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Even as an adult, it’s fun to give your mom a handmade gift to celebrate her on Mother’s Day, her birthday or just because. Block printing—also called rubber stamping and linocut printing—is a simple way to add a colorful personal touch to always-useful tea-towels and bandanas.
Even better: You can use the stamp you make to create multiples, like bandanas in different colors or a monogrammed set of tea towels. Hallmark designers made a batch to show us how it’s done.
Even Easier DIY Towels
We’ve simplified the whole process with Tea Towel Handprint Kits. You’ll get everything you need to add your family’s handprints to cute towels (on purpose and in cute colors instead of dirt for once).
Make some 2” squares on your tracing paper and sketch some simple designs: Try flowers, hearts, rainbows, flowers, stars leaves, geometric shapes or letters.
When you like your sketch, go over it with the pencil again, pressing down harder. Then flip the tracing paper over, sketch side down, on a piece of the linoleum block and rub over the lines with your pencil so the lead on the transfers to the rubber.
Use the cutting tools to carve out the rubber where you don’t want color. Try the larger cutting tools to carve out bigger spaces and smaller ones to get close to the shapes you’re going to leave.
When you’re hollowing out your stamp, don’t worry about being perfect. Block printing looks great when backgrounds have little bits of color where you left some rubber.
Your stamp is ready! Squirt a little fabric paint on to a paper plate and roll the brayer until it’s completely—but thinly—covered. If you’re using a foam brush, don’t overload it.
Before you block print on the towel or bandana, practice stamping on plain paper or scrap fabric to see how much paint coverage you’ll need and how you want to space your design. You can also wipe off the stamp and cut out more rubber if you need to.
To print, carefully press the stamp on to the fabric and lift it off slowly. If you’re stamping more than once, apply more paint each time.
Here are some different ways to make different designs with the same stamp:
Or add another stamp with a new color for lots more options!
Let your design dry while you make more. Why stop at just one? When you finish, follow the instructions on the fabric paint to make sure it sets permanently.
Now they’re ready to give as gifts and use to wrap presents. Ideas on that below!
Ways to give your block print gifts
You can give your linocut bandanas and tea towels in approximately a gazillion ways. Here are a few we love.
Tie together a set of color-coordinated towels, napkins or bandanas
Wrap up a box of chocolates, a book or two, or a homemade treat
Give a bottle of her favorite beverage
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