Terry Squares & Prefold Nappies

25 CommentsSaturday, 25 April 2015

Terry squares and prefolds are a traditonal and very economical choice.  We've put together a massive selection of guides for folding nappies in varying styles and included step-by-step instructions to help show you how easy it can be to find the right fold for your baby. Many of our guides also come with pictures and videos to help you through the process.

The Jo Fold for Terry Squares and Muslins

This one enables you to put even the thickest 60cm Terry on a newborn child without adding too much bulk (because it spreads it so evenly). So it's an ideal fold when you only want to buy one size of flat Terry. It also works fantastically with Muslins instead of Terries.

  1. Fold all four points to the centre (or beyond for a smaller nappy, or not as far as the centre for a larger one).
  2. Fold each side over one third.
  3. Fan out the top of the nappy, holding where indicated in diagram 3.
Jofold for Terry Squares

Terry Square Bat, Chinese or Butterfly

Good for newborns. Small yet all encompassing, helps to contain runny poo. Very absorbent.

  1. Fold Terry into quarters, have corners at the top left.
  2. Using your left hand, hold down the bottom three corners.
  3. With your right hand, pull the top corner out to the side.
  4. Without disturbing the folds, turn the whole nappy over.
  5. Fold one third of the square part in. The distance remaining should be half of the amount folded.
  6. Turn nappy around so the bottom of the triangle goes between your baby's legs.

This fold can be enlarged to fit an older child - support the bottom waist edge of the nappy with one hand, using the other hand pull the rectangular pad sharply down to increase overall back to front length.

Terry Bat Fold

Terry Square Kite Fold

Quite a large fold, more bulky round the legs. Limited absorbency, but good to use to support a pad for overnight use. When on, tuck Terry in underneath the legs to provide better containment and a neater fit.

  1. Lay the Terry flat, and imagine a diagonal line running from the top left to the bottom right corner.
  2. Fold the bottom left and top right corners in to meet your imaginary line.
  3. Fold the top left corner down towards the bottom right.
  4. Fold the bottom right corner up as far as needed, adjust to suit your baby's size.
Terry Kite Fold

Terry Square Poo Catcher

Does what it says! Good for pre-weaning babies.

  1. Lay the Terry flat in front of you and fold down approximately 1/4 along the back end.
  2. Fold in 1/3 from the left and then 1/3 in from the right.
  3. Holding this pad lightly about halfway down on the left, fold out the right flap and do the same for the left flap underneath.
  4. Fold up the front end as much as required for your baby's size.

Terry Square Neat Fold

Essentially the same as the kite, just folded in a different order.

  1. Lay the Terry flat, so that a corner is nearest to you.
  2. Fold the top and bottom corners toward the centre. How far you fold depends on the size of the nappy required.
  3. Fold the right and left corners in to meet at the middle of the waistband (uppermost) edge.
Neat Fold

Terry Square Gaynors Fold For Girls

As this gives a very trim fit around the legs and upper thighs, it is probably better for a girl than a boy.

  1. Place the nappy in front of you.
  2. Bring the top corner down to the bottom corner and then overlap by about four inches.
  3. Take the bottom corner (a) back up, folding nappy at (b) (other dotted line is underneath).
  4. Fold (c) over to (d) to give a triangle with a bit sticking out.
  5. X is a pad of six thicknesses and I tuck the ends (y) in to make it tidier.
  6. Put your baby’s bottom on (x) with legs astride (y), bring (y) up between legs and bring corners (z) around waist to pin.

Thanks to Gaynor for passing this on to us.

Terry Girl Fold


Terry Square V Fold

Very simple, and you end up with what looks like a 'V' shape, hence the name.

  1. Fold three sides to the centre.
  2. Fold the top down to overlap the centre.
  3. Fold the bottom corners as shown in diagrams 3 and 4.
Terry Envelope

The Ro Fold for Boys

Very neat and high-cut round the legs and as such fits under a tots bots wrap. There are a lot of layers at the front so it is good for a boy.

