All Things Garden,  Natural Health

Craft Project: DIY Fruit & Veggie Stamped Flour Sack Tea Towels Tutorial

Fruit and veggie stamped tea towels: the perfect rainy day craft project to enjoy with the family, or simply on your own one evening with a glass of wine! These beautiful DIY kitchen towels are easy and fun to make. They are also an awesome, thoughtful, AND useful handmade gift to share for the upcoming holiday season! We have been making fruit and vegetable stamped tea towels for years, gifting them to many special people in our lives. 

Follow this simple tutorial to learn how to make your own fruit and veggie stamped flour sack tea towels. While the process is pretty straightforward, I have a few tips to share after a lot of trial and error with this craft project! 


An avocado, red bell pepper, apple, pear, two orange carrots with the greens attached, and a bunch of celery that is cut off a couple inches above the base sit atop a washed concrete surface. There are two white tea towels above the produce, one of them is folded in half lengthwise while six bottles of different colored fabric paint are laid out, labels facing upwards on top of the towel. The other towel is laid out as if someone just tossed it down.


SUPPLIES


  • White or natural colored tea or dish towels. We have tried various mediocre towels over the years, and finally found the perfect ones. These flour sack tea towels are the perfect size and thickness, absorbent, are well-made with nicely finished edges, and even have a little corner hook for hanging! 
  • Fabric paint. Choose a fabric paint that is permanent. I also suggest using ones that will dry soft! I have used a multi-surface paint in the past that was rated for fabric, but it dried really crusty – not ideal for a potential hand towel. Here is a great little set that we often use. For more variety and color options, hit up your local crafting store and pick out a few. Remember, you can also mix compatible primary colors to create your own shades!
  • A small paint brush, or several. I learned the hard way that it is not the most efficient or effective to dip the fruit and veggie stamps in paint! It wastes a lot of paint to create the right size “puddle” and also makes for messy, too-thick stamp imprints on the towel. Instead, I find it is best to use a small paint brush to apply the paint directly to the fruit or vegetable. Having a few paint brushes on hand will reduce the amount of brush-rinsing you’ll need to do in between colors. 
  • Fruits and vegetables for stamping. Read the ideas and tips below!



Our favorite fruits & vegetables to make stamped towels:


  • Pear: Cut in half, top to bottom. Pop out any visible seeds to create “empty space” and realistic detail on the stamp. Leave the stem attached close to the cut line for a fun added twist!
  • Carrot: Cut in half lengthwise. If possible, use carrots with the greens still attached! We have stamped with a full long set of greens, though it can get extra messy. Alternatively, I prefer to cut the greens at an angle an inch or so long – and paint them green instead of orange!
  • Avocado. Nuff said. 
  • Fuyu Persimmons: I didn’t have any available for this particular batch of veggie stamped tea towels, but have used them a lot in the past! When cut in half, they look like mini pumpkins! Check them out in the finished gift photo at the end.
  • Celery: Get a whole head of celery, and cut the stalks off a few inches up from the bottom of the heart. What is left will look like a rose or flower once it is painted and stamped!
  • Apple: When cut across the middle “equator” of the apple, you can usually see a star pattern where the seeds reside. Carefully pluck out the seeds as needed to create little pockets for detail. Or, cut the apple from top to bottom like the pear and leave the stem to be a part of the stamp!
  • Bell Pepper: Find a nice bumpy one with several distinct lobes. Either cut the bottom off to create a stamp, or use a thick slice. 
  • Potato: This will take a little more effort than the other fruit and vegetable stamps listed, since those are already in form! With a potato, you can cut it in half and then carve out a different raised shape – like a star, tree, leaf, whatever!
  • Do you have other fruit or vegetable ideas? Share them in the comments for us all to see!


The produce is arranged in a cluster, centering around the carrot. Each of the produce items is now cut and only half of the fruit is shown. The avocado, carrot, and pear have been sliced in half lengthwise, while the bell pepper, apple and celery have been cut in half widthwise.



General Tips: 

  • Use firm and even underripe fruit and veggies, especially for something like avocado or pear. We want paint on the stamped tea towels, not actual fruit and veggies!
  • Look for the most shapely and curvaceous fruits and veggies available! For example, bell peppers with distinct lobes, or a pear with a skinny top and voluptuous wide hips. Using a mix of 4 to 5 different types creates a beautiful pattern.
  • After the project is complete, cut away the painted portion of the fruit or veggie and compost the rest. 


