HomeTutorialsHand PaintedTablescapes

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tea Towels Using TAP or Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley

I'm sure there are lots of tutorials out there on putting transfers on tea towels, but I thought I would share with you some of my thoughts on the process.  When I do transfers onto fabric, I use TAP or Transfer Artist Paper by Lesley Riley.  I think it's the best iron on transfer paper there is and is very easy to work with.  I have some towels I have been using for a year and they stand up to the wash week after week.
I get my TAP on Amazon and my last order was a hundred sheets.  Buying in quantity saved me about 25 percent including the shipping.  When I use smaller towels, I put two images to one sheet of TAP.  This also makes my transfer paper last twice as long.  However, if I do flour sack towels which are approximately 32x32, I use a whole sheet of the paper with a full size image.  

First select your images.  The Graphics Fairy has wonderful images and so does Pinterest.  You can find these images on my Pinterest ephemera board.  These are particularly good for tea towels because of the subject matter of the images.
For my smaller kitchen towels I use a wider variety of images including livestock and soap.
The beautiful thing about the TAP transfer paper is that you can use an INK JET printer.  This is the most common printer a home crafter has.  The laser printers are more expensive and if I need a color image especially, I have to go to Fed Ex Office to make my copies.

So first figure out how your copier copies your images.  There is a right and a wrong side to the TAP paper.  You need to figure out which side of your paper your copier prints on to.  You will want your image to print on the white side of the TAP. The reverse side is sort of lavender in color.  For the smaller towels, I print two 5x7 images onto one sheet.  If you have selected an image with printing, you will want to select the MIRROR image setting.  I also darken my print a notch or two so I get a nice strong print.
Look for reasonably priced towels anywhere that sells kitchen or hand towels.  I get my flour sack towels at Target.  First you will want to cut out any pesky labels like the one below.  
I've even transferred onto blue and white tea towels.  I get the four packs.

If you are doing the 5x7 image, cut your paper in half so you now have two identical images.  Place your image face down on the side of your towel you want to transfer the image on to.  I eyeball about an inch above the hem line.  I also use a measuring device to make sure the image is centered between the side edges so when the towel is folded it hangs nicely.  Make sure your image is facing the right way so you don't end up with an upside down image. Believe me, it can happen.  When it does, those are the towels I end up keeping.  I call those my test subjects. 

I use my hottest iron setting and go back and forth slowly for several seconds.  Follow the instructions that come with the TAP.  I also use the tip of my iron and go over the corners a few extra times to make sure the image adheres securely.  If you start to lift the backing and it is still sticking to your image, just lay the backing back in place and iron some more.  This is pretty fool proof.  I've never had an image smear.  However, don't lay the backing back down if you have removed it all the way.  Do it gradually so you make sure the image has come totally away  and adhered.
The great thing about the TAP paper is that it's very transparent.  You don't get the yellowed contrast like with other transfer papers who shall remain nameless.  FYI, I am not being compensated by Lesley Riley in any way.  This post is based on my opinion and experience with different transfer papers, and this one just happens to be my go to favorite.  Below are both towels that I use.  One is a tea towel and the back one is a flour sack.
These towels sell out every time I take them to the flea market.  I have now taken to putting them in cellophane bags as they make great hostess gifts, stocking stuffers or just little thank you gifts for teachers or anyone that has done something nice.  They are inexpensive to make.  I figure the total cost for the little tea towels are approximately $2 each and the flour sack towels are approximately $3 each.  That is for the finished product.
Here are my tea towels that I took to the last flea market.  I put them in larger cellophane bags, but I think for the upcoming market, I will do something festive and add a cute gift tag and a ribbon.
I hope this cleared up any hesitation you've had about doing transfers onto towels.  They are a great project and make great little gifts.  One last thing before I leave you.  If you are doing a lot of towels at one time, all transfer papers give off odors and it's better to work in an area that is well ventilated.  I do about 20 of these at a time and I have them down to five minutes a towel.  They are quick and easy to do.
As always, thanks for your visit.

