DIY Towel Straps (A Great Scrap-Buster Project!)
Last week, I gave you all a tour of my newly-organized gym bag. I’ve been really, really enjoying having everything I need for the gym (and getting dressed afterwards) ready and pre-packed, saving myself valuable time each morning. Because I stuff a lot into my gym bag, I was desperate for a way to keep my towel rolled up tight so it would be easily packable and wouldn’t float the bottom of my bag. With some experimenting, I came up with a DIY towel strap solution that I am so excited about. I am sharing the full tutorial today so you can do the same to your beach or gym towels!
I like having a towel in my gym bag so I can shower up afterwards. However, I was tired of our huge beach towels taking up so much space in my bag. After buying some $5 towels from Target and adding these functional little straps, the towels now stay rolled up tight, and everything I need to get ready each day fits with ease!
After I shower, I have been rolling up my wet clothes into the towel…which helps to keep the rest of my bag dry. When I get home from the gym, I just need to take the towel (with my wet clothes wrapped up in it) out to dry and eventually go in the laundry. No more having to empty my entire bag just to find all the wet and stinky items!
I am pretty smitten with this strap solution for my towels that I sort of want to add them to all of our beach/pool/gym towels. With just a few scraps of fabric and in less than an hour, you too can have a way to keep your towels perfectly rolled…every time. This makes such a big difference for bags/suitcases, but I also think this is a great way to keep towels tidy on open shelves!
Supplies for DIY Towel Straps
Are you ready to make some straps for your towels? Here is what you need:
- Towel – any size and type will do!
- Coordinating fabric – any cotton, canvas or home decor-weight fabric will work great! The amount you need will depend on how long and wide you make your straps. My straps measure about 18 x 2.5″ (finished), so I used a fat quarter of quilting cotton for each set.
- Sewable Velcro
- Tools: rotary cutter/cutting mat, scissors, ruler, tape measure, sewing machine, coordinating thread, pins, iron, ironing board, seam gauge
Decide How You Will Fold Your Towel
Before you make and add your straps, you first need to decide how you will fold/roll your towel. How you fold your towel is partly personal preference/habit, but will also influence how big/bulky your towel is once it’s rolled up (which then influences your strap size and placement). In order to roll up your towel (and ultimately strap it up), you will need to first fold into a rollable size. You can either fold it like a “hotdog” (folded length-wise) or a “hamburger” (folded in half and then in half again). (My sister always used these terms in her craft classes when working with paper and thought they were the perfect analogy!).
Make the Straps
In order to determine how long/wide to make your straps, you will need to do a practice roll. Depending on the size of your towel and your preference, pick a way to fold your towel (as shown above) so that it rolls up as shown below…
Using a tape measure, determine the circumference of your roll and then add about 4″ to allow for overlap, seam allowance, and hemming. This number will be the length of your straps.
The width of your straps is purely a personal preference; just be sure to allow enough width for folding and seam allowance. I chose to make two straps that would be approximately 16″ x 2.5″ when finished. As such, I cut two strips of fabric that measured 20″ x 6″. You can also do one single wide strap or even three smaller straps depending on your preference/size of your towel!
Start by ironing the length of your strips in 1/2″ on each side.
Unfold the 1/2″ you just ironed, and then iron up 1/2″ on each short end. Fold all the edges back in along their crease lines, then fold the entire strip in half length-wise, matching up the long edges.
With all the edges ironed in 1/2″ and the entire strip ironed in half, you strips should look as below:
Pin the ends shut with straight pins (and down the long edge if you need to)…
…and sew ALL the way around each strap as close to the edge as you can. When finished, you should have two straps with no raw edges or openings.
Attach the Straps
Next, you are going to place your straps onto your towel and sew them in place, but where you put them will depend on which way you chose to fold/roll your towel!
(NOTE: to get the placement just right, I suggest folding/rolling your towel and marking the locations with pins).
If you prefer to fold/roll your towel in the “hotdog” method, place your straps to one side at the SHORT end of your towel…as shown:
If you prefer to fold/roll your towel in the “hamburger” method, place your straps a few inches apart at the end of the LONG side of your towel…as shown:
I chose to fold my towel in the hamburger method, so I placed my straps as shown (NOTE: the crease is where the towel will be folded for rolling):
Wherever you choose to put them, place the straps on the WRONG side of your towel and overlap them with the towel about 1.5″. Pin in place.
Attach the straps to the towel by sewing a rectangle around the strap, just where it overlaps the towel.
Attach the Velcro
The next step is to add Velcro for easy securing! Place your towel with the RIGHT SIDE UP and the straps pulled out. Place a length of Velcro alongside the edge of the towel on the strap, pin and then sew in place
(NOTE: I recommend placing the HOOK side of the Velcro here so it is less likely to snag on the towel.)
The LOOP side of the Velcro (the softer side) should be placed at the other END and the opposite SIDE of the strap.
When finished, your Velcro should appear as shown below…
Roll Up the Towel!
With your straps completed and attached, it’s time to roll up your towel! Start by folding it the way you have from the beginning. I folded mine like a hamburger and then over again. No matter how you fold it, make sure your straps are away from you and the Velcro on the end of the straps facing up.
Roll your towel toward the straps…
…and if you placed everything correctly, your two Velcro tabs should meet up…
…and hold your towel securely in place!
This is one of those projects that might be difficult to understand just in words and pictures. Once you start experimenting with rolling your towel, where to place the straps and the Velcro will make more sense. I can’t recommend enough that you practice rolling up your towel during each step to ensure you have each element in the right spot!
A happy consequence of these straps is that they can double as tabs for hanging! Just place the Velcro tabs together (not wrapped around the towel) and hang onto a hook while showering, swimming, etc!
We have some big summer plans that involve a lot of camping, swimming and traveling. Because these straps help make towels so compact for packing, I am strongly considering adding them to all of our recreational towels! In fact, that sounds like the perfect weekend project, don’t you think??
I’m super excited about this fun little DIY and hope you guys will give it a try! If you do, be sure to let me know and share pictures via Instagram, Twitter or Facebook! And with that, I’m off to enjoy the rest of the weekend! See you back here Tuesday!