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.