Vintage Shaver
Seattle, WA
I recently decided to create some shaving logo towels for drying my face and hands after using my razor. I looked into having some custom embroidered ones made, but the cost was prohibitive, so I looked at other alternatives and determined that using iron-on transfers was a relatively easy and inexpensive way to create what I wanted. Since I had never used them before, I did a little research and then proceeded with my craft project.

First I created the images to use for the transfer. I searched on the internet for classical English shaving soap logos and copied the images that I found, which I felt free to do without concern about trademark rights since the images were going to be just for my own personal use and not for anything commercial. I chose logos that only had black lettering on a white background because I planned to use white towels. After selecting two logos, one from Floris and the other from Penhaligon's, I used an editing program to manipulate the images, resizing, increasing the black/white contrast, and sharpening the word lettering. Then I flipped the images horizontally, mirroring them so that when printed and finished they could be read correctly rather than appearing backward. Next I did a test printing of the images onto regular printer paper to make sure they reproduced correctly and clearly.

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When I was satisfied with the reversed images, I bought a packet of 12 HP transfer papers for $6.83 through a local Staples office supply store, making sure that I got the ones intended specifically for transfers to light-colored fabrics.

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These papers have the transfer surface on one side and a peel-off backing on the other side.

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After carefully reading the instructions (since I was inexperienced and not particularly talented at crafts), I printed the two images one above the other onto one of the transfer sheets, making sure I had the paper positioned correctly in the printer. I used my inkjet printer because the transfer paper was intended for this type. (Other types of paper are made specifically for laser printers, which are said to work less well for transfers.) This printing step I repeated with the same sheet in order to ensure maximum darkness of the black lettering.

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And finally I measured and marked a quarter inch margin around each logo and cut them out with scissors, leaving just a narrow border because the transparent areas of the paper can still be seen on the fabric after the transfer.

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The next step was going to a Target variety store, which is the only source near where I live that carries white cotton "flour sack" kitchen towels. These 30 inch by 30 inch towels have a tight weave and very low nap, and I thought their relatively smooth surface would take the transfer better than something fluffier. Plus they reminded me of the thin towels used by Italian barbers when I spent a year in Italy long ago, adding a little sentimental value. I picked up a 4-pack of the towels at Target for $4.39.

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Back home I ironed one of the towels to get out the major wrinkles and laid it out on a fairly thick tablecloth spread on our kitchen table. (Iron on transfers need a lot of direct heat, so an ironing board, which diffuses the heat, does not work well for this.) I placed one of the logo transfers image-side down on the towel and positioned it as precisely as possible.

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After preheating the iron on the hottest setting (without steam, which would inhibit the transfer's adherence), my wife, who had just gotten home, ironed the image, starting on the outside edges and working her way inward to the center, applying constant heavy pressure. (She took over this step because she's definitely more comfortable ironing than I am.) This took about 2-3 minutes.

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I let the image cool for a few minutes, then carefully peeled off the backing paper. And voilà! Shaving towels with classic logos. I'm very pleased. I think they turned out pretty well, the process was very easy, and the total cost was quite low.

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(I think this might be a great type of product for some our forum artisans to consider making and selling, with their own logos.)

Max, Cincinnatus, Blade4vor and 8 others like this post
Great John! Happy2

Posting Freak
Looking fine, John!
Love, Laughter & Shaving  Heart

Super Moderator
San Diego, Cal., USA
Brilliant, John. I have used this technique on T-shirts and night shirts but your idea is terrific.
Good skills Smile
Oli AKA Windsor Citrus
Surrey, UK.

Vintage Shaver
Seattle, WA
(04-30-2016, 09:02 PM)Freddy Wrote: Brilliant, John. I have used this technique on T-shirts and night shirts but your idea is terrific.

Thanks, Freddy. I had never done this before, and I was surprised at how easy it was.

Freddy likes this post

Nice job John! Great idea. We do this type of work at my job all the time. The technical term for it is "sublimation". We have a special printer and heat presses that get the job done. We mostly do prints on metal plates but have also done tablecloths, t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc.

Freddy likes this post
- Jeff

The Dude Abides
Those are great John!

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Careful, man, there's a beverage here! - The Dude

Vintage Shaver
Seattle, WA
Well, I've been using the towels regularly, switching them out each week. I hang the clean one up, then hand wash the used one in the kitchen sink, a matter of 5 minutes. Then I hang the wet one up on the shower rod in the bathroom overnight before folding it and putting it away in a drawer. So far the logos look as if new, with no apparent fading.

Freddy likes this post
Great idea! I might have to look into this.

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