November 9, 2023

Tea-licious Harvest Tea Towel Tutorial

When the weather turns cooler and the leaves begin to fall, there's nothing better than a hot pot of tea to warm you up. And just so you don't burn your fingers, it helps to have a little pot holder or fall-themed tea towel to go with your Earl Gray and pumpkin muffins.
Rather than a boring white tea towel, let's get crafty, shall we? Look to the pumpkin (and gourd) for artistic inspiration, since they're the quintessential harvest veggies.
You can create your own carved linoleum block print to stamp tea towels and tee-shirts and greeting cards until your heart's content.

You'll need:
~linoleum block (or a potato), sized a little larger than what you want the final design to be
~tea towels (got a great deal at Target for $1.74/6)
~printing inks for fabric
~knife or carving tool
~brayer roller or paint brush
~themed cookie cutters (optional)
~newspaper/scrap paper
1. Sketch a design. Simple ones work best. I took the gourd, shown above, and did a sketch of it.
You could also trace a cookie cutter, like below
2. To transfer your sketch onto the linoleum block, re-trace the lines heavily with pencil. Then flip the paper over, laying it on top of the linoleum.
3. With the pencil, scribble on the back of the paper over top of the lines of the design.
4. Ta Da! The image is transferred onto the block.5. Now for the carving. I use a v-gouge tool to get rid of the areas I want to be white.
In this design, I wanted the lines to be raised up, so they would take on the ink and make the image. You could carve out the lines and then make the lines white and the majority of the image colored. That was hard to explain--does it make sense?

I also carved out the space around the pumpkin, since I didn't want to have my image sitting within a rectangle. Alternatively, you could just slice off the edges around the image, as I did with the leaf, seen below.
Oh, and be careful not to cut yourself! Always carve away from you, and don't push the knife in too deep.

6. Next, prepare an area for inking. Put newspaper underneath your work area as well as the tea towel, as ink will bleed through a little. I reused a kids' meal plastic place mat.I didn't have orange ink, so I mixed up yellow and green. I rolled it out with a brayer, but you could use a paint brush too.
The brayer makes it much easier transfer the ink onto the stamp in an even coat, without brush marks.
7. You're ready to stamp your design. Be sure to iron or flatten your fabric first.
I then added my second stamp once the ink was dry, and also some decorative, free-hand dots along the edges.
Wait 48 hours until dry (follow the instructions on your ink) and iron to set the ink. You can wash and use this often. I'm hopefully going to make a bunch to add to my Christmas breakfast baskets that I gift my friends/relatives with.

Here's one made with a carved potato stamp. I halved a potato, smashed an acorn-shaped cookie cutter into it, then carved the sides out, right up to the edge of the cookie cutter.
Then I stamped it like the linoleum ones.
This is much easier for kids to make than the linoleum block.Dressed up with a little color and autumn flair, a plain tea towel will make a homey statement in your Thanksgiving kitchen.
It will make you feel even homier knowing that you made it yourself. A set of these towels would make a great hostess gift too, especially if you'll be a guest at someone else's home for Thanksgiving. Stamp away!

This item was a submission for Week 1 of the So You Think You're Crafty challenge.
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