Crafting Home Decor In the Kitchen Sewing

Make Your Own Un-Paper Towel

Make Your Own Paper Towel on

Concerning disposable vs reusable:

You can easily decrease or even elimitate your use of paper towel and therefore your shopping bill and carbon footprint!

In a previous post I outlined the journey my family took from paper towel to UN-paper towel (that means cloth!) and now I’m going to show you how to make some for your own home! Or one way, anyway.

Want to lower your spending? How about your carbon footprint? Check out the easiest un-paper towel tutorial here!

Want to lower your spending? How about your carbon footprint? Check out the easiest un-paper towel tutorial here!

Now, this is a very easy project and it by no means has to be perfect.  Remember, these cloths will be used to wipe up messes.  Some people keep them on their countertop, even on an old paper towel roll, but you don’t have to.  They can just as easily go in a drawer.  So don’t stress about using nice or matching fabrics or doing an awesome job.  As long as they wipe, they do the job for which they were intended.

Are you ready?

How to sew un-paper towel:

Materials to make un-paper towel by

Get together your material.  You’ll want at least two layers.  I like to have terry and flannel.  In this tutorial, I used one layer of terry cloth (one bath towel bought at discount price) and one layer of flannel (one meter bought at discount price).  The cloths I’m making here are actually a gift, hence why I used new materials.  I prewashed both my fabrics and as you can see in the picture below, the wash left my flannel looking quite yucky.

My flannel turned shoddy-looking after I prewashed it.

For my own cloths, I used all repurposed fabrics and I prefer to do one layer 100% cotton, one layer terry, and one layer of flannel.  Use whichever materials you like, repurposed or new.

First things you need to do is to select a size.  Honestly, this may be the hardest, yet most important, part of the entire project.  I made mine in two different sessions.  Almost none of my cloths are the same size but there are two general sizes.  My “big” cloths are around 28cm x 24 cm (or 11″ x 9 1/2″) and the smaller ones are closer to 19cm x 14cm (or 7 1/2″ x 5 1/2″).  I have quite a few of the smaller size ones, as we use them most frequently for wiping our hands, wiping small spills, etc. and probably only half the amount of the larger ones, as we don’t often have need of such a larg cloth.  We haven’t had any truly big spills, I guess.  *knock on wood*

Once you know what size you desire for your finished cloths, you’ll want to add 1/2″ to all the edges for seam allowance.

Cut out your pieces in the calculated size.  You’ll want the same number of terry cloth and flannel pieces, if those are the fabrics you are using.

Cut your un-paper towel materials into equal sizes and numbers

Be warned: cutting terry cloth is very messy!

Put your two layers of fabric right sides together and sew around the edges with 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a sufficient gap open for the piece to be turned right-side-out.  This gap will vary, depending on your fabric.  The terry I used here was very thick and required a larg gap to be turned.

Sew your un-paper towel fabrics wrong-sides together,

Before turning, trim the edges close and clip off the corners.  This will make the corners more crisp once turned.

Trim the seam allowance on your un-paper towel before turning,

Turn each piece right-side-out.  Use an implement to assist in turning the corners out all the way.  Since my gap was big enough for my hand, I used the handle-side of my seam ripper.  You can also use a knitting needle or chop stick.  Get creative!

Turn the un-paper towel right-side-out,

Sew around the outside again with a 1/4″ seam allowance.  When you get to the gap, make sure the rough edges are turned to the inside of the piece before sewing across.

You’re done!  Now wasn’t that easy?

So sorry!  I don’t have any pictures of the last step or the finished product!  I had planned on taking the final pictures after washing them one last time but . . . that second wash made the flannel look even more shoddy (note to self: don’t use flannel that is very dark!) and I decided to skip the pictures. Time to exercise your imagination!

I would love to hear your thoughts on the so-called “un-paper towel” and if you’re intrigued by the idea you can read my post of how my home made the transition from paper to cloth, Doing Away With Throwaway.

Linked With:

The Tale of Mummyhood


Petite Pudding



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  • Reply mainy March 5, 2017 at 02:13

    What a fab idea! I love making use of what I have around to try and cut down on waste. I must have lots of scraps of material around to be able to make one of these. I’ll give it a go. thanks for the tip. Oh and I am totally with you on sometimes not having all the pictures, I had a few picture moments myself, mostly with recipes when the kids have eaten the treats and I have nothing to show!:)
    mainy recently posted…The #RockingMotherhood TagMy Profile

    • Reply Jaclyn March 5, 2017 at 02:16

      So glad that there are those out there who will understand my picture problems!
      Good luck with the cloths! As long as it’s up to me, we’re never buying paper towel again 🙂

  • Reply MomOfTwoLittleGirls March 5, 2017 at 02:18

    Thanks for this. As a novice sewist I love these simple straight line projects. lol
    I’d never considered using those fabrics, but I love any projects where I can reuse or recycle exisiting fabrics from the house. Now I know what to do with the old towels.

    • Reply Jaclyn March 5, 2017 at 02:20

      Yes! Old towels are the best for these! It was stupidly difficult to make these with a brand new fluffy one!

  • Reply Elle March 5, 2017 at 06:02

    This is much more attractive then cut up old towels! I think even I can handle stitching straight lines. Neat idea!

  • Reply Emily March 5, 2017 at 06:56

    These are awesome! I’m so strongly considering making this switch!

  • Reply Marcie March 5, 2017 at 07:55

    Super cute! I wish I was a bit more crafty. But, we have lots of old towels that we use to clean up messes.

