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Turn a Handwritten Recipe into a Flour Sack Towel

How to Turn a Handwritten Recipe into a Tea Towel for a Heartfelt Gift

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?

More Merry Maker-mas Christmas Freebies

Yay! For Day 18 of Merry Maker-mas, I created a digital Christmas Cookie Kit with 4 FREE SVG designs that you can use to create this Christmas Cookie Tea Towel. It includes the recipe, the frosted star cookie, the cut-out cookie note with an arrow, and the reindeer. You can find the entire kit in my Free Creative Resource Library under the SVG’s.

Watch the YouTube Video for How to Make Handwritten Recipes into Tea Towels

This is the video that goes with this blog post, and will walk you through step-by-step how to use HTV to create your own tea towel. IF you’d like to know how to turn your recipe into a cut file you can use to make a tea towel with your family’s favorite recipe be sure to check out my post, How to Remove the Background of a Handwritten Recipe using Magic Eraser.

With the latest update to Cricut Design Space, which added a Background Remover feature for Cricut Access members, you can try removing the background in there. I have a post about it and a short tutorial on how it works with different images. However, when I tested it with some handwritten images I was still really frustrated with the lack of control. So check it out if you’re interested!

Tutorial- How to Turn a Handwritten Recipe into a Custom Tea Towel

Tools and Materials


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.

upload a handwritten recipe into design space
Save a recipe as a complex image

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.

clean up screen upload recipe into cricut design space

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. 

save a recipe as a cut file
Save as a Cut Image

Step Two: Insert into your Canvas

Your image will now be on your Uploaded Images page, and you can select it and insert it into your canvas.

insert recipe into design space
Select your image and insert it

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.”

change the size of an image in design space

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.

change the square to a line in design space

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.

weld the recipe to the lines

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 Operation (formally 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).

add a square and duplicate it

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. 

create a rectangle box

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.

how to create a box around a recipe

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. 

always mirror your image on the mat

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. 

How to Cut Iron-On Vinyl with a Craft Knife

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!

Weeding a Recipe on Iron-on Vinyl

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.

Tutorial to teach how to clean up a handwritten recipe with Magic Eraser

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,

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