This tutorial will should you how to make DIY unpaper towels- reusable paper towels made with cotton cloth or old towels. This is a simple sewing project for beginners and will allow you to cut down or eliminate your paper towel usage. You can also use these with my disinfecting wipe recipe!
Why you should try reusable cloth towels
I’m trying to go zero-waste and stop producing so much garbage and plastic waste in my life.
One of the things I’m trying to cut back on is my paper towel usage. I go through a lot more paper towels than I would like. We have a lot of pets and a six year old daughter so there are constantly messes to clean up. I don’t like to use the same hand towels over and over again to dry my hands because it creeps me out. This means that I go through a roll of paper towels every couple of days.
I wanted to try making DIY un paper towels as an alternative to the regular paper towels I use. These re-usable rags made from cotton fleece can replace some of the following uses of paper towels:
- Drying hands
- Wiping up spills
I know I’m not going to be able to completely stop using paper towels because lets face it- when my dog pukes on the floor, I’m going to clean it up with something disposable and dump it in the trash, but with the unpaper towels I should be able to cut back my usage of paper towels by about 90%.
What fabric to use to make unpaper towels
These towels are made of 100% cotton flannel. I bought two 1 yard pieces of flannel cloth from Joanne Fabric. This is the same cloth that is normally used to make cloth diapers.
They make fabric that is specifically labelled “cotton fabric for diapers”. It is the same as the flannel I used except mine was cheaper and there were a ton of cute patterns to choose from instead of just plain white. With the coupons I used I paid less that $10 for two yards of 100% cotton flannel fabric.
You can use terry cloth or any other kind of fabric you like. The more absorbent the fabric, the better.
You can cut up old towels or sheets and use those if you prefer.
How many unpaper towels do I need?
Each yard of fabric was enough to make at least 20 towels. This is a good amount to start with. If you like using them you can keep going and make as many as you like!
Peep the video for step by step instructions
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Supplies to make DIY unpaper towels without snaps
Instructions for DIY paper towels
- First wash and dry your fabric according to the instructions
- Next, iron it to get rid of wrinkles
- Lay the fabric out on a flat surface and use an existing paper towel as a template and trace it on the fabric. Alternatively you can measure and mark fabric.
- Then cut out the individual towels.
- Set up your sewing machine and thread it with coordinating cotton thread.
- Sew around the perimeter of the fabric with the stitch of your choice. I used a zig-zag stitch.
- Try to sew as close as you can to the edge of the fabric without going over.
- Your DIY unpaper towels are ready to use!
How to store cloth paper towels
You can fold your cloth towels and put them in a basket or do like I did and wrap them around an empty cardboard paper towel tube.
Have you ever made unpaper towels before? Let me know your best tips in the comments!