Your Cart

Your Cart is Empty
  • Subtotal
  • Total (before taxes)
How to fold a prefold
December 20, 2010 6:01 am | by
Prepping Cloth Diapers

You can change the way that you fold pre-folds to adjust the fit and absorbency for your little one. Here are a few folds to get you started:

Newspaper Fold
This is the simplest of all diaper folds. Fold the diaper in thirds with the thick part in the middle, fold any excess length towards the back and lay in a self closing diaper cover.

Angel Wing Fold
Follow instructions for the Newspaper Fold. After laying the diaper in the cover, fold the back edges open like wings. You can secure these wings to the front of the diaper with a Snappi Diaper Fastener or diaper pins, although with the Econobum or other modern covers, this may not be necessary, depending on baby’s size.

Bikini Twist Fold
Lay the diaper flat, place the baby on the back of diaper, pull the diaper between baby’s legs, twist 180 degrees. Using the back wings of the diaper, if necessary, use a Snappi Diaper Fastener or diaper pins to secure the diaper closed.

Too Much Bulk Fold
This is a little harder to manage because it requires an extra step but if you’re having problems with the front of the diaper being too bulky you can try one of the two following solutions:

Using the Newspaper Fold, put the excess diaper length folded towards the back of the baby instead of the front. This will cut down on absorbency for a little boy but will reduce the amount of bulk in front.
Using the Angel Wing Fold, fold the diaper down a few inches in back BEFORE starting the instructions for the newspaper fold. This option was the most effective for us.

If you are a prefold and cover cloth diaper connoisseur, what is your favorite fold and why?

About the Author

Heather is mom to four, born within 40 months (single, twins, single). She writes transparently about her chaotic household to encourage others through the twists and turns of parenting.



  • Kate Rowan said...
    January 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    I use angelwing with a front foldover and a Snappi for my heavy wetter boy. They work great, and we love them!

  • anastasiadenton said...
    January 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    My fav fold when the diaper is big enough is the twist! On my older disabled child this was a godsend at night. Now that I’m doing the newspaper fold with my older children (I can explain it to them when they get to me the folding is done) my current babe is in a newspaper fold. Learning the “side ways” newspaper fold made my small prefolds last so much longer. It took 4 babes and econobum/flips to realize I could turn the dang things sideways, lol! My older children can’t figure out why people think their mom is “Weird” for using cloth. Seems simple to them, lol!

  • Natasha said...
    November 2, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    I use econobum on my 6 week old and love both the prefold and cover! I fold the extra in the back (helps contain ebf) then I jelly roll and snappi… you can youtube different folds to help with visuals.

  • Thorson's said...
    December 21, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    I have 4 econobum prefolds and 4 econobum covers (i think) and really like them. I use a fold I haven’t seen, but it’s like a less-bulk angel fold I guess. I wing out the back corners, then when I fold down the rise in front, but fold it down across the whole width of the prefold so that fold-down creates front wings. Then I snappi or just cover it.

  • Anna said...
    December 21, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    It depends on the day- I love the convenience of the bikini twist (no trifold), but sometimes that leaves too much down the leg, I mostly use the angel wing because I like the security of the snappi, but I’m finding as my baby is getting bigger that the newspaper with the flip or econobum cover is perfect! This is a great picture tutorial

  • Lindsey said...
    December 21, 2010 at 12:23 am

    I use the angel wing combined with the bikini twist. Really cuts back on the bulk and is super absorbent for my little girl.

  • kathrynteale said...
    December 21, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Newspaper for sure! I tried all of the other folds, assuming that they would be more absorbent than the newspaper and then I took a leap of faith…it’s newspaper all the way baby! I fold my Indian Prefold, layer with a homemade fleece liner, top it with my Flip cover and I am good to go! I do want to try the econobum prefolds though – I’ve heard that they are much more absorbent than IPs.

  • Carlie Madsen said...
    December 20, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Picture or video tutorial would be great. I seriously can’t imagine the bikini fold being comfortable. For my one prefold in my stash I use the newspaper fold; however, I would love to be persuaded to add more to my stash. 🙂

  • nicole said...
    December 20, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    maybe have pictures of how to for the folds? i get so confused… i’m too much of a visual person. :/

  • dannyscotland said...
    December 20, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    I just fold in thirds, I guess it’s the newspaper fold. However, I have found that in all diaper covers except Wonder Wraps (all that I’ve tried, that is), the diaper rides up in the back. Once I figured out that the thick elastic was helping hold the diaper in place, I knew I’d just have to get snappis if I wanted to use another style of cover.

