Fabric Paper Towel Roll- DIY Tutorial

You have probably already seen a project like this in the blogosphere or on Pinterest because they are all the rave now.  Not sure why…. but I’ve had dozens of requests for this tutorial.  So, here it is!

If you love it, pin it!
A cute and eco-friendly way to save money and paper!  No more paper towels!

These are really just a fancier way of using a towel in the kitchen… but they are so darn cute that who can resist?!  In this video I show you how I make them using thrifted old towels that I can usually get for $0.10 to $0.25 at thrift stores and yard sales.  If you have old stained or hole-y towels this would be a great way to repurpose them!

For the backing fabric I used some flannel I had in my stash.  This is a great beginner project because you only need to sew straight lines.  I do recommend using a walking foot for your machine because of the bulky terry cloth (towel) and flannel layers.  It will help feed the fabrics through the machine more evenly than your basic universal presser foot.  But if you don’t have a walking foot, that’s okay.  Just pin heavily to keep your fabrics from moving too much on you.

Need a walking foot? Click HERE to get one for your machine.

You can keep your towels just as they are when you finish sewing the squares or you can choose to add snaps like I did here to get the cool roll up effect just like a paper towel!  You will need a snap kit for this step.  {side note: I don’t recommend using velcro (hook-and-loop tape) because it will get messy when the threads from the terry cloth get all caught in the hook part of it in the wash.} So, yeah… stick with the snaps.  If you don’t have a snap kit yet click HERE for info on purchasing the exact same kit I have and have used for over 4 years. They are great and the snaps hold up in the washer and dryer.  These are the same snaps I use on cloth diapers.

Well, what are you waiting for? Click HERE to watch the step-by-step tutorial.

20 Responses to Fabric Paper Towel Roll- DIY Tutorial

  1. nicole@savvychicdesigns January 21, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

    I love this idea! What a great way to recycle and trim a little from your grocery bill! Every little bit helps.

  2. DeeLightful Co January 21, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

    Vanessa, this is a great “green” idea. I wash my dishes by hand and have to wash the cloth and towels. Why not make a couple rolls and just wash these when I do laundry. I have to try to find those little plastic snaps. Dee

  3. Mosaic Magpie January 22, 2013 at 8:59 am #

    I just donated a huge bag of old towels to the thrift shop! I may have to go and buy some back to make some of these. LOL thanks for the great idea.

  4. Mimi Goodwin January 22, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

    I love this nena, Im going to make me some, LOL

  5. Deborah Jennings January 27, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    I just ordered the snaps and the tool for them. I already have some of the towels, just need some flannel. =) Not a problem. I’ll go soon!

  6. ندى صالح January 29, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    This great thanks for this idea

  7. Amanda February 4, 2013 at 11:45 am #

    Love this idea. Question- did u back stitch when u did the criss cross on both layers to keep them together?

  8. wascotts February 21, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

    Loving this! A couple questions: do you backstitch using a walking foot? My walking foot instructions say not to use reverse or zigzag. Also, instead of pivoting at the corners, if you straight stitch the length on every side, will crossing the stitches be another way to secure the stitch? Thanks!

  9. Anne Kimble April 15, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    I clicked on your link to the snap set kit and it is not working. Can you tell me the brand and or model number?

  10. Janette's Minutes May 13, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    I have a question with regard to using a walking foot. My brothers machine said I can’t go backward then how do I backstitch to secure the stitch? Does it have to be flannel fabric or can a calico print do?

    • Louise March 8, 2016 at 10:18 pm #

      Change your stitch setting to a lower number instead of backstitching then.

  11. Samantha S. May 29, 2013 at 10:58 pm #


  12. Gregory Presley February 12, 2014 at 7:07 am #

    I always try to find those little plastic snaps.its perfect idea .i am really happy to see Fabric Paper Towel Roll , this i am recently working with British Wholesales , and using Hair Towels, Wholesale White Towels and many other towels , Thanks for sharing. and i love the bed room always. like that! and i will agree, instead of pivoting at the corners, if you straight stitch the length on every side, will crossing the stitches be another way to secure the stitch? Thanks!

  13. MJ July 19, 2015 at 9:14 am #

    Why can’t you just turn the towel (opposite) to stitch over the end again for those of you can’t back stitch.

  14. Sue N July 19, 2015 at 9:35 am #

    What a great idea for a bridal shower gift.

  15. Trudy January 14, 2016 at 1:10 pm #

    This is a GREAT idea.. good for any cleaning or dusting job.. Thanks for the tutorial.. I enjoy all of them you do..

  16. Trudy January 14, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

    This would also be good for Mother with babies, also it maybe use 3 snaps on each side, and after you roll them up , maybe use something to put around them to fasten , so they will stay close in the diaper bag

  17. Karen January 15, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

    I bought something similar at a crafts fair that’s even easier on the user. The crafter purchased old flannel sheets, cut them up, serged the edges and when you roll them onto each other on the roll (which she’d glued flannel to first) they just stay. No snapping or unsnapping! My guess is you could use 2 layers of flannel and sew them the way you do and also avoid dealing with snaps.


  1. Fabric unpaper towel roll | Consumed By Craft - January 29, 2015

    […] https://craftygemini.com/2013/01/fabric-paper-towel-roll-diy-tutorial.html […]

Leave a Reply

Site by Spunmonkey.