Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Personalized Gift Box - Handwritten Recipe Dish Towel and Menu Chalkboard

Good Morning!

Today I'm sharing a great, personalized gift idea that will hold tons of meaning for your recipient as well as being functional!

Last summer I shared that my Grandma Grace was going through some health issues.  Our completely healthy, age unknown (she might disown me if I put her age out there), boisterous, sweet, smart, independent, sassy Mom/Grandma/Great Grandma ended up staying in the hospital for a week after having some issues with her ticker.  I have a very close family and I knew that this scare affected all of us, so when it was time to put together a gift for our Christmas Family Gift Exchange, I knew I wanted to include something personal about my Grandma.

The idea actually bloomed from Big A, when I told him I was going to make an "I Love You Because" chalkboard sign and then include something else family-ish for the gift exchange when he suggested I make a "Menu" sign since my whole family enjoys cooking.  I thought this was a great idea (while berating myself for not thinking it up myself) and got to work...

Here's what you'll need to create your own Menu Chalkboard (Click on the links to purchase the supplies):
- 1/4" Finished Board (I cut mine to be 12" x 12" but you can have Lowes or Home Depot cut your board any size you want)
- Rustoleum Chalkboard Paint (there's other brands, I like this one the best for the quality and price)
- Vinyl (I used Silhouette Premium Vinyl in Gold)
- Die Cutting Machine**
- Transfer Paper (If using the Silhouette Cameo)
- Ruler (If using letters cut from Hand Crank Die Cutting Machine)

**I used my Silhouette Cameo, you could also use the Evolution by Lifestyle Crafts or any brand that cuts from metal dies.  Lifestyle Crafts does carry a similar flag/banner and an assortment of Alphabets so that you can recreate this sign using their metal dies.

1.  Cut your wooden board to your desired size (Home Depot and Lowes will do this for free!)
2.  Paint your board with your Chalkboard Paint.  I typically do 3-4 coats for a nice finish.  I also paint the edges for a cleaner look.
3.  If using an electric die cutting machine (like the Silhouette Cameo), format your sign with your software. Silhouette has this great "Menu" file along with the Days of the Week Flags file that you can purchase from their online store and use on your sign.  So easy!  Jump to Step 5.
4.  If your using a hand crank die cutting machine, grab your dies, vinyl and start cutting using your fonts and flag shapes.  If you have the magnetic platform, this will help hold our dies exactly where you want them on your flags for precise cutting!  Once you have all of the vinyl pieces you need, please peel the backing off the vinyl and adhere to your board, smoothing down all the edges and any bubbles that might surface.  Jump to Step 6
5.  Weed the vinyl that you don't want on your sign.  Using your transfer paper, place your vinyl onto the chalkboard following the directions on the packaging.
6.  Season your chalkboard by rubbing chalk all over your sign - this works best if you use the side of the chalk, not the tip.  Using a damp cloth, erase all of the chalk and your board is now ready to go.  This SHOULD help keep the board looking fresh and clean after being used.  You can use a chalkboard marker on your signs, I've had mixed results with how well they erase so do a text mark on one corner before writing all over your board!

Now for my favorite, the Recipe Dish Towel!

Here's what you'll need:
-Handwritten Recipe (I took a piece of 8.5x11" printer paper to my Grandma and had her write the recipe on the paper instead of photo copying a recipe card - I didn't want to see lines or designs from the recipe card on my towel)
-Printable Transfer Paper (I used the Silhouette Printable heat Transfer Material for Light Fabrics)

- Copy Machine or Copying/Printing Center
- WASHED Dish Towel (I purchased a 3 pack from Joann's for roughly $4 after coupon)
- Iron
- Pressing Cloth

1. Wash/dry your tea towel.
2. Grab your recipe.  Make a MIRRORED copy of it.  If you don't have a copier that will do this for you, take it to Kinko's, UPS, Staples - wherever has a copying service - they'll do this for you for under $.50.
3.  Grab your Heat Transfer Material and place it into your paper tray on your copier/printer.  If you're unsure what side your printer will print on, do a test sheet by making a mark on one side of your printer paper, copying something onto it and seeing which side it prints on.
4.  Print a copy of your mirrored recipe onto the printable heat transfer material.
5.  Grab your washed/dried tea towel, iron/ironing board, printable heat transfer material with recipe already printed on it and pressing cloth.
6.  Lay your recipe face down on your tea towel in the area that you want it.  Follow the instruction on your packaging to iron on your recipe.
7.  Once your recipe is ironed on, let cool before removing backing.
8.  Remove your backing and admire the awesomeness of your new tea towel.
9.  DO NOT IRON DIRECTLY OVER YOUR RECIPE - you can iron on the backside to remove any wrinkles or use a pressing cloth.  This may or may not come from experience... Also, the mirrored image part may or may not come from experience...

I LOVE this!  I love that I not only have my Grandma's Lemon Meringue Pie recipe, but I have it in her handwriting that will be displayed in my kitchen and every time I dry a dish with this towel, I'll think of her.

Now package it all up in a cute gift box; the Menu Chalkboard is on the very bottom, followed by The Pioneer Woman's Cookbook (fabu-deliciousness!), fun Penguin S&P Shakers, Cheese Labels and the Tea Towel... and you have a very custom, super personalized gift for someone you care about!  I think my cousin, Andrew and Sascha grabbed this one up since Lemon Meringue Pie is his favorite recipe that my Grandma Grace makes...

Phew!  2 Tutorials in today's post makes for a LONG post!  Sorry about that - I was just so excited over the Recipe Tea Towel idea that I had to share it along with the Menu Chalkboard!  Remember, if you want to purchase any of the Lifestyle products listed, use the Kutz Code below for a discount!  Who doesn't LOVE a discount!?

I hope you have a great day!


  1. Can't wait to try the transfer paper myself! This is so cool, Andrea!

    1. Thanks, Nina! It's really cool - I've done a few projects with it and love it every time!