  1. Fold the Terry square in half along the diagonal.
  2. Fold the long edge over (about 1 1/2 inches).
  3. Put in a liner and put the baby on the triangle.
  4. Fold the two "wings" so they point up towards baby's head.
  5. Fold the extremities of the points under and down - it now looks something like a wolf's head.
  6. Fold up one layer of the nappy in between your baby's legs.
  7. Fold in the two side pieces and overlap the points, which are now pointing downwards.
  8. Fold the outer single layer up between the legs to cover the points up and fasten with a nippa.
  9. Tuck in the excess fabric round the legs for a snug fit, to improve containment and make it fit under a Tots Bots wrap.

Many thanks to Rosemary, who devised and passed on this fold to us.

She says: "My 4 month old son is a heavy wetter and a frequent runny poo-er (breast fed) and I was having trouble with both the Jo-fold and the corner fold and poo catcher for containment. I invented this one recently and so far it is easy to put on, requires not much pre-folding and has kept everything in."

The Twist Fold

This is a very quick and easy fold, especially suitable if your child has a sore bottom which needs to be aired, wearing it without a wrap on top. Suitable for an older toddler, if they are quite reliable about pooing on the toilet or potty, as this fold won`t offer much in the way of containment. If it`s too long in the crotch, simply fold down the end towards you, before folding across in half.

  1. Fold the nappy in half.
  2. Twist the rectangle across the middle.
Twist Fold

The Triangle Fold

The largest and least absorbent of Terry folds. Could be used to support a pad for night time use.

  1. Fold the nappy in half, making a triangle.
  2. When the centre point is between your baby’s legs, and sides brought round to fasten, you can tuck in under the legs, to reduce bulk and improve containment.
Triangle Fold

Lindsey's Newborn Fold

Ideal for use on newborns, especially boys, as the padding is at the front. Works best with a muslin containing a booster pad rather than a terry, which is a bit bulky. Actually, a decent muslin provides reasonable absorbency on its own for a newborn anyway, if being changed frequently. Provides a dip at the front around the healing navel area.

  1. Fold a Muslin into a triangle.
  2. Fold this triangle into a smaller triangle and turn so that long edge is away from you. Add a booster in the middle at this stage, lined up against the straight edge.
  3. Bring up the front point of the nappy, containing the booster up between your baby’s legs.
  4. Bring both sides over the front.
  5. Fold down the side points to provide extra thickness at the front.
  6. Pin or nappi nippa through the muslin only (not the booster).
  7. Tuck excess fabric up at the legs to improve containment.
Lindseys Newborn Fold

The Corners Fold

This is effectively a variation of Lindsey's newborn fold and also works well with either Muslins or Terries. It's a snug fit which offers good containment.

  1. Fold two sides in to form a square (the amount of these first two folds is determined by the size of the baby - more for a smaller baby, less for a larger baby).
  2. Fold the thickest corner over to make a triangle.
  3. Place baby on the triangle and bring up corner 1.
  4. Follow diagrams 5 and 6, tucking corners 2 and 3 between your baby's legs.
  5. Bring up corner 4 and fasten together with flaps 2 and 3 as per diagram 7, leaving corner 1 between fastener and your baby's skin.
Terry Corners

Maria's Fold for Boys

Because this fold starts with a flat edge at the back, it doesn’t waste fabric where it’s not needed. It has 6 or 8 layers of terry at the front but only 1 or 2 at the back. So maybe not recommended if your boy does runny poos, but otherwise it’s a winner. Despite its thickness at the front, this fold gives a really neat nappy with a fantastic fit if your boy has a fat tummy, you can keep the nappy short in the rise and fasten it under his tum. With the legs rolled in well I think it’s slimmer.

Maria wrote: "I liked the idea of using Terry squares but could never find a fold I was happy with. Most folds seemed to be designed with girls in mind, with all the thickness in the middle or at the back, while the folds with any sort of thickness at the front just didn't seem to provide a snug fit. So I dug out my old origami books and had a go at designing my own fold. I won’t deny that it’s a bit tricky (no one is going to call this a convenient fold!) but it works so well I just have to share it."

