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DIY Mother’s Day Gift #2: Handwritten Recipes on Tea Towels

Written By: Colleen - Jun• 20•13

So back what seems like a million years ago (in reality, it was only 2 weeks ago), I started sharing some of my latest DIY projects, specifically the ones I made for Mother’s Day.  I made coasters for my mother-in-law.  For my mother, I wanted to get even more ambitious and make tea or dish towels out of handwritten recipes.  I had found the idea on (where else?) Pinterest.  I stumbled across this website by accident and showed it to my sisters, who agreed to each play a role in making it.

Because this was completely new territory for me, I followed the instructions pretty closely.  My grandma and Christie choose recipes that were written clearly and that my mother loved.  Then mailed them to me and I did the more technical portion of things.  My part was scanning them, cleaning the pictures up, and then ordering it on the cloth from Spoonflower.  Both Katelyn & Christie cut and sewed.

I think they turned out nicely, but I’m not sure if I’d order the same type of material again.  We ordered it on linen-cotton canvas because that’s what the website I found it on recommended we do.  The material is a little harsher (it feels like it was washed in starch), but that could be because it’s brand new and “crisp” off the presses.  I’m going to list the steps with pictures but this time, I’d also recommend following the original instructions if you’re serious about doing this craft project.


1.  Select the recipes (or whatever you want to make into the towel) and take photos of each page.

2.  Upload the pictures to your computer and in your photo editing program (I actually downloaded and used Picasa because that’s what the original instructions said to use), clean up the images and turn each page into the landscape orientation.

3.  Create a picture collage so you can get all of the images into one large image.  This is because you’re going to order one yard of fabric and then cut each image apart.  I added grid spacing in between the images so Christie & Katelyn had guidelines of where to cut and so they could sew them into nice little borders.  I did each recipe twice so if we messed it up the first time, there was a “back-up” to redo it.  Here’s what it looked like when I was done:


4.  (In Picasa) I went to the Page Format option and set the collage size to 54″ x 36″ which is what one yard of the linen-cotton canvas corresponds to.  In order to fit on the canvas, it MUST be 54″ x 36″ and 8100 pixels x 5400 pixels at 150 dpi.  Picasa will automatically set it at 5120 pixels x 3414 pixels at 72 dpi.  You have to change this.  After you export the collage from Picasa (if you go this route), you have to go into another photo editing app (I just used Preview –> Tools –> Adjust Size on my Mac.) and change the inches & dpi.  I think you can use Microsoft Office Preview or Paint if you don’t have a Mac.  *If you don’t use the linen-cotton canvas, then you’ll have to adjust your dimensions accordingly.*

5.  Go into Spoonflower, select your canvas, and upload your collage [link].  I think I was also able to use a coupon that I found through Google when I ordered it, so be sure to check for that.

6.  When your fabric arrives, you can cut it and sew it however you please.  My sisters choose to sew it differently than I would have (I think I’d have done it vertically), but I still think they came out nicely.  They did a great job.  I would love to do this again for someone else in the future, especially now that I have a better idea what I’m doing!


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