As Make's blog post notes, there are all kinds of sites that tell you how to make your own baby wipes by cutting a roll of paper towels and saturating it with a homebrew of solution.
But when they give advice on the topic at all, most of those sites suggest using an electric kitchen knife to cut the paper towels in half.
Forget that. Bryan Horling has published step-by-step instructions for making your own baby wipes using a table saw.
Horling reasons, "Now, a box of 384 premade wipes costs around $10. A bulk package of 8 paper towel rolls costs around $5, and makes somewhere around 900 wipes. So the former runs around 2.6 cents per wipe, while the latter is about 0.6 cents per wipe. Plus you have the intangibles, like a personal feeling of accomplishment and the fact that you get to use the table saw."
While no one can argue with the intangibles, I do have to question two things: his recipe and his numbers. Those hi-falutin' store-bought wipes have things like aloe and lanolin, too, not just water, oil and soap. If you're gonna try this at home, search around for another, butt-friendlier recipe [there are a bunch on this Indiana home birth site, for example].
Now cost: We get the best wipes around at Costco, where a case of 576 wipes (6 packs of 96) costs around $17, or 2.9 cents/wipe. But an 8-pack of paper towels for $5? Where's that? Costco? If you can go to Costco for paper towels, you can go to Costco for wipes, especially when they're superior. And you can still cut all your paper towels in half on the table saw just for fun. It's win-win.
The paper towels I see are easily twice that much, which would raise the cost of homemade wipes from 0.6 cents to 1.2 before you start adding in the cost of that calendula oil, aloe gel, and tea tree oil your baby's butt deserves. [Of course, if you're a hippie, you may already have this stuff around the yurt. Good for you.] And anyway, if you live in a city, how're you supposed to move around giant fridge-sized packs of paper towels? And unless you throw a doily on top and call them a sidetable, where are you gonna put them? A single roll of Bounty costs two bucks at Duane Reade, so making 200 wipes at a time ends up costing the same as Costco's.
Conclusion: Making your own baby wipes is a lifestyle luxury, an indulgence available only to the country (i.e., suburban) gentleman.
[Update: Don't have a table saw? With the money you save making 25,000 wipes, you could buy yourself this fine DEWALT DW744S 10" Portable Table Saw, $499.99 at Amazon.]