  1. Lay out the nappy with one of the flat edges (ie. not a corner) towards you.
  2. Fold along line AB: this is a line running from point A (the centre of the edge nearest you) to point B (3 or 4 inches from the top left hand corner).
  3. Adjust for a bigger baby by taking point B closer to the top LH corner, and for a smaller baby by taking it closer to the centre of the top edge.
  4. Now fold the top layer back along the midline of the nappy, as shown.
  5. Repeat on the other side till you have a fishy shape.
  6. Fold the bottom corner of the nappy up. Adjust the rise by folding more of the nappy up, giving a shorter nappy for a small baby, or by folding less of it up to give a longer nappy for a bigger baby.
  7. The flaps at the front can be left sticking out and folded round the baby.
  8. But I prefer to fold them in towards the centre to get even more absorbency at the front. Tidy the nappy up by tucking the top ears backwards between the two layers at the top.

And there you have it: very similar to the kite fold in shape, but with only 1 or 2 layers of fabric at the back, and 6 or 8 layers at the front, just where your boy needs it. For best results, fasten with a Nippa and roll the legs in just before you fasten it. If when you come to fasten the nappy you find you’ve made it a bit too narrow at the back, no need to fold the whole thing again - you can simply ease a little more fabric out of the folds at the top corners when you’re doing it up.


Maybe not the simplest of folds, but Maria gets full marks for ingenuity, and an honorary degree in origami!

Terry Square Pad Fold

Good for older babies (4-5 months plus) used inside any velcro-fastening gusseted nappies. Very absorbent, yet neat - no excess fabric over baby`s hips. Excellent inside another shape folded terry as a mighty booster for an overnight nappy. May suit a boy best, as thicker fold is at one end.

  1. Fold over the top 1/3 (along a horizontal line).
  2. Fold the nappy (along the vertical line) into quarters or thirds depending on the width of nappy required.

Prefold Basic Angel Wing Fold

This fold can be used with either newborn or toddler-size prefolds. It gives excellent absorbency and a trim fit.

  1. Fold the sides of the prefold across the centre panel to form a pad.
  2. Fold a small portion of the prefold up in the front.
  3. Unfold the sides at the back of the prefold to form two wings.
  4. Place the prefold under the baby. Bring the front of the prefold up between the baby's legs.
  5. Bring the two wings around from the back and pin. Be sure to push the pin through only a few layers of fabric. It is not necessary to push the pin through all the layers of cotton.
Nappy Instructions

Double Angel Wing For Prefolds

Follow the same instructions used in the Basic Angel Wing, but stack two nappies for the Double Angel Wing fold. Big bum alert!

Navel Defence For Prefolds

Use this variation if you want to avoid the nappy covering baby`s healing navel. Because newborn-size nappies are so flexible, they can be folded lower at the front to achieve this.

  1. Fold the sides of the prefold across the centre panel to form a pad.
  2. Fold a small portion of the prefold up in the front.
  3. Unfold the sides at the back of the prefold to form two wings.
  4. Place the prefold under the baby. Bring the front of the prefold up between the baby's legs but do not fold it all the way up to the back of the nappy.
  5. Bring the two wings around from the back and pin. You will have a noticeable dip in front that comes well below the healing navel. When the baby's navel has healed, change to the Angel Wing fold.
Nappy Instructions

Prefold Bikini Twist Fold

If your baby has heavy thighs, this fold works like magic to give a high cut leg opening. You will have extra absorbency, too. Not really for a pre-weaning baby, but excellent for a toddler.

  1. Start with a toddler-size prefold.
  2. (For a boy) Fold a couple of inches of the prefold to the underside (B-C end). This will provides extra padding at the front.
  3. Turn the prefold all the way over at its midpoint (ie the fold ends up on top, so that it is inside when the prefold is pinned).
  4. Place the prefold under the baby.
  5. Bring the front of the prefold (corners B and C) up between the baby's legs.
  6. Tuck in B and C.
  7. Bring A and D around from the back and pin.

