WEEKEND CRAFTING ADVENTURES

Make Your Trip Memorable With Your Own Customized Disney World Pool Towel

WCA 8 | Disney World Pool Towel

 

What better way to make a trip to Disney World memorable than having your own customized pool towel? In this craft project, Kim Wojtalewicz makes custom Disney-themed towels for 20 family members for their trip to Disney World in Florida. The inspiration comes from the towel gifts her stepmother, Licia Hazzard, made for her boys when they were toddlers on their trip to Disney. Kim is cutting away fabric again on the Cricut Maker, although still a little wobbly with her skills. Nevertheless, she is sure to make this trip a memorable one! Tune in to this episode and hear some tips for customizing your own Disney World pool towel!

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Make Your Trip Memorable With Your Own Customized Disney World Pool Towel

 

Lannea’s Towel, Disney Characters: Judy Hopps and 101 Dalmations

In this episode, I am excited to share with you this fun crafting project. I’m going to call this project the Disney Pool Towel Project. This project was inspired by a twenty-family-member trip to Walt Disney World in Florida that is going to happen for my family. My boys have never been to Disney World. I have not been since I was probably fourteen years old, so it’s been a long time. We are heading down with sixteen other members of our extended family.

When we go, it is going to be hot. It is going to be the end of July, the beginning of August. I am anticipating that during the middle of the day, we will probably be spending some significant time poolside, which got me thinking of a fun way to bring a souvenir, a crafting project, and my Cricut machine together for this Disney Pool Towel Project.

A Beloved Gift From My Stepmother

I am going to tell you a little bit about where I got the idea from. It came from a gift that my stepmother, Licia Hazzard, and my dad. My stepmother Licia gave my boys these towels for the bath for bath time when they were toddlers. These towels are so cool. They have been so well loved that there are holes in them. They are worn down and were used so much. These towels that Licia made are incredible.

They have an individualized little fabric cut-out image and picture of something that each boy loves. In other words, Matthew loved John Deere tractors, John Deere anything when he was little. On Matthew’s towel that Licia made, he has a John Deere tractor then down the side vertically, he has his name spelled out. Michael has a fire truck on his towel and his name, Michael down the side. 

“Michael’s Tot Towel made by Licia Hazzard”

I was thinking about what I could make for family members for this Disney trip that was different from the Disney t-shirt. There will be Disney t-shirts but I wanted to do something a little bit different. I thought about these towels that Licia had made the boys. I was like, “Would that not be fun to create some one-of-a-kind individualized towels for pool time at Disney?” That’s what I’m going to do for this project.

I want to take a little more time and give you a little more background on this towel that Licia made and her process in it before I talk about how I used the Cricut to create individual towels based on her original idea and then changed it into a Disney theme and a Disney towel.

“Licia’s stencil to cut out fabric for Matthew’s tot towel”

When I called Licia to talk to her and let her know that I made these towels and was in the process of making them for our trip, I wanted a little more information from her on her process of making these amazing towels that my boys loved so much. She said that she called them top towels and that she did everything by hand.

After getting the towels that she was going to use, she would go through coloring books to find the pictures that she wanted to use. She would then trace onto the fabric those images from the coloring books. For instance, for Matthews, it was a John Deere tractor and for Michael, it was a fire truck. She cut by hand. She attached those pictures, the fabric that she had cut out by hand each different piece.

“Inspiration: Licia Hazzard’s Tot Towels”

One thing that she did that’s different than what I did is that she pieced together these images with fabric with different kinds of fabric. When I’m cutting out the images for the Disney towels, I am using one fabric for the image, let’s say, of Mickey’s head. Licia had lots of different pieces of fabric that she put together to create that fire truck and that John Deere tractor. She used something called Stitch Witchery to help attach it to the towel then she did everything else around to applique and attach those images and pieces of fabric to her towels.

They’re incredible. They’re so unique and so fun. She makes them for all of her children, all of her grandchildren, and even towels for friends of the family’s children. It’s something that in our family, she’s very well known for. She never sold them but they are incredible. That was her process in making those towels. I’m sure I’m missing a few key things that she told me but I’m going to give the information and some pictures of those on my website and my blog post so you can check out her original tot towels for my boys. Also, how I took that idea and ran with it for these Disney pool towels.

A Project For Our Disney World Trip

Once I decided that this was what I wanted to do for each family member for our Disney World trip, I needed to get some information from everybody because my idea was to have a few things the same on everybody’s towel. I wanted everybody’s towel to either have a Mickey or a Minnie head up in the upper left of the front of the towel. On the upper right, I wanted to have a cutout image from fabric that Cricut’s going to cut off their favorite Disney character.

