It's my Martha Stewart you think she eats squid?

As a kid I remember choosing from a stash of bright-colored, hand-made aprons tucked into our cleaning closet. Some were made of stiff jean material and embroidered with faces made from shapes and google eyes, others had lace around the edges, I tended to choose the one that came pre-stained so that any extra smudges fit right in (I tend to wipe on my apron. A lot).

But I’m no seamstress so when it comes to making my own apron, I rely on my laptop instead of a sewing machine (the sewing gene just passed me by, my mother is amazing while I even mess up darning socks).

Here’s how to make your own personalized apron (and yes, these make great gifts with a whisk or cookbook tucked with it).

Purchase a plain apron.

(Or maybe you already have some plain ones in your drawer?) I’ve found that printing lighter colors on a darker apron turns out easier than dark ink on lighter aprons. I know it seems like it would be just the reverse. Plus, darker colors don’t tend to show cooking smudges quite as much. Stiffer fabrics are also easier to work with.

Buy Stretchable Fabric Transfer sheets.

You can find these at craft or even larger grocery stores. Make sure to buy the type that matches your apron color–bright (white) or dark (reds, blacks, dark blues).

Create your image.

You can use pictures, text, images whatever you can print. A few words of caution, though. Eventually, you’re going to be cutting around the letters, so bigger images and letters work well, more intricate designs and you might have to dig out the exact-o knife. And the blockier designs transfer onto the fabric better too. (FYI–these won’t work with laser printers.)

Print out your image.

Replace the regular paper with the transfer in your printer. I’d suggest doing a practice run so that when you place the transfer paper in you know it’s on the right side.

Cut it!

Carefully cut around the image as close to the edges as possible. Peel the white film from the backing paper.

Iron it on

Preheat your iron and make sure the steam is off. I don’t use an iron board for this next part, instead I break out my largest, wood cutting board and place a clean pillowcase on it, then the apron. Arrange the printed transfer paper on the apron as you’d like it to appear. Place a large piece of parchment paper over the design (usually a piece is included with the transfer sheets). Firmly iron the design onto the apron, holding for about 20 seconds over every printed part. Wait a couple minutes until the paper cools and then carefully peel off the parchment.

Wear it!

Now the transfer sheet instructions have this long list of don’ts: don’t wash with bleach, don’t wash in warm water, don’t line dry. You should be a bit careful with your printed apron but I’ve made aprons, t-shirts, Halloween costumes, and everything in between and so far they’ve washed perfectly–even when they accidentally end up in the hot water cycle:)

Let the kids create a design

DIY aprons is the perfect kids activity–personalize party treat bags, gifts for grandma, you get the idea.

Beyond crafting your own apron, there are so many other ways to brighten up your kitchen–and your whole house–to celebrate spring. That’s right, have you noticed it stopped snowing? I hope. I’ve been looking through Get Fresh this Spring ideas at Motherboard. It’s making me want to do more than just aprons–I’m itching to paint a room or two.

Your turn–are you doing anything to brighten up your house–or kitchen–to celebrate spring?

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