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Citrus-Stamped Tea Towels: Easy Handmade Gifts

Make these easy DIY flour sack towels with a fun modern citrus print! They make great gifts for moms, teachers, friends, and more!

Easy DIY Citrus Print Tea Towels: white four sack dish cloth with yellow  lemon print on a marble counter

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!


materials to make easy DIY hand-printed tea towels: orange, lemon, plastic trash bag, knife, acrylic paint, paper plate, and white flour sack dish cloths

1. Cut Your Lemon In Half

knife cutting a lemon in half to prep it for printing tea towels

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.

close-up of sliced lemon

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.

close-up of hand squeezing half a lemon into a small glass to prepare it for printing tea towels

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).

close-up of carved lemon- ready to be painted and printed on tea towels

4. Pour & Mix Paint

Mix paint, fabric medium, and a tiny bit of water

close-up of hand squeezing bottle of yellow acrylic paint onto a paper plate to paint lemon

Mix it well

close-up of stencil brush mixing paint for hand painted tea towels

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.

close-up of hand painting the cut surface of a lemon to print it on a flour sack dish cloth

5. Test

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.

paper towel with yellow lemon prints

6. Stamp Tea Towel

Lay your tea towel out flat over the plastic bag, and begin stamping.

close-up of white dish towel with yellow lemon printed on the corner
close-up of hand stamping a lemon on a white four sack towel to create a citrus print

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.

hand using a lemon half to print a pattern on a flour sack kitchen towel

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.

diy painted tea towels drying on a clothes rack

Orange-Stamped Tea Towels

close-up of lemon quarter painted with orange paint, ready to stamp a 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.

fabric paint flour sack towel being stamped with a lemon

Grapefruit-Stamped Flour Sack Towels

Grapefruit made lovely prints.

stack of flour sack kitchen towels stamped with fun DIY citrus fruit pattern


I also tested limes, and created this pattern with navy blue. This print almost reminds me of sand dollars.

close-up of white tea towel stamped with a lime in navy paint
hand-stamped four sack towel on countertop with cutting board, measuring spoons, and a lemon half
Easy DIY Mother's Day GIfts: diy citrus-printed tea towels rolled up in a wood crate labeled with to: mom

Didn’t these flour sack towels turn out so cool? I’m kind of excited about this if you can’t tell.

More Mother’s Day Gift Ideas…

Gifts for Women: Fun Gift Ideas for Crafters & Artists

Potato-Stamped Tea Towels

Easy DIY Coasters With Sharpies & Alcohol!

Quick & Easy Homemade Bath Salts

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  1. Do you pre wash the towels and can you use them to dry your dishes or is the paint scratchy and they are for looks only. Very cute idea either way

    1. Hi Sue! Ok so I haven’t actually tried drying the dishes with them yet. I think if you really want to use them a lot, maybe do one of the patterns with less paint… where the lemons are more spread out and not covering the whole towel. Or just print half of it and leave the other half white. Yes it’s probably a good idea to pre-wash them. I will add that into the post- thanks for remining me!

  2. Love these dish towels. How does the acrylic paint hold up after machine washing? Will it peel or fade? Linda

    1. Hi Linda,
      Thank you! The paint holds up really well- It soaks into the cloth, so it’s not going anywhere. The fabric medium helps too.

  3. This is adorable. Even better, my mom has decorated her kitchen with lemons. I need to buy everything but the lemons since I have a tree full. Thank you for the inspiration!

    1. Thank you so much! I’m jealous that you have a lemon tree! I’ve always wanted to try an indoor one… we can’t really grow them in Seattle.

  4. Hi Jess, I love this idea!
    Just thought I’d mention, when my mum prepares grapefruit she cuts the grapefruit in half and then, with a very sharp small knife, she cuts each segment of fruit away from the ‘dividers’. Once she has done that, she uses a teaspoon to lift each segment out. Perhaps this would save having to squeeze the fruit and preserve the integrity of the fruit?
    I’m going to give it a go tomorrow.
    Thanks so much for sharing, I really like your tea towels ❤️

  5. Will this stamping work on absorbent paper like paper towel, watercolor paper or other papers? I want to use this technique for background for my assemblage art.

    1. Hi Linda! Yes I think it would. I actually used a paper towel as a tester before stamping the tea towel. And I assume you could do this on any surface that would take paint. Your project sounds so cool!

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