Indigo Tea Towels

IMG_0742 When the Holiday party season takes full swing,  I’m typically scrambling for thoughtful hostess gifts -something a little more creative than a bottle of wine. In all seriousness, a nice red tied with a bow is usually what I end up with, as it’s just so easy. This year though, I’m trying to think ahead. Since fun tea towels are something we don’t often buy for ourselves (but are so nice to have around), I’m thinking these little numbers might just do the trick! IMG_0664 Materials:

  • Indigo Dye Kit (Indigo Dye, Reducing Agent, Rubber Gloves, Rubber Bands, Wood Blocks)
  • Flour Sack Cotton Tea Towels
  • 5 Gallon Bucket
  • Plastic Tarp or something to protect the ground below
  • A Stir Stick long enough to reach the bottom of the bucket. I used a wood paint stick. It was just long enough, but I’d recommend a longer one if you have one.
  • A String and Clothespins to hang your drying tea towels.

IMG_0725 Step 1: Setup your work area. Lay the plastic tarp down and string your clothesline. It’s best to do this outside. I set everything up on our apartment balcony.

Step 2: Mix up your dye vat according to the kit instructions and let sit for 1/2 hour to 1 hour.

Step 3: Fold and bind the tea towels according to your desired end result. The Aestate shows several different binding techniques and what the end result will look like. The dye kit also comes with several pattern ideas.

Step 4: Run your bound towels under the faucet to completely soak them.

Step 5: Before you  submerge your first piece in the dye vat, compress it with your hands, and squeeze out excess water and air.

Step 6: Fully submerge or dip a portion of the bound towel into the vat. The longer you leave it in the dye, the darker the blue color will become. When you first remove the towel, it will be light yellow-green in color, but as it oxidizes, the rich indigo blue color will appear. Set the piece aside and let oxide for about 20-30 minutes.

Step 7:  You might want to dip your bound towels again if the color isn’t as dark as you were hoping. The indigo color will be darker, when wet than when dry.

Step 8: For the towels that were completely submerged in dye, rinse off excess dye prior to removing rubber bands, unfolding and pinning to the clothesline to dry. For towels that were only partially dipped, no need to rinse. Remove the rubber bands and hang on the clothesline to dry.

Step 9: Once the towels are completely dry, hand wash them with a mild laundry detergent, and hang back up to dry. IMG_0766 IMG_0729 IMG_0743 IMG_0755 IMG_0759

15 Comments on Indigo Tea Towels

  1. Sandi
    November 6, 2013 at 1:48 pm (2 years ago)

    What a great idea!!!

  2. Sass
    August 24, 2014 at 1:44 am (1 year ago)

    These look fantastic. I want to do some of my own but tried to follow the link for pattern folding instructions and it’s broken now. I don’t suppose you saved a copy of the info there?

      • Sass
        August 24, 2014 at 11:18 pm (1 year ago)

        Oh great, thank-you! Love those patterns too (:


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