  • Heather Aguilar said...
    December 20, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    I received an Econobum cover in my Black Friday package but no prefold so we have been using some hemp/bamboo inserts we had. I have always been a little confused on the folding of prefolds. Sounds like we might have to get some and experiment with the folds you described. Illustrations would have been helpful for prefold newbies.

  • ChristiH said...
    December 20, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I typically use the Angelwing fold, but without a snappi. My son had a bigger belly than most kids I guess, or my prefolds are too narrow. I just use the cover to hold in place. I did finally get a toddler snappi once he got older and will now sometimes do a bikini fold with the snappi and no cover. This is when he has a sore bottom and needs some airing out time. I watch him closely though since the snappi is exposed and don’t want it to come loose or snagged on something

  • noble4 said...
    December 20, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Thanks for the post this is very helpful. I got an econobum in a bf grab bag. I have not used the diaper yet but it is ready to use just waiting for Christmas morning to unwrap.

  • Amanda said...
    December 20, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    I use the angelwing fold on my newborn, but I’ve started opening the front of the diaper a little like the back in order to reach and use the Snappi. My toddler was just getting the newspaper fold and now that she (mostly) uses the potty, we use the old prefolds as doublers in her BG3.0s for bedtime.

  • Anonymous said...
    December 20, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    We had trouble fitting our son in EconoBum when we first started CDing (at 6 weeks old). Too bulky, and the extra bulk caused some blisters! This info would have been very helpful back then, though we now reserve the EconoBum stash for when the BumGenius diapers are being stripped.

    Pictures/diagrams would be helpful!!!!

    Also, do you have any pictures for properly fitting BumGenius? My husband and I are always at odds over which snaps (rise and waist) truly fit our baby!

  • samantha said...
    December 20, 2010 at 11:51 am

    i use the angel wing fold, but he wets so heavily that they don’t even last him through the night, maybe someone can give me some advice, but i find them to not be absorbent enough for my boy, so which of these folds do you think would be best for a heavy wetter???

  • meason98 said...
    December 20, 2010 at 11:46 am

    We use newspaper fold with our toddler boy, and usually a version of angel wing fold for our 7 month baby girl. If I do it with a “modern” cover I can still use infant prefolds on her b/c I don’t need to snappi them with the new covers. If I’m using pull up covers then I use regular size prefold and a snappi.

  • SoniaAndreia said...
    December 20, 2010 at 11:45 am

    i cant get prefolds right either. they end up sooooooooooo bulky in the front cause they are way too long for DS. but he doesnt fit the smaller size. maybe he will grow into them. i’m tempted to convert them to fitteds though…

  • K. said...
    December 20, 2010 at 11:43 am

    I started with a newspaper fold, because how easy is that? But I’ve had to change to the angel fold – it’s not difficult and keeps the mess from getting on the cover!

    I started cloth diapering with bG OS 3.0s and love them, but in a pinch have no problem using econobums + prefolds. I am quick to suggest or gift them to people who are cloth diapering on a budget. These days prefolds and covers are nothing like people expect! They are really SO easy to use!

  • Froggzy said...
    December 20, 2010 at 11:40 am

    I use the Angel Wing Fold with a Snappi. I have multiple covers, but that is the fold I always use. Usually I put a little fold in the back and fold it over a little in the front to so that way I don’t have lots of bulk in one place or the other. It works really well for us!

  • liz said...
    December 20, 2010 at 11:39 am

    I must have an oddly-shaped baby ’cause I can’t get any PFs to fit him right when I try to snappi them. 🙁 Even the Econobum PF is too narrow to wrap around and snappi. But it is very easy to trifold and just stick in the cover!

  • Mrs. Haid said...
    December 20, 2010 at 11:30 am

    I really like the size and shape of Econobum prefolds! They are great for babies who are too large for the infant sized prefolds but too small for the baby sized prefolds! I don’t think I will use them for a newborn because I think the infant size is perfect for small and medium covers, but for my 18 month old, they are wonderful! I might even cut down the sizes of the baby prefolds we have now using the Econobum as a cover!

    We usually use a trifolded prefold, with it fanned out in the back to capture any stool. We haven’t needed the snappy since he was exclusively breast fed, but that device did help to keep every poo in the diaper!