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Thrift Shop Find: Vintage Tea Towels

Collect vintage tea towels? I love how these inexpensive thrift shop finds add a bit of fun and whimsy to our kitchen.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you probably already know one of my favourite things to do is peruse thrift shops, garage sales or flea markets whenever I get the chance. I’ve become very disciplined with my purchases ever since I laid out some ground rules for thrifting earlier this year. So difficult, but so very necessary! Only buying items I have a definite plan for has really kept the clutter in our basement storage rooms to a minimum.

With that being said, I was thrilled to stumble across a couple vintage tea towels at a local thrift shop last week. I have been coveting similar Anthropologie dish towels, but we’re far too hard on ours (think overflowing coffee maker like the one I experienced this morning!) to spend in the ballpark of $20 each. Instead, I picked up both of these for $3!

Vintage Tea Towels

Wildflowers and Trees Vintage Tea Towels

The “Scottish Wild Flowers” cotton tea towel was created by Glen Appin, a Scottish textile and gift company dating back to 1903. I love the summery colours and simple illustrations of some of my favourite flowers.

Scottish Wild Flowers Vintage Tea Towel by Glen Appin

The Irish linen “Treetowel” was designed by Pat Albeck, a British artist who made a big impact on the textile, pottery, and paper industries from the 1950’s to 2007.

Based on the colours, I’m guessing it’s from the 70’s. Although it has never been used (making it more valuable), I still plan on washing it up and putting it to work. I LOVE linen kitchen towels, as they seem to only get better with age!

Pat Albeck Vintage Tea Towel with Trees

If you’re looking for vintage tea towels to add some fun and whimsy to your kitchen, there’s a fantastic selection on Etsy in a variety of styles. However, you may have to hit some thrift shops to find a good deal like I did.

Do you enjoy adding a touch of vintage to your kitchen? Have any vintage tea towels of your own? What have you found in the vintage department that was a steal of a deal?

One other thing before you head off… If you’re looking for more useful and pretty ideas in your life, make sure you’re on the email list! You can subscribe here.

Enjoy your day,

Shauna at Satori Design for Living Blog - Home Decor, DIY, Vintage Finds, Recipes


  1. Those towels are so cute, Shauna! I especially love the Scottish one, since my grandparents were from there. And the whiskey one, love it! I don’t have vintage towels, but seeing yours, I might have to keep an eye out for them. 
    Debbie :)

    1. Sometimes you don’t know what you’ll find when you go in. I always try to keep an open mind. I think my cousin would like to get her hands on the Scottish one since that’s her heritage. I may have to part with it!

  2. Love the tea towels Shauna!  Part of me would want to put them away and save them.  Good for you for your resolve to use them.

  3. Great score! I’d love to go thrifting with you one day just to get your take on things!
    I love to add a bit of vintage, the tea towel that caught my eye was the teal & yellow whiskey one…
    My best score to date was finding a fairly large selection of milk glass at .45/piece in a small town thrift shop in the states! (I bought most of what they had!!)

    1. Lucky girl, I love milk glass! That cocktail motif tea towel is fun and vibrant for sure! What stores do you like to hit in Calgary? Perhaps we could plan an afternoon…

  4. ah, one day when I have a beautiful kitchen to decorate I will obsess over vintage shops and antiques. Until then I’ll live thru you. 

    1. My kitchen could use a few upgrades too, but little touches carry me through! Hope you get your beautiful kitchen soon. Until then, keep your eyes open for lovely vintage inspiration :)

  5. Love those tea towels – what a great find! I think it’s great to be inspired by places like Anthropologie and find ways of getting the look for less.

  6. Great finds.  These are just like the ones that my Mom had in her kitchen when I was little and they lasted forever back then. Do you remember the ones that had the yearly calendar on them. They were always hung on the wall for the year and then used the following year for a tea towel. I think I will be on the lookout for some of these vintage ones too. 

    1. My grandmother used to make tea towels and they were a generous size that absorbed so well. The ones on the market now are often small, wonky after you wash them, and expensive for the good quality ones. I do remember the calendar ones. My favorites were the days of the week.

  7. You were very lucky to find those tea towels at such a good price as they are hard to find
    Thanks for sharing

  8. I love vintage linen, and you have definitely found some great towels! I admire your rules around thrifing – it’s so hard to say ‘no’ when you see so many great treasures along the way. Can you guess which towel is my favorite of the ones you featured? ;-)

  9. I’m with you Shauna, I try not to bring anything home that won’t get used right away! Tea towels look too nice to use everyday but that’s what they were made for and at $3, why not? 

  10. Great finds! And ground rules for thrifting….I hate to admit it, but I think I need those too! 

  11. Oh so cute tea towels, great price too!! Now I have to keep my eye out for some – thanks Shauna!

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