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!
- 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!
- Other ideas to create tea towel stamps and designs include leaves and other natural materials, or even using stencils! For example, check out these cactus stencils, succulent stencils, tree stencils, flower stencils, butterfly stencils, and more!
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!
- 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.
- 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.
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!