This is a post I wish I didn’t need to write.
My instinct in the current crazy situation we find ourselves in is actually to focus on fun upcycling and craft projects that keep us all diverted from the scary outside.
BUT…I also feel like I can’t deny what folk are needing out there, so with the help of some blogger friends, I have compiled a list of household items that you can make yourself with things you already own. Including how to make your own toilet paper!
There is an index below so you can skip straight to the item you are looking to make.
So far in my area, the only one of these that I haven’t been able to get from the shops is the toilet paper, but I have heard reports from people in other places that many of these other items, especially diapers (nappies in the UK), are getting hard to come by.
I know none of us really wants this to be our reality but I have to admit it made me feel better to compile this list and know that I have options for self sufficiency if I need them.
I realised there are tons of things I can make using leftover fabric or old clothing I already have in my home to make some of the items I would usually expect to buy at the store.
Arguably I should already be making and using some of these homemade items rather than store-bought. Maybe you already use some of these as your first choice – if you do well done to you!
I sincerely hope you aren’t finding this post in desperation and that you don’t need these instructions because you’ve been forced into finding alternatives because of shop shortages.
What I am hoping is that this post makes it all feel a bit less desperate because you will feel confident that you can fend for yourself if you need to.
So maybe this one is a Pin it for later kind of post. One that you can keep in your back pocket as a bit of a safety blanket.
If you have found this post because you need to make some of these items yourself, and you’d really rather not, I’m very sorry and I hope you will find the links I’ve included useful.
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments and if I don’t know the answer I will try to find it for you.
- Toilet Paper
- Sanitary Pads
- Baby Wipes
- Kitchen Sponge
- Beeswax Food Wrap
- Un-Paper Towels
- Nursing Pads
- Cloth Kleenex/Hankies
- Face Mask – to make for yourself or DONATE TO YOUR LOCAL HEALTH SERVICE
How to Make your own Toilet Paper
Whether you call it toilet paper or toilet roll it seems to be the most in demand household item of the moment. Which is a bit odd considering that in other parts of the world they have different solutions altogether.
However it is hard to give up your creature comforts and although I don’t have a tutorial for how to pulp your own trees and produce the paper tissue paper we are all used to using, Lisa Neri has a really thorough tutorial about how to use upcycled fabric to create your own reusable fabric toilet paper. She even includes tips on how to store it, wash it and use it.
How to Make Cloth Diapers
Many people choose cloth diapers as a first choice because they are so much better for the environment than regular diapers. However I would bet most of the people who use cloth diapers don’t actually make them themselves. But if you know how to sew this could be a great option for you in the current climate or even just to save money.
Here are several options for finding the right pattern for you:
Darling Diapers has a FREE printable pdf pattern for a newborn cloth diaper here and they also sell patterns for different sizes and types here.
If you need your hand held a bit more in sewing your first ever cloth diaper, the grey image above is from Homespun Aesthetic and they sell an in depth 21 page instant download PDF Pattern & Tutorial on Etsy.
Nightshift Sewing (the fun woodland print ones above) also have a PDF Pattern & Tutorial on Etsy for making your own cloth training pants if you are at that stage with your little one.
How to Make your own Sanitary Pads
You can sew your own sanitary or menstrual pads from fabric you already have around the house, whether that is old clothing or fabric remnants of the right type (these are generally made with flannel type fabrics but some cottons will also work).
There is a free tutorial here on Wikihow for making sanitary pads that include a base and liner pad.
Sewing Bee Fabrics has another FREE pattern and tutorial here for a menstrual sanitary pad that more closely mimics the shape of a disposable pad.
If you are looking for a specific shape, like a thong style pad for example, Baby Bonda do a low priced 3 size cloth liner digital download pattern on Etsy here.
How to Make Baby Wipes/Washcloths
You can make your own baby wipes and washcloths and replace store-bought disposable wipes. Here are a few ways to make them.
