Make your own reusable cotton pads

We all need to reduce, reuse and recycle – and this great little project aims to do all three! This easy, satisfying make is super quick and a perfect upcycling project as if you’re a regular crafter you will should have everything you need to make these reusable cotton pads already.

So instead of a regular trip to buy single use cotton pads, inevitably wrapped in plastic – why not try this quick and easy upcycling project?

How this works day to day

I store the clean pads in a colourful pot on my dressing table (leftover from wedding decorations), so they’re on hand when needed. Once used, the dirty ones then go in a little drawstring bag which can be thrown in the wash.

The verdict

I’ve been using my ‘me made’ reusable cotton pads for about two months and it’s honestly one of the best things I’ve made. Reusable cotton pads are not just an eco-friendly choice they also work so much better than disposable cotton wool alternatives. Make your skincare regime better,  more sustainable, and save money while you’re at it! No brainer!


?Genuinely better for taking make up off – I use one of these to remove a full face of make up, when in the past I would usually use 2 or 3 disposable cotton wool pads.

?Can be used to clean cuts and scrapes (burnt myself on an iron making a quilt and one of these came in handy).


?Doesn’t work for taking off nail varnish – as it doesn’t wash out!

Make your own reusable cotton pads

You will need:

  • An old towel
  • A pen
  • Something round ( I used a roll of sellotape)
  • Good scissors
  • Sewing machine and thread.

Step one

make your own reusable cotton pads, upcycle an old towel

Fold the towel in half and cut down the centre. I used this completely legit piece of Disney merchandise.

This type of towel was good because it had a soft side and a rough side. On the finished article this is nice as you can use the rough side when you need to scrub e.g. removing make up, and the softer side for more delicate areas, like around the eyes.

To make sure you have both sides on the outside, flip the top layer over so that the ‘smooth’ side and the ‘rough’ side are touching. This will give you both options when they’ve been sewn together.

Step two

Find a circular template the size you want your make up remover pads to be. I used a roll of sellotape but a mug or a tin can would do. Draw around your template as many times as you can fit on the towel. I made about 36, which is a good amount to have – the more you make the less on top of the laundry you need to be!

make your own reusable cotton pads, upcycle an old towel

Step three

Pin, and cut!

make your own reusable cotton pads, upcycle an old towel

Step four

Sew the two pieces together around the edge using a zig zag stitch. I used some khaki thread that’s been cluttering up my sewing box for a while. The result isn’t the prettiest thing of all time but I was using up what I had.

And you’re done!

make your own reusable cotton pads, upcycle an old towel


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