Recycling Old Towels: {Crafty Ideas & Projects}

Have a bunch of old towels that still have life in them and can be used for something crafty? Here are several tutorials and ideas to get you started, plus the original list of ideas first published on Tipnut is found at the bottom.
Reusable Swiffer Cover: Made with terry cloth or towels and large buttons or velcro. Pattern file can be downloaded. More swiffer cloth patterns here.

Mat Tutorial: Made with two old towels and blanket binding or fabric remnants.
Crafty Bath Mat: Made by knotting strips of towels to gridded matting.

Poolside Robe: Made with an old towel, a couple yards of elastic, velcro and coordinating color towel for straps (optional). Also see this Simple Sew Wrap and Beach Towel Cover-up.
Beach Poncho: Made with two beach towels and trimmed with ribbon, cute wrap for the kiddos.

Terry Cloth Caddy: Made with a hand towel and grosgrain ribbon.
Personalized: (for new towels) Nice tutorial showing how to use a scrap of fabric and fusible web to make this gift-worthy towel.

Spa Slippers: Made with a pair of old flip flops, an old towel, polyester batting and a bit of faux leather.
Child’s Pool Robe: Cute! Made with one bath towel, buttons, double-fold bias tape and a bit of fabric for the lady bug applique. Free pdf download.

Recycled Bath Mat: An old towel is used to pad a woven fabric topped bath mat.
Pool Bag: It’s a beach bag & towel in one! It folds up into itself and has handles that turn it into a bag.

Easy Bath Apron: This easy-to-make bath apron gives you a layer of protection – and your baby a comfortable place to dry off.
Bolster Pillow: Use rolled up old beach towels to make this comfy pillow.

Baby Bundles: Made with a hand towel and trim, this is a pocket organizer that rolls up holding baby’s goodies.
Sunbathing Companion: Rolls out into a pillow and sunbathing mat, has handles and pockets for convenient toting.

Unpaper (Reusable): Made with terry cloth and flannel, snaps can be added (optional) so they can be attached to each other and rolled around an empty paper towel tube.
Lightweight Bath Mat: A quick and easy project, repurpose two vintage towels into something cozy for your toes.

Upcycled Beach Bag: A quick & easy project using an old towel and scrap fabric for the handles, minimal sewing involved.
Everyday Dish Cloths: Sew pretty scraps of cotton fabric to squares of old towels, edges are left raw and they’ll fray nicely as they’re washed.

Beach Blankets: Great idea for thicker towels that are still in good shape, squares are sewn together with a flat seam.

Also see these tutorials for making hooded towels.

10 More Ideas

(original article, published December, 2006)


  1. Cut down to size for washcloths, dishcloths and hand towels. Either serge ends or hem. Pack some in the car too, great for cleaning up spills or wiping down the dash while you’re stuck in traffic. For very thin towels, you can double up the towel.
  2. Make yourself a spa headwrap, pattern: free spa headwrap pattern on this page.
  3. Whip up a few pet blankets, pet bed liners, pet pillows. If you’re bursting at the seams with old towels, check with animal shelters and vet clinics–they may be happy to take them off your hands.
  4. Cut in strips sized large enough to use as cleaning rags. Use for household cleaning as well as washing your car.
  5. Make dusting or bath mitts, simply trace an outline of your hand adding a 1/2″ seam allowance and then sew.
  6. Make potholders and use the old towels for protective batting.
  7. Make hot water bottle covers, nice and cozy!
  8. Make beach bags & totes that are ideal for the beach, swimming lessons or hanging laundry bags.
  9. Quilted slippers – with old towels used as the batting, your feet can breathe better and won’t sweat as much.
  10. Make huge floor throw pillows for the kids while they watch tv. Try granny squares or striped patterns. Comfy!

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    • Dawn

    Great ideas… How about this… A friend of mine took an old hand towel and attached it to an old mop handle… Works better that the old rope mop any day!

    • Dee Hoschouer

    Thanks for all the tips love the terrycloth swiffer covers

    • gypsy dutta

    thanks for all the ideas i am getting from your tips.i made kitchen mitts and covers from old towels.

    • Mary Ann

    I use bathtowels (cut in half) for the backing on baby changing pads. I’ve made several of these for my grandchildren and some for baby shower gifts and the moms loved them! They take them everywhere they go and for the emergencies when having to change the baby in the car, the changing pad protects the car seat from getting soiled.

    • missibob

    I made new covers for my computer chair arms that were worn through to the batting, with black facecloths. Put a seam around and threaded a tie through it and pulled it in tight to fit over the arms

    • Michal

    Great ideas. Here are two more:

    Make reusable “swiffer” mop covers or dusters. Old washcloths and dishcloths work, too.

    Sew a terrycloth “slipcover” for your broom for dusting walls and ceilings.

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