How to make your own reusable sanitary pads | ActionAid UK

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. 

Download now

Step one: Print out the template and cut along the dotted line

Step 1

Step two: Reverse the material and trace the template over it using a marker. Repeat

Step 2

Step three: Using sharp scissors, cut out the two cotton pieces

Step 3

Step four: Place one piece on top of the other, with the patterned sides facing each other

Step 4

Step five: Sew the sides of the two pieces of fabric together, leaving the top and bottom bits open

Step 5

Step six: Turn down the edges of the top and bottom bits and stitch along them, creating a hem

Step 6

Step seven: Turn the fabric inside out, revealing the pattern and concealing the seams on the inside. Sew up the sides/wings

Step 7

Step eight: Sew a button in the centre of the right wing

Step 8

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 9

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 10

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!

Step 11

See the reviews for our reusable pads

We challenged two women to trial our homemade reusable pads during their period and then asked for feedback to see how the reusable pads compare to the pads available in supermarkets.

Check the reviews now

Help end period poverty

Once you’ve completed your pad, make sure you share your design on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, tagging ActionAid. We look forward to seeing your handiwork!

You can also get involved by finding out about our work ending period poverty around the world, including training women to make eco-friendly reusable sanitary pads