How to Make a No-Sew Zero-Waste Tawashi Sponge

APR 2, 2021 updated Sep 8, 2021
Tawashi sponges hanging over a sink

Do you have some jersey fabric scraps that are waiting for the perfect upcycled project? You’re in luck! This tutorial will show you how to create an environmentally friendly tawashi sponge from your old cotton jersey leftovers. Originally from Japan, these dish-scrubbing sponges are the perfect solution to give scraps or even a pair of old socks a second life. Not only are the steps fast and easy, but you can wash and reuse the sponge over and over again!

How to Make Your Own Tawashi Sponge from Fabric Scraps


  • A small wooden board measuring 8 x 8″ (20 x 20 cm) and at least 3/4″ (2 cm) thick
  • Hammer
  • 20 flat head nails, roughly 1-1.5″ (2.5-4 cm) long
  • Scraps of fabric (cotton jersey is recommended, but old socks and T-shirts are also suitable)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
Materials to make a tawashi sponge

Featured designs: 80s Inspired Geometric Pattern by kennasatodesigns and Palm leaf by sunny_afternoon

1. Prepare the Tawashi Loom

Measure a square about 5.5″ (14 cm) on your board and mark it with a pencil. Mark five points on each edge of the square every 4/5″ (2 cm), leaving the corners free. Hammer a nail into each marked point 1/2″ (1 cm) deep. Now your tawashi frame is ready!

Tawashi sponge wooden loom, marked.
Hammering nails into the wooden loom

2: Prepare Your Fabric Strips

Cut your fabric into strips about 1″ (2.5 cm) wide and 12.5″ (32 cm) long. Then pull the ends of your jersey tight to curl it up a little, and knot the two ends together to form a ring. Repeat until you have 10 rings.

Cutting strips of cotton jersey fabric to make sponge with
Cut fabric pieces laying on table
Tying the fabric strips together with a knot
All tied sponge strips ready to go

3: Weave The Fabric Rings

Stretch the first five rings onto your frame by pulling one end over a nail, then the other end over the opposite nail. These rings of fabric should be tight! If they seem a little loose, just untie the knots and retie tighter for a better fit.

Now add in the next five rings to the leftover nails in a weaving motion, alternating between pulling under and over the already placed rings.

Five fabric strips stretched across wooden loom
Adding more fabric loops to nails around wooden loom

4: Finish the Edges

Starting in one corner, pull one end of a fabric ring from a nail and pull it through the end of the ring over it. Work your way up the row and around the entire sponge until only one loop is exposed. Pull this loop through a different exposed loop so that your sponge doesn’t come undone (and this way you can hang it anywhere!).

Finishing the tawashi sponge by knotting the edges
Finishing the tawashi sponge by knotting the edges
Finishing the tawashi sponge by knotting the edges
Finishing the tawashi sponge by knotting the edges

Now your tawashi sponge is ready! These are ideal for cleaning, washing dishes and even removing makeup. Don’t forget to tag your creations on Instagram with #spoonflower— we’d love to see them!

Julie headshot

About The Author

Julie from Berlin-based nonprofit organization Trial and Error is interested in all creative post-capitalist solutions like upcycling, urban gardening, ecofeminism, and much more!

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  • This sounds a lot like potholder loop weaving (that’s at least a 50 year old craft in the US.). If you want to try this technique out without building your own loom, you can search for potholder loom or loop weaving loom for an inexpensive plastic one (it may not last long, but for a few dollars it would give you a chance to decide if you like the technique enough to want to build your own loom.) Premade knit fabric loops are also available, but you can certainly make your own to use up scraps, once you figure out the size needed for your loom.