Saturday, November 19, 2011

Snapping Reusable Paper Towels!

Love this idea, will post the instructions here in a little bit. Can't wait to make these!

 Here is a great idea for reusable, snapping "paper" towels on a roll. These paper towels are turned and topstitched, with a layer of flannel and a layer of birdseye. They have snaps to allow them to snap together. It also made a center core (it's washable too!) that coordinates with the towels.

                                Can't wait to make these, they look simple and way big on saving $!

Are you tired of spending money on paper towels?  If so, try “unpaper” towels!  Unpaper towels are reusable cloth towels – just wash and reuse instead of throwing them away!  This tutorial will show you how to make a set of unpaper towels – you can even add snaps and wrap them around a regular paper towel roll for extra convenience!
First, you need materials!  You need an absorbent material (I use terry) and a “decorative” material (I use flannel).  For the absorbent side you could also use cotton birdseye, old (thin) bath towels, or microfiber.  For the “decorative” side you could also use any woven (non stretchy) cotton material.
Cut your materials into 12 inch squares.  Make sure you cut your pieces as close to perfectly square as possible!!  This is important, because if you cut a little crooked here, then sew a little crooked later, you will end up with very lopsided towels! (Not that I know from personal experience or anything….)

You should be able to get about 9 pieces out of each yard of fabric.  (So 9 pieces of flannel and 9 of terry.)

Place one square of flannel and one square of terry on top of each other (right sides together.)

Pin all the way around (I use the bare minimum number of pins because I hate pinning, but if you are new to sewing, make sure to use plenty so your pieces don’t shift while you are sewing.)

Now choose a side and start sewing!  One hint: start in the middle of a side (not in the corner) – this will make it easier to close up the hole after you turn your towels right side out.  I like to do about 1/4″ seam allowance by running the edge of the sewing foot right along the edge of the fabric.

Sew straight down to the corner, stop with your needle down about 1/4″ from the corner.

Keeping the needle down, lift the sewing foot and turn the fabric (pivoting on the needle)

Sew down that side, and keep going around each side until you get (almost) back to where you started.  Leave about 2 inches open (the smaller the hole, the easier to close it up, but make sure you leave enough room to turn it.)

Turn the towel right side out through the opening.  Make sure to push the corners out completely so they are square (use your finger or a pencil.)  You should now have a perfectly square two-sided towel!

Pin the opening shut (with the edges folded under)

Now carefully sew it closed with your machine.  Keep your needle close to the edge, and go ahead and stitch all the way around the towel to give it a nice finished edge.

Congratulations! You have a nice unpaper towel!  Now make as many as you’d like for your set (I usually do sets of 6-12.) These make excellent wedding and housewarming gifts (I include a card with some information about unpaper towels – what they are, how to wash them.) I’ll be doing a separate tutorial later on making cloth wipes, but I’ll tell you a secret – you make them the EXACT same way!  Just cut your pieces 8 inches square instead of 12!
If you’d like to add snaps, keep reading!  If you don’t have a snap press or snap pliers (or prefer not to have snaps) you can just fold your towels and store them on the counter or in a kitchen drawer.

You can get a set of snap pliers and plastic snaps from You need to put one snap in each corner – two sockets and two studs

Now, here is the tricky part – you need to put the two sockets (the parts with the “dip”) facing toward the flannel side, and the two studs (the parts that poke out) facing toward the terry side.
See? Socket…


If you are unsure if you are doing it correctly, snap the towels together as you go to make sure!  When you are finished, snap all of them together…

And roll them up on an empty paper towel roll.

That’s all there is to it!

1 comment:

  1. These unpaper towels are absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for sharing your tutorial!

    Judy @