Striped Tea Towel —SCB

MAV and I are taking a short summer break from this space, but before we go, I wanted to share an easy way to alter a tea towel with summery stripes. I think one of these would make a great host/hostess gift for someone you’re visiting on holiday (pair it with some homemade pickles—there’s a great recipe in 3191Q Issue No. 5) or let it brighten your own summer kitchen.

The printing technique is the same as the striped shirt I shared a while back. You will need fabric paint (I use Jacquard Textile Color—it is soft and pliable with a nice range of colors), a foam brush, and painter’s tape (find it with house painting supplies). I used 2-inch tape here, because I wanted wide, spare stripes. I printed on one of my SCB Collection towels; it’s No. 8, a nice neutral linen. Any solid color flat-weave tea towel will do—one of mine, or one you find elsewhere.

Press your towel and lay it out on a work surface (the textile ink can leak through, so you may want to work on a piece of cardboard). Spread a piece of tape across the top of the towel, lining up the edge of the tape with the top of the towel. Tape ends can extend over and adhere to your workspace, holding your towel in place. Continue spreading pieces of tape across the towel, leaving a slim space as wide as you’d like your stripe to be (my stripes were about one centimeter wide). Take care to keep your pieces of tape parallel to each other (you may want to check each side with a ruler—I just eyeballed it).

Once your towel is covered with tape, smooth the tape down with your hand to make sure it is properly adhered to the towel. Apply fabric paint with a foam brush—you can make dark, saturated stripes by applying a lot of paint (it may bleed through to the opposite side), or brush it on lightly for a more casual look. Allow the paint to thoroughly dry (my Jacquard paint dried in a few hours).

Carefully remove the tape, revealing your stripes. Heat set the paint according to manufacturer’s directions (tea towels see a lot of use and washing, so it’s important that the stripes are properly set).

Your tea towel is now ready for use!

Please let me know you if you try this project, and we’ll share your photos in our Album!


MAV and I will be back in this space on July 26th. In the meantime, our shop is open (current and past issues of 3191Q are available, as are Beauty & Use tanks and kerchiefs, tea towels and napkins, and a few Found treasures), and you can check in with us and our 3191 team on our Instagram feed. Happy summer!