The Greener way to make unpaper towels

Several years ago my mom gave me a set of unpaper towels in a little basket. I swear by them. They sit on my kitchen countertop and I reach for them in all kinds of circumstances: cleaning the dishes, wiping down the kitchen, quick dusting, sopping up spills.

If you haven’t yet made a set, this is a great way to upcycle old hand towels, wash cloths, or dish towels. You don’t want anything too fluffy – worn is good! Coordinate your towel colors with whatever leftover fabric you have and you’re ready to make some unpaper towels.

Unpaper towels


Make your own unpaper towels

  1. Choose a size for your unpaper towels. My favorites are about 10 inches square, but the set pictured above ranges between 8 and 11 inches square. Let your available supplies guide you. If you can fit 6 7-inch squares onto one hand towel, and use the whole towel, then go with that.
  2. Add 1/2 inch seam allowance to your size and cut one piece from your toweling and one piece from your fabric. My pieces are about 10 1/2 inches square for a finished size of 10 inches.
  3. With right sides together, pin and sew all the way around leaving a 3-inch opening. Trim the corners so that when you turn it right side out the corners will stick out better.
  4. Turn right side out, using a pencil eraser or other blunt tip to push out the corners. Press the edges, pin, and edge stitch about 1/4 inch from the edge all the way around.
  5. Finally, I like to sew an “X” across the top to tie the two layers together. Use a disappearing ink pen and a ruler to draw lines from corner to corner. Then sew along those lines.
  6. Got leftover toweling bits? Compost or recycle those scraps!


Unpaper towels