Anything Disney that they loved is what was going to go up there on that right side of the towel. Across the bottom of the towel, I wanted to have everybody’s name. I knew I was taking on a big project. This was not going to be a weekend project because I am making twenty towels. If you’re making 1 or 2, it is a weekend crafting adventure. I needed to get everybody’s favorite Disney characters and make a list of them. That was the first thing I did, was get that list of characters.

 

When I’m going to shop for fabric and get what I need to create these fun towels, I was going to include some fabric that had the themes, the movies, or the characters that everybody had identified as their favorite. This was fun because we are talking about an age range from 6 years old to 72 years old. That is a lot of different generations of Disney. That was a fun part, collecting those favorites. I decided I should probably order the towels.

If I were doing 1 or 2 towels, I would have gone to a local store somewhere and found a good quality pool beach towel to use. Because I was doing twenty, I decided that I was going to take a chance and order. I ordered four online from Amazon. I wanted to see the quality and how big they were. I wanted to wash them and get a feel for them before I bought the other sixteen. I did get all of the towels and I got those four and I loved the quality of them.

I got Kaufman towels. Anyway, I loved how they felt. I felt like they would hold up well and be a good choice. I ordered the rest from the same company but they weren’t the same exact towel. They were a little bit of a different style, so I did get those. I was not as thrilled with the size or thickness of those. Something that I would do in the future is to buy those towels in person if I can but I did have good quality for at least four of them that I bought in that pack. That was pretty good.

My next challenge was to head out and find fabric for these twenty different characters that everybody had identified as their favorite and that was fun. That was the fabric character challenge. I ended up heading to Joann’s because they had Disney and Star Wars fabric when I checked online. I was like, “This is perfect. I need to head there and see what they have.”

I was able to find at Joann’s all but three of the characters that my family had chosen. I was able to find fabric for all of them and a lot of fabric and fun, different ways to represent each person’s particular Disney favorite. The three that I couldn’t find surprised me. I couldn’t find any Ratatouille fabric, so that was a surprise. I couldn’t find any Alice in Wonderland. I could find Cheshire Cat by himself, which happened to be one of the characters chosen but I could not find a good Alice in Wonderland.

The other one I couldn’t find was Gaston. I couldn’t find those three but I knew I was going to be making silhouettes of the favorite characters to put up on that right-hand side of the towel. Even though the specific fabric wasn’t going to be, for instance, Ratatouille, I still was going to have a Ratatouille image and shape. It just was going to end up being a different Disney fabric that I used to make that shape, which I still felt was going to turn out well.

That was a fun fabric challenge. I did buy about half a yard of each of these fabrics because I did want to make sure when I made a mistake, which I knew I would or was going through that fabric cutting process with the Cricut Maker, that I might have some bumps in the road. I did get about a half yard of each fabric that I wanted to use. I headed to the Cricut design space. First, I headed to Etsy because I wanted to find the specific silhouette images to use to be cut out on Cricut. Etsy was awesome.

Buy about half a yard of each fabric for when you make a mistake and those bumps in the road. Share on X

There are tons of Disney-inspired, Disney-themed, you name it and those SVG files are available. I did make sure that I had a Mickey head with the ears and a round Mickey head, a Minnie, the same thing as Mickey but with the cute little bow on top then I searched for the specific silhouette images that I wanted to use on the towel. There are so many different options for these SVG files but thinking about the fabric and how Cricut cuts fabric, which I’ve had a little bit of experience with because this was a takeoff on those personalized zipper pouches that I did, where I had one initial cutout.

Now I was getting into it because I was going to do a Mickey head, a silhouette of a Disney character or theme, and initials for everybody’s names. This was going to be a lot of cutting. Based on that cutting experience that I had before with the zipper pouches, I knew that Cricut would do better if it were a silhouette versus a more intricate design. There were a few characters that I had to get some more intricate designs. I can talk about how that worked out a little bit later but I got every single character I needed from Etsy.

I did purchase those. They were so reasonable though. We’re talking about anything from $0.50. I did not spend more than maybe $3. When it was $3, it was a bundle. We have a lot of Star Wars fans, so I found a Star Wars bundle for like $3 so that covered quite a few people’s characters that I wanted to use. Etsy was huge for this project. Again, the process of downloading those instant downloads for the SVG after I bought them from Etsy and uploading them into the Cricut design space was an easy process.

Once you’ve done 1 or 2, it is pretty simple to learn that process and how to get those outside images into your Cricut design space. One of the biggest parts of this project was to have the Cricut Maker cut out my fabric for me. Again, I’ve had some experience. Using my Cricut Maker to cut the initials out for those personalized zipper pouches that I made. This was a much bigger project in terms of cutting fabric.

