Handmade Cloth Paper Towels are an easy, low-cost DIY project perfect to give as a gift this holiday season! They can be made in any fun print you desire, they save money by not having to buy paper napkins and paper towels at the store and they help you live a little greener by reducing the amount of paper you consume!
Enjoy this guest post today from Annie! – M
DIY Cloth Paper Towels
I started making these Handmade Cloth Napkins and Un-Paper Towels for our family last spring and I honestly cannot tell you the last time I purchased the paper equivalents at the grocery store! With the investment of a little time and fabric, you can make a set in under two hours. I used to buy the veri-size paper towels so we could tear off half of one if we didn’t need a full size so our preferred cloth size happens to be those same dimensions of 12″ x 6″. We use our handmade cloth napkins and un-paper towels interchangeably but you can easily make separate sets and sizes if you prefer.
The style I prefer to make has a 100% cotton fabric on one side and a 100% cotton terry towel material on the other side. The terry towel material helps with absorbency when cleaning up spills and also has texture so it grabs up the mess, which we love for mealtimes. I could not find a lightweight terry material at our local fabric store so have been purchasing packs of kitchen towels at a local discount store and they work perfect.
— Learn more places where you can Buy Cheap Fabric.
DIY Cloth Napkins
- 100% cotton fabric in any print (Get it from Fabric.com)
- 100% cotton terry towel material (Get it from Fabric.com)
- sewing machine
- fabric cutting scissors
–New to sewing? Check out my 7 Sewing Must-Haves List before you get started!
First, you will need to decide what size you would like to make. If you are using a kitchen towel, you can easily just fold the towel in half or quarters and cut with no need to make a pattern. If you have terry towel fabric you will need to cut out a basic pattern in the size and shape you desire. For this tutorial, I used kitchen towels in a variety of colors.
Since the kitchen towels I used were the perfect size I wanted when folded in half, I simply cut them in half. I have a serger so there was no need for me to cut off the hemmed edge of the kitchen towel since the machine does that for me. If you have a standard machine and will be zig zagging the edges, cut the hem off the edges with pinking shears to help prevent fraying.
–You can make matching aprons with any leftover kitchen towels! Learn How to Make a Dish Towel Apron.
Cut a matching piece of cotton fabric for each terry towel piece. This can be done by laying the terry towel piece on top of the cotton fabric and cut out the cotton side.
Cut out a cotton front and terry towel back for each napkin/unpaper towel DIY. Match the cotton and terry towel pieces with wrong sides together. Sew around the edges by serging or with a basic zigzag stitch.
Since I use a serger, I sew rounded corners so I can sew in one continuous stretch and the final product looks nicer. If you sew with a
standard sewing machine you can easily sew a standard pointed corner or round the corners, whatever you prefer. Trim the threads when done. If you want to make a large, full-size paper towel or large cloth napkin like you would find in a restaurant, sew a large X with a standard straight stitch across each one to help prevent them from bunching when laundered.
Tie up your set with a pretty string and it is ready to be gifted! We store ours in a basket on our kitchen counter so you could also purchase a basket to go with your gift set of cloth napkins and un-paper towels.
–You could also include a Dishtowel Angel with your basket.
–Get even more frugal DIY project ideas on Little House Living!
Looking for more ways to live a sustainable and greener life? Here are a few posts you might enjoy:
Do you already use cloth napkins or cloth “paper” towels?
Annie lives in western Montana with her husband, 1 year old daughter and two lazy dogs. Annie is a frugal, nature loving, simple living, work from home mama with an Etsy shop. She also blogs at MontanaSolarCreations where you can find DIY projects, recipes, natural living tips and stories about their outdoor adventures in Montana.
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This Cloth Paper Towel Tutorial was originally published on Little House Living in December 2012. It has been updated as of December 2019.