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Hi, it’s Jill from Snugglebug University. Today I’m going to show you how I turned my kids artwork into hand towels!
The only kind of craft projects that I seem to do in December are the really simple ones…and this is definitely one of those kind of projects! This project is an easy one and I really love how these towels came out!
My daughter’s already planning on giving one of her towels to her teacher as a Christmas gift. I love teacher gifts which are practical and useful too.
For these dishtowels I took pictures of my daughter’s artwork, and then had the image professionally printed on the fabric. If you don’t have time to have a company print the artwork on your towels, you could easily buy toweling and some fabric markers and make your own artwork towels that way. You could even purchase already-made tea towels and have them decorate those! We’ve had great luck with these fabric markers.
Today though I’m going to show you how to make your own towels. I’ll show you how you can finish the edges of your towels neatly, so that the back looks just as impressive as the front!
These towels make such great (and practical!) gifts for grandparents, parents, and teachers! I love them so much that I had to make myself a pair too. I plan on putting the Christmas towel away with our Christmas decorations when the season is over…and I’m pretty sure that it will make me smile when I get it out next year!
Who is ready to see how they are made?
I aim to make my dishtowels about 13.5 x 24.5 inches finished, which means the fabric should be about 15×26 inches before I sew the edges up.
The fabric used for these towels is from Contrado, a British company which prints your designs on a really wide range of fabric choices. Here I had my daughter’s artwork printed on their chenille fabric, which lends itself really well for absorbent, soft towels. (note: I’ve worked with Contrado before for some posts with Snugglebug University, but this post is not a part of that collaboration, and all opinions are my own.) Contrado is a great option even if you live in the US. I ordered and received these towels in less than a week with their Fedex shipping option which cost only $7.50…and I live in the San Francisco bay area!
I’ve also used Spoonflower’s fabric printing service as well to make tea towels. For their printing service I recommend their Linen Cotton Canvas, which is great for a more traditional tea towel. It’s not as soft and absorbent as Contrado’s chenille, but it’s a nice smooth surface for your fabric. The fabric I received from Spoonflower cost less but did take a little bit longer to arrive. I like the uploading interface a little bit better for Contrado, but both companies are really great options for creating your own towels!
Ok, let’s get started.
Begin by having your child make some artwork for your towels. If you want to have to do minimal photo-editing in Photoshop, I’d recommend having your child draw their artwork in a shape that roughly matches that of your towel. I didn’t do that, which meant I have to kind of edit my daughter’s drawing a bit to make it”fit” the towel.
Once you have the artwork, either take a picture of your child’s artwork or use a scanner to scan it into your computer. You’ll probably need to edit the picture a little bit. You can use a basic photo-editing program to brighten the image and adjust the contrast. I erased the background of my daughter’s picture and modified the image a bit to make sure that it fit the towel.
I ordered the fabric with my design on it. Contrado’s upload process is really easy. You can upload the images and move them wherever you want on the software. You can also adjust the size as needed and position the image wherever you want it on the fabric piece.
Then you sit back and wait for your fabric to arrive!
Once your fabric arrives, cut out your towels, remembering that you’ll need about .75 inches extra around each side.
Begin by cutting off the corners of all four sides.
Then fold down along this edge and press. (Note, you have to be careful ironing the chenille. The linen cotton fabric is better for ironing.
Next fold down each side of the towel as shown below.
Now fold over each side again! Pin in place to make sure that the fold hold.
Now it’s time to sew your towel. Normally I sew on the “right” side of the fabric, but when sewing towels I always sew on the reverse side. I find it much easier this way to make sure that the I’m creating an equal seam that looks just as good on the front as it does on the back.
Go all around the towel until you make it back to the beginning. All finished!
Happy holidays everyone!!
For more DIY Christmas gift ideas, try some of these on for size: