How To Make Reusable Make Up Remover Pads

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As you may know, I am all for sustainable and reusable alternatives to things we use everyday. Why be throwing away cotton wool pads or even worse using disposable wipes when there is a better and possibly zero waste alternative? Plus I love to use up all my fabric scraps – and have 75+ ideas how to do so here! So today I’m going to show you how to make reusable make up remover pads.


How To Make Reusable Make Up Pads



These are a brilliant scrap buster for your fabric remnants. You can use new bamboo towelling or Zorb. But I also love to up cycle my old towels into these handy little make up remover pads.

You can make plain square pads. But I actually love these hexagon shapes. And because the hexagon tile shape tessellates, they are still zero waste.

You Will Need


Materials needed

  • An old towel, or new towelling fabric
  • Some cotton fabric remnants (I always have fabric leftover from dressmaking)
  • A hexagon/square template or ruler
  • Matching cotton
  • A sewing machine
  • Scissors or a rotary cutter, and cutting mat
  • Pins
  • A sewing machine
  • An overlocker/serger for the quick and easy ones


If You Only Have A Sewing Machine


Take the hexagon or square template and cut out the pattern in both your towelling and your cotton fabric.

Hexagons of fabric


Pin the cotton backing to the towelling right sides together. I have marked on this picture where you need to leave a gap in one edge for turning.

Make up remover pad 1


On a sewing machine, sew a 1cm seam allowance all around the edge, leaving a 2-3cm gap open in one side. Backstitch well at the beginning and end of the gap.

Making a Make Up Remover Pad 2


Trim the seam allowance and clip the curves close to the stitching, but not through it. This means that the corners will be crisper. Do not trim the seam allowance in the gap area.


Making a Make Up Remover Pad 3


Turn the pad inside out, pushing out the corners with a pencil. Give it a press, paying special attention to making sure the gap side is pressed well.

Making a Make Up Remover Pad 4

Making a Make Up Remover Pad 5


Then take the pad and sew a scant (4-5mm) topstitching all around the edges. This serves to close the gap where you turned the pad, and gives it a neat edge.

Making a Make Up Remover Pad 6


I like to do a second line of topstitching 1cm inside the first, as I think this gives the pads a more professional look.

And you have your finished make up pads.

How To Make Reusable Make Up Remover Pads - these are a great zero waste, sustainable alternative to cotton pads & wipes. Full step by step sewing tutorial - up cycle old towels and fabric scraps. #sewing #tutorial #makeupremoverpads #upcycled #sustainable #zerowaste #easysewingproject #sewingprojects


I’ve found the quickest way to make these is to bulk make and do each step for all of them at once.


If You Have An Overlocker/Serger


You can make an even quicker version.

Take the cotton and towelling and pin them wrong sides together. I like to sew a 1cm seam allowance all the way around the pad to stabilise it.

Then overlock around the edges of the pad.


Making a Make Up Remover Pad 7


And you have super quick and easy make up remover pads!


How To Make Reusable Make Up Remover Pads - these are a great zero waste, sustainable alternative to cotton pads & wipes. Full step by step sewing tutorial - up cycle old towels and fabric scraps. #sewing #tutorial #makeupremoverpads #upcycled #sustainable #zerowaste #easysewingproject #sewingprojects


How To Use Them


I like to keep mine in a little pot at the side of my sink. Once I have used them, they can go in a little drawstring bag, and go in the washing machine.

See my post here on how to make drawstring bags – just reduce them down to the size that you need.


Once They Have Worn Out Or Maybe Look Too Grubby


I’m not too fussed how grubby mine get, nobody sees them but me, y’know? But you may feel they are becoming too worn out. And once that is the case, you can cut these up and put them in the compost bin (as long as they are 100% cotton)


Other Uses For These

You could also use these as nail polish remover pads. Although you won’t be able to wash off the nail polish, you will still get some wear out of them before disposal. (Unfortunately you can’t compost them this time though!)

These make brilliant gifts, and are also a perfect thing to sell if you wish to make a little money from your sewing hobby.

See this post for other great things that you could sell.

Now I’ve shown you how to make your own reusable make up remover pads, do you think that you will be having a go? I’d love to see your creations. Get in touch with me using the comments below, or find me on social media.

And please do pin this post for later

How To Make Reusable Make Up Remover Pads - these are a great zero waste, sustainable alternative to cotton pads & wipes. Full step by step sewing tutorial - up cycle old towels and fabric scraps. #sewing #tutorial #makeupremoverpads #upcycled #sustainable #zerowaste #easysewingproject #sewingprojects

15 Replies to “How To Make Reusable Make Up Remover Pads”

    1. Judith says:

      Hi at this moment I don’t have cotton fabric for covering. Is it ok to make it only with towel and top stitch it

      1. Jo Boyne says:

        You can make them with just towelling. But – the towelling can tend to fray a lot, so I would either overlock the edges or hem the edges. As towelling can be quite thick hemming the edges can be tricky. Use a jeans or leather needle and you should be ok. Hope that helps!

      2. Sandy says:

        You could just use an old pillow case or even any unwanted garment (top, skirt, whatever) for the backing. I made some similar to these a while back but I made circles and I really do like using them even when I’m not wearing makeup.

  1. Fiona jk42 says:

    I shall definitely be making these from some of my old towels that are are too thin to use for bathing but too good to throw away.

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Old towels are so versatile for upcycling. Thank you for reading.

  2. Trish says:

    These are a great idea and easy to make! …and those bees just caught my eye.
    This would make a great learning-to-sew project and also to introduce or re-enforce the re-cycle/re-use habit. I have a scrap bag and also find it hard to toss items of clothing that could be re-purposed (t-shirts, denim jeans etc)
    Thanks for the easy to understand tutorial. I found the link on What Swoodson Said.

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you for reading. Yes, these often come from my scrap bag, and I have a pile of clothes to repurpose.

    1. Jo Boyne says:

      These hexagons are quite small at about 3 inch / 8cm wide, but I actually make squares more often to give as gifts, and make my squares around 4 inches at each side. I prefer these to round ones as there is no waste at all when you use a tessellating shape. Hope that helps!


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