Tea towels are sturdy, inexpensive and available everywhere from dollar stores to department stores. They come in a vast variety of colours and prints. While the most common use is in the kitchen, you don't have to stop there. Try transforming tea towels into a table runner, pillow covers or dog's rope toy.
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Use tea towels to form a decorative pillow covering. Choose a tea towel with a design for the centre panel and flank it with two or more plain towels in colours that pick up the colours in the design. Additional towels may be necessary at the top and bottom to completely cover the square. Attach the tea towel square to a bath towel and cut to fit for the back of the pillow. Slip the cover over a tired worn pillow and stitch the opening closed. The pillow covering is easy to clean. All you have to do is remove, wash and fluff dry.
Sew the tea towels together end to end to form a table runner for the kitchen table. If you're using striped towels, match the stripes exactly from one towel to the next. Use the tea towels as place mats to go with the table runner. Add napkins in a colour that match the design of the tea towel.
Decorate plain dish towels with cross stitching, appliques or adding lace to the edges. Use fabric paint to create designs. Use stencils if you're not artistically inclined. Rick rack and fringe are two other options. Wash the towels and the trim and dry before attaching. Different fabrics and trims may shrink at different rates. Washing them first eliminates that problem.
Fold over the tops of the tea towels and sew to form a tunnel for a curtain rod to go through. Slide the towels over a tension rod. If you don't want to sew, insert grommets in the tops of the curtain every 4 inches. Use "S" hooks to hang the curtains by inserting one end through the grommet and hanging the other end over the tension rod. Use the same technique to make a valance but hang the tea towel lengthwise.
Dog Rope Toy
Joyce Bautista of Real Simple magazine suggests using new or old tea towels to make a rope toy. The terry cloth gets between the dog's teeth and gives them a bit of a cleaning when it plays with the rope toy. Stitch three towels together at the top. Tie the towels together over the stitching with a bit of twine. Braid the towels tightly and then tie again at the bottom. The tea towel rope toy is good for hours of playtime.
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