We feel like our household is fairly eco-friendly, although we still have a long way to go to be where I'd like in that regard. Over the course of the year I've been taking stock of what single use products we tend to gravitate towards and work on solutions for how we can find reusable solutions. Now to many of you, this probably seems simple - get some reusable containers and USE them. Right? I get it. And it SHOULD be that easy! Except that our kiddos don't always remember to BRING BACK the containers that I've so carefully curated. My older son and I have embarked on a mission to find ways to cut our waste by reusing and reducing as often as possible. The goals here are that the family members that are not so into this reduce and reuse effort have options that feel just as convenient as the non-eco friendly choices.

One area that I have a fair bit of control over is the kitchen - so that's what we're talking about today. Specifically, paper towels. Growing up we didn't use paper towels except for those really, really gross messes. Somehow over the years in my household, we use paper towels for everything - carrying toast around, mopping up water from the counter, you name it. It means that I'm buying a Costco size container of paper towels almost monthly, which is a waste both environmentally and financially. Plus lugging around a gigantic container of paper towels through Costco is no easy feat when you've also got to buy groceries for the munchkins.

I wanted a simpler solution, which comes in the form of un-paper towels. What is an un-paper towel you ask? It's a cloth that is a bit thinner than a regular terrycloth towel but is super absorbent and easily available in the kitchen. Now, if you don't mind using terrycloth or bread towels for these jobs, get yourself a bunch of them, put them in a cute basket on your counter, and you're set. I wanted something that was cute and close to the same size as a paper towel.

Cue a trip to the fabric store, where I found some cute cotton (on clearance, woot!) and discovered monk cloth in the utility section. Pairing the two fabrics together created just the right combination of cute, absorbent and functional that I was looking for. Here's how to make your own!



  • 4 yards cotton fabric
  • 4 yards monk cloth
  • Thread
  • Scissors or rotary cutter

The Method

Begin by washing and drying your fabric. Put on a good TV show and cut into 10 X 12 inch pieces, or your desired size.


Place one piece of monk cloth and cotton on top of each other. I did this for all of the pieces at once so it was easy to sew everything at one time.


For this project I used my serger to serge around the edge of the fabric. Don't have a serger? No problemo. You can just as easily zig zag around the edges, or use the interlock stitch on your machine if that's an option.


Ta da! You made an un-paper towel!


From start to finish this project took about 4 hours, largely because I am fond of frequent coffee breaks. If you are diligent, I bet you could finish this in 2 hours.