Unpaper Towels DIY – How To Make Reusable Paper Towels

Some posts here on ARoseTintedWorld may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click a link and buy a product or register, then I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I may also use products from the companies mentioned in these posts. Thank you for supporting my blog!

This unpaper towels DIY tutorial is going to save money and save you from making so much waste in your home! Did you know that we throw away so much paper each year in the form of regular paper towels? With this in mind I decided to make a paper towel alternative. I made some frugal, eco friendly reusable unpaper towels or reusable kitchen towel to stop the need for buying paper towels. So here is an easy sewing project and step by step tutorial on how to make these DIY reusable paper towels for yourself!

*This is a collaborative post – for more details please see my Disclosure Policy

*This post has been updated – it was first published in February 2019

DIY Reusable Kitchen Paper Towels Tutorial – How To Make Your Own Reusable Kitchen Roll

These reusable cloth paper towels are such an easy make, and a brilliant way to repurpose old towels, tea towels  and terry cloths. If you make plenty of these reusable towels, then you can have a full reusable paper towels roll. Once you have used them for cleaning, just throw them in the washing machine and you’ll always have a stash of reusable paper towels on the go. You will never need to buy regular kitchen towel paper again!

Furthermore, I find that they come in handy for all kinds of jobs, not just as a paper towel replacement. The size of none paper kitchen towels I make fit into my Swifer mop as spare cloth mop heads. They are great to use as dish towels or non paper wipes when out and about. And they are also great for tiny reusable hand towels.

I am going to share three ways of making reusable unpaper towel.

Unpaper Towels DIY – You will need

reusable kitchen roll - materials needed

  • An old towel, terry cloth or bamboo towelling if you wish to make reusable bamboo paper towels. Or brushed cotton. I like to use old flannel/brushed cotton bedsheets.
  • Some cotton fabric, either new or from old clothes. I love finding old cotton shirts from the thrift shop.
  • rotary cutter and cutting mat (which I find best for cutting even squares, though you can do it with scissors)
  • kam-snap kit ( sharp hole tool and kam snap pliers)
  • a ruler or quilting cutting square
  • a sewing machine or a serger/overlocker. Find a great sewing machine for quilting.

Reusable Paper Towels DIY Method 1 – using the overlocker

reusable kitchen roll - cutting old towel

Using the rotary cutter and measuring square, cut the old towel into squares (mine were 9 inches square). And do the same with the top fabric.

reusable kitchen roll - method 1 - squares

Take a square of towel and a top layer and put them WRONG sides together. This means that the right sides of the towel are facing outwards.

reusable kitchen roll -assembling method 1

Overlock (serge) all four sides of the assembled towel.

reusable kitchen roll - overlocked edges

And then to strengthen the towel and prevent it from bagging in the wash thus making the reusable paper towels washable, sew a straight line diagonally from corner to corner.

reusable kitchen roll - diagonals sewn method 1

These are really quick and easy to make, but you may think that they look a little less refined. And what if you don’t have a serger?

Well here is how to make really neat and pretty unpaper towels.

How To Make Reusable Paper Towels Method 2 – using just a regular sewing machine

For method 2 I cut out my squares exactly the same way using a rotary cutter and measuring square. This time I used terry cloth.

reusable kitchen roll - method 2 cutout squares

Pin the upper and lower layer RIGHT sides together this time. And mark on one edge a 2-3 inch gap. This is where you are going to start and stop sewing to allow to turn it inside out.

reusable kitchen roll - method 2 pinned

Sew around the edge of the pinned squares, using the edge of the presser foot as a guide. I made sure I did a few backstitches at the start and end where I had placed the dots. This means that a 6mm seam allowance is used. (You can use more, but I wanted to keep these towels as close to the size of the other towels as possible)

reusable kitchen roll - sewn inside out method 2

Once I had finished at the second dot, I clipped the corners close to, but not into, the stitching. If you have done a larger seam allowance I would cut it back at this point to 5mm or so, but I didn’t need to do that.

Turn the whole thing inside out so that the right sides are on the outside one more, pushing out the corners as much as possible. And give it a good press, so that the edges are crisp.

Where the turning gap is, make sure that this gets a really good press.

reusable kitchen roll - finished method 2 towel

Then sew a topstitch about 3mm from the edge all the way around the edge of the towel. This serves to make the towel edges crisp, but also seals the gap in the edge where we turned it inside out earlier.

Again, sew diagonally from corner to corner, as this stops the towel from getting misshapen and baggy when it is washed.

