As Seen in Martha Stewart Magazine: 8 Ways to Make Spoonflower’s Most Popular DIY Project

JUL 30, 2019 updated Jun 2, 2021

It’s no secret our family heirloom recipe tea towel is a Spoonflower classic. As seen in Martha Stewart and Southern Living, this Linen Cotton Canvas fat quarter project has withstood the test of time and is a go-to gift idea for anyone in your family, even for those family members who are impossible to shop for!

Want to see what happened when we invited eight Spoonflower team members to make their own version of our most popular DIY project? Keep reading to find out and don’t miss the full video tutorial to make your very own version below!

How to Make a Recipe Tea Towel 

Monica, Human Resources

Mawmaw’s Seafood Gumbo

Recipe
Mawmaw’s Seafood Gumbo

Design Technique
Photoshop Tea Towel Tutorial

What is the significance of the recipe you chose?
Being New Orleanians, food is the center of every close family event, especially cajun classics like gumbo. My husband’s grandmother (Mawmaw) passed away 5 years ago. When she passed away, my mother in law received her recipe books with all of her handwritten recipes. This recipe is one that was well loved and has been used many times (as you can see by all the spills and rewrites) 

Why do you think recipe tea towels make such a meaningful gift?  
For our family specifically, this takes a precious recipe that means so much to us, created by a woman that we loved so dearly, and allows the recipe to be on display. Having two daughters of my own, it is so important to me that we can carry on our traditions, and what better way than a tea towel with their great-grandmother’s recipes!

Jennifer, Accounting

Dave’s Meatballs

Recipe
Dave’s Meatballs

Design technique
Canva

What is the significance of the recipe you chose?
Does any family have their Italian sauce recipe written down and follow it every time? We don’t. Nor did we have a recipe for meatballs. When a family friend (whose meatballs we love, by the way) said that he had a recipe more accurate than “a little of this, a pinch of that”, we copied it down and have been using it ever since.

Why do you think recipe tea towels make such a meaningful gift?  
We have a handful of cherished family recipes. When I saw the tea towels on the Spoonflower website for the first time, I thought they would be a great gift for a few aunts and grandparents. They are always so difficult to shop for. Whenever you ask them what they want or need, you’re met with “Oh, I don’t need anything.” This was our first tea towel and the next one we do we will be using a hand-written recipe to memorialize not only the recipe, but the person who wrote it.

Kate, Floor Operations

Great Aunt Irene’s Pumpkin Bread

Recipe
Great Aunt Irene’s Pumpkin Bread

Design Technique
GIMP

What is the significance of the recipe you chose?
This recipe has gone through several transformations through generations. My grandma took the raisins out of the original recipe, then my mom adapted it to make muffins instead of loaves. In my family now, it’s much more of a dessert than a quick bread, but still much beloved.

Why do you think recipe tea towels make such a meaningful gift? 
I think these towels are such a great way to preserve memories and not just the recipe itself. I talked to my mom about which recipe to use, and while I had intended to use a recipe in my grandma’s handwriting, she mentioned that she still has the typewriter that my grandma used to type this recipe card. She had loved using it to retype recipe cards, something I didn’t know about her before. Not only are the finished products great gifts, but the process itself initiates great conversations about family.

Sarah, Floor Operations

Donut Puffs

Recipe
Donut Puffs

Design Technique
Photoshop 

What is the significance of the recipe you chose?
Donuts in general have always had some traditional value in my family. I grew up in the city where Krispy Kreme started (Winston-Salem, NC) and my church was right around the corner. Every Sunday before the service would begin everyone would gather for coffee and donuts. Last October, I wanted to make donuts for a Halloween potluck at work, but couldn’t find a recipe that wouldn’t take too much time. I remembered seeing a Youtube tutorial about making profiteroles when the idea hit me: I had all the ingredients to make profiteroles, but I could put the dough into the donut baking pans that I had! I ended up adjusting a recipe I got from the Food Network from Chef Anne Burrell, and they were a big hit!

Why do you think recipe tea towels make such a meaningful gift?
It helps preserve the tradition of making memories with those recipes! Everyone has a story! I would love to make more to give to my future kids, extended family, and friends. I actually made a drink recipe tea towel for my best friend from college for Christmas last year and she loves it!

