This spring Lisa DiAntonio launched Green Park Studios, a new “print your own fabric” company. Lisa shows you how to prepare files to print your own Recipe Tea Towels. The Peach Margarita sounds great, and we think these would also be lots of fun with scanned recipe cards featuring traditional family favorites. A set would make a thoughtful wedding or Christmas gift!
Lisa wants to see your tea towel designs! Upload your design to Instagram and tag #greenparkstudios and #teatoweldesign. As a thank you for posting, everyone who uploads their design by May 31, 2015 will be entered to win one free yard of any Green Park Studios fabric!
One very popular design that goes through the printers at Green Park Studios are custom tea towels, especially those with handwritten recipes on them. We’re using Adobe Photoshop in this tutorial, but don’t be scared if you’ve never used Photoshop before as designing your tea towel just uses the basics. If you’ve ever been interested in trying Photoshop, this is the time! We guarantee that you will love it and will be eager to learn more about designing using Photoshop (and Illustrator too!).
We will show you how to design a tea towel with a summer drink recipe on it, but you can use any handwritten recipe and images for your project.
- Pen, pencil, paint, Sharpie (whatever you want to use to write down your recipe)
- Scanner (one that scans at a resolution of at least 300 dpi)
- Adobe Photoshop (You can try a free 30 day trial.)
Step 1: Write Down Your Recipe
This part is fun and allows your personal creativity to come through. If you took a calligraphy class, this is a great time to put your writing skills to work. Or maybe you have a recipe written down by your mother or grandmother. You can even paint your recipe and immediately have great color in your design. For this tutorial we simply wrote our recipe down in pencil, then traced with a fine marker.
Step 2: Scan Your Recipe
To scan our recipe we used the Epson WorkForce DS-30. It’s an inexpensive but good scanner (we got it for $84 on sale at Amazon). At Green Park Studios, images need to be uploaded at a resolution of 300 dpi, so be sure to select that resolution when scanning your recipe. Save your image as a JPG.
Step 3: Open Your Scanned Recipe in Photoshop
To open your scanned recipe, first open Photoshop then select File->Open. Another way to open a file in Photoshop is to drag the file over the Photoshop icon on your desktop.
Step 4: Create a New Document in Photoshop
When in Photoshop, open a new file (File->New). (This will be the file the tea towel will be created in.) Give your project a name. For width and height, make sure inches is selected as the unit of measure in the drop down, and enter a width of 18” and height of 27”. Note that this size allows you to fit four tea towels on one yard of our linen cotton canvas, a popular tea towel fabric. Also be sure to choose a resolution of 300 pixels/inch. This is important, as all files loaded into our Print Studio load at a resolution of 300 dpi.
Step 5: Place Your Scanned Recipe Into Your Tea Towel File
Now you will have two files open: your scanned recipe and your blank canvas (the working space in Photoshop is called your canvas). The next step is to copy your recipe and place it into the blank file. To do this you will use the lasso tool, which is in the tool bar to the left of your canvas. If you don’t see your toolbar, go to Window->Tools to open it.
With the lasso tool selected, draw around your handwritten recipe. When you are done drawing around it, release the mouse. A dotted line will appear around your selection.
Next, select copy (Edit->copy), then go to the blank file (your tea towel file) and paste the recipe into it (Edit->paste).
Step 6: Position Your Recipe on the Tea Towel Canvas
After the recipe is placed, you will probably need to scale and position it. To do that, first select the layer that the text is on. (Note: every item that is placed on your canvas is placed on its own layer). The layers panel will be at the bottom right of your screen (see the image below). If you don’t see it, go to
Window->Layers to open it.
Once the layer is selected, resize and reposition the recipe to your liking. The best spot to put your recipe is the bottom center of your tea towel so that it can be seen when draped over a handle of some sort. It’s also very important to note your seam allowances. Turn on your rulers by going to View->Rulers. This will make it easier to see how much space to leave around the edge of the canvas.
