Unpaper Towels: A Simple DIY Project

These days it’s all about saving money. If there is something I can make instead of buying, I’m on it. Unpaper towels are one of those things!

I first read about unpaper towels awhile ago on Pinterest. The very idea of making “paper towels” that were washable just made sense. So I did some research to see the various ways others were making them, and finally, I made my own.

Unpaper Towels: A Simple DIY Project

What are Unpaper Towels?

Unpaper towels are simply rectangles of cotton fabric sewed back to back to a piece of terry cloth or microfiber fabric of the same size.  Sometimes, there are plastic snaps attached to the corners of these towels so you can attach them to a roll just like paper towels.

They are absorbent, far more than a regular paper towel, they are washable and they last around a year or so, at least that is the common consensus of my research.

unpaper towels

The greatest thing about unpaper towels is that you can make them however you like them. Fabric patterns can match your kitchen decor, the options are only limited to your fabric selections where you shop.

You can make a different set for each holiday or season if you wish. They also make great gifts for newlyweds! They can even be personalized if you are that crafty!

Materials Needed

  • 2 yards of a 100% cotton fabric, any pattern.
  • 2 yards of terry cloth or microfiber cloth.
  • matching thread.
  • scissors
  • sewing machine.

I used 100% cotton and terry cloth for mine. When I was finished I washed them before using them and I really didn’t have much shrinkage. I did have a slightly difficult time find terry cloth, and when I did I was only able to find white.

You can use towels that you already own or even purchase some. Some people use hand towels and cut their fabric to match the size. I prefer the 5″ by 10″ size, but I may change the size for the next batch I make.


Cut both your cotton and terry cloth into the same size squares.

terry cloth fabric

Lay out 1 piece of cotton fabric and 1 piece of terry cloth with the right sides facing each other.


Sew around all four sides about 1/4 inch from the end. Leave a few inches at the end open to turn right side out after sewing.


Using the opening you left, pull the fabric through. You should have a square piece with the right sides on the outside.

opening in fabric

Now you can top sew the edges. I used a zig-zag pattern but you can sew a straight stitch as close to the edge as possible.


Repeat for all of the squares you cut. Voila, unpaper towels!

The number of towels you make will depend on the number of squares you cut and what size you make the squares. I made mine 5″ by 10″ so I got 20 towels out of my 2 yards of fabric with plenty of leftover fabric to make matching items with. Here is the finished product.

unfinished unpaper towel

The 104 Homestead has a really great tutorial for the sewing challenged using flour sack towels if you wish not to sew here.  My Healthy Green Family also has a tutorial here. You can also check Pinterest and Etsy for some more unpaper towel inspiration.

For other money-saving ideas check out my DIY Laundry Soap.   This post has been shared on the Good Morning Mondays Blog Hop and Homestead Blog Hop.

Saving money on paper towels is easy when you make DIY unpaper towels.

Have you tried unpaper towels? Please leave me a comment in the box below and share this article so others can save money also!


  1. What an amazing article and DIY project ! Very environmentally friendly !!

  2. I love to use my Norwex cloths as unpaper towels. We use real paper towels WAY less now. Thanks for the tutorial. My daughter loves to sew and I love being frugal so this project is a win-win! 🙂

    1. Author

      I am so glad you liked it. They were very easy to make. I love them and will never buy paper towels again! Let me know if you make some and post some pics!

    1. Author

      You are so welcome! Glad it was enjoyable for you!

  3. I’ve been seeing this idea on pinterest but haven’t taken the plunge yet. I like the idea of customizing them to suit my kitchen theme. I might just have to pull out the sewing machine after the fall harvest is in. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Author

      Thanks! I love making these! They are simple and you’re right, they are easy to customize to your kitchen decor. I have a set for each season and even a few holidays as well! Enjoy!

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