Vintage Harvest Crate Stamp/Label Patches - Lil Blue Boo Tutorial

Let's get started!

I love John Steinbeck....I own every book he wrote, including Grapes of Wrath. I love the wooden crates used for harvesting fruit way back before plastic was available. My friend George and his family have owned a grape farm since the 1940's and I asked him for some of his old wooden crates with the ranch's stamped logo. I used the wooden crates and some vintage fruit crate labels to create knit patches for girl and boy t-shirts. My two favorites: the "Brother's Pride" crate label because of the wood grain, and the "American Beauty" fruit label because of the distressing technique I used.

Find your vintage inspiration

Below is a photo I took at George's farm. I think it is amazing how much agriculture is grown out here in the is all irrigated by canals! You'll be driving along surrounded by only sand and tumbleweeds and then all the sudden:

These crates were from a friend's farm

Step 1: I took these wooden crate slats and scanned them directly into my computer. I also had a few paper labels I scanned in. 

Beautiful pieces of history

Step 2: Reverse the images on your computer, resize them and the print them onto t-shirt transfer paper.

Reverse to print on transfer paper

Optional: If you wish to apply a distressed look (similar to the "American Beauty" label shown at the bottom of the page), lightly scratch off portions of the printout before transferring.

Distressed look by scratching

Step 3: Cut out the transfer and place face down onto the t-shirt knit. The trick is NOT to use an ironing should a hard surface like a table or the floor and place protective brown paper or an old t-shirt on your surface to protect it. Follow the directions of the specific transfer paper you are using.

Iron on

Step 4: Peel off the transfer backing...

Smooth peel

......and cut out your transfer leaving about 1/8" of plaint white knit around the edge.

Cut around your transfer

Step 5: Cut out a piece of Wonder Under or other fusible web product slightly smaller than your patch. Note: Do NOT use the fusible web that needs to be steamed in a second step (usually has backing on it)....the steam will affect the ink in your transfer.

Time for fusible webbing

Step 6: Position your knit patch onto your t-shirt with the Wonder Under sandwiched in between.

Webbing between transfer and shirt

Step 7: Place a cloth over the transfer, press and apply enough heat from the iron around the edges to fuse the patch enough to keep it in place. The transfer will block much of the heat so you will have to continue fusing with the next step.


Step 8: Turn the shirt inside out and place over the narrow edge of the ironing board and press the patch area with the iron to finish fusing the patch to the shirt.

Flip inside out and iron, too

Step 9: Zigzag stitch or use an embroidery stitch around your patch to secure it permanently.

Stitch in place


Finished project 1

There are so many designs out there you are destined to find the perfect ones for your little girl or little boy! You can also use the patches for jeans, coin many possibilities!

Finished project 2

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