Night Time Double For Prefolds

For maximum absorbency, this nappy fold gives 12 layers of cloth in the centre, but it is still easy to pin and it fits snug and trim. As the baby sleeping through the night is assumed to be at least 3 months old, the larger size prefolds are appropriate. However, smaller ones can also be used for a younger baby.

  1. Stack two prefolds.
  2. Fold the sides of the top prefold in to form a pad.
  3. Fold the sides of the bottom prefold over the pad.
  4. Fold a small portion of the stack up in front.
  5. Unfold the sides of the bottom prefold in the back to form two wings.
  6. Place the prefold under the baby. Bring the front of the prefold up between the baby's legs.
  7. Bring the wings around from the back and pin. Because the wings are from the bottom prefold only, you will be pinning only one layer of cloth to the front of the nappy.

DayTime Double For Prefolds

Rather than double prefolds, use booster pads for extra absorbency during the day. They`re not as bulky as double prefolds for night time wear and they allow your baby to move freely and comfortably. Instructions are basically the same as for the night time double, so no diagram is shown.

  1. Start with a regular prefold.
  2. Place the booster pad in the centre of the prefold.
  3. Fold the sides of the bottom prefold over the booster pad.
  4. Fold a small portion of the prefold and booster pad up in front.
  5. Unfold the sides of the bottom prefold in the back to form two wings.
  6. Place the prefold under the baby. Bring the front of the prefold up between the baby's legs.
  7. Bring the wings around from the back and pin. Because the wings are from the bottom prefold only, you will be pinning only one layer of cloth to the front of the nappy.

Boy Fold For Prefold Without Nappi Nippas

Because of the first step, it retains its its fanned and folded shape well. As it provides the bulk at the front, it is especially good on boys.

  1. Lie prefold in front of you with centre panel in the middle.
  2. Fold over around 2" towards you.
  3. Fold over the left hand panel of the prefold towards the right hand side.
  4. Fold over the right hand panel of the prefold towards the left hand side and tuck into the opposite fold. This keeps the pad folded shape secure.
  5. Fan the edges so that there is a larger area of prefold under baby's bottom. Turn the whole thing over, place into wrap, tucked under the front flap (if using a Rikki), and place a liner on top.

Girl Fold For Prefolds Without Nappi Nippas

The standard way of folding a prefold into a wrap designed for this type of nappy. This gives a thicker section in between the legs, and so is especially suitable for girls. Folding a prefold this way means that there is no fanning of the prefold under the bottom area (because nothing to fold the front in place as you spread the back), so is probably better kept for heavier wetting girls, and use the boy fold for better bottom comfort with average wetters.

  1. Have the thicker section running from left to right and then fold it into thirds. That's it!

Tie On Nappies

  1. Fold top and front over to correct size for baby. Fold the nappy in half, add an absorbent liner and a one way liner (if used).
  2. Bring liner up between legs and fold wings around waist.
  3. Bring front of nappy up between legs.
  4. Take ties around baby's back by lifting his/her bottom.
  5. Bring ties back to the front.
  6. Tie in a bow at the front.
  7. Tuck in around legs to make a barrier for solids.

Anna Fosbery
Tuesday, 7 March 2017  |  8:02

Hi, I like using terries, but finding it so different with my new son than with my daughter! Would you be able to upload videos demonstrating the Ro fold & Maria's fold &a any others further down the list that are useful for boys please? Thanks

Saturday, 31 October 2020  |  10:50

Did anyone manage to do this? I am struggling to follow the instructions without knowing how it's meant to look but need a better and more absorbant fold for my son.

Monday, 13 March 2017  |  14:29

On our list of videos to do.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018  |  9:15

Hiya, might be a silly question but can you use any of the wraps with terrys? And can you use a liner with any of the folding techniques? Thanks so much.