Method 3 – Using Brushed Cotton Instead Of Towelling

Having made reusable paper towels for a number of years now, in my view the best reusable paper towels I have made are using this last method. Using brushed cotton or old flannel to make the unpaper towels results in the finished towels not needing snaps to form a reusable paper towel roll, they just cling together so well.

Furthermore, If you use brushed cotton, you may even try be able to make no-sew reusable kitchen roll, as you could use pinking shears to prevent fraying instead of sewing the edges.

To make these I personally like to just use one layer of brushed cotton cloth and serge the edges. They make brilliant dusters and reusable swiffer mop cloths. But you can also make the cloths in a double thickness and use one of the previous two methods. 

Upcycled flannel reusable kitchen roll

Adding Snaps – Attaching the Reusable Kitchen Roll Together

You can leave these towels and just fold them or present them in a box. Lots of people don’t want to use fastening as they are concerned that it will scratch surfaces, but I personally have never found that, so this is how to attach the kitchen roll together.

I made 4 of each type of towel.

Reusable paper towels DIY tutorial. Make reusable paper towel or reusable kitchen towel paper by upcycling towels & fabric. Reusable towels & cloth paper towels. DIY kitchen paper towel. Reusable kitchen roll. Easy sewing project, make reusable paper towel roll paper towel alternative. Paper towel replacement. Non paper kitchen towels. How to make reusable paper towels. Unpaper towels DIY. How to make unpaper towels. How to make reusable kitchen roll. DIY reusable paper towels. 

Attaching them together is where the Kam-snaps come into play. Using the sharp tool, you make a hole in each corners of each towel.

reusable kitchen roll - making kam-snap holes

To the left 2 corners of each towel, you attach a Kam-snap with a female attachment on the cotton side and the smooth part on the towelling side.

reusable kitchen roll - female cam snap attachment Female Kam-snap attachments

to the right two corners, you attach a Kam-snap with the male attachment on the towelling side and the smooth part to the cotton side.

reusable kitchen roll - male attachment Male Kam-snap attachment

Thus the reusable kitchen roll will fit together and slightly overlap.

reusable kitchen roll - attached together

These are so useful to have as they can all snap to each other. I like to roll mine up on the towel stand just like a regular paper towel roll. They can be washed again and again, and you can just keep clipping them back on once they have been washed.

Reusable paper towels DIY tutorial. Make reusable paper towel or reusable kitchen towel paper by upcycling towels & fabric. Reusable towels & cloth paper towels. DIY kitchen paper towel. Reusable kitchen roll. Easy sewing project, make reusable paper towel roll paper towel alternative. Paper towel replacement. Non paper kitchen towels. How to make reusable paper towels. Unpaper towels DIY. How to make unpaper towels. How to make reusable kitchen roll. DIY reusable paper towels. 

At the end of the day, I much prefer to do a reusable paper towels bulk making session once I have several towels or an old bedsheet to upcycle. Packs of these unpaper towels make great gifts or are worth making to sell in your little home shop. And the best thing about making these from all cotton fabric is that once they have reached the end of their life that these biodegradable paper towels can be composted!

What if you don’t want to make your own? There are lots of reusable paper towels for sale online.  You can find some great price reusable paper towels bamboo cloths and swedish dishcloths here, with free shipping if you buy more than a certain amount in your cart.

Love This Unpaper Towels DIY Tutorial? Why Not Read My Other Posts?

I hope that you have enjoyed this tutorial how to make unpaper towels. I have lots of other sustainability reviews and  zero waste tutorials on my site so why not go tsake a look?

Love these? Why not make some unsponges to go with them? A great zero waste kitchen swap alternative to bacteria breeding scrubbers.

Or try making some reusable sandwich wraps – a great zero waste alternative to plastic sandwich bags for food and lunches.

 Why not pin this for later and make your own reusable kitchen roll?

Reusable paper towels DIY tutorial. Make reusable paper towel or reusable kitchen towel paper by upcycling towels & fabric. Reusable towels & cloth paper towels. DIY kitchen paper towel. Reusable kitchen roll. Easy sewing project, make reusable paper towel roll paper towel alternative. Paper towel replacement. Non paper kitchen towels. How to make reusable paper towels. Unpaper towels DIY. How to make unpaper towels. How to make reusable kitchen roll. DIY reusable paper towels. 


 

 

57 Replies to “Unpaper Towels DIY – How To Make Reusable Paper Towels”

  1. Mother of 3 says:

    I have had a set of snaps forever hoping to get around to making these!! Thanks so much for sharing this tutorial with us at Encouraging Hearts and Home. Pinned.

