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Ideas On How To Get Free Craft Materials From Your Old Clothing

Updated on September 14, 2012

Ever loved a top just because it’s got pretty buttons on or a funky coloured zip? Well I have and I’m no stranger to knowing how pain-staking it is to throw away that item because I’ve somehow ruined it, especially as I probably begrudged how much I spent on it in the first place.

I blame it on money being tight; friends blame it on me being tight. Wait until they discover where half my crafting collection comes from!

Below you’ll find some great tips on getting the most from your old clothing, whether you are looking to bump up your own craft supplies or the kids craft box.


For me this is the most offending item a piece of clothing can possibly have attached to it. If you’ve ever been out on a date and had your partner point out that you have some stringy thing hanging out from underneath your arm pit then you’ll probably understand why. It’s like it has an entire mind of its own, you tuck it in and before you know it, it has wriggled its way out like it knows it has a job to do and it’s hunting around for the nearest coat hanger to grab hold of.

This can often be found under the arms on vest tops or under the shoulders on other tops. At first I use to snip off the offending part and throw it away, until I realised most of the time that stringy thing is actually made of ribbon.

Now I’ve found the perfect use for it and it goes straight into my craft collection. It’s great for making little bows out of or for using as an extra special touch to a gift tag.


Some clothes and handbags have gorgeous beading on which can be re-used to make bracelets, necklaces and earrings. They can also be used to decorate photo frames, boxes and all kinds of other projects.

Sometimes the beads have been sewn on with one piece of string and they’ll all come off with a single snip at the cotton, other times it takes a bit longer and you have to snip them off individually.

It’s a good idea to do this over a large bowl, that way you’ll spend far less time hunting around the room for where they have pinged off too.


Again find the cotton that is holding the sequins on and give it a snip over the top of a large bowl.

My favourite thing to make using sequins is a mask, either for display or for the kids to play dress up with. Plain black sequins are ideal for Halloween masks.

Vintage and Floral Materials

Vintage and floral designs are the height of fashion at the moment. Cut into shapes as needed at the time and use them as scrapbooking and card backgrounds. It is also great for gift box covering or to patch up other clothing to give it a bit of uniqueness. Use as a background in a photo frame or even use to cover the actual frame.


Buttons are probably the most commonly found objects on clothing so you can expect to save up quite a few of these in all shapes, sizes, colours and designs. Buttons look cute when sewn onto cushions or attached to your card making and scrapbooking projects.

As well as your clothing, you can often find buttons on bedspreads so be sure to check them too before you throw them away.


You’ll probably need to use a Craft or Stanley blade to remove lace from your clothing.

It can be a bit fiddly to separate but if you have the patience then it makes a great addition when you want to spruce up an old lampshade, sew behind the hole in a pair of ripped jeans or used as a small pleated skirt on a teddy or dolly style handmade card.


If you can remove zips carefully then they can have many great fun things you can reuse them for such as purse making, doll clothes, mini bean bags, pencil cases and handbags.


I rarely seem to have any clothes with gems on so when I do and it’s ruined, my mind buzzes with what I can do with my new collected gems. The big round or square ones are great for sprucing up a pair of dull looking shoes The smaller ones are handy for attaching to hair slides for a bit of extra sparkling glamour, to handbags, cards and plenty more.

White Cotton Dusters

This one isn’t particularly a craft idea as such but I like to save some of the material from white 100% cotton tops because it is great for cleaning off finger prints from metal or similar types of embellishments. Unlike ordinary dusters it doesn’t leave little bits of fluffy yellow stuff behind.

It’s also ideal for cleaning your white painted craft projects or even your white furniture too, as yellow dusters can sometimes stain your finished masterpiece.


These can be found on shoes, trousers, jackets, handbags and lots more.

They make an interesting twist to any card making project with a bit of ribbon running through it.

Kids Section

If you’re a kid reading this:

  • Please make sure you have adult supervision before using any scissors or blades
  • Please, please ask parental or guardian permission before chopping up any of your clothes or theirs

Thanks! :-)

Not Into Crafting?

If crafting isn’t much for you, then why not consider saving up the items from your old clothing anyway and see if a keen crafter elsewhere can turn your old stuff into something new and amazing.

You might have a friend or family member that will welcome the craft items with open arms, if not then how about seeing if you can get a bit of money back on them by selling them at a boot sale or on eBay etc.

Just remember to be honest and mention that they are previously used items and although not necessarily, but possible they may show some imperfections.


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    • Victoria Stephens profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Stephens 

      5 years ago from London

      Hi Rogene Robbins, it is a shame to see such good usable products go in the bin.x

    • profile image

      Rogene Robbins 

      5 years ago

      Glad to know I'm not alone in salvaging every usable bit from old clothing.

    • Victoria Stephens profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Stephens 

      5 years ago from London

      Hi kashmir56,

      Thank you as always for your time in having a read. I've got a wonderful collection of craft materials since collecting items from old clothing. Everybody loves free stuff!

      Enjoy your weekend too, best wishes.x

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Victoria great hub, theses are all great ideas to get the craft supplies from old clothing and also a great way to recycle these things you no longer wear or use.

      Vote up and more !!!

      Have a great weekend my friend !

    • Victoria Stephens profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Stephens 

      5 years ago from London

      Hi pamela99,

      Glad you have found some useful tips here, happy crafting and thank you for having a look.x

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 years ago from United States

      You have some great ideas that will work beautiful for crafting and it is recycling at its best. Thanks for the new ideas to use all these little things I have stored away.

    • Victoria Stephens profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Stephens 

      5 years ago from London

      Hi RTalloni,

      Thanks for stopping by and having a look, crafting can be so much fun and relaxing at the same time. I really hate to throw anything away so I'm always quite satisfied if I can still keep part of it to reuse on something else.

      Take care.x

    • Victoria Stephens profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Stephens 

      5 years ago from London

      Hi Kate Mc Bride, Nice to hear from you.

      We throw away a crazy amount of stuff only to go and buy it again but in nice new packaging. I adore making old things new so I am always on the look out for things to make, things to save and things to recycle.

      Best wishes and thank you for taking the time out to leave a comment.x

    • Kate Mc Bride profile image

      Kate McBride 

      5 years ago from Donegal Ireland

      This is recycling at it's best. There are some great,innovative ideas in this hub.Thanks for sharing them :-)

    • RTalloni profile image


      5 years ago from the short journey

      Your ideas for repurposing items from clothing and accessories to use as craft materials are super!


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