Make these easy DIY flour sack towels with a fun modern citrus print! They make great gifts for moms, teachers, friends, and more!
Hand-painted tea towels are one of my favorite handmade gifts! They’re inexpensive, fun, useful, and they turn out so cool! Today I’m going to share my citrus-printed tea towels tutorial. For more handmade Mother’s Day gifts, check out this post!
How to Make Citrus-Printed Tea Towels
Check out this post for Christmas potato-stamped tea towels!
- white cotton tea towels (I used these inexpensive ones)
- trash bag or something to protect your work surface
- paper plate or paint tray
- large chef’s knife
- pairing knife
- cutting board
- citrus fruit
- stencil brush
- acrylic paint
- fabric medium
1. Cut Your Lemon In Half
I recommend using a larger chef’s knife for this, since you want a clean, even cut. Be sure to cut it on the equator. I’m using a lemon in this tutorial, but you could also use a lime, orange, grapefruit, pomelo, etc. It’s helpful to use a piece of citrus fruit that has a relatively thick peel, since it will hold up better.
2. Squeeze Your Lemon
Gently squeeze each half of your lemon into a cup. I’ve found it’s helpful to get some of the juice out so it doesn’t mix with and dilute the paint. You don’t need to squeeze all the juice out though.
3. Carve The Lemon Surface
Now you want to take the smaller pairing knife and do a bit of carving. The goal is to remove the flesh from the cut surface, while preserving the membranes that separate the sections of lemon. This will give you a much more distinct lemon print. When you’re finished, it should loo something like this (except it’s a half not a quarter).
4. Pour & Mix Paint
Mix paint, fabric medium, and a tiny bit of water
Mix it well
5. Paint Lemon
It takes a bit of practice to get just the right amount of paint onto the lemon. I used a dab-dab-dab motion to apply the paint, just like I would to paint a stencil.
Next, test it on a paper towel. As you can see below, it took a few tries to get it just right. The three on the top (below) were ones I tested before squeezing and carving out some of the lemon. I’m much happier with the bottom two because you can tell they’re lemons. It’s also good to practice putting just the right amount of pressure on the lemons when stamping.
6. Stamp Tea Towel
Lay your tea towel out flat over the plastic bag, and begin stamping.
I started at the edge off the edge, and continued the pattern from there, re-applying paint to the lemon every one or two stamps.
7. Hang to Dry
It’s important to hang it up, since the paint might stick to whatever it’s laying on if you leave it flat. I used a clothes-drying rack.
Orange-Stamped Tea Towels
As you can see, I’m actually using a lemon quarter here, but it looks like an orange. I found that navel oranges weren’t great for stamping, since they often don’t have as clear of a classic “citrus” pattern inside.
Grapefruit-Stamped Flour Sack Towels
Grapefruit made lovely prints.
I also tested limes, and created this pattern with navy blue. This print almost reminds me of sand dollars.
Didn’t these flour sack towels turn out so cool? I’m kind of excited about this if you can’t tell.