Monday, January 28, 2013

DIY Personalized Towels

Kids love seeing their name, and a personalized name towel can make an adorable gift (birthdays, swimmers, college, and more).  Personalized towels can retail for around $25, but you can make your own towel for a fraction of that cost. 

Supplies needed:

Cotton print fabric (ask for 6 inches of fabric)
Tissue paper, or pattern paper
Iron and Ironing board
Press cloth (white kitchen four sac towel, etc)
Good quality bath towel (I recommend “Lasting color” from Bed Bath and Beyond)
Wonder-Under (6 inches)
Sewing machine
Matching all-purpose thread
Wonder-Under directions come with the material

Making your personalized towel

1.     Start out the process by washing your towel.  Many 100% cotton towels will shrink a bit in the wash, so it’s a good idea to wash and dry the towel first.
2.     Select your cotton print fabric.  You’ll be cutting letters that are about 4 inches in finished height.  You should be able to get two name towels out of 6 inches of cotton print fabric (length wise), so plan to save the extra fabric for a future project.  Select a fabric with smaller print designs- you'll want to be able to see details in the fabric after the letters are cut.  Here are some prints I liked: 
3.     Take the Wonder-Under and find the rough side.  You will put this rough side facing down on the wrong-side of the print fabric.  Press this with a dry and warm iron.  The Wonder-Under will adhere to the fabric.
4.     Draw letters onto your tracing paper (tissue paper in my case) if you want to free-hand the letters.  You can also print enlarged lettering from your computer.  Cut out the letters to be a template.  
5.     Lay out the letters you’ll need for your name and confirm you have the correct spelling.  Now you’ll flip the letters so they are backwards.  Trace the backwards letters onto the fused Wonder-Under plus cotton fabric (Wonder-Under side up).
6.     Cut out your traced letters.  You’ll now have letters that are the correct orientation with the Wonder-Under fused to the backing.
7.     Press the back of each letter one more time with your warm iron to ensure that the Wonder-Under has fully fused to all sides of the letter.  Let the letters cool, and then peel the paper backing of the Wonder-Under away from each letter.
8.     Lay out your letters onto your towel (double check that your towel is right-side-up).  Use a ruler to center the letters.
9.     Once you are satisfied with how the letters look, wet your press cloth and lay it gently over the lettering.  Use your hot iron and place it onto your press cloth so that you steam the letters onto your towel.  Hold the iron in place for about 15 seconds.  The letters should be fused to the towel.
10. Use your sewing machine and a zig-zag stitching to stitch around the edging of all the letters on your towel.
11.  Admire your completed towel

You may want to professionally fold your towel if you plan to give it as a gift:

Lay out your towel "wrong side up" and fold about 1/3 of the towel up so it resembles the above picture.  Now fold the bottom of the towel up towards the other edge of the towel (as shown by arrow) and keep the folded portion about 1 inch away from the edge of the towel.  Towel should look like below picture after making the second fold.
Fold up to the edge of the towel once more, towel should now look like below image after making the fold.
Fold the sides of the towel into the center (resembling the below image after the fold)

Fold in the final side of the towel towards the center.  Towel should now look like below image after making the fold.

Flip your towel and you're done!


  1. Love the step by step with the photos. Thanks for an awesome tutorial!

    1. Thanks! I'm not great at sewing, but this is a really easy project. The nieces and nephews are getting personalized towels just in time for the beach this summer.

  2. i love that you included a folding tutorial! they look great; good job!

    1. Thanks! I used to work at Bed Bath and Beyond during summer breaks from college, and the "perfect fold" was critical. We actually had training on it ;).