash the brush or use multiple brushes if you’re switching colors.
  8. Stamp the design: Test out your stamps on a piece of paper. When you are satisfied, smooth out a towel on your lined work surface, then stamp your design onto the towel, brushing more paint on the stamp as needed.
  9. Wash the brushes: Wash the brushes with soap and warm water.
  10. Dry the towels: Leave the towel laying flat to dry on the tarp or trash bag, making sure it is not in a drafty area. Allow to dry for 72 hours before washing.
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