Simple and Washable Name Tags For Your Kitchen Table

Simple and Washable Name Tags For Your Kitchen Table

Is one, or more, of your kids sick and you want them to be sure which water glass is theirs so there is less chance of them swapping germs? Why not create simple name tags? Makes it simple to remember who is sitting where and whose glass is whose. After using a fabric marker to write the girls’ name on the cut woven fabric I released my fabric markers to the girls so they could color their own making it a perfect activity to do together while allowing them the ownership of the design on the tag so they could be proud of the finished name tags.

Pinterest image including the title of the blog post and four images that are also included down below. This shows the previously used paper towel scrap uses and three images of the final washable name tags.

For a while now Matt and I have been sitting at either end of our kitchen table with the kids along one of the long sides of the table. This, of course, meant that Ada and Zoey started fighting over who got to sit next to daddy. We solved this my letting them take turns and alternated days which seemed to work… at first. Eventually, I started forgetting who sat where the day before so at breakfast I’d have ask the girls and hope they agreed on where they sat and thus where they should sit today. A couple months ago Ada got a fever and I didn’t want them to use the wrong drinking glasses so I grabbed some paper towel and made them quick make-shift name tags with a sharpie. Of course whenever they spilled on these name tags I’d have to make a new one as they now ‘needed’ them. A couple weeks ago after scrawling Zoey’s name on her new name tag scrap I got berated about how I drew her ‘o’ and reminded about it the next day morning, after I had fixed the letter, so I figured I needed to come up with a more permanent, less wasteful, and way simpler solution and these washable name tags were born. When we first started using these last week I planned to use each one until they got dirty and then switch the name tag to a new one so the old one could be washed with our laundry. I figured making four each would offer a large enough buffer that we wouldn’t run out. With the threat of COVID-19 and Ada coming down with the flu I’ve already started switching the name tags and washing them much more frequently than I had planned and they’ve held up great.

Closeup of the two scraps of paper towels with the girls' names on them. The two sides of the image show the water glasses holding down the paper towel.
Our original name tags were small pieces of paper towel that I quickly scribbled their names on with a sharpie. Let me tell you all the curves made writing the names so much harder. We had to leave the water glasses on the name tags so if the fan was turned on they wouldn’t blow across, or off, of the table thereby losing their whole purpose.

I considered sewing the name tags right sides facing and turning them right side out to topstitch but I also wanted to add fusible fleece, that I had on hand, to the top and bottom layers to make the name tags sturdier and thicker which would’ve made this too bulky to turn right side out. Thus I decided to simplify and make these wrong sides together from the get go.

I chose to make four name tags for each kid so I ended up creating a total of eight name tags in all. Once I figured out the size I wanted I got to work cutting out eight pieces of white woven fabric for the top of each name tag before choosing some interesting scrap fabric to cut out eight more backs. I made them all the same size cutting them to be four inches wide and three inches tall.

Closeup of the corner of the transparent quilting ruler showing the three by four inch rectangle that I was about to cut out from the fabric.
I started by grabbing some white woven fabric and cut out one for each name tag making a total of eight.
View of the four squares I cut out from the Frozen fabric I got from Walmart. The top two show Elsa's head with the surrounding characters cut off while the bottom two show, mainly, Anna.
I then grabbed some Frozen fabric and cut four backers from it before grabbing two more woven fabric pieces for two more backers each. I cut the Frozen fabric with the fabric upside down without thinking and was then happy that I hadn’t cut all the characters in half. I decided Ada and Zoey both get a whole-ish Anna and an Elsa so no arguing over who got what luckily.

After cutting out the squares the next step was to add the girls’ names to each one. I laid out all eight of the white rectangles and used a different fabric marker color, and font, for each pair of name tags.

The white rectangles are laid out two across and four down. The first column contains squares with Ada's name on it while the second column contains Zoey's name. Each row is made with a  different color and font starting with orange and shadowing (top), then red, green, and finally (at the bottom) purple.
I then laid out all the white rectangles and had Zoey help me choose which fabric markers I should use before writing out Ada or Zoey’s names on each rectangle. I decided to make the girls matching ones so I only had to come up with four unique styles and colors. I couldn’t resist adding hearts to most of them too.

After writing their names I used my iron to set the ink so the names wouldn’t bleed into the girls’ artwork. I then divided up the backs and tops before explaining to Ada and Zoey that they’d get to choose which back went with which front and that I’d have to sew around the outside so anything close to the edge would get hidden. Otherwise could do whatever they wanted. They ended up designing them over two days before Ada decided she was done. Zoey was basically done the first day but added a bit more the next day when Ada worked on hers.

