Tea Towel Art

I made mac and cheese last night...blue box style. It was only when I poured the noodles out of the box, that I realized I had purchased Toy Story mac and cheese. Fun surprise.


Have you seen these State Pillows by CatStudio? They have a pillow for each of the 50 states.Each pillow is beautifully embroidered with facts, cities, and details the state. Here is the Georgia pillow:

They are so unique and special, but a bit pricey for me. I was happy when I saw that the state designs were available as tea towels, and now many other products, from the same company. The towel design is screen printed with a little stitched border.

David gave me the Georgia tea towel last year for Christmas, but I'm always so afraid of ruining it that I have hardly ever used it. What fun is having something awesome if you can't use it? Not much.

So...I decided to turn the towel into something that would not need to be exposed to spaghetti sauce or washed often. I thought about a pillow, after the original design.

Instead I landed on this...stretching the towel over a canvas to make a wall hanging. That way I'd get to look at it all the time!

You could do this project with any pretty tea towel, beautiful fabric, a meaningful T-shirt, or one of those cool coffee sacks that you can find at flea markets...the world's your oyster.

Here's what you need:

  • Material that you want to stretch over the canvas (In our a case this tea towel)
  • Staple Gun
  • Artist Canvas (size depends on your material)

I used a 12x12 canvas because the design on my tea towel was about a 10x10 square and I wanted a little blank space around the edge.

My canvas was also 2 inches deep so I could stuff all the extra towel inside when I was finished. I didn't want to cut my towel in case I needed to return it to it's original towel existence one day.
I have issues.

You'll also need a pair of needle nose pliers in case you make a mistake. If you do not plan on making a mistake, you won't need em. I make lots of mistakes, so I keep the pliers handy.

Okay, let's get down to business.

First, center the design on your canvas and staple one edge of the fabric along the back of the canvas. Make sure that the pattern stays straight and that you don't stretch the material. I put one staple in the center and work out from there.

Go to the opposite side and pull the fabric tight, but not so much that it stretches the design. Staple this side of the fabric to the back of the canvas, starting in the middle and working your way to the edges.

Now you should have the top and the bottom stapled, but two loose ends on the sides. This next step is just like wrapping a present, okay?

Fold the corner edge in and staple.

Then, fold the flap over and staple.Again, make sure that you don't pull the fabric too tight and stretch the design.

Repeat on the other three corners. You should have lovely, even corners like this. Don't be afraid to pull the staples out with your pliers and re-stretch or recenter your fabric if you're not happy with the results.

I'm stuffing all of the excess towel into the back of the canvas and taping it down. You could trim the excess at this point, if you are a normal person. I, unfortunately, am not.

Here's the finished product.

This whole project probably took me about 10 minutes.

I love having art that is unexpected and meaningful in our house. This little ode to my home state fits the bill. I'm not sure where I'll put the canvas yet. Maybe in the guest bedroom or the mudroom?

Go make some art!

Don't forget about the Giveaway going on through Saturday!

handmade projects


  1. Genius Melissa. I LOVE it. I was thinking of pulling my Georgia tea towel through a fabric hoop to display/hang it but you may have just convinced me otherwise!

  2. Now, that's an awesome idea. I can take some of the dresses that Ansley's outgrown and apply this technique to "create" some new wall art for her bedroom. :-)

  3. What a great conversation piece! Would you consider linking this up to my Sunday Art Therapy link party and flikr group at Seeds on a Breeze? Hope to see you there!

  4. Awesome idea! I've seen tea towels framed before, but I love this take on that idea. Thanks so much for sharing!


  5. I sewed a pillow from the Cat Studios Great Lakes tea towel this summer. I put a small rectangular pillow form inside. I didn't cut it either, but have a flanged edge around the pillow and snap tape on one end so I can take the form out and wash the tea towel. Really like your canvas idea. Might have to get some more tea towels and try that!

  6. I have the exact same tea towel--a gift--would have never bought it for myself:)--too pricy, I'm sure. Isn't it great to be loved and spoiled with such??!!!! I hung it over the door of an old family pie safe, and there it has been for several years. I just may have to try your project! AC tells me of your creativity; I believe her. Hope to see you in Macon soon.

  7. Very cool idea! I had loved the pillows too but thought they were a bit pricey as well. Great idea! Will copy.

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