Few activities can pull thriftiness and money-saving techniques, creativity and a love of colors, and a nice-looking addition to a home's décor all together like re-purposing a simple staple item found in almost every kitchen in your neighborhood. Fabric, especially those with the neatest designs, can carry a fairly hefty price tag when compared to the simple towel.
Tea towels, or dishcloths, come in a range of generous dimensions so that using them for craft ideas becomes easy and fun, as well as very economical. Many of these projects help conserve resources by replacing disposable items that so many of us use on a regular basis.
Not only can you make these as gifts for others, but you can also use these pattern ideas as ways to teach others some basic sewing skills. Here are several that you're sure to love, and possibly share with friends who are eager to make something all their own.
Each of the links below opens up in a new tab so there's no need for you to right-click and select that option. Checking out one of the tutorials below doesn't mean you'll lose this page, so look around and see where your interest and urge for creative outlets soar.
1- Anthro-Inspired Decorative Pillows
The measurements are changeable so don't worry that your existing pillows or pillow forms won't work well. Just measure accurately and you're all set for making these cute little sofa additions.
Other ideas for their use include in a teen's room, stocking stuffers (without the pillow, of course), housewarming gifts, baby showers for nursing moms, college-bound suitcases, and guest room furnishings. These might even work great for glamping in your new camper or cabin.
2- Not Your Typical Baby Bib
Too often, baby bibs come in colors and textures that stains stick to forever. These bibs open up a slew of beautiful and bright ideas that any baby is sure to love. Even new bibs cannot compare to these that you make in your own choice of tea towel patterns.
These bibs make any mealtime brighter and for those who post to social media, including your sweet little one's meals alongside your own gives your audience a pop of unexpected color and pizzazz.
3- Puppies Love These Durable Braids
Your puppy needs to chew on something to relieve the pain as new teeth come in and this toy provides the perfect texture for your canine buddy. Making this for a teething puppy can keep your shoes safe from tiny teeth.
This project requires much less sewing than these other projects, and can also help you recycle older tea towels, as well as flour sack dishcloths and other household textiles into something more useful. Stains are not going to bother your pup unless they are from oil or grease, so avoid any towels that might make your canine friend sick. Also, look out for loose threads. These can get stuck in your puppy's throat and cause gagging or other problems.
4- Perfect for Glamping and Picnics Anytime
Keeping dishes and utensils clean and dust-free means a much more pleasant experience, even when your meal is super basic. For many glamping means a much cleaner environment than camping in the traditional sense. This project helps keep your flatware and plates super clean and free of insects, dust, and other non-edibles.
Made of absorbent tea towels, you can also put things away in this fabric holder when they are still slightly damp. You can also make a simple handle to allow you to hang it somewhere inside your camper or cabin.
5- Imbue Your Next Tea Party with Your Creative Personality
Most coasters are round but these are square! And fabric makes them highly absorbent and protective of your table's finish. Because these are washable, you can just place them with the rest of your kitchen wares. Perfect for tea and luncheon, you'll want to make sure nobody throws these away by accident.
Because they are reusable, you can save on the chances of littering when going camping or on more elegant picnics. There's no need to find a waste can to toss your paper goods away when you have these on hand.
6- A Cute Way to Make Sure Your Sewing Machine Stays Free of Dust and Lint
Sewing machines often get dusty from particles floating around in the air, and keeping them clean can help keep your machine running correctly. We all know how difficult it is to get a machine running smoothly, without breaking thread or puckering fabric.
This is so easy to whip up and serves a super useful purpose. You might want to make one for each of your sewing friends, too.
7- Everyone Needs Potholders! Make Some to Match Your Other Towels
If you buy several matching tea towels, you'll have exactly what you need to make a matching set of potholders and dish towels. Putting together a set like this can become an excellent housewarming gift for friends and relatives.
Such a unique gift that is not only handmade specifically for them, but also useful on a daily basis means you always stay in their thoughts. Don't forget to make your own, though! You need a matching set, also.
8- Toddlers Love Bathrobes and You can Make One Just Like the Big Kids' Robes
This is just too adorable. Tiny but so sweet. Any toddler would love to have this to put on right after bath time. The pattern is so easy that you can make several of these for kids you babysit or for grandchildren. Highly useful and long-lasting, especially for the price.