Suz, Marketing

Nana’s Peanut Granola

Recipe
Nana’s Peanut Granola

Design Technique
Photoshop Tea Towel Tutorial 

What is the significance of the recipe you chose?
Whenever my family traveled to my grandparents’ house in upstate Pennsylvania, we always knew we would eat well. My nana is a great cook, but she also knew how to cater to youngsters. There would always be a wide array of fun cereals for the grandkids to choose from in the morning. As a kid I went for the store-bought varieties I didn’t have at home, but in my teen years, I gravitated toward her homemade granola. The crunch of the peanuts, the sweetness of the shredded coconut and chopped apricots: it’s what I want all other granolas to live up to.

Why do you think recipe tea towels make such a meaningful gift? 
I typically find meal ideas by bookmarking cookbook pages or “pinning” and printing off recipes online. Seeing the handwriting of someone I love evokes so many memories of why this recipe is more than just a list of ingredients. A recipe tea towel evokes happy memories—who wouldn’t want something like that in their kitchen?

Gina, Product Development

A love note from Gina’s partner.

Recipe
A love note from my partner

Design Technique
Photoshop Love Note Tutorial 

What is the significance of the recipe you chose?
I unfortunately don’t have a ton of handwritten family recipes. My dad is the cook in our family, and he’s more of a type or scan/copy from a book kind of guy. However, I love this project and wanted something special for my kitchen, so I chose to use a letter. My partner wrote me a sweet letter on the day we moved into our house together, and I’ve had it taped into a notebook for the last three years. We both love to cook and host our loved ones for meals together – a tea towel commemorating this milestone seemed like the perfect keepsake to hang in our kitchen.

Why do you think recipe tea towels make such a meaningful gift? 
In my home, the kitchen is where all of the magic happens – holidays with my parents are all about the food, and my partner and I love making meals together, either just for us or for our friends. To me, preparing food feels like a wonderful, warm ritual that is totally worth commemorating. Tea towels that capture an aspect of that magic – whether it be showcasing a recipe that’s special to your family, or some other ephemeral moment of significance – are the perfect way to elevate and preserve something fragile that otherwise may be lost to time, a bored puppy or a spilled glass of wine.

Meredith, Marketing

Mom’s Famous Frosting 

Recipe
Mom’s Famous Frosting 

Design Technique
Photoshop Recipe Tea Towel Tutorial 

What is the significance of the recipe you chose?
Growing up, birthdays were always a big to-do in my house and a homemade cake made by my mom was the pinnacle of the day’s celebration. Whether it was an elegant cake with chocolate shavings and strawberry slices or a whimsical cake inspired by Halloween (I’m an October baby) one thing was for sure: Mom’s homemade frosting had to be on that cake. It’s safe to say my mom has passed down her cake-baking skills because I’ve adopted the role of resident birthday-cake maker for marketing team birthdays and her frosting always makes an appearance. 

Why do you think recipe tea towels make such a meaningful gift? 
Family recipes can hold so many memories that are passed down from generation to generation. I love that this project is a way to make those memories last forever by preserving the stains and handwriting of the original recipes.

Michele, Floor Operations

Recipe
Corn Souffle 

Design Technique
PicMonkey Tea Towel Tutorial

What is the significance of the recipe you chose?
This recipe is special because it is a family favorite at holiday dinners (in fact, it was often the only thing we could get my son to eat besides a roll!) It’s also special because it’s in my mother’s handwriting and she passed away in 2012.

Why do you think recipe tea towels make such a meaningful gift? 
I think recipe tea towels make such a meaningful gift because they are a great way to preserve family history. Especially if they are created using the handwritten original recipe with all the food stains! Handwritten recipes by nature are fragile and prone to fading and deterioration. With recipe tea towels, once you create the design you can make one for everyone in the family. No more fighting over who gets Grandma’s recipes!

MaryAshlyn, Customer Support

Recipe
Grandma Mary’s Strawberry Wine Cake

Design Technique 
Photoshop and Illustrator

What is the significance of the recipe you chose?
The first time I remember my Grandma making this cake was when I was about 8 years old. My cousins and I felt so cool and grown-up being allowed to have something with wine in it! Grandma has made it with a lot of different wines over the years, but the OG strawberry version has always been our favorite.

