DIY Reusable Unpaper Towels

Banish the single-use paper towels with these easy DIY Unpaper Towels!

These Unpaper Towels have been long in the making. We decided to implement better practices in our house. This is our year of the Green Home! So, over the last few months, we’ve started doing a few things to get a better understanding of our own lifestyle. Simple things like monitoring our waste. LIGHT monitoring, no one was standing by the bin noting down everything coming in! Just some careful consideration, to get a sense of how much waste we generate in a week. And whether that waste was avoidable.

DIY Reusable Unpaper Towels

The results are shocking. And most waste turns out to be very much avoidable. When you start noticing, it’s hard to go back. Like, why the hell are the bananas wrapped in plastic? It’s a banana, it was born in its own wrapper…

I’m trying to turn this sense of shock into something positive by sharing ideas to make your own reusable items for the house. Stay tuned for more sustainable DIYs, starting with this DIY Unpaper Towel tutorial!

DIY Reusable Unpaper Towels

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  • Waffle weave cotton towel fabric
  • Printed cotton for the back
  • Sewing machine
  • Assorted sewing threads
  • Sewing pins



Step 1: Cut the fabric

Cotton waffle weave towel fabric and printed cotton fabric

To start off, cut 8 by 8″ (20 x 20cm) squares in the waffle weave towel fabric and the cotton fabric.

You’ll need one towel square and one cotton square to make one unpaper towel. So if you want to make 6 reusable kitchen towels, cut 6 pieces in the towel fabric and 6 pieces in your cotton fabric.

Tip: cut an 8 by 8″ square in cardstock and use it as a pattern. If the cardstock is strong enough, you won’t even need to unearth/ steal your kids’ ruler.

Pinning the waffle towel and the cotton fabric together

Pin together a piece of waffle towel fabric and a piece of cotton. If your cotton fabric is printed, make sure the print is facing down.

Step 2: Sew the pieces

Sewing the DIY unpaper towels

If you own a 1/4″ sewing foot, now is the time to whip it out. It really helps achieve a consistent hem!

Place your pinned squares under your sewing foot and sew a straight stitch 1/4″ (approx. 5mm) away from the edge of the fabric. Go around the squares and stop 2″ (5cm) away from the beginning. You’ll need this opening to turn the towel inside out!

Step 3: turn the towels inside out

When you’re finished sewing, grab a pair of scissors and cut away the corners around your fabric squares. This will remove the bulk of fabric and make your corners sharper. Just be careful not to cut into the seam!

Now, pull the unpaper towels inside out through the 2″ opening you left for this purpose. It might take a bit of shaking, possibly grunting, especially if the opening is smaller than 2″, but it should stop short at swearing and shaking your fists.

You’re now the proud owner of… A CRUMPLED PIECE OF FABRIC. Let’s fix that.

Flatten the fabric with your hand and use a pen (cap on!!) to push out the corners. Heat up your iron and press it onto the fabric to smooth the towels. Looks better now, right?

Folding the opening into the seam

Now that your kitchen towels have regained proper shape, you might notice the unsewn 2″ opening is poking out. Use your fingers to fold in the fabric and smooth the edge. Press it flat with your iron and pin it shut.

Step 4: TOPSTITCH the unpaper towels

Topstitching the DIY unpaper towels with matching threads

Finally, bring your squares back to the sewing machine for the last touch: a topstitch to pin the 2 fabrics together.

Set your machine to a straight stitch and sew around the square, 1/4″ (5mm) away from the edge.

Tip: match the threads to the color of your cotton fabric. Use white thread in the lower bobbin to blend in the white towel and colored thread in the top spool.

And voila: DIY unpaper towels you won’t even want to hide in a kitchen drawer!

Pin thESE DIY UNPAPER TOWELS to save this idea for later!

DIY Reusable Unpaper Towels



DIY Reusable Unpaper Towels

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