Getting a watercolor look on tea towels isn’t hard at all using this tutorial for watercolor dyed tea towels!
It’s nearing the of summer and although I cannot wait to dig out my fall decoration, I want to enjoy the last weeks. Of course here in Arizona it’s hot as H-E-double hockey sticks and will be for at least two more months. School started a couple weeks ago for the girls and it’s nice to have my quiet days at home doing my three C’s (creating, cooking and cleaning) and feeling like I actually get something done. Kind of.
I really needed some new tea towels/dish towels. I’m not sure what the difference is, but I prefer to use flour sack towels in the kitchen. I like that they are larger than traditional dish towels. The ones I purchase are 28 inches by 28 inches. They are absorbent and are relatively inexpensive. But they are just plain white, which can be boring, but actually acts as a perfect canvas to make watercolor dyed tea towels.
I took a fabric painting class at a blog conference last spring and fell in love with Dye-na-flow fabric dyes. It’s a perfect dye to paint or to use stamps with on fabric. It sets by a hot iron and wont fade or be crunchy like other types of fabric paints.
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- Dye-na-flow dye in turquoise and azure blue, big set or smaller set
- Flat brush
- High quality flour sack towel
- Spray bottle filled with water
- Plastic tablecloth
Stripes Tea Towel
The first step is to wash the flour sack towels. You can dry them in the dryer, but don’t use any fabric softener. I wash and lay them flat to dry, it helps to reduce the wrinkles and makes it easier to paint. Lay down your plastic table cloth to protect your work surface. Lay out the towel. Spray the top of the towel with the water. Dip the brush in your chosen color of dye and drag across the wet towel. Spray more water to dilute the color and keep spreading the dye with the brush. Add more dye as needed. After the first stripe is finished, switch colors.
Continue to spray the towel and the dye as needed. Alternate colors until you get to the end of the towel.
Use more sprayed water and the brush to really spread out the colors.
Once finished. Let dry for 24 – 48 hours. Then iron the towel on the hottest setting the fabric will allow to heat set the dye. Let the dye cure for a week.
At that point you can wash the towels in the washing machine. The dye *should* not spread or fade. (I wash mine separately the first time, just to be on the safe side.)
Triangles Tea Towel
For the triangle towel, start with a dry flour sack. Start painting on the triangles, alternating colors and direction, leaving a white space between each triangle. Don’t worry about the dye going on heavy where you first put the brush down.
Once you have painted a second row. Spray the two rows with the water and watch the dye disperse. Avoid getting water on the rest of the towel.
Continue painting triangles and spraying with water every couple of rows.
Once you get to the bottom of the towel, go back and spray any areas you might have missed. Don’t over spray, you want the color to spread and blend but not get diluted.
Again, let cure for 24 – 48 hours, iron on hot and let cure for a week, then wash normally.