Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Week of Presidents - How to Make a Presidential Flour Sack Towel

I hope everyone who came to Lamb Celebration Day at Swan Bay Folk Art Center had a good time with our lambs!  Thank you for making the day so special for us!  If you missed it, or just want to visit with our lambs again, we will offering another day to celebrate with our sheep on Sunday, February 24th, from 2:00-4:00 PM.  

While y'all were braving the New Jersey winter, my little family had the awesome opportunity last weekend to go to Walt Disney World for a couple of days.  Ever since Jesse found out we were going, he's been asking if we could go to the Hall of Presidents.

(Photo of The Hall of Presidents found here.)
This was taken as we were waiting for the show to start.  My little monkeys were already getting restless. 
Jesse is six years-old, with an extremely short attention span, so I thought he would hate it.  I couldn't have been more wrong!  Jesse LOVED it!  It turns out that my funny, energetic boy loves history.

I hadn't been to see the presidents since I was very little.  It's one that we usually skip over in the interest of more "entertaining" attractions.  Watching it as an adult, I found my non-political heart stirred in pride for my country.  So, when we got home, I busted out a crafty tribute to Jesse's two favorite presidents - George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

The finished towel
Flour sack towels are thin, and dry quickly after drying your dishes or hands.  Here's what you need to make a presidential flour sack towel, too!

The Supplies:
White flour sack towel (I bought mine in bulk here.)
Freezer paper
Presidential silhouette pattern
Exacto knife
Cutting mat
Black screen printing paint
Paint brush
Plain white paper (such as printer paper)
Red and blue embroidery floss and needle

The Process:
If you have never used freezer paper for printing before, you are missing out!  It's a simple process that usually produces awesome results.  First, prepare the flour sack towel by washing, drying, and ironing it.

Then, print out the presidential silhouettes from the file at the bottom of this post. 

Place squares of freezer paper (which are slightly larger than the silhouettes) shiny-side down on top of the printed presidents.  Trace the presidents on pieces of freezer paper using a light box to help you see the shapes, or hold papers up to a sunny window.
Using your Exacto knife and cutting mat, cut around your traced lines, starting with the most delicate parts of the face first.

Using a very hot iron, place stencil silhouettes shiny side down where you'd like them and press into place.  (I folded my towel in thirds, and placed the freezer paper on the middle third.)

Place a piece of plain paper under the fabric towel and paint in the stencil using the fabric paint.

Paint slightly over the edges of the stencil to ensure that the edges are covered.

When the paint is dry (I usually let mine set overnight.)  peel off the stencils.  Heat set using the paint manufacturer's instructions.
Tie an overhand knot in the red thread and thread it through your needle.  

Starting in the back of the fabric, insert your needle and pull the thread through to the front. 

Now do a simple running stitch all the way around the perimeter of the silhouette.

When you get to the end, tie several knots to keep the thread from coming undone.

The finished knot.  Continue in the same way with the blue thread, following the line around the red running stitches.

The finished stitches
Happy crafting!!!



  1. Amy this a great idea. Was Jesse as impressed as i am? And of course he loves history. He is one of us!!

  2. These are awesome. Every time I've done freezer paper stencils, it's come out slightly wrong because I think I have the wrong kind of paint. Where did you find yours?

  3. Thanks, girls! Robin, I found that paint at Michaels. I also posted a link where you can buy it online if you'd rather not go to the craft store.