I am not a craft blogger, by any means, nor am I am hard-core DIYer. But I do like to make stuff myself for fun, and most weekends I make something. I bake something, I set up something, I make something. Not always big projects, but little things that take more time than I might have available during the week and give me a feeling of accomplishment, which is nice, as I often feel I’m paddling upstream against three obstructive monkeys and all the stuff, like doing the laundry or restocking milk, which will Never. End. While I will never have the time, or inclination, or regular crafting success to post DIY stuff all the time here, the DIY category will get an occasional, irregular entry reviewing my weekend misadventures.
This weekend I made two sets of flour-sack kitchen towels, freezer-paper stenciled with paint. (I love paint.) Bright sunny additions to my kitchen, although so far I can’t bring myself to wipe my hands on them.
Here’s how I did it.
- flour sack kitchen towels
- acrylic paint (does not need to be fabric paint)
- textile medium (for non-fabric acrylic paint)
- freezer paper
- Cricut Explore (optional!)
Yes, I know, we were working with a super-cheap list of materials before we got to the ma-chine on here! This is NOT a post sponsored by Cricut and is by no means, none WHATSOEVER, a required element of this project. I just happened to be gifted a Cricut Explore last Christmas by Mr. Little Mama, something I wanted so I can monogram anything that will sit still with impunity. I decided to put it to use on this project, but you can easily work with a steady hand and an X-Acto knife instead.
As far as this business with the ma-chine (we pronounce it here with a hard “ch” sound), I am still figuring out how this thing works project-by-project. I am crafty enough but NOT a scrapbooker, so I have never used any sort of die cutter before. I’m getting there. The Cricut Explore works in an online program called Cricut Design Space. I set up two text boxes and filled them in with my first word stencils, sorting through my font options before settling on one called PilGi.
I don’t know whether that’s one native to Cricut or one I have on my ‘puter; one of the nice things about the Cricut Explore is that it loads up with whatever fonts you already have and lets you upload your own images so you aren’t buying things piece-by-piece (or cartridge by cartridge, as I understand was the case back in “the day”).
Once I decided I liked the font and had things the right size, I went to cut, and this is where the shit hit the fan. I cut a piece of freezer paper and stuck it, glossy side down, to one of my Cricut cutting mats that I’ve used a few times and that isn’t as sticky as it used to be. Not only did the paper keep getting unstuck and all mangled in the ma-chine, but nothing was cutting! I tried over and over again, before realizing that the lure of the ma-chine had at some point led Small to abscond with the cutting cylinder. He claims he has no idea what happened to it but it can only be him; no one else keeps fiddling with the ma-chine. I yelled for a while, then found the replacement, thank Chaka.
After more paper mangling, I pulled out another cutting mat that’s meant for “lightweight” projects; I am going to call freezer paper a “lightweight” material. I loaded the mat, set the materials dial to “custom”, and then got this nifty drop-down of material choices popped up from which I chose “parchment paper”, because that’s close enough. There’s all kinds of interesting choices on this list, from Post-It Notes to washi tape to printable tattoo paper, whatever that is.
And thus, I cut. And then, I mounted. I did not take photos of this particular stage in the process on these towels because I became quickly embroiled in all the little holes and curlicues of the charming font I selected. I managed to get it together (save a few I overlooked), but particularly if you are working with an X-Acto knife might I suggest a simpler, serif-free font? Cut it out against a nice old magazine, like last week’s Us Weekly. Once you have your stencil cut out, you iron it glossy side down onto the surface you intend to stencil, come ça:
This is for towel set #2, for which I did a negative space stencil jobby ironing the letters themselves onto the towels. For set #1 with all the tricky little fancy font letters this was not an option, so I ironed on the negative space and stenciled the letters themselves. If you aren’t using acrylic paint for fabric, add a little textile medium to the color of your choosing and that will make your paint fabric-friendly. If you are doing pointillist dots like I did on my “yum” towel, I think Martha would say you are supposed to be using an implement called a “pouncer”. I do not have a “pouncer” nor was I inclined to brave the craft store on a Sunday, so I used a firm-bristled brush with a round tip instead and that was good enough for me.
I think they turned out pretty cute, don’t you?
It took longer for me to write this post than to actually make these towels, which is why this blog is never going to become an all-craft, all-the-time, every-day operation. But once in a while I’ll post one of my fiascos that panned out, because if I can do it, you can do it. We now resume our regularly scheduled Bravo programming.