    Reply
    1. Jan Davis Pickford says:

      Thanks for the mop idea, my old one no longer works so making a new one to fit is an excellent idea. Thank you

      Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Jane. I’m always looking for ways to reuse old clothes and towels, so these seemed a great start.

      Reply
  2. Lydia C. Lee says:

    That’s a great idea. If you use them for getting the grease off bacon, what do you do? Just soak in nappisan (stain soaker?) or is there a trick? (My kid wears an apron at work on the grills and nothing seems to get it out so clearly it’s something on my mind). Love this idea. #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I find the best way is soaking them in hot water with washing up liquid. Hopefully that would work on aprons too! Thank you for reading! #KCACOLS

      Reply
  3. Jade says:

    This is such a great idea, I am always wiping up spills with kitchen towel and its such a waste. #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you so much. I think it is more useful than paper towelling.

      Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I certainly will be doing many more of these! Thank you for reading!

      Reply
  4. Clare - Flip flops or Wellies says:

    This is a good idea, I do try not to use too much of things like kitchen roll. When you start looking ways to reduce using things like foil and cling film its really quite easy. #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I do just think that we need to get away from single use items, but without sacrificing hygiene.

      Reply
  5. sa says:

    Jo, as a greenie, myself, I LOVE this idea! It is brilliant. I think I need to get to work on this. We never use paper towels, but this way, I can see it being okay. Thank you! XOXO #kcacols

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Lisa. Anything I can do to reduce paper waste is good for me.

      Reply
  6. Malin - Sensational Learning with Penguin says:

    Very nice idea! I generally use a regular kitchen towel for most things that I’m guessing others would use their paper kitchen roll for. We don’t buy any kitchen roll, but we do have a toilet roll available in the kitchen, for some of the smaller messes. I try to avoid using it though, to save both money and environment, as you highlight here. Your cloth roll looks pretty smart, I like it x
    #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I do think that this is prettier and like a mini tea cloth, designed to be used just the once.

      Reply
  7. Nana K says:

    Saw this on Handmade Monday. What a great idea to use older towels! I have been looking at zero waste ideas recently and these are fabulous. Pinned!!

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you. Also plan to make make up removing pads and sanitary products to recycle old towels so watch this space. Thank you for sharing!

      Reply
  8. Isabel says:

    Great idea, Jo! Love it and at the same time it seems a satisfying craft project and is also something that looks pretty when the ‘right’ kind of fabric is used :) #mixitup

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you. I do like the fact that it is practical but pretty too!

      Reply
  9. Sheila says:

    I have seen these before and I think they are just wonderful! Thanks for sharing how to make them. #KCACOLS

    Reply
  10. Julie says:

    They are great, I love a good upcycle idea.
    I often think how wasteful throw away cloths are, this is a wonderful alternative.

    Reply
  11. Christy says:

    This is such a good idea. I read a lot about recycling/reusing and general environment improvement but I’ve honestly never heard anyone suggesting replacing the paper towel for something reusable – and it makes so much sense. #KCACOLS

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      I do think that we need a hygienic alternative to paper towelling, and think that this upcycled project just makes sense.

      Reply
      1. Lisa says:

        This is a great tutorial, thank you! Just a note to say, if you leave off the snaps and use cotton fabrics these would be compostable when they wear out. Of course, you could always remove the snap and the rest is compostable, too. Just another idea to give people, is all.

        Reply
        1. Jo Boyne says:

          Thank you. I will say I have also started to use flannel/brushed cotton fabric and omitting the snaps. The brushed cotton sticks together in a roll, and is also compostable once it gets too dirty or wears. Thank you for reading!

          Reply
  12. Jeremy@ThirstyDaddy says:

    this is a great idea. We’ve been able to cut our paper towel and napkin use by a full 1/2 since we really started paying attention #KCACOLS

    Reply
  13. Claire Rocks says:

    Ill be seeking these out. Im all for doing my bit.

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      There are sellers on etsy that sell reusable cloths.

      Reply
  14. Kerryanne says:

    I definitely need to make these Jo. Thank you for sharing your reusable kitchen towels at Create, Bake, Grow & Gather this week. I’m delighted to be sharing this project at Friday’s party and pinning too.
    Hugs – Kerryanne

    Reply
    1. Jo Boyne says:

      Thank you Rach. They really are so easy. And a great way of not throwing out old towels. Thank you for linking up with #KCACOLS and hope to see you again next time!

      Reply
  15. Clare says:

    I love this idea for the unpaper towels for the kitchen and elsewhere in the house.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.