Wednesday, September 14, 2011

vintage image citrisolv fabric transfer {french tea towel tutorial}

A few months ago, a friend told me about this cool fabric transfer method using a cleaning product called Citrisolv. I had never heard of the stuff, but I was intrigued. I finally had a chance to track some of this stuff down and give it a try. Soooo glad I did. It's my new obsession. Just come to my house and take a whiff--the whole kitchen smells like oranges.
I wanted to try this technique to make vintage french-inspired tea towels. This is probably one of the fastest, easiest crafting projects in America (I would say the universe, but I don't know how easy it would be to find Citrisolv internationally or intergalactically--let me know where you find it in your corner of the solar system). In the US, you can find Citrisolv at health foods stores like Whole Foods, but my local store didn't have it. Imagine my elation when I found it at my Ben Franklin Crafts store! I knew I loved that store. I ended up with a stack of darling dishtowels in less than 30 minutes (and when I say a stack, I mean 16 of them!).
  

Citrisolv Fabric Transfer Tutorial
 

Supplies:
*Citrasolv Natural Cleaner & Degreaser and small bowl
*Fabric (I used flour sack dish towels. Note: the tighter the weave, the better the transfer.)
*Image copied on a copy that uses toner (inkjet printed copies will NOT work--go to your local copy shop where toner-based copies will run you around $.08-.10 each)
*Wide paint brush
*Spoon
*Stack of newspaper
*Scotch tape or sewing pins
*Iron
*Towel

I found these tea towels, or flour sack towels, in a 2-pack at WalMart. They used to sell them a 5-pack for $6, like when I was making a ton of these Christmas tea towels, but no more. The good news is the 2-pack is actually cheaper per towel--only $.98 each!
 

All the graphics I used on my tea towels were from the fabulous Graphics Fairy. LOVE her site. She posts vintage clip art and images for free each day. I went with vintage graphics because then I didn't have to worry about how well the transfer was made--if it wasn't perfect it would just add to the vintage look! Here are a few of my copies made at the copy store with their toner-based copier. Note: Inkjet home printers and color copies will not work. Be sure to use REVERSE image for anything with text, or it will come out backward! Some of The Graphic Fairy's are, but some are not. If your image is not reversed, open it in photo editing software and flip it horizontally before printing.
 

Be sure to work in a well-ventilated area. Lay your fabric out on top of a stack of newspaper. I actually only had a couple of sheets, so I put a few plastic grocery sacks under it to give some cushion. It's good to have a little cushion to make the burnishing easier later. Put your copy image-side-down on your fabric and tape or pin in place (you don't want it to move or you'll have a blurry image). Pour a small amount of Citrosolv in a bowl and have your paint brush ready.

Dip your brush in the Citrisolv and wipe over the image until you can see it. Be careful not to use too much Citrisolv--if you soak it you may make your image blur!

This is the step that will make your image transfer--burnishing. Rub the entire image with the back of a spoon, being careful not to miss any spots. 
 

When you're sure you've covered it all, carefully life the copy off the fabric. If you do it slowly and notice you missed a spot, you may be able to replace it and burnish it a little further, but this is a good way to blur your image, so I wouldn't recommend it.


The last step I forgot to photograph, but now we need to heat set the image. Again, working in a well-ventilated area, place a towel over your ironing board (to protect it from smelling like Citrisolv!) and set your iron to the cotton or linen setting. Iron over the image to heat set it. And lastly, wash and dry it like normal to remove the Citrisolv completely from the fabric. That's it!

I did take a few extra minutes to add a little ribbon to a few of them, but again, this was a very quick addition. You can sew a straight piece of ribbon along the edge like on this towel:
Or see our easy ribbon ruffle tutorial for a little fancier edge (and who doesn't love fancy?).
 

I thought these would make a fun Halloween decoration, too, so I chose a couple of vintage Halloween images from The Graphics Fairy. Love this skull.

And this bat.


Here are a couple of other images I used for my french tea towels. . .


Can you see why I'm obsessed with this technique? Cheap, quick, and easy with gorgeous results. And wouldn't they make awesome handmade gifts for neighbors, birthdays, house-warming, etc.? My boys want to use that skull image on their annual birthday shirts instead of the appliqued numbers. Yes sir! And next fabric transfer project--pillows for my couch! Let's keep the Citrasolv flowing!

share this on »
{Facebook} {Twitter} {Pinterest}
41 Comments

41 Responses to “vintage image citrisolv fabric transfer {french tea towel tutorial}”

Megan Hunter said...

so cute! gonna try some fall ones today. if its a color laser will it transfer the color?

Little Birdie Secrets said...

I've heard the color laser copies don't work, but I haven't tried it myself!

Madison said...

I've tried with a laser printer. It doesn't work, which is a huge bummer since it's the only printer I have! :(

Things' Mommy said...

Oh, those turned out so darling!!! I want to make a bunch now. Brilliant. Can't wait to see your sofa pillows!!

Durfee Family said...

I wonder if goo gone works? It sounds similar to the citrisolv! Such a cute project! Cant wait to try it!

Anna R said...

So cool!
I just googled Citrisolv and you can also buy it from Amazon if it's not at a store near you.

Emerald Hills said...

these are lovely. I will have to check out this grapics fairy. seems like a great site! thanks!

vanessa said...

i love mine!!!!!!

babychirps said...

I'm in Mexico, what other option can I use instead of Citrusolv?

το χειρότεχνο said...

clever idea!!!! i havent see someting like that i mean the paper. here in greece i have saw only somethink like that , we iron the paper on the fabric.but isnt so succes! i will try your way

natalie l murphy said...

