It’s a fact universally acknowledged that things that were once treasured should be upcycled. Old books are friends that need to be saved, old silverware needs me to turn it into jewelry, and yes, handwritten recipes really beg to become tea towels, aprons, casserole dishes, and pendants. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to use a handwritten recipe to create a tea towel. But it doesn’t have to be a recipe that you use. It can be a signature, a marriage certificate, a love letter, birth certificate, adoption certificate, or notice of draft. There are all kinds of things that are now ephemera that we can salvage and treasure in our crafts. What do you have that you can use?
Tutorial- How to Turn a Handwritten Recipe into a Custom Tea Towel
Tools and Materials
- Handwritten Recipe *for how to clean up for a transparent background (remove the background) check out my post and video on How to Clean Up a Handwritten Recipe with Magic Eraser
- Tea towel, Fleet Farm and Amazon
- Cricut Maker or Explore Air 2
- Computer or Tablet (with Cricut Design Space installed)
- Light Grip Light Blue Cutting Mat or Green Standard Grip Cutting Mat
- Iron-on Vinyl, black (Heat Transfer Vinyl)
- TrueControl Knife, or Craft Knife (optional)
- Self-Healing Mat (optional)
- Basic Tool Set for weeding vinyl
- Cricut Easy Press, iron, or heat press
- Cricut EasyPress Mini (optional, for fixing mistakes or small areas)
- Ironing Blanket (optional)
Step One: Process Image as a Cut File
In a new canvas in Cricut Design Space, click on the Upload option on the left toolbar. This will prompt you to upload a new image. Click on browse, and then find your image in your files and click on it. This will open it up in Cricut Design Space and start the image processing.
Choose complex by clicking on it and then continue.
On the next screen, it will prompt you to clean up your image by removing the background. If your image is a .png with a transparent background then you don’t need to do anything. Just click continue.
IF you haven’t already removed the background then you can do so on this screen.
Pro Tip- I use the Magic Eraser app to clean up complex images like handwritten recipes and have a post and video about it. It’s quicker, easier to fix mistakes, easier to see the image as you work, and I can work over multiple sessions.
On the next screen you’ll be asked if you’d like to save it as a Print then Cut image or Save as a Cut Image. Choose to save it as a cut image.
Step Two: Insert into your Canvas
Your image will now be in your Uploaded Images page, and you can select it and insert it into your canvas.
Step Three: Size your Design
Click and drag it down to the size you want, or you can change the size in the top toolbar. I sized mine down to about 8.5.”
Step Four: Add lines to Your Design and Weld (optional)
If you’d like to add anything to your design, you’d do that now. I wanted to add lines to my “card” as well as the rectangle shape around it. To add the lines, I clicked on the shapes icon in my left side toolbar.
Then choose a square. Next, with the shape selected, unlock the little lock symbol. Then size it to what I thought looked right by either dragging the bottom corner or by typing it into the size box. I think my line-height ended up being about .028 or .022.
Next, duplicate that for any other lines that you need. Select all and then place the top line and the bottom lines where you want them. Use the align function in the edit bar to align left and then distribute vertically.
Unhide the recipe, and make sure all the lines are where you want them to be. Then select all and click on the weld in the bottom right corner of your screen.
Pro Tip- If you want to add a signature over the top of your design (like in my grain stripe tea towel) then you would weld that as well.
Step Five: Create the Rectangle Border (optional)
If you would like to make your recipe look like a card then you’ll want to add another square shape to your canvas.
Unlock and size shape. You will also probably want to change the color of the image up by the linetype, and then click on the arrange in the top toolbar and select send to back.
Then duplicate the square and size this square slightly smaller than the first. I like to hide the recipe at this point so I’m only looking at the two squares (do this by clicking on the eye).
When the space between the rectangles is the width you’d like the border around the card to be, then select both shapes. Under the align in the top toolbar choose center.
Then with both still selected, click on the slice in the bottom right corner of the canvas. Delete the interior slices so that you only have the outline left.
Step Six: Attach and Make it
If you hid the recipe image then click the eye again to reveal. Then position your rectangle and your recipe together and with both selected align center again. Next, choose Attach from the bottom right toolbar. Check your design’s overall size again and then click on the Save and save/name your project. Then select the Make it in the top right corner of your screen.
Step Seven: Prep your Mat
The next screen shows you your design on the mat as it will be cut. The first thing you want to do (the very first) is to mirror your design by toggling the Mirror option on the left side of the screen.
Then, use the screen measurements as a reference, cut your iron-on vinyl to size and position it shiny side down on the mat. I like to use my light blue (light grip) cutting mat, but you can use the green (standard grip) mat as well.
Step Eight: Cut!
On the screen, press Continue, and then when it says “Select Materials,” you want to choose Everyday Iron-On. Next, make sure you have your fine point blade in the machine and click on the Load/Unload button on your Cricut Machine to load the mat. When prompted, click the blinking go button on your Cricut.
Step Nine: Weed
It definitely helps to have weeding tools and to start with the small interiors of the letters first. Like the center of the “o” and the “g,” etc. It also helps to have good lighting and to be willing to take your time and go slow. Once you’ve weeded your image, you’re ready to iron it on!
Pro Tip- I have my best tips on how to weed really detailed cuts in the video for this post!
Step Ten: Iron-on Vinyl
For this step, you’ll need your heat source and your tea towel (or apron). Then depending on if you’re using Cricut or Siser Iron-on (heat transfer vinyl), check the heat guide on their website. Cricut also has an interactive heat guide for its Easy Press line of heat presses. Set the temperature of your heat press accordingly.
Pro Tip- Check the washing tag on your tea towel to determine the type of fabric.
Position the tea towel on your surface. I’m working on my ironing blanket. I love it, but it’s optional. It does turn any table into an ironing surface; it also has aluminum in the fabric, so when you iron on it, you’re heating the surface of the pad. Which then heats the back of your tea towel as you apply heat to the front. One thing I don’t often use is a Teflon sheet or parchment paper over my transfer sheet as I heat it. Honestly, I just forget, and I don’t have a problem.
Apply heat according to the manufacturer’s instructions for the type of heat transfer vinyl you’re using. Again, if you’re interested in seeing this process, I demo it in the video!
And Ta-Da! You learned how to turn a handwritten recipe into a tea towel that someone special will treasure.
For More Inspiration
Don’t forget that if you’d like to know how to clean up a recipe to craft with I have a post and YT video that shows you how. And if you’d like to see more ideas for using handwritten recipes to create with, check out this post by Southern Living, Five Ways to Turn Handwritten Recipes into Gifts.
Love this? Share it!
If you found this tutorial for how to turn a handwritten recipe into a tea towel helpful, please share this post. You can also pin the image below, or you can subscribe to my YT channel for more awesome crafting videos!
Thanks for reading- and please show me what you made by posting a pic in my Facebook Group.