For each towel, I wanted to have either a Mickey or a Minnie head. I also wanted them to have an image of their favorite Disney character. I wanted their name across the bottom of the towel. This is more than 8 or 10 initials that I’m cutting. I’m cutting out 20 Mickey heads, 20 characters, and everybody’s name individual letters with the different Disney fabrics mixed and matched. I did feel comfortable with Cricut cutting the fabric because I’ve done it before. I also know it was not that easy. I still am trying to figure out the best way to have Cricut cut fabric out. The good thing was there were going to be some bigger images that were being cut but I also knew that I probably was going to run into some of the same challenges that I did the last time I was cutting fabric and sure enough, I did.

I did start out by trying again that Cricut fabric mat and putting my fabric on there, thinking, “These are a little bit bigger images.” I’m hoping that because the fabric was taking up more of that fabric mat that it would have an easier time cutting. After the first try, I went to the standard grip mat first thing. I tried again. I started cutting out Moana. Moana wasn’t sticking to the mat. 

The same with some of the initials. I knew this was going to take a long time and get a bit frustrating if I didn’t think through this and try something different than what I did this time and last time with the initials.

I researched, went online, and saw that I can put my Wonder-Under which is the product that I’m using again to applicate and attach my fabric to my towel. I had used this project product before and loved it. I bought a lot of them and I was going to do it again. I knew I would end up using more of it because what I ended up doing was doing the first step of attaching my fabric to the Wonder-Under before I had Cricut cut out those characters, shapes, and letters that I was going to do. I still would look at my Cricut design space.

Before I was going to have Cricut cut that fabric, I saw how much I needed, cut the fabric, and put the Wonder-Under on. My hope was that by having a little bit more stability on the back of that fabric, that Cricut would have an easier time cutting it out. It did make a big difference. I had a lot more success when I had my fabric with that stabilizer attached, getting those images and letters cut out well.

I still had some struggles. I had a Minnie Mouse. There is a video of it that I will post. You will not believe what happened and that had the Wonder-Under on it.

For some reason, it was not sticking down. You will see this fabric get tangled up in my maker to the point where I was concerned that I had damaged my machine.

I didn’t thankfully but after that, I thought I need to be using the stickiest mats possible. Again,  If I need to use some tape to tape those down to make sure that my images were going to be cut, so I wasn’t wasting time or wasting material but also, I did not want to damage my machine. Clean mats, using tape when I needed it, and using a sticky mat like standard or even a strong grip was where I was headed. That made a huge difference.

I’ve got all of my fabric cut and I did do mine first because one thing I’ve learned is that I’m always going to make mistakes the first time around. If it’s my towel, my zipper pouch, or whatever it is that I’m making, that has a little bit of imperfection and mistakes on it and I’m learning from that, that’s great. I always start with mine. That way, when I move on to things that are for other family members or friends, I’ve had a little bit of practice. I’m less likely to make those same mistakes.

Next Step: Attaching Images And Characters To The Towel

The next step in this crazy craft project was to attach all of my Disney-inspired and themed images and characters and everybody’s names to the towel. I used the Wonder-Under with the zipper pouches and loved it and I loved it again for this project. It worked well. Before I was attaching the initials to canvas, this time, I am attaching them to towels. I was interested to see how that would work and it worked great.

That process was straightforward. There were not a lot of surprises. The biggest thing that I had to keep into consideration when I was attaching everything to the towels was that the towels are going to stretch a little bit. I did take a lot of time with the letters, lining them up, and using my big cutting mat to put the towel down, and using a large cutting ruler to make sure that I had the towel pretty much laid out and stretched out. Not forcing it to stretch but enough where you knew it was out as far as it was going to be then lining up those letters.

There are a few of the towels I made at the beginning where I had to learn a little bit the hard way. They’re not perfectly straight across but that was okay. For the most part, they are pretty straight and worked well but that stretch in the towel was something I had to adjust for during the process. The final step in this project was to zigzag stitch these images onto the towels. I wanted to do that because I love how a little bit of color from the thread, whether it matched the towel or I chose one to stand out.

Final Step: Zigzag Stitch

The final step in this project was to zigzag stitch these images onto the towels. I wanted to do that because I love how a little bit of color from the thread, whether it matched the towel or I chose one to stand out. I love style-wise how that zigzag stitch looks on top of the fabric with the towel. I did do a zigzag stitch on all of the images on the Minnie heads with the bows and the Mickey heads than with everybody’s names across all the initials. That did take a bit of time. I was doing so many that it ended up taking me between like 45 minutes to an hour to complete that zigzag stitching per towel. That varied depending on the complexity of the images that I used but also on the length of the family members’ names.