    • Reply Jaclyn March 5, 2017 at 12:36

      Plain old terry is what I first started using! It does the job just fine 🙂

  • Reply Kim Amy March 5, 2017 at 14:25

    OHHH I would love to go this way. I just need to convince the other adult in the house! I make my own dryer sheets which is very similar and simple also!

    • Reply Jaclyn March 5, 2017 at 17:28

      Yes, convincing the other half is often challenging. Luckily for me (kind of?) I’m the bread-winner so if I decide were not buying something anymore, we’re not buying it!

  • Reply Brittany| Memoirs Of A Good Thing March 5, 2017 at 15:03

    This is a neat idea! I’m just curious, how does it differ from just using a plain old dish towel? I mean does it absorb differently or something? It looks like something I could pull off!

    • Reply Jaclyn March 5, 2017 at 17:33

      When I first started using cloth in place of paper towels I did just use little wash cloths and also cut up t-shirts. I found that the t-shirts soaked up faster. So I got the idea for these that the rag material soaks up faster and the terry holds more . . . Why not combine them? Flannel is also a terrific soaker-upper but for my personal cloth stash (as these ones were a gift I made for someone) I use flannel, terry, and cotton. I find that each fabric is better for certain needs (for example, I don’t use terry to wipe up something I need gone fast because it takes too long but if it’s not urgent, I’ll just throw the terry on it and walk away for a couple minutes whereas the flannel or cotton is better at picking up small spills fast).

  • Reply Stacy March 5, 2017 at 19:35

    This is so creative. I love to sew and my family can use a roll of paper towels in day. This sounds like a win for us!

  • Reply Tina March 6, 2017 at 00:20

    What a great way to recycle old fabric! A great money saver,too. Add kids to a house and you need to put a lot more money in the paper towel budget!

  • Reply maria criselda maquiling March 6, 2017 at 01:12

    I always love ideas that are great for the environment. in our culture, we use old tattered clothes as rags or the things you might need a paper towel for. but this is a much more niftier and more presentable idea because tattered clothes are ugly and they eventually get binned

    • Reply Jaclyn March 6, 2017 at 02:39

      We have both 🙂 I still use old rags and yes, sometimes it’s because they’re destined for the garbage but they often get washed and reused again, depending on the mess!

  • Reply The Tale of Mummyhood March 6, 2017 at 05:06

    This is a fab idea, I love the pattern on the material! Thanks so much for linking up to #Blogstravaganza, hope to see you again next week xx
    The Tale of Mummyhood recently posted…#Blogstravaganza #9My Profile

  • Reply Jasmine Hewitt March 6, 2017 at 07:01

    this is great! I also use flour sack towels from walmart or target, because they become more absorbent the more you use them
    Jasmine Hewitt recently posted…Baby Harness: Why We Like Using The Yochi Yochi HarnessMy Profile

    • Reply Jaclyn March 6, 2017 at 10:36

      That’s a great idea! I’ll have to try those once I make more 🙂

  • Reply Caitlin March 6, 2017 at 09:01

    I have been wanting to do this for awhile, thank you so much for the tutorial. I already use cloth wipes for my kids hands and faces after mealtime!

  • Reply Jessi March 6, 2017 at 09:20

    I love this! I actually did a money saving post recently and mentioned not buying paper towels and other products like it to save money. This is a perfect alternative.

  • Reply Ashley March 6, 2017 at 14:20

    This is such a clever idea! We’re trying to be as eco-friendly as possible in our house so I’m definitely going to give this a shot!

  • Reply Kassi March 6, 2017 at 15:56

    I love this idea. I have so many pieces of scrap fabric around the house it would be easy to whip a few of these up. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply Gina March 6, 2017 at 20:44

    What a smart idea!! We use so many paper towels and it irritates me to no end when others in the house grab several towels for what can be cleaned with one or two. Now if I could just convince others to help with laundry I would be all-in on this switch!

  • Reply Raquel March 6, 2017 at 21:26

    Another project for my sewing machine, awesome! I’ve been trying to downsize how many disposable products we use, so this will be added to the list.

  • Reply The Mum Reviews March 7, 2017 at 08:15

    This is a very good idea and a virtuous project. But what goes unsaid is…I imagine you have to wash them at some point? Deal breaker for me! It is very clever though how you stitch them together to make them more absorbent. Thanks for linking up to #eatsleepblogrt. Hope you can join again next week.

    • Reply Jaclyn March 7, 2017 at 13:26

      Yes, they do need to be washed. But they don’t add an extra load or anything (at least not in my house), they just get added to loads already being done. They don’t even require folding!

  • Reply Hayley@ Mission : Mindfulness March 7, 2017 at 12:32

    Looks good- unfortunately I am not very crafty. #eatsleepblogRT

  • Reply Mylee March 7, 2017 at 19:35

    I love this idea and now have a good reason to keep my kids’ old shirts that no longer fit them (that I can’t find it in my heart to give away!) 🙂 Thanks for sharing.
    Mylee recently posted…Your Path to HappyMy Profile

  • Reply Savannah March 8, 2017 at 21:20

    This is such a great idea!! We go through sooo many paper towels in this house, it’s really not funny (and so expensive)! This looks so easy to throw together, and I have a bunch of old receiving blankets I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with. Thanks for sharing! <3

  • Reply The Sun Mama March 9, 2017 at 06:01

    Great idea and so easy to do! Love this idea!
    The Sun Mama recently posted…Superheroes aren’t one size fits all…My Profile

  • Reply Karla March 11, 2017 at 05:24

    Saving money and creating less waste. Awesome!

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