Grab your paintbrush and flour sack linens and get ready to bring a personalized touch to the kitchen this holiday season! Nothing sings heartfelt like a handmade gift, and what cuter way to bring cheer into your friend’s kitchen than with hand painted tea towels? You can make them however your heart desires, as you are the artist! Just follow these simple tips to get the technique and look that you desire.

Fabric Paint. Any kind of fabric paint will work, but for a worn in feel, go with the “soft & matte” fabric paint.

Paint brushes. The finer the brush tip, the more defined your details. The larger and wider the tip, the wider the surface area you’ll cover.

Linens (your tea towels). You can use anything from plain flour sack cloths, old towels needing a makeover, or even fabric you have cut and sewn yourself.

You will also need a clean flat surface to paint, a drop cloth or cardboard to place under your towel as you paint, a towel for cleaning your brush, and a little cup of water.

For defined lines (best when writing letters and other tiny details). Use your fine tip paint brush and your fabric paint. Be sure to use just enough paint so that your brush does not accumulate globs on the tip

For a watercolor effect (creating a Monet like feel, a wonderful option for abstract design and an array of colors). Mix a few dollops of fabric paint with water in a small cup. The more water you add, the lighter your paint color will turn out. Test out your water mixed paint on a paper towel before starting your tea towel design.

For stenciling (great for patterns). Make your own stencil by tracing the silhouette of your liking. Whimsical stencil ideas are great for the holidays, such as forest animal silhouettes. You can also go simple with triangles, circles, hearts, and chevron patterns.

For straight lines (best for creating plaid, chevron, and stripes). Painter’s tape can give you the straight lines you want in your design. Just place your tape on your linen, brush on your fabric paint, allow time for your paint to dry, then pull of the paint and voila!

For the more complex design (perhaps you want to get all Van Gogh on your tea towels). Using a pencil to outline your design before applying fabric paint is perfect for the more detailed tea towel. Any pencil markings will wash out after a run through the washing machine.

Step 1 On your clean flat surface, place your drop cloth or cardboard down first and then your tea towel on top. Make sure the area you will be painting is on the drop cloth as some linens are thin and paint seeps through upon application.

Step 2 Prep your paint depending on the style you are going for in your design. If you want your design to be more Monet & watercolor in feel, mix your fabric paint in a cup with water. If you are painting defined lines and script, squirt out a quarter size amount of your fabric paint onto a small plate. Have clean water in a cup nearby as well as a towel to clean off your paint brush between paint colors.

Step 3 Paint your design and take joy in the process of making something handmade and from your heart (You can use the technique tips above for this step!).

Step 4 Allow your tea towels to dry (about 2 hours) & enjoy!

With ribbon, fasten your tea towel a top a mason jar filled with goodies like homemade peanut brittle, chocolates, or notes of encouragement.

Use your handmade tea towel as your wrapping paper, using string or yarn to tie it up delicately.

Hand-write a personalized letter, roll it up inside your tea towel, tie a bow around it, and give it to your friend—she will be surprised not only to find a hand painted piece but a loving note inside from her dear friend.

Give a tea towel to the hostess who is housing Christmas dinner, a holiday game night, or even to your grandma as sweet addition to her kitchen as you make homemade fudge and cookies this season.

Machine wash cold gentle cycle. Your fabric paint should stay put with each wash, but will fade and feel more worn in and loved after time.

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