The first is for using old baby muslins (the large burp cloth type things) to sew smaller face wipe washcloths. The tutorial for this is from Natasha Nunez of the Artisan Life and you can find it here.
The other resource I found was this great tutorial from Leah Margaret about how to make smaller baby wipe type pads. You can watch it below.
How to Make a Kitchen Sponge
There are a few materials in this tutorial from the Happiest Camper that I’m not sure everyone will have in their craft cupboards – such as polyfill stuffing and heavyweight tulle.
However you guys are a resourceful lot, so if you can’t source those items online maybe you can do an ingenious swap for something you do have?
Let me know in the comments if you did get creative with this one, I’d love to know what you used.
How to Make Reusable Beeswax Food Wrap
Reusable beeswax food wrap is a good alternative to cling film or tinfoil regardless of the current situation and you can make it yourself using fabric remnants you might already have.
Vicky Myers has this great tutorial for how to make them. She has taken it one step further and added velcro to make it a bit more of a sandwich bag than just a wrap but you can adapt it to suit your needs.
How to Make Un-Paper Towels
The Happiest Camper has a great tutorial for making un-paper towels out of terry cloth fabric. They bought their fabric new but you could upcycle an old terry cloth bathrobe or even old towels to make your own batch of reusable un-paper towels!
How to Sew Nursing Pads
Lisa at Cucicucicoo who I mentioned earlier is a super resourceful lady and she also has a pattern for making your own nursing pads and storage bag. It’s not a free one but it’s pretty cheap and you can find it here.
How to make your own Kleenex/Handkerchiefs
This one is perhaps not so novel. After all, our grandparents and great grandparents were using handkerchiefs to wipe their noses long before most of us switched to paper Kleenex tissues.
Maybe having a look at things you can make yourself during a shortage at the supermarket is a good reminder that we should probably be using a lot of these homemade versions instead anyway! Sometimes Grandma does know best!
Mary Ann from Mama Smiles made a batch of cloth hankies from a pair of old flannel pyjamas when she was looking for something softer on her kid’s noses. You can find her tutorial here.
How to Make your own Face Mask
When I first saw posts about people sewing their own face masks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic I was a bit sceptical I have to say. I thought, there is no way those could be effective.
But when I read up a bit more I understood that actually, it wasn’t about wearing a fabric face mask instead of a more medical grade face mask, it was about wearing a fabric face mask when there weren’t enough proper face masks available – even for health care professionals.
It won’t offer full protection, but partial protection is better than none.
In response to the crisis, freesewing.org have published a free pdf pattern and tutorial to show you how to make your own face mask and are calling on all makers to make face masks and donate them to your local health service to help frontline workers for whom there aren’t enough medical-grade masks to go around.
It’s not a perfect solution, but surely it’s better than nothing?
Some Final Thoughts
Many of the ideas in this post are probably things we should be making ourselves anyway for environmental reasons, but many of us (including myself) are very used to the creature comforts of store-bought items.
Perhaps we can use this current crisis to shift our mindset a bit and see what we can reuse from within our own homes before we buy them from the shops.
If you are reading this post you are probably a super resourceful ‘maker’ sort of a person. Which means you’ve probably got skills, like sewing, that not everyone has.
So if you and I are able to make these items ourselves, perhaps we should try? Maybe it could play a small role in lessening the shortage in the shops for those who don’t have these same skills?
I’m talking to myself here more than to you.
In any case, I hope you are all staying safe and that the silver lining from all of this will be to teach you and I just how much we can handle and how self-sufficient we can really be.
If you just need a break from stressing about the current situation you can also have fun with upcycling and we’ve got lots of great tutorials to help boost your mood by turning trash into treasure.
If you think any of the ideas in this post will be useful for you Pin it for later so you can find it easily:
Stuck home alone? If you are looking for a little company you can also join our Facebook Group which is full of upcyclers like you who are sharing their projects with each other.
You don’t have to post a photo of your projects either if you don’t want to – you can just pop in and say hi and feel a little bit less alone!