Step 7: Add Personality + Color to Your Tea Towel with Clip Art
Adding design elements to your tea towel is easier than you think and it’s quite fun. Here are a few ideas if you find yourself asking, “Where do I get design elements?”:
1. Draw or paint your own and scan, just as you scanned your handwritten recipe.
2. Use a photograph (one with a good resolution).
3. Purchase clip art online. This method is great, and it’s how we got our artwork for this tutorial. Our favorite source for clip art is Etsy. Our clip art came from the FRANCEillustration shop.
No matter what method you use to get your artwork, you will most likely have a JPG file as a result. To place the artwork on your tea towel, go to File->Place Embedded. A window will pop up for you to choose your file. After you click OK, the image will be placed on your canvas. It will have an outline around it. At this point you can resize and reposition it to your liking. When you are done, click the check mark at the top of your screen to place the image.
The layer that your image is on will be on top of the layer that your recipe is on. If you want to move your image behind your recipe, drag the layer (in the layers panel) that the image is on ABOVE the layer that the recipe is on.
At this point, your canvas will look similar to the one below (if your image is behind the recipe). Note that if you placed your recipe on top of your image, you may see the white background of the recipe covering part or all of your image.
To remove the white background of the recipe to allow your image to show through, use the “magic wand tool” in the left toolbar (see image below). First, make sure the layer your recipe is on is selected. Click on the magic wand tool, then click on the white area around your recipe. After you click on the white area, you will see black lines around the white area and all of your text that look like “marching ants.” These lines are showing you what area has been selected by the magic wand.
After your white area has been selected, simply hit the delete button. This makes the white area disappear, leaving just the recipe text, and your artwork will not longer be hidden (see image below). Note that any time you use the magic wand tool, and you are done using it, you may want to cancel out the view of the black lines. To do that just click on the dotted line box icon that is right above the magic wand, then click anywhere on the document.
Now that you have placed one image, you can place as many other images as you’d like using the same process. As you are playing around with your images, and you decide you don’t want one on your canvas any longer, you can delete it by deleting its layer. Go to the layers panel, select the layer it’s on and drag it to the tiny trash can just below the layers panel. You can also change the name of a layer by clicking on its current name an just re-typing it. This helps if you have a lot of images/lots of layers.
After placing all images, our tea towel looked like the one below.
Step 8: Prepare Your File for Upload
Once your design is complete, save it as a JPG. Go to File->Save As. Give your file a name and put it in a folder where you can easily find it. At this point, your file is ready to upload for print, except for one thing! Right now you are looking at your tea towel with the image right side up, but in this orientation it will not upload into the print studio in a way that maximizes the use of fabric during the printing process. To maximize the use of fabric, your file needs to be oriented sideways (longer dimension in the horizontal orientation). In this orientation, you will get four tea towels per yard of our linen cotton canvas. If you want to use a different fabric, such as our Smooth Twill, you will need to adjust the length of your tea towel from 27” to 24”, as we print a width of 48” on our smooth twill.
To change the orientation of the file, go to Image->Image Rotation->90 degrees clockwise, then re-save your image as a JPG.
Also, one main thing to note in general about printing your own fabric:
Color can be tricky as the color on your monitor will not exactly match the color that is printed on your fabric. If printing a large quantity, it’s best to print a swatch first. They are only $3. You can also purchase a color chart on the fabrics you will be printing on. It’s a great guide when designing and choosing colors for your fabric design.
Now you’re ready to upload your image to a print your own fabric site. For a tea towel you will choose a basic repeat and one yard (if you want four tea towels).
Other Design Resources:
We hope you try this tutorial and get a feel for using Photoshop, or learn something new if you’ve used Photoshop before. It’s a fantastic tool! And on top of learning a new skill, you can now make custom tea towels for your family, friends or your own shop. You can also use the skills taught in this tutorial to design your own pillows. The possibilities are endless! See how your custom fabric is created at Green Park Studios.
We are currently adding design tutorials to our site in our Fabric Design Studio. For example, there is a tutorial on how to use Photoshop to design a half drop/brick repeat. Use this tutorial to design your own fabric for window treatments, pillows, PJ pants, children’s clothing and more!
P.S. We are also trying to populate our Fabric Shop and are looking for designers post their designs for sale. You get a 20% commission on each yard sold with your design. Click here to register as a designer.