24 May 2019
Follow our step-by-step guide to make your own eco-friendly, reusable sanitary pads - the same method used by women and girls in Nepal to manage their periods.
Reusable sanitary pads are a great plastic-free, eco-friendly alternative to disposable tampons and pads.
They’re cost-effective and easy to make, which is why ActionAid trains women and girls in Nepal to make their own reusable pads using this method, as part of our global work ending period poverty for women and girls.
So to celebrate this year’s World Menstrual Hygiene Day, why not learn how to make your own?
To get started with your pad, you’ll need the following materials: thick paper, a marker pen, a ruler, scissors, thin fabric (cotton is ideal), thick fabric (e.g. an old towel), a button, a needle and thread and a safety pin.
Next, download your instructions, including the template for your pad.
Share the instructions with your friends to inspire them how to cut down on plastic:
Step one: Print out the template and cut along the dotted line
Step two: Reverse the material and trace the template over it using a marker. Repeat
Step three: Using sharp scissors, cut out the two cotton pieces
Step four: Place one piece on top of the other, with the patterned sides facing each other
Step five: Sew the sides of the two pieces of fabric together, leaving the top and bottom bits open
Step six: Turn down the edges of the top and bottom bits and stitch along them, creating a hem
Step seven: Turn the fabric inside out, revealing the pattern and concealing the seams on the inside. Sew up the sides/wings
Step eight: Sew a button in the centre of the right wing
Step nine: Mark on the left wing where you will need a button hole. Cut the hole and sew around the edges of the hole to prevent fraying
Step ten: Use a ruler to cut two 20cm long x 6cm wide rectangles from a towel. Lay the pieces on top of each other and sew them together along the top and bottom
Step eleven: Attach a large safety pin to the top of the lining. Then insert the lining into the casing, using the safety pin to pull it up to the top. Finally, remove the pin. Voila!
Help us support people affected by coronavirus in the poorest countries
We hope you enjoyed our instructions and were able to follow them succesfully to sew a reusable period pad for yourself.
In countries like India and in refugee camps like Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, women and girls are at the frontline of the coronavirus crisis with limited access to water, soap and other hygiene products.
Help us support those in need by donating £20 - the average cost of ten packs of period pads - to support those unable to work, buy food or supplies like period pads.