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Sunday Video: DIY Emergency Tampons

All you need is TP and a little know-how.

I never had a regular period as a teenager. No matter how diligently I counted days and marked calendars, getting it was just a monthly roll of the dice. Middle of study hall? Drum corps practice? At the movies? Yep. And no matter what, it happened when I was least prepared. Finding a tampon in a strip-mall multiplex is about as easy as finding a needle in a haystack. But I am nothing if not crafty, so I devised a way to prevent myself from bleeding all over the place until I could get home or find a friend or a store: DIY TAMPONS. Do it yourself! You are woman, hear you roar!

It’s not ideal, but it works, and I’m going to show you how. First, some warnings:

  • I am not a medical professional. Above all, you need to be safe. If you are unsure about this at ALL, please do not try it. Every single body is different, and this might not be for you.
  • I mention this in the video, but if you’ve never used tampons before, do not attempt the DIY version. It’s not terrible or traumatic or anything. It’s just probably not for beginners, either.
  • Seriously, a DIY tampon should only be used TEMPORARILY on your way to getting legit period-related products. Like, for as little time as possible. Definitely less than an hour.
  • When you make your own DIY tampon, chances are it won’t be as thick as the ones I make in the video. (The kind of toilet paper you’ll usually find in public bathrooms—where you’ll most likely be when you need to rely on this technique—is so thin it’s practically transparent.)

What you’ll need:

  • Toilet paper
  • A strong resolve

Ill-prepared sisters, this one’s for you.


  • lauren katz March 24th, 2013 12:37 PM

    this is a really great tutorial. You are really great at describing things, so they’re very easy to follow along and understand.

    One question: since there’s no string, will it be hard to remove? is it possible that it can be shoved up too high and tough to remove?


    • Danielle March 24th, 2013 1:35 PM

      You shouldn’t be shoving it up very far, so it’s not hard to remove; you can sort of reach your fingers around the outside, instead of pulling from the middle like you would with a tampon. But you should also leave a little bit hanging out, just in case.

  • Tourdivoire March 24th, 2013 12:46 PM

    This is so cool and going to be very useful!
    Unrelated: Danielle, I loooove your hair

  • Elan Morgan March 24th, 2013 12:47 PM

    I always knew that you were brilliant, Danielle, but this just cements it.

  • Mary the freak March 24th, 2013 12:56 PM

    You saved my life. thankyou thankyou thankyou SO MUCH.


  • rennie March 24th, 2013 1:23 PM

    i love that this is under “fun”. :P

  • MabelEnchanted March 24th, 2013 2:11 PM

    You have know idea how many times I’ve been in a public toilet without a tampon. (I probably should’ve learnt by now) This tutorial is a life-saver! THANK YOU.


  • periwinkle_dreams March 24th, 2013 2:54 PM

    this is amazing. I like the last one the best (paper airplane style) and am totally gonna memorize that for future use in case of emergency!

  • poetess March 24th, 2013 9:19 PM

    Danielle is cool.

  • hanalady March 24th, 2013 10:37 PM

    This is super helpful! I also just adore Rookie. Y’all are not concerned about being politically correct or about having articles about “normal” topics, you are just putting out whatever you think your audience would find it useful to read, and I love that.

  • Elizabeth Lemon March 24th, 2013 10:47 PM

    I feel like this video should be called, “Origami you can shove up your vagina”.

  • Jen L. March 24th, 2013 11:37 PM

    I can’t even imagine a scenario in which I could possibly love Rookie more than I already do.

    Thanks Danielle :)

  • chilimuffin March 25th, 2013 5:14 AM

    Hm, I don’t know :/ Doesn’t the toilet paper dissolve and then get stuck inside you?

    • Danielle March 26th, 2013 12:09 AM

      It will if you leave it in too long, so definitely don’t use this for more than an hour. Plus, folding it up helps it to become more, uh, structurally sound? So it still disintegrates, but not super quick.

  • Lucy Bailey March 25th, 2013 5:53 PM

    very helpful ;)


  • Antionette March 26th, 2013 5:54 PM

    Holy Crap. This is my gender and women’s studies TA. I thought she was cool, but oh my goodness I had no idea.

  • Kathrin Franz March 27th, 2013 7:34 PM

    Mooncups for the win.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menstrual_cup)

    i dont use tampons anymore- i dont need them. here (germany) you get one for 15€ and I think you can use it at least 5 years. So there is soo much money & so much cotton saved (which needs a helluvalot water to be grown and gah, i dont want to start with pesticides either..)
    And all the very ickiy chemicals wich are uses to bleacjh a product which will stay inside you body and wont look appealing after you took it out of your body. so you might take in some of the bleaching chemicals.. (and this process of bleaching the tampons also needs much water and releases a lot of toxic water.. )
    so i save my money and i save tons of rubbish.
    and after i am done i boil it 2 minutes in water and dry it and take it with me. some producers sell disinfectant specially for these things- but i only used hot water to rinse it and put it in and then boiled it after the week.

    for girls which are interested to try its kind of strange and the thing looks very big, i needed to figure out how to apply this right (a good tube of water based lube helps) and i wore pads the first time because i was unsure whether or not all sits right (i have nice cotton pads which are not bleached and made out of organic cotton-but after using them they are also waste so i thought about sewing me my own pads and boiling them after use.
    me thinks the hardest part is battling the taboo of this bodyfluid. seeing & touching
    the germs are my own(did you new that tthere are 10^6 to 10^9 bacteria in one ml of this bodyfluid? but they are the good o