Today I wanted to share with you a super simple vintage tea towel craft I created for the Craft Cafe Free Craft Magazine. It's an incredibly easy tutorial as long as you read the handy hints and remember them. Retro or kitsch fabric works very well as notebook covers, especially if the pattern is quite small and repeats.
How To Decoupage A Vintage Tea Towel Notebook @ The Craft Cafe
You can still buy past issues but it's no longer in print, the issue with this tutorial is the one with the little lamb on the front. I had so much fun picking out some vintage/retro tea towels and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them when I got them home.
I have SOOOOO many notebooks in my house and covering these with a tea towel and decoupage was a great crafty project for me. Who doesn't love a funky sketchbook or notebook?!
3 Top Tips Before You Start Cutting Your Vintage Tea Towel
- Use an old plastic gift card or loyalty card to spread your glue. It ensures a more even finish.
- If your tea towels are a little stiff, wash your tea towels at a 60-degree wash to soften.
- Use baking parchment paper between your covers after you have glued them your covers and inside pages won’t stick together.
You Will Need
- Notebook/Sketch Book
- Deco Art Decoupage glue
- Vintage tea towel or two or a fat quarter of pretty fabric (Lecien fabric is the best)
- Old plastic card (or something to help to spread the glue)
- Fabric scissors
- Sharp scissors
- Baking parchment or surface suitable to get messy!
How To Cover A Notebook With A Vintage Tea Towel
Prepare your surface area (I used baking parchment as my working surface as I am quite a messy crafter and glue would go everywhere.)
Cut your tea towels to wherever you want the pattern to be on your notebook. If you open your notebook across and leave an inch and a half border. You can then use a pen or pencil to trace around your fabric and cut out.
Grab The Glue and Brayer
Add some glue to the cover and use your plastic card to spread the glue, then apply the fabric and use your brayer to ensure the coverage is even, if you have too much glue then you can direct it toward the spine of the book and scrape off.
If you have too little glue, you can lift your fabric and apply a little more, reapply your fabric and use your brayer again. If you get your brayer all sticky, use a baby wipe or wash clean.
Apply the same techniques to glue your spine and then your back cover.
Use very sharp scissors to snip the fabric at the spine; cut your fabric either side of the edges of your spine. You will have a little piece of fabric to tuck into the spine at the top and at the bottom. There will also be even tea towel fabric to glue to the inside of your covers.
I wasn’t too particular about the inside of the notebook as they are for personal use so I simply glued the pieces to the inside of the cover, folding the corners carefully and using the brayer to ensure I got even coverage.
Note on Using Baking Parchment:
I placed a piece of baking parchment into the cover side that I just glued so I didn’t have to wait for it to dry before doing the back cover. Once the back cover was glued, I placed another piece of baking parchment inside the cover and closed the book.
As the tea towel fabric is quite thick the notebook wouldn’t lie completely flat. To easily combat this, I put another piece of baking parchment on top of the notebook, then a basket filled with heavy notions from my craft room to really squish them together. Thankfully there no need to worry, the weights worked really well and solved the problem and I was ecstatic with the end result.