The Up-Cycled Diaper & Things: How to Turn Your Worn Out Cloth Diaper into a Hair Bow

What do you do with a cloth diaper that has functioned to the fullest and has reached the end of it’s life?

You can:

  • throw it away (it will break down in the landfill)
  • donate it to be sent to communities in need (only if the TPU is still intact and in good condition- they can replace relaxed elastics)

and if you’re Hilary Harper, you come up with a NEW option:

  • make it into something new!

Hilary Harper of The Up-Cycled Diaper & Things started her business earlier this year up-cycling Lalabye Baby diapers into bows, pacifier clips, mini diaper keychains, and other things.

She’s since branched out into making custom hats and clothing, too, and she offers different colors of nylon bands so that no matter the color of baby’s skin, they can look their best in their Up-Cycled Lalabye bows!

She graciously offered to share with our customers just how she’s making these bows so that they can up-cycle their diapers, too.

If you aren’t crafty (like me!) you can contact Hilary to order items from her directly!

I had Hilary make me an entire rainbow of solid color bow headbands for my little girl (just like our Lalabye diapers, I now have a bow that matches any outfit!), and I also had her turn our very first Lalabye solid that we owned (Three Blind Mice) into a keychain as a keepsake!

Other moms have reached out to Hilary to have them turn their favorites into ball caps for their toddlers!

How to Up-Cycle Your Old Worn-Out Cloth Diaper into a Hair Bow


  • TPU damaged diaper or accessory
  • scissors
  • tacky glue
  • marker
  • hot-glue gun and hot-glue 
  • nylon band
  • alligator clip
  • template cutouts made out of sturdy card stock
  • felt or another soft fabric that has some structure. 

Step 1: Prep the diaper by doing a sanitizing wash (normally you would never do this with cloth diapers as you would ruin the TPU, but in this case- the TPU is already ruined, so using really high water temperature does not matter). When the diaper is completely dry, you can begin!

Step 2: Seam rip to remove interior lining and elastics, and remove all snaps using snap removal pliers or a soldering iron (be very careful!); this helps you get the most fabric out of the diaper so as to not be wasteful. After everything is off, iron it flat using the synthetic setting on your iron, ironing with the print side of the fabric face up with quick even motions (do not let the iron sit on the fabric or it will burn it and ruin it). Ironing it flat makes cutting so much easier. (You can shortcut this step by just cutting out the stay dry liner rather than using a seam ripper to remove it.)

Step 3: Trace and cut out your backing fabric (stiff felt) using your template. Repeat with your diaper print. Cut out your center piece from the diaper fabric as well; it does not need a felt backing.

Step 4: Glue your TPU fabric to your felt. I prefer to use a non-toxic tacky glue as it keeps the fabric soft and flexible.

Step 5: Let dry. After it is dry, cut any overlap off so that the bow is uniform on the front and the back.

Step 6: Working with the top bow piece, fold the bow parts back and glue them in place using a hot glue gun. (I prefer to use a fabric-safe hot glue that is non-toxic.) You’ll want to use a good amount of glue but not too much, since you don’t want it to be super hard on baby’s head. Then, hot glue it to the bottom piece of the bow, centering it.

Step 7:  Attach the band or clip to the back of the bow with hot glue.

For bands, hot glue a small piece of the band to the back of the bow and then wrap the center diaper pattern piece around it, gluing it in place as well. The center piece will completely cover the nylon band.

For Clips, center your middle diaper print piece and glue it. Then glue the clip on the back, making sure it’s centered.

Step 8. Once everything is cooled, it’s ready to wear!

Whether you brave making your own or order directly from Hilary at The Up-Cycled Diaper & Things, we love seeing customers continue to help the health of our planet by up-cycling after using their cloth diapers! ❤

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