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$5 Art Supplies-Dyed Paper Towels

April 13, 2010

Dyed paper towels add texture and pretty translucent color to your art.  Best of all they’re super cheap and easy to make.

First mix acrylic paint or ink with water in small cups. Then you fold or scrunch up your towels and dip them in the dye.  Try dipping them in two or more colors, but don’t mix too much or you’ll end up with muddy brown.

You’ve got a whole roll of towels, so experiment with different methods and color combos. Try adding some spray ink to the areas that didn’t get any color.

Hang or lay them flat to dry.  I just laid mine out on the front porch.  They dried very quickly in the sunshine.

Now this next part is key.  After reading Collage Unleashed by Traci Bautista I tried dying paper towels and I didn’t get the appeal.  What I didn’t know was that you must iron them.

Once you iron them they get tough and smooth and the two layers separate and you get two awesome translucent sheets to add to your art.

After that, you get to experiment!  You need thin glue (like mod podge) and a paintbrush.  Try layering them over each other or layering them over text or black and white designs.  In the photo above I used one of Traci Bautista’s digital collage sheets as a background (bottom left), made a neat patchwork design using only dyed towels (middle) and tried layering them over a book page (right).  Fun!

Here are a few links I dug up about dyeing paper towels. This post is where I found out that you have to iron them. I also like the idea of using towels to clean your brush and then using the towels in your art. I tried that and it looked great! Also check out Dawn’s post on dyed paper towels and this quick video from One Minute Muse (muffin tins are an excellent idea)!

Side Note:  Since adding my tag cloud I’ve noticed that my thrifty supply posts are pretty popular, so I’m going to try to make this a weekly thing again, yay!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 13, 2010 7:54 pm

    grand post!

    Over the weekend I spray painted on them to add an extra level of dimension…Uber fun 🙂

    • April 13, 2010 8:15 pm

      Ooo I’ll have to try that. Did you use stencils or just spray?

  2. April 20, 2010 2:48 pm

    ahh – i feel so enlightened! i never quite understood the appeal of the unironed towels, either…. i will have to try this very soon. thanks so much for the tip, dearest!


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