After rewriting her grandmother’s recipe, MaryAshlyn still wanted to incorporate her grandmother’s handwriting. By scanning her grandmother’s signature from an old birthday card, MaryAshlyn can keep her grandmother’s signature for years to come.

Why do you think recipe tea towels make such a meaningful gift? Creating a recipe tea towel is such a clever way of preserving family recipes – especially those you don’t have a handwritten copy of or those that are deteriorating with time. Whether you’re simply scanning in a well-loved recipe card or creating an illustrated version, being able to capture and share the memories and emotions associated with that loved-one’s recipe is priceless!

As Seen on Martha Stewart: Family Recipe Tea Towels | Spoonflower Blog

Recipe tea towels continue to be an easy and affordable way to create a family heirloom that you can pass down for generations to come. Whether it’s a scanned recipe card that reflects the wear and tear of a well-loved dish to a crowd-favorite dessert, the possibilities are endless.  


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  • Love, love this idea! One question… in the tutorial video why is the copy of the recipe placed on a 27\”W X 18\” H design mat when a fat quarter is only 21\”W x 18\” H?

    • Hi Cathy, great question!

      Spoonflower offers a variety of fabric types with widths ranging from 42″- 60″ per yard, so your fabric choice will determine how wide your fat quarter is! For example, our Petal Signature Cotton fat quarters measure 21″ x 18″ whereas Linen Cotton Canvas fat quarters measure 27″ x 18″, which is why we used a design mat at that size for this tea towel project. Hope that helps!

      Best,
      Anna
      Spoonflower

  • I would love to do this but do not have Photoshop. I’m wondering if there are other to use to create the needed file. I do have Inkscape. Can I create the file in Inkscape?

    • Hi Rita,
      We have a second tutorial that shows how to make a tea towel with the free program PicMonkey. I hope that helps, but if you have any more questions don’t hesitate to ask!

    • Hi Debby,
      The original recipe card included a red floral background so when she scanned the recipe, the flowers were scanned as well!

  • Christine Page

    This is the most confusing tutorial I have ever viewed. She goes too fast and expects the viewer to know all the steps already. I have tried to use PicMonkey and I guess I am not as computer literate as I thought I was. Why can’t you accept a word document which is very easy to edit to the right size then upload the document? I have designed fabric before in Spoonflower but it was repeat pattern. I am going to keep trying but it should be easier than how you have it set up.

    • Hi Christine,
      We’re sorry to hear you found this tutorial confusing! If there is a specific part of the tutorial that was difficult, please don’t hesitate to send us an email to help@spoonflower.com with more details so we can assist you further.

  • What is the total cost per towel if they all have the same recipe?… It would be a hand written one….

    • Hi Bettina,
      A fat quarter of Linen Cotton Canvas, the fabric used for a recipe tea towel, is $12.60 when ordering your own design. I hope that helps, but if you have any more questions don’t hesitate to ask!

  • Re tea towels video and instructions

    Please e-send a transcript
    I could not locate the captions
    Thanks

    • Hi Lbw,

      Thanks so much for your question. You can find the written instructions here! I hope that helps, but if you have any more questions don’t hesitate to ask!

      Best Regards,
      -Meredith F.
      Spoonflower

  • I created one of these for a dear friend from her mother’s 1960s recipe cards (Mrs. LaDuke’s Flaky Biscuits) and she was so delighted and honored. It’s a really special gift.

  • OMG, these are wonderful! I made two tea towel designs with my favorite gluten-free recipes and have given them as gifts to family and friends. They are custom illustrated (by me!) and are now available on Spoonflower. You can print 4-up, cut them out, and finish them using extra wide, double fold bias tape for a professional finished look. They make great housewarming gifts. Check them out here:
    https://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/3148906-tea-towel–faux-pasta-by-kim_buchheit
    https://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/3089864-tea-towel–panc%C3%AApe-recipe-by-kim_buchheit

    • Susan Easley

      WOW it sure did turn out nice! My mom recently passed and I have several of her hand-written recipes and can hardly wait to make these tea towels!

      I signed up for your newsletter, too!