A Little Less Paper

Like many, I’ve been trying to use fewer of these:

paper towels

I liked the idea of “paperless paper towels”. HOWEVER…..I didn’t like the design of the ones I was seeing on Etsy and other blogland locations. They used snaps or Velcro to hold them together in a roll. Convenient to place on your current dispenser, but I didn’t like the idea of trying to avoid rubbing those fasteners while wiping up a mess. Yes, I’m anal that way! What to do? Design my own, of course! The bonus with my design? They also replace paper napkins, because they make a great casual napkin!

Okay, people….this is the UN-tutorial of how to make your own paperless towels.

paperless towels pileHere are a few I made for a friend. Yep….I took the great idea of using birdseye material like most of those I saw around blogland. It is absorbent and soft….it IS diaper material!

Cut your birdseye into squares. I cut mine into approximately 12” squares. It will shrink, so adjust your dimensions if you want the finished product to be larger. I thought it would be really easy to just take these lovely squares to my serger and finish them with a rolled  hem. HA! Let me tell you a little something about this material….IT LOVES TO UNRAVEL. Yep, it is a pain in the ol’ rear to work with…kind of. After MUCH experimenting, which may or may not have involved a few not so nice words, I found the easiest way to finish these was to take them to my good ol’ sewing machine and do a very narrow hem.

paperless towels closeup 

Just turn under about 1/4 inch and stitch. My secret—which if you look REALLY carefully, you might be able to see—is to use a very tiny zigzag stitch….TWICE around. On my machine it is Width=1.7 and Length=1.1. The first time around stitch where you are just catching the unfinished edge. Honestly you could stop here. They are utility towels, but did I mention, I’m a wee bit anal about things. Really…I spent MONTHS trying to find the perfect edge for these towels. Anyhow….If you choose the go around again, do your zigzag as close to the outside edge as you can. It makes for a nice finished edge. Now repeat the process until you have all the towels you need.

Now…. “just how am I going to get my family to use these lovely towels instead of paper towels?”, you may be asking yourself. You’re going to make it convenient by making a simple to use (and make) dispenser.

paperless towels holder 1Yes, it is made just like those grocery bag holders. So, honestly, you could just go buy one….but I wanted one with a little more style and a lot less cost. Plus they are super simple to make. I used some Moda toweling, but you can use any fabric that you like…or even a pretty dish towel. Just be sure to use something that matches your kitchen decor, because it will need to hang where it is seen.

I just eyeballed it when I cut the length. I wanted something about the same length as your average dishtowel. You can make it longer or shorter. Then I hemmed the ends and added some elastic…tighter on the bottom so the towels stay in and looser on the top so it is easy to fill your dispenser. Then sew your long ends together to form a tube. Once your tube is complete, cut a piece of ribbon about 6 to 8 inches long a stitch it onto the inside top of your tube to make your hanger. Then try to do a better job than I when trimming your strings. GEEZ!

paperless towel elastic opening   paperless towels ribbon hanger

Remember, this is a UN-tutorial. I don’t have pictures of the actual steps. Sorry.

Then fill your dispenser with your towels and hang.

paperless towels hanging hook

I used an oversized S-hook. It hangs from the top of my cabinet. This will not work if your cabinets go to the ceiling. You can put a nice decorative hook in your chosen location or perhaps a Command hook. Just make sure that you hang it in a convenient-to-use location.

 paperless towels dispenser

Mine is right beside the sink and near the actual paper towels. Yes, I still have the paper ones. However, instead of a roll a week, I usually only have to change the roll about once-per-month…sometimes not that often. Baby steps!


 Until next time…….