9- Shoe Bags for School, Slumber Parties, Camping
Keeping shoes together and not losing one or the other can be a serious challenge for some children. One seems to always go missing. This bag keeps them together when not being worn.
This project requires a tea towel as well as some sturdy cord. Just a few straight lines of stitching and your lost shoe problems are a thing of the past.
10- Perfect for Stocking Stuffers or a Really Neat Gift Tag
These are just too cute. Everyone knows the mass-produced versions found in almost every flea market and discount store. However, these are made by you and can be very personalized. The pattern choice is up to you, meaning you can create a themed set for best friends, school groups, or others who need a bit of extra security for their change.
You can also make these longer or wider to fit a variety of needs. Make-up bags, pencils cases, or business card holders all come to mind.
11- Make a Super Simple Wallet for the Young Man in Your Life
Some of those on your intended list of handmade gift recipients might prefer a simple wallet instead of a coin purse. This project details the necessary steps to make a wallet for a boy. These are sturdy enough to use and slim enough to slip into a pocket without making a whitish outline on the pocket of his jeans.
Knowing his hobbies and interests can help you choose the right tea towel for him. This step might not be possible if he lives far away or isn't very talkative. In that case, settle on checks or plaids, or typical outdoorsy scenes.
12- Adorable Cafe Curtains
Simple cafe curtains carry a hefty price tag once you realize how complicated they are to make yourself. Tea towels often have much better designs and more vibrant colors than the typical set of curtains, also. This makes it an even better investment.
These are so simple to make, having several sets on hand to match your mood or the seasons and holidays is still inexpensive enough to make it possible. You can even choose sheer or more opaque tea towels to increase your privacy or allow you to see outside.
13- A Unique Totebag – Economical and Environmental Friendly
Everyone needs a tote bag or two, or maybe even several. Making these can help reduce your impact on the environment when checking out at the grocery store. These are really durable if the tea towel is sturdy and tightly woven. Looser ones can let sand sift right out of them for those summery days at the beach.
Make sure that your handles are sewn on tightly to stay secure and wide enough too make carrying things easy on your hands. Longer straps can go over your shoulder more easily, too, so keep that in mind as you prepare your materials.
14- Laptop Bag in Beautiful Prints (Recommends Martha Stewart Towels)
Not only is this tutorial highly detailed in and of itself, the author also goes the extra mile by posting updates and many, many tips about the project. Plenty of pictures along with a descriptive explanation of each step, you'll have this sweet laptop tote sewn up in no time flat. The weave on this project should be tight and sturdy, also, so keep that in mind when shopping for the right towel.
While it perfectly fits a Mac laptop, you can change the dimensions to fit your own laptop or notebook. For the super talented, adding pockets for chargers, cables, headphones, and the like should be easy-peasy. The wide straps make it easy to better distribute the weight of a heavy laptop, too.
15- Encourage Reading and Help Build Responsible Book Stewardship
Helping kids learn to love reading is probably more important than just teaching them to read. Taking care of books helps them last longer. Sharing books with friends leads to discussions, imaginative play, and much more.
This library tote helps young readers keep books from the library in a specific location, and helps make it easy to return them before their due date. While it looks better when the colors are bright, to keep things sturdy, choose a tea towel that is made of thicker, stronger fabric, as opposed to opting for one made of more fragile material.
16- This as a Book Cover or to Hide a Private Journal
The art of writing by hand seems to be a disappearing form of self-expression. This cover can inspire those who still put their thoughts down on paper in a journal or diary. For avid book lovers, this can help keep a favorite book looking new longer.
Other uses for this creative project sit right in your kitchen. Cookbooks would look even more at home on your counter when covered in an appropriate food-related tea towel. Stacking several of these in different patterns would brighten up any kitchen.
17- Make Some Cute but Washable Napkins for Your Next Cocktail Party
So much better than disposable, and much more elegant, as well. Washable fabric in cheerful patterns and colors make any setting much more lively. These are as simple to make as they are pretty to lay out for guests. You can personalize them by using favorite colors, printed objects, or if you're lucky, letters so it seems each has a unique monogram. Seasonal events can also lend themselves to your creative endeavors.