A table is shown covered in newspaper with a completed stamped tea towel sitting on top of it. The fruits used to print the stamps are below the towel, each one covered in a particular colored paint. The assortment of bottled paints, paint brushes, and blue plastic plate used as an easel are above the completed towel. The stamped prints range in color from red to green to orange and yellow.



INSTRUCTIONS


  • Wash and dry the towels before starting. To prevent strong creases, I like to lay them flat somewhere rather than folding them after washing. But I don’t worry about the slight wrinkles from the dryer – the towels look perfectly vintage that way! No ironing needed.
  • Cut your fruit and veggies, following the tips described above.
  • Prep the workspace. Protect your surface with newspaper or cardboard. For the paints, we use an old plastic camping plate. They usually wash off fairly well after use – especially if you don’t allow them to dry there. 
  • Apply paint to the fruit or veggie stamp of choice using a paintbrush. For a more vintage look, apply a lighter and less even coat of paint across the fruit or vegetables surface. Also, try placing the fruit or veggies stamps partway off the edges of the towel in some places!
  • Stamp away! You may be able to stamp twice per paint application, though I usually find the second stamp significantly less bright than the first. Therefore, I typically reapply at least some paint between stamps. I also usually do all of one type of fruit or veggie at a time, such as stamping 4 or 5 celery roses first, and then move on to repeat the same process for the carrot. Do whatever works for you! I simply find this easiest, as it reduces the need to change paint colors or brushes every single time. 
  • Allow the stamped towels to lay or hang dry for 24 hours, or the time instructed on your particular choice of paint. Look for further instructions on your paint bottles. For example, some say to heat set with an iron (no steam) after 24 hours. Honestly, we never have – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea!
  • Enjoy, or give away! When I give away handmade stamped tea towels as a gift, I like to include a note with care instructions: machine wash cold, and tumble dry on low heat or line dry.


A two part image collage, the first image shows a hand holding the celery heart with one hand while the other hand, holding a paint brush, is brushing red paint onto the ends of each celery stalk. Once used as a stamp, the cut celery heart resembles a flower. Underneath lies the blue plastic plate used as an easel sitting atop newspaper along with various paints and paint brushes. The second image shows a hand holding the half of an avocado while the other hand is brushing green paint on the face of the avocado, once the side of the fruit is completely covered, it will be used to stamp the tea towel.
The image shows a completed fruit and veggie stamped tea towel. Each fruit or vegetable is represented equally across the towel. The colors range from orange to green to red to yellow and gold. Each fruit having its own color.
Three completed fruit and veggie stamped tea towels are air drying, hanging from a line with clothespins. They are drying inside of a house with a small chair in the corner, next to a hand drum and an image of a desert scene hanging on the wall in the background. There is also a clock, plant, and lamp off towards the corners of the image.
Four stamped tea towels are folded into neat individual squares. Each one is tied together with string as you would a present and each tea towel package is adorned with a hand written note to the recipient of the present.
See the little persimmon-pumpkins? So cute!


How simple and fun was that?!


I hope you enjoy this project as much as I do! If you are into DIY goodies and also happen to sew, you should check out this tutorial on how to make homemade rice heating or cold packs. Those are another excellent useful and thoughtful holiday gift idea. They’re super simple to make, and the lucky recipient will love them! We use up-cycled pillow cases and organic rice, making them sustainable to boot. I use them constantly!


Now go get crafting, and please share this article to spread the DIY love!



DeannaCat signature, keep on growing

2 Comments

  • Sara

    This was SO MUCH fun to do! Thank you for making it easy to find the supplies that was needed for this project-( i would have never known what paints to choose). I did a total of 12 tea towels and will be giving them away as gifts this year for the holidays. You can be so creative with the fruit you choose and the colors- the options are limitless! My favorite fruit to use was a pear. I also tried jalapeño, habanero, radicchio & an Anaheim pepper! Safe to say I’m addicted and all my family will forever be getting tea towels for the rest of their lives on holidays 😂 Thank you Deanna for this AMAZING idea ❤️

  • Brooke

    So cute! I actually remembered you doing this previously for your mom. I went to buy some flour sack towels a few weeks ago to try and preserve some of my garden harvest via this method! Happy to see you made a tutorial. Hopefully mine will turn out as cute!

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