Matthew and Michael very quickly went to Matt and Mike. I will tell you that but it was a super fun experience and the towels are awesome. They’re so fun and unique in so many different ways from the different fabrics to the different characters. I can’t wait to get them down to Florida and to give them to everybody.

My crafting keepers for this episode, my first crafting keeper is when you are in need of a specific theme, Disney theme, novelty fabric, go to Joann’s.

They have an incredible selection. Out of 20 different characters, not being able to find only 3 is not bad. A crafting keeper for themes, Disney, novelty, or that specific fabric that you’re looking for, Joann’s is a great place to go. My second crafting keeper is to keep your cutting mats clean. This was a game-changer for me.

After struggling with my Minnie Mouse that I’ll post the pictures and the videos of, I was thinking, “Look at these mats. Let me make sure that this isn’t part of the problem.” I honestly think it was because I learned that after cutting about two towels worth of fabric on the Cricut machine, I needed to clean those mats that were going to be holding the fabric down. It took a little more time to make sure the mats were clean but honestly, it saved material.

In the long run, I do feel like it made a difference in the cut that was happening from the machine in the fabric. That is a huge crafting keeper. Keep those mats clean. Some tips from this project. Put the Wonder-Under on. If you’re using fabric and you’re applicating it to something else, put whatever stabilizer you’re using. In my case, it’s the Wonder-Under. Put that on first. Put it on before you have Cricut cut out your fabric. It did make a difference. I’m glad that I looked that up and gave it a try because it helped a lot with the process.

The other thing is if you’re using stretchy material or towels or things like that, take a little extra time if you’re lining something up. Work into that project, that stretch factor. It’s going to move a little. That’s part of the thing for the towel but you want to make sure when you’re putting stuff on, it’s not moving as you’re applying that fabric to the towel. It happened to me a couple of times but once I figured out how to work with that towel fabric, it was easy.

The third tip that I will tell you is to make sure that you know how to spell every family member’s name correctly. I won’t go into too much detail on this one but checking that spelling twice before you applicate the name onto the towel is a huge time saver. Especially if you’re making more than one or two towels.

Check the spelling twice before you actually applicate the name onto the towel. That is a huge time saver, especially if you're making more than one or two towels. Share on X

That brings me to my SatisCRAFTion rating for this project. This gets a five. This was so much fun. Looking at all of the different Disney fabrics and mixing and matching them on all the towels in different ways, making them connect in some ways but still be completely one of a kind and completely personalized for each family member was so much fun. I will be doing this again for sure. I will be making more towels in the future.

The other thing, it’s still a five but I am still learning about this fabric cutting on the Cricut Maker. It is not as straightforward as I thought it was going to be. That is still a learning process for me. I will continue to cut fabric on my Cricut Maker. I’m getting better at it but I’m still finding that things aren’t sticking down the way I thought they would. I will continue to learn about that.

I will be using the extra fabric to make some lanyards for all things Disney swag that I’m bringing down there. There will be Disney shirts for sure that I make with the Cricut machine. In fact, I did two things that I’m super excited about and I’ll have to share in a different episode. I tried Puff Vinyl. It’s so much fun. If you get the opportunity, try Puff Vinyl. The other thing I’m doing is making myself some press-on nails with some Disney decals. I cut out the decals with the Cricut. All things Disney for this trip. I figure we’re probably doing it one time in our life, so we’re going to do it big. Until our next adventure, take care.

 

SatisCRAFTion Rating: 5

 

Disney Characters Requested by family members:

  • Moana, Chewbacca/Boba Fett, Ratatouille, R2D2 & C3PO, Steamboat Willie, Cheshire Cat, Storm Trooper, Minnie Mouse, Alice in Wonderland, Stitch, Judy Hopps & 101 Dalmatians, Cruella (live action), Tinkerbelle, Darth Vader, Encanto, Princess Lea, Mike Wazowski, Gaston, Princess Belle, Han Solo

Materials List:

  • Cricut Design Space: Font: Hiragino Kaku Gothic Std.
  • SVG Files: Various Disney SVG’s from Etsy
  • Steam iron
  • Press cloth
  • Weeding tools
  • Thread – various colors
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread to hand sew zig zag stitch
  • Htvront mat
  • Cutting mat
  • Large ruler
  • Rotary cutter or scissors
  • Various Disney Theme Fabric bought at Joann Fabric and Crafts
  • Joann Disney Fabric

  • Pool/Beach Towels

    I would use these again:

  • Kaufman – Towels

    I would not use these again:

  • Kaufman Towels
  • Etsy
  • Cricut Maker
  • Pellon 805 Wonder-Under

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