Unpaper Towels: Easy DIY Tutorial

This post may contain affiliate links. Read disclosure policy.

Check out this easy tutorial for “unpaper” towels that roll up and velcro together like a roll of paper towels. Unpaper towels are an eco-friendly and stylish way to reduce your waste. Want to know more? Follow my tips below to reduce your plastic use and the use of single use products.
Learn how to make these simple unpaper towel tutorial
This post was updated 10/9/2018

DIY Unpaper Towels are a great way to be stylish and eco-friendly at the same time! It all started when my friend Sarah posted something on Facebook that she wanted someone to get unpaper towels from a seller on Etsy for a wedding present. They were over $50, plus shipping! I told her I would make them for her instead, and thankfully, she loved the idea. 

Aren’t these a great way to be more eco-friendly? We are constantly trying to find ways to reduce trash and lower our carbon footprint (like cloth diapering, making our own cleaners, ditching plastic, and making homemade products). Plus, I’m super cheap and hate buying paper towels. They are so expensive, and you literally buy them just to throw them away. Geesh. It’s like throwing money in the trash. 

There are so many ways to be more eco-conscious these days, and one of the first and easiest things to do is to reduce your consumption of single-use products and reduce plastic. Single-use products are things (ahem, like paper towels) that you would use one time and then throw them away. They contribute to unnecessary and excess trash, which is never a good thing. Of course, sometimes we don’t have another option other than to use single use products. Back in the day, like when I originally wrote this post, I was a huge stickler. I used to think there was never an appropriate time for a single-use product.

Then I had kids and had to learn some grace. It’s good to be aware of problems with our environment and the unsustainable amount of trash we create. But, we each individually can only do so much, and sometimes we fall back on having to use single-use products. Like when we redid our kitchen and had to rely on a lot of paper plates and microwaveable meals. It killed me a little inside, but I gave myself grace. We’re all doing the best we can with what we have, right?

Anyway, these Unpaper Towels are a great way to ditch the paper towels and be a little more eco-friendly. 

This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links help support A Blossoming Life at no extra cost to you.

How To Reduce Plastic Use And Single Use Products.

  • Choose glass or metal straws instead of plastic ones.
  • Use reusable containers to bring your lunch to work. These glass containers are awesome! 
  • Instead of paper napkins, try cloth napkins. 
  • Bring a reusable glass or metal water bottle instead of buying plastic ones. 
  • Keep a set of silverware in your car if you have to go out to eat.
  • Use beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap.

Unpaper Towel Materials

  • Terry cloth – about 1/2 yard
  • Cotton or flannel fabric – about 1/2 yard
  • Matching thread
  • Velcro

Unpaper Towels Tutorial

Step 1: Cut terry cloth and cotton or flannel fabric into 10 equal squares that are 10 by 10 of both fabrics. Make sure they are very even!
Cutting fabric for unpaper towels
Step 2: Pin right sides together and sew like a pillow leaving about a 3″ gap to turn right side out. Sometimes, I like to cut off extra fabric on the corners.
*To make this easier and skip a step, you could pin wrong sides together and surge the whole thing and then follow the remaining steps.
Sewing unpaper towels
Step 3: Turn right side out and then iron flat.
Ironing unpaper towels flat
Step 4: Top stitch around the edges about 1/4” from the seam. Then through the middle of the unpaper towel, sew a wiggly line from one corner to the adjacent corner. This ensures when you wash it that they fabric in the middle doesn’t come apart, which is very annoying.
Sewing line down the bidding of the unpaper towel
Step 5: Cut velcro into squares and sew on velcro. I sewed the soft velcro on the terry cloth side and the rougher velcro on the cotton side. Sew two of each on each side. If you have a snap applicator (like this one)  it would be a lot easier to use snaps instead of velcro!
Sewing velcro on unpaper towels
Sew two of the same velcro on two corner and the opposite velcro on the other side on the other corners without velcro. Sounds kind of confusing, but hopefully the picture above helps.
sewing velcro on unpaper towels
Unpaper Towels
Step 6: Put the velcro together and roll up like a paper towel roll. Every time you need unpaper towels, just “tear” one off. Use it and wash.

Aren’t these unpaper towels really adorable and fun? I wish I got to keep them! This is a great weekend project and so eco-friendly! What do you do to reduce trash?

Need more eco-friendly ideas… check these out!



  1. I made some with snaps. The steps made it very difficult to quickly tear off what I needed. I ended up taking out the snaps, which is kind of a pain in the butt, and putting Velcro in instead. I only used one layer, so maybe that had something to do with it. I’m going to try this to layer idea. With Velcro definitely

  2. Just made mine today – they are so easy to make. I used terry towelling nappys that I bought especially for the job and got 4 out of each one with very little waste! They look fab in the kitchen!

  3. I loved your idea and made about 36 of these, I bought two fabrics and two different kinds of terry cloth and they came out great, my husband was like…they’re cute but could you make them bigger?? Lol. So maybe when I make more I’ll make them 11×11 or maybe 12×12. Also I noticed it looked like you hand stitched the Velcro on, I wondered why, I used my machine. It was way quicker than I thought it would be. I did like the idea of Velcro vs. snaps though cause it was cheaper for me, to buy all the snaps it would take was way more than the Velcro, at my Joanns the snaps only came in like packages of 15-20 snaps. I also was worried if I used snaps they might scratch things where as the terry cloth side has the fuzzy side of Velcro like you suggested and I think that will eliminate the chance of scratching soft surfaces like wood maybe? Not sure. Thanks for the tutorial!! 🙂

    1. Hey Nancy! Glad you liked the tutorial! I love the idea of making some bigger ones. I hand stitched the velcro because my machine couldn’t handle all the fabric and velcro. Good point about the snaps, totally didn’t think of that.

  4. I found a package of washcloths on sale and used them instead of the terrycloth. They are the thicker type, not the really thin ones.

    1. I thought about that too! This is a cute idea, but why make these when you can simply use the dishcloths?

  5. I was going through the steps and you mention doing some free quilting a little to support the “inner” fabric. What is the inner fabric as it is not mentioned. I only see the 2 fabrics in the list of items needed. Thanks, super cute idea!

Leave a Reply

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