Loving this. Would be great wedding gift with the couples initials. However, I am curious about when you go to wash these towels. Does the image began to fade? Are there special instructions? Thanks.

designsbysarahs said...

these are so cute! I am excited to try! Do the images hold up after being in the wash?

Little Birdie Secrets said...

I have only washed my towels a total of 2 times, but the image has not faded one bit. I think it's pretty much locked in as long as you heat set it. If anyone finds something different, let us all know here!

Aubrie Knight said...

love this, would totally go with my kitchen decor. So cute :)

{northern cottage} said...

so so pretty (aside from the skull one - I don't think that qualifies as 'pretty'!)

I'm so gonna be on the hunt for citrasolv now!

www.northerncottage.blogspot.com

Miss Charming said...

My sister turned me on to this technique about a month ago and you're right, once you start it's easy to think of a million ways to use it. I just use our laser printer at home and it works great. I also used a paint canvas from Lowes and it gave the image a wonderful vintage quality.

Haley said...

So, I know you can print directly onto burlap, could you also do this with this fabric?

feelincrafty said...

Never heard of this process before! I'll have to give it a try. Thanks!

ALR Photography said...

So I tried this last night with goo gone and my laser printer from work - it didn't work at all. I think the problem may be the toner and not the goo gone. I'm going to try it again this weekend - this time with photocopies and goo gone. I'll let you all know if it works!

ALR Photography said...

:-( so I don't think goo gone works. I tried it again to no avail. Gonna give Citrsolv a try, I just need to get my hands on some!

jnbean said...

So cool! I want to try this asap (must find Citrisolv). Thanks for sharing!

Shelby said...

I just found Citrisolv, and the towels. I am wondering if anyone knows where I can get word graphics. Like "Eat" or "Give Thanks".

Thanks for any hints.

Shelby
Sweetviewfromthehills.blogspot.com

Rene' said...

Those are amazing!! I might have to make mine outdoors if it smells strong. Thanks for sharing this tutorial!!

morenumerousthansand said...

Can't wait to try these! Thanks for sharing.

The Sheldon Stout Family said...

so I went to fedEx copies and they assured me they used toner...but I am not seeing even a speck of the image adhering to the towel! what do I do now?

Little Birdie Secrets said...

I heard another person say the FedEx Kinkos copiers don't work. I have no idea why! My best advice is to find a mom-and-pop copy shop (one that might have older copiers) and try that. I'm wondering if some of the older copiers use the right kind of toner and the new places have something a bit different that for some reason don't work. Good luck!

Katrina said...

Bought towels at WalMart (NOTE: 2pk and 5pk available, however, the 2pk is less exp per towel). Looking for Citrsolv and graphics! Thank you for sharing your creativity!

Katrina said...

After finding a copier that made copies that would transfer and tracking down citrasolv......
I made four towels to start, as a test. I was not pleased with the outcome. My transfers look mostly like the pic shown with old signage/wording. Not crisp as the knife/fork/spoon, whichI also tried - it's the crispest image.
Still enjoyed the process of trying a new technique. And have about 30oz oc citrasolv - at least my house will be clean and smell like oranges !! :)

Little Birdie Secrets said...

Bummer, Katrina! I had a friend say she had to burnish REALLY hard with her spoon, but it made a difference. If you ever dare try again, maybe you could try that! ;)

~mandy

The Deelo Family said...

Just got mine out of the wash and I can barely see the picture. When I heat set it, I used no steam...is that wrong? Do you have any tips to make future images darker?

Durfee Family said...

Just an FYI- Here in Mesa, AZ I found the citrisolv at Sprouts.

Ryan's said...

I'm also wondering how to make it stay darker too. Looks really great until I wash them. Any Ideas?

hillbillywillis said...

I did this project and heat set it with an iron as well. Washed them and my images were barely visible. Did I miss something. It seemed like such and easy project and the image was dark until I washed it. I didn't even use soap when I washed them in cold water.

Becca Nath said...

hey gals -- I just loved this design/technique! I shared it in my weekly DIY round-up: http://www.good.is/post/diy-tea-towels/

Cheers!
Becca

Jacqueline said...

Is it the citrisolv concenttate or spray?

Janene Hendrickson said...

For writing couldn't we use something we create in word, or in a graphics program? And I think it would be fun to scan in my own items, like my grandmothers silverware to put on my dishtowels, to make them more personal.

Hoodycrow said...

I'm thinking maybe prewashing to get out any sizing in the material?? That might help in keeping the image clarity and darkness after washing.

Mazie Cat said...

I love this - where did you buy the Citrisolv?

Mazie - http://maziesmusing.blogspot.co.nz/

martindblogs said...

this sounds great for gift (so long as the image stays) worth a try at least, just wondered if it works with coloured images?

Unknown said...

Hey guys! I realize this is 2014 and the original post was 2011 but I just came across this super cute, easy project and wanna give it a shot!:) I have a few simple questions..i found citrasolv in lavender which I will enjoy far more than orange lol! Surely the fragrance won't matter..i also saw that some walmarts now carry it but I found it cheaper on ebay! Score!:) what type of paper do you use? Just standard multi-purpose 20weight copy paper? I'm wondering if I set my printer on a darker setting if that may help with the 'barely visible' problem? How long do you heat-set? And personally I might like using a foam brush better..:) any tips surfaced in the last couple years? I like to see my options and know what I'm doing before I launch out on a new adventure and sink my ship from a simple mistake!;)

Egbert said...

I found these tea towels, or flour sack towels, in a 2-pack at WalMart. They used to ... towelscotton.blogspot.com

LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs