Tuesday, April 2, 2013

DIY Un-paper towels

First of all, I want to thank everyone for your sweet comments and prayers. These last few days have certainly been hard, but things are getting better.

I finally got my sewing machine out and finished a project that I have been wanting to do for months. It is very easy, and will save you money!

What you need:

  • About 2.5 yards of cotton birdseye fabric: Fabric.com has been sold out for months and Joanne Fabrics does not carry it. I bought mine on Ebay, but there are also sellers on Etsy for about the same price. I paid $30 for 5 yards + shipping, which is a standard price. You could use another fabric, but from what I researched, birdseye is a great choice. I like it ever so much better than flannel or terry cloth.
  • Diaper snaps: Easy to find at craft stores. Use a coupon!
  • Snap pliers: This thing looks like you need a college degree to use, but it is actually very simple

Since birdseye cotton will shrink, wash it first to avoid great lamentations and sorrow. I took my favorite size paper towel (I like the thin ones) to use as a cutting guide. I did not iron the fabric. I am sure it would have looked better if I did, but I will never, ever, ever iron these in daily use, so I didn't want to then either.

Cut in strips, using the already cut strips as an easy guide.

As you can see, I was not a perfectionist about getting them very straight.

Use the paper towels again as a guide to making them the right length.

 I cut out thirty full sized sheets and had some smaller pieces left over that I am using for other projects. I might be developing a nervous twitch at seeing how crooked these are. Move along, there is nothing else to see here.

If you do not have a serger, use a zig-zag stitch. Depending on how bothered you may be by this fraying in the future, do either one or two seams. Yeah, this does take a long time. You can always do one seam, then put a sheet in the wash to determine how much it will fray (various zig-zag settings on your machine will have different results). Please note that you may wish to sew two cloths together so it has a double thickness. Mine (1 ply) are kind of flimsy. I straightened them for the picture, but don't plan to straighten them everyday. A double thickness will also make the snaps more sturdy.

Not it is time to use that scary looking device. It is intimidating, because there are so many parts included that you do not have to use. I was greatly relieved when I discovered how simple it is.

A pointy tool is included (I forgot its name). Use it to poke a hole in the fabric so that the snap can be inserted.

Insert the snap in the hole.

See the point of the snap coming through the fabric? Good. Now you also know that you have good vision and you can send me a Paypal transaction to pay for your vision screening.

Put the cover over the point.

Press the two parts together with the pliers. Squeeze very hard. I had problems with my snaps before realizing I wasn't squeezing hard enough. This part is hard, but only because I cramped my hand from adding fifty million snaps.

Tada! Repeat fifty million more times. Feel free to use coordinating thread and snaps. I might develop a  nervous twitch from the color clashing as well.

The plant reminds everyone that this is eco-friendly. You are basically giving the Earth a high-five if you make these.
As a disclaimer, they do tend to droop. I straightened them extra for the picture. Since I am giving the planet a high-five every time I use a sheet instead of using a paper towel, I do not mind this. It could be corrected by adding a third snap or sewing two pieces of fabric for each sheet instead of one.


  1. Hello! I'm a new reader. I found your site through allfreesewing.com. I had not thought to use the Birdseye cotton. I'll have to look for some out here! Thanks for the tip. I generally just use the million dish towels I have accumulated over the years. I would love to have something like this on hand though. It would definitely discourage me using any paper towels at all. :)

  2. That's a really great idea!!! We've been using cloth napkins for every meal we eat for a couple years. Little by little changes to be more green.

  3. I found the Birdseye fabric for $3.98/yard at a Mennonite-run shop near me.


Thanks for stopping by! If you have a particular question, you can always email me at rebekahbethany {at} gmail.com

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