Blogger Next Door: Relish Style

DIY cool dish towels from old, inexpensive plain towels and kitchen cleanser.
By Teresa Blackburn | Posted November 12, 2012
Ready to use tea towels

I have a little addiction to pretty, stylish kitchen tea towels & polka dots. I  cannot have too many of one or  the other, and when they come together it gives me a happy, contented feeling. Like chocolate, or summer tomatoes.

Sometimes I make my own kitchen towels using all cotton or linen fabrics or find store-bought ones which I then turn into useful, beautiful pieces of art for my kitchen. It’s easy using some everyday household cleaners to make plain towels into “Wow-els”.

Here are my newest …beautiful “bleached printed” fall, pumpkin color towels with some well-placed polka dots. I know these will make drying dishes even more fun & brighten up my kitchen for the holidays.

Here is what you will need to make “Bleach Printed” towels…no joke:

100 % linen or all-cotton tea/kitchen towels, washed & dried & ironed flat

a liquid gel bleach pen

a bottle of Soft Scrub with bleach (and rubber gloves if your hands are sensitive)

small art sponges & brushes

How to dot it…so easy, honest:

1. Cover a flat work surface with paper. Lay ironed towel out flat. Pour some Soft Scrub into a throw-away bowl. Dip round “dot” sponge into Soft Scrub and press gently, but firmly into fabric. The bleach in the cleaner will  remove the color from the fabric wherever you leave a printed image.

2. Use the gel pen according to package directions…shake well, etc. I used the fine tip to actually “draw” images of flatware and glassware onto my towels. It is fun to play..write words, draw, stamp..whatever you want to add. Again, wherever you make a mark the color will be bleached out of the fabric. Allow to dry completely.

Checking to see if fabric is dry on the back side. Don’t you just love the color left in the fabric?

3. When bleached areas are completely dry rinse well in warm water. Make sure to remove all the bleach cleaners from the fabric. Dry & Iron.

Notes & Tips

Before I started printing with bleach on my finished towels I played around a bit on a piece of scrap fabric just to get some ideas.

This same technique “Bleach Painting” can be done on dinner napkins as well. Just make sure they are 100% cotton or linen and are pre-washed and dried before you start. Here are some napkins I am working on right now.

I used a combination of home-made and store-bought towels & napkins for this process. Target & World Market are a good source for pretty inexpensive fabric goods, as well as thrift stores & yard sales.

Personalized kitchen linens make great gifts. Cooks and would be cooks love good quality towels that also add lots of style to their favorite room in the house….the kitchen.

Total Time for this project including printing, washing, drying and ironing: 2 hours

My kitchen…all dressed up!


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