I may be partying at...

Mondays          Le Chateau des Fleurs       The Graphics Fairy   
                                      Between Naps on the Porch Metamorphosis Monday

Tuesdays          Knick of Time       Coastal Charm  
                                      Boogie Board Cottage    A Stroll Thru Life   
                                     Cozy Little House Tweak it Tuesday
Wednesdays     Savvy Southern Style
Thursdays        The Shabby Creek Cottage    No Minimalist Here 
                                     Between Naps on the Porch Tablescape Thursday    
                                     Rustic Restorations Homespun Happenings
Fridays            French Country Cottage       My Romantic Home        Miss Mustard Seed
                                    Potpourri Friday     Common Ground
                                    The Charm of Home    Rooted in Thyme

Saturdays        Funky Junk Interiors


longtodolist said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial. My question, are these machine washable? I've seen ones like yours (so cute) on Etsy and read "spot clean only" in their descriptions. If I'm making a kitchen towel, I want to be able to use it.

longtodolist said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial. My question, are these machine washable? I've seen ones like yours (so cute) on Etsy and read "spot clean only" in their descriptions. If I'm making a kitchen towel, I want to be able to use it.

The Polka Dot Closet said...

Maggie, thank you!!! What a great and complete tutorial. I am headed to your Pinterest page. I would love to do these, And you know I love TAP paper. If you get a chance, what price do you sell them for? Thanks Maggie, your the best!


Inmaculada said...

Preciosas toallas y muy bueno el tutorial.

Laura @ duke manor farm said...

thanks maggie- i have never heard of TAP paper so I appreciate the tip.

Kirby Carespodi said...

Maggie--this is a great tutorial! (As a teacher, I especially appreciate great tutorials!) I would love to make some, but my time is so limited, I'd need to make sure I was actually going to make money. How much do you sell them for, if you don't mind saying?

Susie said...

maggie, How very reasonable in price. I love all the transfers. So cute. xoxo,Susie

The Speckled Hen Cottage said...

Great tutorial! Glad to know there is no background yellowing!! I do have a couple of questions though...do you pre-wash the item before transferring? and would you mind telling your asking price for a finished towel. happiness~~Mickie

Danni@SiloHillFarm said...

Finally....a use for my iron! My mother-in-law will be so proud!! I have never tried this..but I'll look for that paper next trip to town!

miss flibbertigibbet said...

I love these Maggie! I make towels for the shop too but don't usually use transfer paper because of that "outline" thing. I have some of this paper...I need to try one out and see how I like it! Being able to use the inkjet is a definite plus.

Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

I'm definitely saving this post, pinning it. Fabulous idea and so pretty. It's no wonder they sell out at your shows. Thanks for sharing.

Celestina Marie said...

Hi Maggie, This is a great tutorial and great projects using TAP. I love it too and have tried others, but love this one. Your towels are wonderful. They won't last long. What do you sell them for.
Have a great creative day.

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

You've got it down to a science! Your little tea towels look so cute packaged up like that and would make wonderful gifts! If I ever find the time, I'd love to make some.

karen@somewhatquirky said...

I love these towels. Can you get the TAP paper at JoAnn or Hobby Lobby or do you order it online?

rkramadh said...

I bought TAP on Joann.com for a fantastic price last year when it was on super sale (haven't seen that price once ever since!). I so badly want to use it but was afraid to ruin it (perfectionist, darn!). Now that I have seen this tut and I trust everything you tell me, I will give this a try. Thank you so much for all your inspiration you provide so generously!

gee said...

This looks such a good project hopefully I can buy the TAP paper here in NZ.
I have used other transfer paper but it was stiff and rubbery and I didn't think it would wash well.
Thanks again

Unknown said...

I just read your project and loved it!
I see that the Leslie Riley TAP is discontinued on sites I've looked...is there a comparable replacement you've found?