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DIY colorful tea towels {Guest Post}

Posted by  ·  March 24, 2012  ·  Last Updated: March 24, 2012

Hello Skip to My Lou readers! I’m Heather from The Lovely Cupboard, and I’ve got a little tea towel tutorial to share with you today.

It’s funny how much a colorful tea towel can brighten up my mood, but for some reason I rarely stray away from buying the basic white flour sack towels. I’ve always loved how thin and soft they are but often wished they had a little color to them. Enter fabric markers! I picked up these guys for $1.99 at my local Hobby Lobby, but I’m sure you could find them at most any craft store.
After allowing 24 hours dry time, the “art” you create with fabric markers is completely machine washable. This is one of those craft items I had never purchased before, but I’m so glad I finally did. For about $2.50 each, I have colorful, unique towels to greet me after washing my hands. I bought my usual pack of 5 tea towels for $6 and then paid $1.99 for each of the pens, which I’ll be able to use on many more projects. (I keep eyeing plain fabrics in my house thinking,”What could I draw on that?!”)

The possibilities are truly endless. You could draw anything from geometric shapes to seasonal pictures, monograms, or your favorite quotes.
For the circles, I just used a template I had in my scrapbook stash.
Writing the words was a bit trickier. I tried to stretch the towel over a book to make it taut. If you can, I would suggest stretching the towel and clamping it to a table or desk to make for easier drawing.
If I had known about fabric markers sooner, I would have been using them all over the place. How cute would it be provide plain onesies or bibs at a baby shower for guests to create unique gifts for the mama-to-be? There are so many other ways you could use these handy guys too. I’m thinking place mats, kids’ clothing, lamp shades, napkins…and the list grows on. I’m afraid I might be turning into a fabric marker graffiti artist. What would you like to add a little color to in your house?

Leave a Comment


  1. janel
    Sunday, December 13th, 2015
    How do you wash and care for the towels? I made one and when I washed it some of the ink ran. Any insight on how you get it to set and not bleed? Thanks!
  2. Sunday, February 8th, 2015
    I am also having the same problem as Mona Erickson has. I also washed the 100%cotton T towels first in cold water and no soap or softener and dried them in drier. I even ironed them to straighten them. I did use sharpie permanent markers. They faded also. I did not use soap or softener either at this point just wanted to see if the color stayed as I was giving them for gifts. What a let down. I will be looking into different T towel fabric. I purchased mine at Walmart and found some at Hobby Lobby and the fabric is better quality and more expensive. I will try them and let you know. I also had bleeding on edges so I backed off with a lighter touch. Worked in someplaces,so i figured it's the material. You have any good luck let me know [email protected]
  3. Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
    Made a set of dishtowels with fabric markers, washed them 24 hours later and dried them in dryer, opened the door, took the out and they faded. Anyone have any ideas what to do now.
  4. Thursday, December 19th, 2013
    I have beren traveling therse last feww months which is whhy I took a short break from my blog.
    A humble Japanesse powdered tea called matcha green tea.
    There iis some evidence from early studies suggesting that green
    tea reduces the risk of some cancers.
  5. Fernanda Vale
    Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
    Estou namorando essas toalhas, vou fazer rsr
  6. Wednesday, April 11th, 2012
    I love these towels! I will have to create a special set for my kitchen!
  7. Melissa
    Monday, April 9th, 2012
    Love this idea! Thanks so much for sharing - awesome ideas in the comments for my daughter's end of the year school party - class sign pillows...my daughter will love this keepsake!
  8. Jill
    Tuesday, March 27th, 2012
    these towels are cute! I have used fabric markers to decorate a pillow cases for my daughters sleep over birthday parties. Just use a plain white pillow case and have each child write a sentiment on the pillow case commemorating the birthday. It's a wonderful keepsake that my daughter used for years and laughs every time reading the messages.
  9. Mindy
    Monday, March 26th, 2012
    So cute, can't wait to try this.
  10. Monday, March 26th, 2012
    Fantastic! We gave up using paper towels a few years ago in favor of cloth everything. So I'm always looking for inexpensive, cute dishtowels. I can't wait to try this out! BTW, the link back to your blog at the top isn't working, but I'm going to figure it out and head to your site anyway :)
  11. Saturday, March 24th, 2012
    THIS IS FANTASTIC!!!!!!!! I'm sooo going to make some!! I love project like this that I can do with my little ladies!!

    I would LOVE it if you shared this at The DIY Dreamer... From Dream To Reality!!
  12. Amber Layton
    Saturday, March 24th, 2012
    Another great idea is to use using fabric markers is on plain white handkerchief's. We bought a box of them at Sears and then I had the kids decorate them for Father's day. Great gift for Dad and Grandad's. My Dad loves his and it is a fun keepsake.
  13. Saturday, March 24th, 2012
    They look like a lot of fun to make! Very Cute! : )
  14. Saturday, March 24th, 2012
    what kind of pens did you use (brand, etc) that i could look them up online, and did they turn out 'bubbly' like fabric paint does when you write with it, or does it basically soak into the paper like a real ink pen would? please let me know! I have TEN towels--just waiting to find out! I was going to embroider them, but the pens would be so much faster, and I wouldn't have to buy a lot of patterns! jill dot shoemaker at gmail dot com
  15. Robin Walston
    Saturday, March 24th, 2012
    Very cute. Next time, try ironing freezer paper to the wrong side of the towel before you write on the towel. It will give you a nice smooth surface.
    Robin, so. IN
  16. Jackie Sue
    Saturday, March 24th, 2012
    So cute!!!
  17. Saturday, March 24th, 2012
    These are lovely! They make dish drying more delightful.
  18. Laura M.
    Saturday, March 24th, 2012
    This looks like fun! Thanks for sharing :)
  19. Amy K.
    Saturday, March 24th, 2012
    My kids colored plain dishtowels for Mother's Day gifts for grandmas one year - see my pin for a crappy picture! http://pinterest.com/pin/160722280421408517/ I used freezer paper to create the stripes, and then let them scribble (the 2 year old) or design (the 8 year old) to their hearts' content. I bet ironing freezer paper on to the back side of your towel would keep it nice & flat for writing words.
  20. Pam
    Saturday, March 24th, 2012
    Great idea! If it works as expected, this will be the beginning of the end of using fabric paint for me! Thanks for sharing.
  21. Poppy
    Saturday, March 24th, 2012
    My kids decorated some plain white boxer shorts for my husband with fabric markers. He wears them all the time and the marker has held up through repeated washing. The towels are a wonderful idea.
  22. Saturday, March 24th, 2012
    Well, now I know what to do with my tea towels that I've had for, oh, a year or so, just waiting for the perfect "pin-speration"!
  23. Cookie17
    Saturday, March 24th, 2012
    That would be super easy for kids do them,they have a special towel.Great idea....Thank's
  24. Shanyn Claycomb
    Saturday, March 24th, 2012
    Those turned out so cute! I am wondering if an embroidery hoop would work to keep the towel taut to write the words on the towel? I think I will be attempting this fun idea soon! Thanks!
  25. Saturday, March 24th, 2012
    These are soo cute! I'll have to make some! :)
  26. michelle
    Saturday, March 24th, 2012
    I love these! What a great idea. The kids and I have started Zendoodling. Might have to try it on a tea towel!