DIY Custom Printed Tea Towels

It is hard to find the perfect gift. Oftentimes, I wait until the last minute to scurry about, trying to find that perfect present! But, not this Mother’s Day. My cousin Emily and I have had an idea for years (thanks to Pinterest) that we finally put it into motion. We knew that this gift would tug at hearts. Our mothers are sisters, and had the most precious mother who passed away several years ago. When we saw an idea for custom-printed tea towels, printed with old handwritten recipe cards, we knew this would honor our grandmother and our mothers tremendously.

(To read more from my cousin and I, check out our new blog here – My Mama Taught Me!)
We collected several recipe cards and decided on two favorites. We wanted to print enough fabric for four hand towels – two towels of each card. We scanned the cards and saved them in jpeg form (using Adobe). With these jpegs, we uploaded them to Picasa and did our magic!

For each card, we wanted to keep the “old-time” feel so we left a lot of the natural smudges. We were able, though, to use the “Retouch” feature to replace illegible letters with similar letters from the cards. These cards were so fun to touch up, and soon we had two beautiful cards ready to print. We saved each card in “landscape” orientation.

We used Picasa’s “Create a Picture Collage” to place the four card images in a collage. Under the ‘Page Format’ option, we set the size of the collage to 54” x 36”. We sized the cards on a large scale, leaving only an inch-or-so border that let our bright, beautiful green background shine through. Once we saved this collage with Picasa, there was only one more sizing step.
Collage Draft
We opened the saved collage with Preview (for Windows computers, just open them with Paint) and resized the jpeg to 54in width by 36in length, which equals 8100 pixels x 5400 pixels at 150 dpi. We saved this as a PNG and were ready to upload to Spoonflower!

We uploaded the collage to Spoonflower and choose the linen-cotton canvas (perfect for hand towels) sized at 54″x36″. Make sure the pattern is on “Basic” repeat and the dpi is set at 150 minimum. This was so simple, and we ordered with bated breath!

The fabric came beautifully in the mail (only about a week later) and took our breath away. We cut the fabric into four towels, and machine-sewed the colored border under, giving the back of each towels a pop of color. The results were beautiful – and melted our mothers’ hearts.

Adapted from:

DIY Custom Printed Tea Towels
DIY Custom Printed Tea Towels