No More Paper Towels


A sampling of unique kitchen and tea towels, printed, embroidered, or woven by hand:

Left to right, top: PataPri, artgoodies, hannahlaura, rockpaperscissorsart
Left to right, bottom: ofpaperandthread, OHHONEY, MrPS, jschubertdesigns

After years of using paper towels, I’m giving them up. Well, not completely, but as much as possible. My most recent trip to Europe made my dependence on a constant stream of disposable paper very noticeable. Blame it on being American, but I had no idea that I was needlessly filling up my trash can with fluffy white paper used to dry my hands and wipe my face. About the same time as the trip, I received a very special collection of hand-embroidered tea towels as a wedding gift. I love these towels! I am now creating a collection of fun and pretty towels that hang all over the kitchen. This way, I have no excuse to reach for the paper when my hands are dripping wet. This new change of pace led me to the next step: cloth napkins. I’m not sure what took me so long to prefer cloth over paper, but now I will never go back. Cloth napkins are much more fun. I don’t even need to mention the money and the trees that I save.


I came up with an easy way to create a fun stash of cloth napkins on the cheap, created from kitchen towels. Most available cloth napkins are white, and I frequently eat curry, spaghetti sauce, blueberries, you name it. This makes the white napkins look gross after one or two uses. I select kitchen towels with dark colors or busy patterns which can hide my messes. The set of towels I selected above are from Anthropologie. The process is so simple. I fold each towel in half lengthwise and cut along the fold. I then double fold, pin and stitch a new hem along each cut edge. Done! That’s it. These napkins are not a standard “napkin size” but they work quite well for everyday meals. You can bring out the fancy white ones when you have guests.


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