Sourcing diapers during a crisis, big or small, can be challenging – luckily, all you really need is something absorbent to catch the pee and a waterproof cover. Need more ideas for things you can reuse around your home for a diaper? Check out this post.
This post was originally published for the 2017 Flats and Handwashing challenge, hosted by Cloth Diaper Revival. The Flats & Handwashing challenge is an annual challenge, and in 2020 will be hosted by the Cloth Diaper Podcast. This post was revised in 2020.
What Kind of T-Shirt?
- Natural fibres; ideally, 100% cotton or a bamboo/cotton, hemp/cotton, or hemp/bamboo blend. If your t-shirt has polyester it won’t absorb – some people can get away with shirts made with 80-95% cotton, but may find absorbency performance sub-optimal.
- Any shape or size; you can use a toddler shirt or an adult shirt. The size of your shirt will impact the fit, bulk and absorbency of the product.
- Can I use old scrappy shirts? YES! It doesn’t have to be new. Reuse shirts that don’t fit, that have holes in them, or just don’t like to be worn anymore.
- To cut or not to cut? If you don’t want to use the shirt again, then cut it to shape and size that you need. I have traditionally cut women XL shirts in half (along the edge seam and used them. This gives me 6-10 ounces of absorbency with less bulk of a full shirt.
What else will I need?
You will need some sort of waterproof diaper cover to keep clothes dry and hold the diaper in place. You can use a PUL cover, or a pocket diaper, or DIY a fleece cover.
If you want to use method 2 – you will need to choose a diaper fastener like a diaper belt or a diaper pins. Fasteners with claws (boingos, snappis) do not work well.
Two Ways to Fold a T-Shirt Diaper
Do you want to put the diaper into something, or do you need to fold the diaper onto baby? If you need to fold the diaper onto baby go to Method #2.
Padfolding a T-shirt Diaper
This is just one way to take a T-shirt and fold it to fit into a cloth diaper. You can fold it however you want. There is no wrong way. You want to fold the shirt into a pad that is the same length as the diaper you want to put on baby (maybe an inch longer).
Folding it onto baby
This is a more ideal strategy if you want to use diaper pins, or you don’t have a cover. This will ensure the absorbent material holds not around baby.