Un-paper Towels: Because Who Can Find Paper Towels, Anyway?

We’re about 6 months into this whole global pandemic thing and for some reason, paper products are still super difficult to find. I’m convinced people must have entire rooms of their homes filled with toilet paper and paper towels.

Luckily, we have been able to find toilet paper each time we have actually needed it. On the other hand, we’ve gone a day or two without any paper towels. If I had to choose, I’d prefer it this way. 

Unfortunately, our paper towel supply is beginning to dwindle again and nobody seems to have any in stock. Rather than stress myself out trying to find paper towels before we run out, I decided to put my sewing machine to good use and make some “un-paper” towels. 

If you’re wondering (I know I was when I first saw these a few years ago), an “un-paper” towel is just a cute washable towel. One side is made of a good ole bath towel (or whatever you have on hand) and the other side is a cute piece of fabric. You use them just as you would a paper towel but instead of throwing them out, you toss them in the dirty laundry. Better for the environment and perfect during a paper product shortage!

These are a super quick project that you can probably whip up without a trip to the store. I managed to make a couple in less than one afternoon nap (this is relevant because “10 minute projects” usually take me 1-2 hours).


  • Bath towel
  • Coordinating fabric
  • Needle, thread, etc.


  1. Cut the towel and coordinating fabric to your desired size. I prefer the select-a-size paper towels which measure 6” x 13”. Accounting for ¼” seam allowance, I cut each of mine to 6.5” by 13.5”.
  2. Place the coordinating fabric and towel right sides together (if your towel has a “right” side) and sew using a ¼” seam allowance. Be sure to leave a 2-3” gap on one side so you can turn your un-paper towel right-side out.
  3. Use a zig-zag stitch along the perimeter (between your stitching and the edge of the fabric) to prevent the towel from unraveling.
Pick a wide, short zigzag stitch (and try not to confuse width and length on your machine like me!)
  1. Clip the corners and turn your un-paper towel right-side out and iron the edges. Be sure to neatly fold the unfinished edges of your 2-3” gap in and iron them in place.
  2. Top stitch around the edge of your un-paper towel using ⅛” seam allowance.
  3. If you feel like the coordinating fabric will slide around or separate from the towel, you can include additional stitching through the diagonal (or something fancier). I didn’t find that the fabric sliding around was a problem with the smaller size un-paper towel, so I opted not to do the diagonal stitching.

And there you have it! Your very own re-usable, un-paper towels! You can also use Velcro or snaps to connect and roll all of your un-paper towels into a roll like normal paper towels.

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