We all have a few of them we never wear. T-shirts that is. They sit folded at the bottom of our drawer, or hanging in the closet neglected. Some even find their way into a moving box and never get unpacked. Even though they’re the wrong size, or not quite your style, wouldn’t it be great to make use of them somehow?
I’m a huge fan of upcycling. Creating new from old. Saving money at the same time! I feel good when I can repurpose something because it means it’s no longer clutter, and it’s not finding its way into a landfill.
So what are some things you can do with those old t-shirts?
Maybe you just wish the XL t-shirt you got at the last Eric Church concert fit you (why do they always sell out of small and medium so fast!?). If you’re handy with a sewing machine, just resize it, and turn it into something you’ll actually enjoy wearing. Here’s a really easy way to re-size.
2. Make a pencil skirt.
Image via Pexels
You’ve got lots of t-shirts, and want to transform some into different attire while still displaying the logo. Making a pencil skirt is relatively simple, and you can still proudly display your Pink Floyd logo. Here are two tutorials for slightly different styles:
3. Weave a rag-rug.
T-shirts that are old, frayed or stained can still be turned into something! I’m working on a rag-rug right now for our kitchen. I used a combination of old t-shirts and pillowcases. The only trick is to make sure you use the same type of material for all your yarn.
There are two ways to make one: braiding or crocheting. If you know how to crochet, that way is easier, but if you’re like me and don’t care to (or have time to) learn, just braid all your stands, then stitch them together into your rug shape. See these tutorials for reference:
4. Dog and cat toys.
Images by Jessica Lutz
Do you have some loveable furballs in your home? Why not treat them to a new toy! My good friend Jessica created a great picture tutorial for a DIY dog toy. Check this out!
Gather your materials. You will need 4 t-shirts, a pair of scissors and a good working surface.
Cut your t-shirt into horizontal stripes as shown, approximately 2 inches wide.
Allow your cat some time to play in the material.
Once you’ve cut all your t-shirts, organise the strips on your working surface. Tip: I found it easier to work with a smaller length of strips rather than stitching like colours together to make one long strand. When you need to add more strips, just quickly stitch a strip to the end of the matching colour.
Take your four colours and tie together at one end.
Open up your strands as shown, and proceed with using a box stitch to weave the strands together. If you’re unsure how this should look, check out the wikihow box-stitch link here.
When it’s as long as you would like, tie off the end and trim any remaining strands. Voila! You have your very own homemade dog toy.
5. Use as material.
Image via kaboompics
I enjoy making little things like baby bandana bibs that don’t need a whole lot of material. Why not use some of your t-shirts as material for your sewing projects? With the price of material nowadays, it’s a very cost-effective option.
6. Make a scarf.
Image via freestocks.org
If you’re anything like me, you love your scarves. The perfect accessory to any outfit. I’ve come across several t-shirt scarf tutorials, all of which I love because the finished products are so different. Which style is your favourite?
No-sew fringe scarf (easy)
7. T-shirt teddy.
8. Patchwork quilt.
Look at all of the great logo t-shirts in this photo. Wouldn’t it be great to turn all of these logos into a quilt where you can proudly display them all at once? Maybe you want a couple of quilts or patchwork pillows that follow a theme: rock band tees, souvenir travel tees, superhero tees, you name it!
9. Make a Purse.
This one is fun to do with kids and teens. I did this for our craft night once at the teen centre and it was a hit. The girls loved creating and decorating their own totes. What’s great about this craft is that it is no sew! All you need are a pair of scissors. Get some embellishments like rhinestones and some fabric markers and watch the creativity flow! Check out this tutorial from Mommypotamus.
10. Hair accessories.
I’m always wearing headbands. I hate having my hair in my face. So I love this idea of creating chic and stylish headbands out of old t-shirts. This tutorial from Mariko Giverink at SheKnows shows you how to make three different styles of headband. I’m not much of a sewer, but these patterns are really simple. Enjoy!
11. Weave a basket
How cool is it to be able to custom make your own baskets? Store the kids toys, your mitts and scarves, your laundry, and anything else you can think of using this cute design. Credit to Jessyratfink at Instructables.com for this tutorial on how to make your own braided t-shirt basket.
There you have it! No more unused t-shirts taking up space – now go get creative and turn them into something beautiful! Send me photos of your creations and I will share them on the site!
What are some of your favourite ways to upcycle old t-shirts? Let me know in the comments section below!