DIY Unpaper Towels (for under $10) - Fruit Pray Love (2024)

Unpaper towels are a super easy, quick and cheap way to replace paper towels. They also work perfectly as napkins and are colourful and pretty!

And disclaimer:

You don’t have to have a sewing machine, be good at sewing or do any sewing at all if you don’t want to!

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As many of you know by now, these last few months I have been paying more attention to the ways I can be more intentional about becoming more waste free and plastic free.

One of the top changes I wanted to make in my sustainable living goals was my use of paper towels. The more I payed attention to how often I used them and how many I use – I was shocked.

I use them to wipe up spills, etc but I also use them to help clean and dry produce, for wiping my fingers while I’m eating, the list goes on. Basically I use paper towels for anything I wouldn’t want to use my dish towels for. I use them for really dirty things or things I want to keep really clean and eat.

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Etsy & Marley’s Monsters

Years ago I had seen “unpaper” towels on Etsy. They were either flannel or terry cloth and had little poppers on each end. This meant they could be poppered together around a paper towel roll. I thought the idea was pretty great but never got around to spending a good $30 for one. I also wasn’t convinced on the popper aspect. The point of a paper towel roll is quick, easy access. If my hands were full, I didn’t want to be stuck, fumbling with trying to unpopper a cloth.

More recently I came across Marley’s Monsters and fell in love with the company and their products! They have a whole range of products from reusable sponges to linen napkins to nursing pads and facial rounds. All of them are reusable and made with beautiful 100% flannel.

I put their unpaper towels in my cart a number of times but could never go through with the purchase. In my head I was just replaying the conversation with the hubs, “Hey babe, don’t worry about that $54 bill in our account. I just bought 24 pieces of flannel cotton so we could save money and the planet.

We only buy a 99 cent roll every two weeks anyway, so it would take us 2 years to even start saving money. My motivation was mainly to become more eco-friendly and sustainable, but I wanted it to be cost effective too.

I’ll say it again: Sustainable living does not have toshould not be expensive.

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As I was thinking through all this I realized that there was nothing proprietary about unpaper towels. They stick together because they are 100% flannel cotton. So if I could get a hold of some flannel, I could make my own!

I was super pumped about the idea. Also because reusing fabric seemed like a more sustainable way of living rather than just buying more stuff.

This is where it got really exciting. I headed to a local thrift store on a day where everything is 50% off and I found a TON of 100% flannel cotton baby cloth. They were each about a meter square and there were so many cute patterns and colours. Each one cost $2 but because it was 50% off I ended up getting 10 cloths for $10.

I ended up making 44 unpaper towels from those 10 cloths!

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Value for Money

Here’s just a little cost break down

Marley’s Monsters unpaper towels
100% flannel cotton with serged edges
Each sheet is 12×10
24 pack =$54 ($2.25/sheet)
12 pack =$30 ($2.50/sheet)
6 pack = $16 ($2.66/sheet)

My thrift store project
100% flannel cotton (some serged edges, can be all serged if you are good with a sewing machine)
Each sheet is 12×11
44 sheets = $10 ($0.22/sheet)

Please don’t get me wrong. Company’s like Marley’s Monsters are amazing and needed! They are making it possible for so many to switch over to reusable, more sustainable products. I will probably purchase items from them at some point. For paper towels though, I wanted a large quantity and I wanted to show you how easy it is to make them yourself, without having to spend a lot of money. If that’s not your thing though, go and check them out here! I am 100% supportive of their company!

DIY Unpaper Towels

Step One: Measure out the size of your cloth and the size of unpaper towels you want. 12×10 or 12×11 is a good size. Most of my cloths made 4 unpaper towels with fabric to spare (save this for another SUPER EASY reusable item). Cut the unpaper towel rectangles out. Try to keep as many of the original edges as possible (since they’re already nicely serged).

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Step Two: Round out the corners (if you wish). This totally optional, I just liked the look of the rounded corners and the cloths came rounded anyway. So to make everything even, I rounded mine out.

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Place a CD or any rounded object into the corner that you want to round out. Trace the curve with a pencil. Cut out and done!

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Step Three: Serge the edges (again, if you wish). This will make them more durable and give them a longer life. I did not have a sewing machine that functioned well or a serger. I VERY BADLY sewed around some edges but then gave up. haha.

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Step Four: Begin to roll the unpaper towels onto your paper towel roll. Leave a little bit at the end to place the new towel on top, and then continue rolling. If you don’t have a paper towel roll that works well for this, you can always fold the fabric and keep them in a holder or a drawer.

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Step Five:You’re all done so get rolling with your new unpaper towels!

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If you make these, snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @fruitpraylove
I would love to see how you are using them and how you are helping the planet and your wallet!

DIY Unpaper Towels (for under $10) - Fruit Pray Love (2024)
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