top of page

Reusable Cotton Pads Tutorial

I don't feel that cotton wool itself is not a bad thing and I used cotton wool instead of wet wipes exclusively for the first 4 months of my little dudes life. I think the environmental impact was far less for doing this but they still come in plastic packaging that cannot be recycled. It is also something I would throw away everyday to remove my makeup and when I have baskets full of fabric scraps it seemed like an obvious choice of plastic reducing swaps. I also used the same towel I have been using for a lot of these other plastic alternative makes. I decided against binning it when it got a hole "just in case I could use it for something".

The actual makeup remover products come with their own environmental factors too so I have swapped to a couple of options. I made my own moisturiser recently following this blog. I have also started using this charcoal face soap which I love.

This is a simple project that will take no time at all, it really depends on how many you want to make.


  • Cotton scraps at least 3" square

  • Old towel or flannel

  • Sewing machine

  • Free motion foot (optional)

  • Over locker (optional)

  • Compass rotary cutter (or a circular template and scissors)


I tried a couple of methods but found this worked best. I tried without the quilting first and it made it really tricky to sew the edges as it moved around too much.

1 - Pin Scraps to towel - Pin your cotton to your towel. I used bits of scraps from other projects.

2 - Sew - Have fun practising your free motion quilting! If you don't have the correct foot and can't do free motion on your machine, you could do straight or wavy lines. I have done done examples of each. I have also seen people use their embroidery machine for super pretty face pads too.

Make sure you have a good covering across the fabric with no more than 1/2 - 1" spacing.

3 - Cut out circles - I bought this rotary cutter compass years ago, I can't even remember why but it is perfect for this project and meant that I could cut out lots of circles accurately and the same size. Good old fashioned scissors and a circular template will do the trick just fine though. Mine measure 3".

4 - Finish edges - To stop the edges fraying you will need to over lock them. I have an over locker foot attachment for my regular sewing machine which also works. It is worth checking if you have one. It was a while before I realised what it was used for. I have put a picture of mine. For little projects like this I actually prefer it but it is a lot slower than the over locker so it can be tedious when making bigger makes.

Failing that you could zig zag the edges. I have pictured an example of them all below.

5 - Sew in your loose threads.

All finished! I throw mine in the wash basket and they go through the washing machine and tumble dryer with everything else. I have found around 10 means I don't run out and I have used a jar decorated with a bit of ribbon that I had flowers in for our wedding to keep them in. They look really pretty sat on my dressing table.

If you are inspired to make your own, I would love to hear from you and see your pictures use #thefabricsquirrel and don't forget to subscribe to the mailing list for more free tutorials, special offers on fabric and my latest arrivals.

321 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page