Friday, 24 August 2018  |  14:03

Hi Meg, Yes you can use a liner with all the different folds. The best wrap for terry squares remains the Motherease airflow as it's a lovely deep wrap and will cover all folds.

Samantha Mathieson
Monday, 26 November 2018  |  17:33


I've got some bambino mio prefolds, am I able to do some of these more complicated folds instead of the basic fold in the video on the bambino mio prefolds page? I've inherited these from a friend and I'm now concerned about containment!
I'm not due until the end of January but want to get some practise in beforehand.

Many thanks,


Thursday, 23 May 2019  |  18:27

They won't fold like a terry does but depending on size you can do any of the prefold folds.

Amanda Sykes
Sunday, 27 January 2019  |  12:03

Hi. Iím loving using Muslins (currently in a Jo Fold) with a wool cover for my small 2 week old. I am now wondering what I should be thinking about moving on to or what to add when she gets a little bigger. Many thanks.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019  |  19:05

If you love muslins then terries are ideal to move onto as they are the same but bigger

Hannah W
Thursday, 17 September 2020  |  8:58

How many muslin cloths and wraps would you recommend for a newborn?

Thursday, 26 November 2020  |  15:27

We recommend 24 muslins and 6 wraps for a newborn

Clara Atkins
Thursday, 22 October 2020  |  12:12

Okay, these might be silly questions: do you need to use a wrap if youíre using Terry squares? Also, whatís the difference between using a muslin vs a Terry square? And are we talking normal muslins or ones specifically for use as nappies?!

Thursday, 26 November 2020  |  15:29

Yes you do need a wrap. The terry square is the absorbent part and it needs a waterproof layer to keep the moisture in. Muslins are thinner and best suited for newborns. A terry square is very bulky on a tiny baby. You can use any muslins but the ones we sell are a lot thicker and more absorbent than those found on the highstreet.

Sue Paulding
Friday, 30 October 2020  |  15:37

please can you recommend which plastic pants fit over terry nappies?

Thursday, 26 November 2020  |  15:31

Most of the wraps we sell will fit over a terry square. Popular choices include Airflow, Catcher & Bambinex wraps.

Vikki Daw
Wednesday, 25 November 2020  |  19:15

Does it matter if the liner is thicker than the folded terry or muslin? Iíve got the bright bots ones and bambinex fleece liners. When used on my little girl they look quite wide. Sheís now 8 days old and 7lb. Have been using the Jo fold and am also going to try the kite and bat ones. Thanks - any advice/recommendations gratefully received.

Thursday, 26 November 2020  |  15:33

You can fold the liner to the width of the nappy.

Thursday, 26 November 2020  |  23:44

Is there a diagram or a video for the Ro fold? Struggling to get my head around the fold from the description

Tuesday, 5 January 2021  |  14:56

I'm sorry but we don't yet have one

Kitty Purcell
Friday, 15 January 2021  |  8:38

There's so many fold options to choose from! I don't want to overwhelm my husband by trying to teach him more than 1 or 2. Is it best just to start with the simple ones eg Jo or Bat and if we find we need more absorbancy then trying a different fold at that time?

Saturday, 16 January 2021  |  18:32

Yes that's a very good idea. Just start with one and change if you feel the need to.

Wednesday, 3 February 2021  |  20:04

Hi, thank you for this page, it's very helpful. I'm trying out tried for the first time on my 11 week old. He's long but slim. I tried the bat fold and I couldn't get his babygrow on! Should I be using muslins at this stage? Could I use a muslin with a booster, if so, which type? Most of my muslins are 60x60 but I have some that are bigger. What might work best?

Monday, 8 February 2021  |  7:31

Hi Lisa, it depends on your baby's weight. Up until 12lbs we find muslins better as they are slimmer. Around this time most people swap over to terries as they need the higher absorbency but at the lower end of the weight range the nappy is bulkier. Varying the fold can make a difference. Or if you don't need the absorbency then you could use muslins.

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