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Thursday, January 16, 2014

How to make your own Melitta-style No. 1 coffee filters (for under a nickel a dozen) *and* loose tea emp-teas (I call them tea blanks)

Melitta-style No. 1 cone coffee filters for a under a penny per filter

We have 2 coffee makers. One is for a whole pot for both my husband and I, and the other is a one -cup-at-a-time machine, for when one of us (that would be me) just wants a cup of decaf or the like. Our one-cup coffee maker is pre-Kcup craze, but makes a great cup of coffee.

Our cup-at-a-time coffee maker came with a permanent, cone-shaped filter. Permanent, that is, until it developed holes. I searched the web for a replacement, permanent coffee filter that would fit in our machine --  no luck. (Our coffee maker was a hand-me-down 18 years ago, so no wonder I can't find a replacement part today.)

I started buying the paper filters that would work for this coffee maker -- Melitta No. 1 cone-style coffee filters. They come 40 to a box, and typically sell for about $2.50 in a local store, or $1.50, if bought in bulk through Amazon. This gets pricey, at a nickel per cup of coffee, for just the filter.

In need of a cheaper alternative, I began making my own paper filters.

4-6 cup basket style filters sell for $1/150 ct. at Dollar Tree. I can make 2 cone-style coffee filters from every 1 basket filter. And they wind up having the same dimensions as the Melitta product. It costs me 13 cents to make 40 filters, or a savings of $1.37 to $2.37 per 40-ct box. Using a sewing machine, I can make a dozen filters in about 10 minutes.

Here's how I make them.

Take one 4-6 cup basket coffee filter. Fold in half to crease.

Cut in half along the crease.

Fold each piece in half again, making a fan shape.

On the sewing machine, with white, all-cotton thread (I used dark thread here so you could see my stitching), stitch up the long and straight side of the "fan".

Fold the point up about 1 inch. Stitch this fold in place. Your filter should now be of the same dimensions as the Melitta No. 1 filters. They work exactly as the manufactured filters for me.


Emp-teas (or tea blanks), for a fraction of a penny each

I admit it, I'm a bit lazy at times, and don't want to wash out tea balls. So, I make tea blanks, empty filter bags to scoop loose tea into, without the hassle of having to wash up a tea ball later.

I can make 3 tea blanks out of one 4-6 cup paper, basket-style coffee filter.

I fold the coffee filter in half.

Then fold into thirds.

I open the filter up and cut 3 equal-sized pieces out of the filter.

Fold each piece in half.

Machine stitch along the rounded bottom edge, then up one side, to about 1 inch from the point.

This is the opening for spooning in tea.

I just keep a bunch of tea blanks in my tin with packets of loose tea, and fill them as I need them. I spoon tea into a blank, fold the tip over, and staple shut.

(For how to add a fun tag, for gifting see this post from last year.)


  1. How creative! I especially liked the homemade tea blanks! Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Hi Linda,
      Thank you!
      Yes, the tea blanks are quite handy. And very quick to sew up.
      I even used a couple this winter for 1-cup spiced apple cider. Just filled the bag with mulling spices, put into a mug of apple juice, then microwaved for 1 minute.

  2. I'm distracted by your pretty placemat! :)

    1. Hi Kris,
      Isn't that a pretty piece of fabric? It's just a square of fabric, about 15 inches square. I pulled it out of my fabric box and am looking for ideas on what to do with it, in a way that I would look at it everyday. So, for now, it's just sitting out in the dining room. I was wishing that I could find a large piece of fabric like that, to make a tablecloth for the kitchen table.
      Do you do that?When you stumble upon something that you really like, but don't know what to do with it, so you just set it out someplace, hoping for inspiration to hit?

    2. Definitely! Or I'll move the fabric around to different areas to see if I like the overall effect. I'd like to do something different in my kitchen/dining area for window treatments but I'm not exactly sure what--draping different fabrics over my curtain rods gives me an idea of if I love it and want to use it in a window treatment or if it's not quite right for me.

      Your fabric would make a pretty pillow with different fabric backing. Or maybe you could do a coordinating fabric sewn onto the ends and make a table runner out of it.

    3. This piece of fabric was made to be a pillow front. I've thought of that. I've also thought of using it to make a tray out of a picture frame, by placing it under glass, and adding handles to the frame itself. Still undecided. I like the fabric a lot, so I want to be able to see it often. I like your suggestion for making it into a table runner. that could be really pretty, too.


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