On the practical side, these can be used in a pinch to wipe of small spills or dry wet fingers. Make sure you make plenty to go around for your next major party.
18- Save on Lunch Bags with this Cute Reusable Bag
Using bright and colorful tea towels means your lunch, or your child's never gets lost among the other meals. Yours will never get confused with someone else's and end up going home with them.
This bag is washable, too, making it less likely to harbor germs like a plastic lunch box might. Make one for each of your children and keep them separate with a distinct embellishment.
19- How Many of Your Home's Rooms Need a Mat? Kitchen, Bath, Bedroom...
These come in useful in so many places. At the front door, the bathtub's side, outside shower stalls, next to your bed, and definitely in front of your kitchen sink.
Because you can use the same otherwise-to-be-discarded carpet remnants to make several, you only need to choose the appropriate tea towel for each location.
20- Bar Stool Covers can Personalize Seating in Your Family
The men in your life are really going to like these. You can make each one showcase a special scene of their favorite activities. It might be sports, outdoor living, grilling, or boating and fishing.
These can also cover up any markings that you find on second-hand stools and make them for yourself. We won't tell!
Life Calls for Aprons, Aprons, Aprons!
So many activities become messy, even when we are extremely careful. Protecting our clothes, as well as having pockets in which to store the tools we need, means having an apron. They aren't just for cooking or art, either. Here are some really creative ideas for aprons. Finding one that fits your needs or the inspiration to make one specifically just for you or someone else can make an activity more fun.
Both half-size and full-length aprons serve different purposes, so we included both. We placed the kids' aprons down below, so you can find them more easily.
Most of these projects require one tea towel for the half sizes and two or three for the full sized aprons. A bit of extra fabric and other trim like ribbon or ricrac makes these all come together.
This full apron looks best when large geometric shapes are printed on the tea towel. Very cute but sophisticated, too.
21- When You Love to Decorate Your Project, this One is For You
Made from a sweet design, this would be the almost-frilly style to pick for making breakfast in bed dishes even better for you significant other.
22- A Nice Half Apron to Get You Through any Activity
Super basic and easy to make, this can serve well in almost any activity around the house.
23- Sweet and Feminine with Soft Ruffles
Almost lacy when you look at it, this is a super-ladylike apron that makes domestic chores seem easier to start and finish.
24- Montessori-Inspired Half Apron
The utility comes alive in this versatile apron. Simple with decorative trim, combining the colors together means you can make it complement almost any outfit.
25- Sashed Half Apron with Pockets Galore
Definitely for the young at heart, this whimsical apron looks as cute as it is useful. Complete with a set of three pockets.
26- Feminine with Soft Gathers and Practical with Pockets
More traditional than the others listed here but still useful and quite easy to make.
27- Strangely Unusual but Super Practical
You really must see this one, it's so unique that you'll probably be the only one with one like this.
28- Chic Hostessing with this Mini-Apron
Cocktails or a dinner party needs a hostess with this cute apron.
29- Cute and Modern Country Style Apron
Baking and cooking seem to become a new found hobby when you have something special like this.
30- Full Apron with Whimsical Pocket
Perfect for babysitters or child care workers who want something easy to move around in and versatile as well as functional.
31- Half Apron with Full-Size Pocket
Sturdy ties and a basic but roomy front pocket helps get chores done around the house fast.
We Can't Forget that Kids Need Aprons, Too
32- Make a One-Of-A-Kind Art Apron for Your Youngster
Super cute with bias tape and some cutting along geometric lines, pockets and ties make it perfect.
33- Never Lose a Crayon Again!
For the child who wants everything neat and tidy, this can solve the broken crayon situation in a flash. Each one has a spot, and being in easy reach, your little artist never needs to search for a specific color in a messy box again.
While this project might be a bit intricate-looking, it really isn't. Making a one-of-a-kind apron like this is sure to create a school staple that your older children will pass down to younger siblings.
Making these projects might seem like something you'll do next week, but start looking for materials now. When you do have that inkling to start your project, your materials will be waiting for you. Otherwise, your inspirational moment might pass without you having taken advantage of it.