Foreground shows Zoey looking down while holding a fabric marker and dotting the square below her. All her squares are laid out around it. In the background are the rest of the fabric markers and Ada's area.
Zoey adding dots to her name tag. She had fun decorating the front and back pieces (on either side) while Ada was more methodical.

Once the kids decided they were done I laid out all the squares on my fusible fleece and, after adding paper towel to protect the iron from the glue, fused the fleece to the woven squares. Originally, I was going to set the ink on the squares first but I forgot so I was extra careful to try to heat set the ink during this process. Once they were attached to the fusible fleece I took my scissors and carefully cut each one out separating them and put each one into piles based on whose name tag they belonged to and if they were a back or front pieces.

Showing ten of the sixteen rectangles laid out on the fusible fleece leaving a small border around each one. The bottom right side of the photo shows the remaining pile of rectangles that still needed to be laid out.
I laid out all the rectangular pieces of fabric on the fusible fleece making sure there was just enough space around each one to allow me to cut them out later. I then added a piece of paper towel and used my iron to stick the layers together.
Showing the four piles and four of the uncut rectangles.
Once each rectangle was firmly attached I carefully cut them out and put them into one of four piles. I had two sections, one for Ada and one for Zoey, and each section had two piles for the front and the back of the name tag.

Once the pieces were prepped it was time to choose which ones should get paired up together and which way they should each be turned before being sewn together. I ended up taking Ada and Zoey, separately, and we went over which backs should go with which fronts and in which direction they should be while I clipped them together with my sewing clips to make the sewing go more smoothly later on. We then went through my sewing box of thread so they could choose which color thread I use to sew their name tags together. I simplified it by allowing them to choose one color that would be used on all four of their name tags. Zoey went first and I showed her the multi-color thread sure that she would choose her new favorite color, rainbow, before she went through my colors, studiously ignoring the rainbow thread, and chose a neon version of her old favorite color orange. In contrast Ada methodically went through all the colors until I eventually told her she had to choose as my thread was getting unrolled with her rifling through the box whereas she then ignored all the colors she’d been going through and gravitated to my baggie of multicolored thread instead.

After changing the thread in my sewing machine I carefully sewed around each label, making sure I sewed through all the layers, using a blanket stitch so it would look pretty and cover a wider area than the simple straight stitch. Once they were done I trimmed the excess fabric making sure to not cut through any of the stitching.

Foreground shows a part of my scissors while the pile of finished name tags sit in the background. The trimmed fabric lays between the two off to the right.
Once the name tags were sewn I carefully cut the excess fabric away while making sure to not cut through the stitches.

And they were done! They were so quick to make as the longest part was waiting for the kids to color them all. So simple and I love how they turned out.

All eight name tags fanned out to see. The bottom shows Zoey's name tags and they're spread out enough to see most of them. The top half shows Ada's, more overlapping, name tags.
And the name tags were finished and I loved how they turned out.
Closeup of Zoey's name tag leaned against a transparent empty glass.
They are all adorable while propped up against the drinking glasses.
View of the washed off table with two transparent water glasses spaced a seat apart with the name tag laid out by each one.
After clearing the table off and washing it I put out clean glasses and swap the kids spot before they go to bed. This way the glasses are out if they want water before bed (or if they come out repeatedly during the night) and their spots are already switched and ready for breakfast. The name tag closer to you is basically name-less as Ada drew Zoey standing in the rain say ‘oh no’ and then she added clouds, a rainbow, and a star effectively hiding her name.
The first two name tags used shown slightly overlapping after they were washed. There are threads coming off some of the edges but otherwise look great.
After going through the laundry once the name tags started losing a bit of thread but otherwise looks great. I figure once the thread is lost up to the stitches it will all stay put.

I found this was a quick sewing project and I love that the kids had a hand in designing their name tag and choosing what thread color I used. This did mean that one of Ada’s name tags is, basically, name-less as she colored her picture overtop but we know that one is Ada’s so it still works. I could see making both sides with white fabric if your kids want to color either side. I could also see using their favorite fabric scraps and if they’re unique to each kid you don’t even need to add their name. This project could also be a good excuse to stitch their names onto the fabric if your machine has the capability to monogram (my bead counting quiet book page also used monogramming). Being so quick with minimal sewing I could see this also being a good project if you want to hand sew or embroider something small.

Are you looking at making your own name tags? I’d love to see yours if you make these. Or if you made a different type of name tag what did you use and how did they turn out? Are you making these for a different purpose and if so what? Feel free to share in the comments below, through my Facebook page, or on Instagram. I hope your week is going great.

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