Giving Cloth Diapers a New Lease on Life

I have two beautiful little girls and I have cloth diapered both of them. I love my cloth diapers they are seriously cute and so easy to do and what baby doesn’t look cute with a giant fluffy bum. Using cloth diapers I have saved our family quite a lot of money and garbage! I love our diapers and even my husband doesn’t complain about using them (win!). We bought most of our diapers second hand and when we are finished I plan on selling them. That has to be one of the best features of cloth is they just keep going!

I have quite a significant stash of diapers probably about 36 pocket diapers and several hundred prefolds. I love my prefolds and will never every get rid of them there are so many things they can be used for like when your roof leaks they are perfect for cleaning up the mess or when your baby dumps an entire full mug of coffee all over your carpet prefolds to the rescue! I usually use my pocket diapers the most because they are super easy to get on a squirmy baby, I have a large number of them most of them are bum genius. These are my favourite. All of my other diapers are snaps except my BGs these are velcro (aplix, hook and loop whatever name you prefer). So after 3+ years of diapering to say the velcro looks a little sad would be an understatement!

The part that bothered me more that the sad velcro was the fact that the laundry tabs didn’t stick any more. All of the diapers would stick together in the wash and come out as a giant diaper chain. That was never fun to pull apart.

I got this great idea that I was going to take off all of the velcro and the tabs and put on snaps. Snaps are great, they stick really well and little fingers can’t get them undone to fingerpaint with the contents of their diaper. As I have learned from experience! So I pulled out my trusty stitch ripper and got to work. It took me about half an hour to remove all of the velcro, thread and tabs from the whole diaper. It did take longer on the diapers where for some inexplicable reason BG had stitched their logo into the tab rather than a simple X. But once all of the velcro was off I marked the diapers for the snaps.

To mark the diaper for snaps I have tried various methods (template, copying a diaper cover etc) but the best placement I have found is to mark the top line of snaps right under the stitching from the velcro. I put ten snaps on each row spaced 1 inch apart. Then I measure down from the top row 1 inch and mark for the next row. The stretchy tabs I just simply place my ruler where I think the snaps would look good and measure 1 inch and put some dots. To mark the diapers I use a sewing marker where the ink fades incredibly quickly (24hrs or something like that) and it has an erasing end, very helpful especially if you have children pulling at your arm while measuring. Once the dots are all placed I haul out my handy awl and poke each one of those marks to make a hole. I use plastic snaps from Kam Snaps in size 20. They are wonderful and they have colours to match all of the BG diapers there are other places where you can get the same snaps so just look around. I also bought the snap pliers a very handy piece of equipment!

The only tricky part with putting snaps into your diapers is to be very careful not to stab your finger because that hurts and will bleed all over your diaper. Once you have all the holes poked and the pointy cap of the snap pushed through them you can then start squeezing on either the socket or the stud depending on which part off the diaper you are working on. The stud goes on the stretchy tabs and the socket goes across the belly. This part goes really fast but make sure you squeeze the pliers extra hard because if the prongs are flat enough you will have trouble snapping your diaper closed (if you run into some problems after you have them all done you can always go back and squeeze them some more). After you are done squeezing until you think your hand will fall off you have completed your first diaper. Only 16 more to go!

Since I have been doing this for a while it takes me anywhere from and hour and a half to two hours to do a diaper start to finish. Generally, I will pick 2 or 3 diapers (usually all of one colour) and work on them all at once. This is a great way to refresh sad looking diapers to give them a new life so they can last even longer! My next project after finishing all of the snaps is to redo the sagging elastic in the legs. Right now they are still functional but losing their stretchiness. I am pretty sure I can always find some way to monkey around with my lovely diapers!

Share as part of Simple Lives Thursday.

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5 thoughts on “Giving Cloth Diapers a New Lease on Life

  1. Outstanding! I am highly impressed by your tenacious, creative DIY! I hope to use cloth diapers with our little ones too…but I never knew they came all decked out like that! The image I had was of a large square of tan fabric which required learning elaborate folding and which was less-than-leakproof. So…in a couple years when you are ready to sell, let me know! 😉

      • Awesome! Your post give me hope; so many of the mothers I know have laughed in the face of my ambitions, assuring me that I would only be able to handle cloth diapering for about two weeks 😛 My mom used cloth on my brother and I as well…I should ask her if she still has them! 🙂

  2. Impressive work! Our cloth nappies are just getting to the end of their velcro life, and our littlest one is loving perfecting the art of whipping the nappy off like a cowboy reaching for his pistols – one hand on each velcro strip and, whoosh, it’s off! Thanks for the tip 🙂

    • Thank you! I learned how deadly the velcro is when my oldest daughter whipped off her diaper and painted me a pretty picture! I’m sure you could do this to your diapers too. It is really easy it just takes some time.

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