DIY Reusable Cotton Pads

Do you use cotton rounds or cotton balls on the daily to apply toners, astringents, serums, or any other makeup products? We at Her Campus know how quickly you can go through one package of these single-use pads. We've found an eco-friendly, sustainable alternative that you can make with items you have lying around your home! By ditching those cotton pads, you're saving money, and of course, you're helping the earth out by not purchasing cotton rounds that will just end up in the trash, as well as the plastic packaging!

What you'll need:

  • an old cotton or flannel t-shirt, pillow case, or any patch of fabric (we used an old 100% cotton black t-shirt - any color will do!)
  • a pencil
  • something circular (like a jar or cup, about 2 inches in diameter) to trace
  • a pair of scissors
  • thread
  • a sewing needle


Step 1 - Trace the circle onto your fabric

Fold your fabric in half. Take your circular object (we used an empty face wash container from LUSH) and place it on top of your fabric. Trace the object with a pencil.

Step 2 - Cut your fabric 

Make sure to cut through both layers of fabric. You will end up with two identical circles.

Step 3 - Thread your needle

Measure about 12 inches of thread and cut. Make a knot at one end of the thread and thread the other end through the eye of your sewing needle. We got our embroidery floss and sewing needle at Michaels. 

Step 4 - Sew your circles

For the first part of sewing your circles together, use the overcast stitch. You can watch a super quick and easy video on how to do the overcast stitch here. Stitch all the way around the circle, until you end up where you started.

Next, you're going to be sewing in between those stitches you just made. If you were stitching clockwise, now stitch counter-clockwise, and vice versa. Make sure to go all the way around the circle. You will get these "x" looking stitches. Don't worry if they're not all uniform - it's bound to happen! We don't care if the stitches don't look perfect - all that matters is the edges will not fray.

Make sure that once you have completed the stitching, to cut the thread and tie a knot to secure the thread.

The finished product...

Voilà! You can make these in any size you want, with any colors you want! We made two different sizes, in purple, blue, and pink. Make these little cuties and gift a pack of 3-5 for a cute Christmas gift for your friends or family! They'll love that they're handmade, as well as upcycled and eco-friendly.


All pictures credit to Jocelyn Koury