Here’s a fun way to add a personal touch to your kitchen, or to have a hand-made gift to give away. Dip dye your own plain white tea towels to co-ordinate with your kitchen decor, or simply add a splash of colour. How about neon yellow?
I started with a set of three white flour sack style cotton towels, and it’s a good idea to wash and dry them first to allow for any shrinkage. Besides that you need a package of dye (available in your local craft, fabric, or hardware store), a large pot of water and either salt or vinegar to set the dye. Check your package directions. Also the pot should not be one otherwise used for food. This one was in the garage holding golf balls, pretty safe I thought.
This brand of dye had instructions for use in the washer or on the stovetop which is the method I used.
If you dampen your towels before you begin, the dye won’t seep upwards when you dip in the ends. I dampened mine just slightly since I wanted a tiny bit of seeping upwards for an ombré effect. Follow the package directions for mixing the dye. Be sure to cover parts of your work surface that might stain, and wear an apron and rubber gloves! This particular dye called for the packet to be dissolved in simmering water, add the fabric then pour in salt (to set the colour).
I folded the towels into fourths lengthwise, then folded them in half so that only the ends of the towels could be dipped into the dye and the middle left white. This pot was maybe a bit small for all three towels at once but they worked out fine in the end. If you have a bigger pot available you should definitely use it.
The full effect of the dye takes about thirty minutes, keeping the mixture at a simmer. During that time, gradually lift the fabric out of the dye until only the bottom hem is submerged. Then only the top and bottom ends of the towels will be fully saturated with colour with an ombré effect to the centre white section.
When the thirty minutes were up and the dye was completely absorbed, the heat was turned off and the whole thing was left to cool. I set it in an out of the way place overnight. In the morning I poured out the pot and completely rinsed the towels through cold water, making sure to hold the white undyed portion up so any excess dye rinsed downward. Then I washed and rinsed them a few times in a sink of sudsy water till the water ran clear, and hung them out to dry.
I think they make a fun and cheerful accent in the kitchen, and would be a sweet hand-made gift or wrapping for a cookbook or other foodie gift. I made these with my sister’s kids when I was staying at her house and then left them for her to use and enjoy. Maybe the kids will want to help dry the dishes?
linked to thoughts from alice