Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo



Recycle towels to make a beach blanket

by: Jo

Recycle towels to make a beach blanket
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Chica and I travel to Sanibel Island, Florida every year with a group of friends for a week of relaxation on the beach. We pack our swimsuits, shelling bags, pails and shovels, and our beach towels and head for the sand. However, it seems no matter how many towels we bring, we never have enough room for everyone to stretch out on the sand. beach towel blanket I’ve bought the beach blankets before and we use two of them and they still have you hanging with body parts off the edge. Then, it hit me, we could just use oversized towelsto make our own beach blanket!

I started out looking at using beach towels to make up my quilt and quickly decided the price just wasn’t quite right. I then moved on to regular sized bath towels and those were a bit too small. I finally settled on some towels that were on the large side, 30″ x 60″ (the same size as a beach towel but half the price) and used six of them to make up the blanket for a final measurement of 90″ x 120″.

beach towel blanketI was now set with the towels and ready to move on to the scary part — the sewing! Of the duo, Chica & Jo, I am not the sewer. I barely know how to sew on a button and a sewing machine is a huge mystery to me. How the heck does that bobbin thing work, anyhow? So, I drove over to Chica’s with my pile of towels and plopped them down in front of her with a huge grin on my face. I told her what I wanted to do and she said, “no problem, have a seat.” What? Me sitting at the sewing machine? Is she kidding me? She was quite serious and told me this would be the perfect project for me to learn on because the terry cloth fabric would hide my mistakes. I hate it when Chica is right but she certainly was. With a quick tutorial on how to thread the machine and use that mysterious bobbin, I was sewing away! Yep, that’s right, I was sewing with a machine!

beach towel blanketThere isn’t a lot to explaining how to sew together six towels but I do have a few tips for you. First, lay out your pattern on the floor. The striped towels made it easy to line up and pin the towels together. We overlapped the towels by about an inch, putting the middle towel on top of the two outer towels each time. Then, we pinned two towels together and sewed a relatively straight line down the one side of the overlapped fabric and then back on the other side. Since the rolled edges of the towel were so thick, we didn’t use the machine to sew the edges, we hand stitched them. After sewing the three top towels together and the three bottom towels together, we sewed the two pieces together. The hardest part was shoving all of that material through the right side of the machine! That was it, project finished.

I couldn’t believe I had used a sewing machine to actually make something usable! We can’t wait to use our new beach blanket at the beach this summer. There should be plenty of room for everyone to sit and have lunch or just bask in the sun. I will make sure to post a picture of the blanket in use on the sand.

beach towel blanket

Some other ideas:

  • If you want to put a back on the beach blanket, buy an inexpensive fabric shower curtain liner. We looked at backing my blanket with some outdoor fabric but the cost was way too much!
  • Cut up your towels to make a unique pattern. We didn’t do this because I wanted to do the sewing and show how even a novice could do this project. I could see how using blocks of the material would make a neat design though. Maybe after I master sewing a bit more, I will try it out.
  • Use old towels to make covers for pillows. My grandmother lived in the California desert for awhile and she covered her pillows with old towels since the dust and heat ruined things so quickly. She slipped the covers off and threw them in the wash whenever needed.

Related favorite beach products: spring floats, Patricia Sprinkle mystery novel, sand toys, perfect beach bag, sunscreen, and a beach umbrella — Jo burns easily!


Here’s a picture of two of our giant beach towel blankets on the actual beach in Sanibel. They worked great! UPDATE: We have been using these every year for the past 7 years and they are still in great shape! They wash fine in the machine and we use them all the time for picnics as well!

beach towel blanket

Recycle towels to make a beach blanket
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15 comments so far:

  • 1
    Rita 03/20/2008 at 3:05 pm

    While shopping last night, I found the addendum to this blanket – adding a backing made of an indoor/outdoor tablecloth to add water resistance and another layer of sand protection. They’re selling these at all the local retailers right now.

  • 2
    Jo 05/30/2008 at 10:30 pm

    I posted a new picture of my beach blanket on the actual sand! I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to have this. It is heavy but so worth hauling it to the sand where you can spread it out and have room for the whole family to lounge and have a picnic dinner. We spent the whole evening on it relaxing and enjoying the sunset. This will now be one of my must-haves for any beach vacation.

  • 3
    Lysana 10/07/2009 at 12:55 pm

    Great idea. I like Rita’s suggestion, too. This sounds like something that’s just about my speed…I may give it a try!

  • 4
    Andrea 06/03/2010 at 1:21 pm

    I’d love to make one of these for taking to the park or our baseball games! Curious… have you tried to wash it yet? I assume it will fit in the washing machine like a bunch of towels – but wonder if they wash well being sewn together

  • 5
    Jo 06/03/2010 at 1:31 pm

    Andrea, I’ve washed it tons of times! Like you said, it’s just like washing six towels. I just make sure I distribute it evenly around the agitator and that is the only thing I put in that load. We would love to see a picture of your towel blanket.

  • 6
    Mary Ann 06/15/2010 at 10:36 am

    What a great idea. Keep them coming please!
    Mary Ann

  • 7
    Gerri 01/25/2011 at 7:43 pm

    I LOVE this!! I’m gonna make one for my family! :)

  • 8
    Diane 08/07/2011 at 10:35 am

    We do not live anywhere near an ocean however like many American middle aged women I’m extra large in width and height. This is exactly what I need to take with me for the lounge chairs at the pool. I want one that is big enough to cover the chair without getting scrunched up everytime I move. Great idea! Thank you. I will be learning how to sew now. ;)

  • 9
    Jo 08/07/2011 at 9:02 pm

    I come with a little extra padding myself, Diane! If you want to learn how to sew, make sure you check out our video series, Sewing 101.

  • 10
    Rachel 09/06/2011 at 12:12 am

    Really nice. Great idea not only for the beach and for any outdoor outing too.

  • 11
    Chris 09/13/2011 at 5:30 pm

    What a great idea! We have a huge collection of beach towel that I can pick from. I think a mismatched pattern would be nice to, then kiddos have a spot to call their own. Also another idea would be to sew tabs around the outside to be able to stake it down.

  • 12
    mary 09/21/2011 at 9:50 am

    That’s awesome. I really like the alternative pattern of the towels. It makes for a totally unique beach blanket!

  • 13
    Amy Harris 07/18/2012 at 6:48 pm

    I came here via Pinterest. What a great idea! I wonder if you could connect the op three to the bottom three with Velcro strips? Then they could be detached for washing.

  • 14
    Gwen 02/18/2013 at 1:20 pm

    ?: How is the shower liner sewn on the back?

  • 15
    Chica 02/18/2013 at 6:16 pm

    Gwen, the easiest way would probably be to just lay the shower curtain on the floor, lay the towel on top, and pin them together around the edges. Then just sew them together along each edge.

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