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Fun T-SHIRT Crafts! Recycling | Fashion | Sewing

Updated on February 16, 2016
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How to Recycle T-shirts Into Something More Awesome!

Have you got lots of old t-shirts hanging around in your wardrobe and you don't know what to do with them? Then browse through the 100+ ideas below where there is a recycling project suited to everyone, whether you are a beginner or a professional sewer!

Some of the shirt crafts have instructions for how to refashion and embellish your existing t-shirts into something updated and fresh, whilst others have step-by-step sewing tutorials for making a completely different item like a quilt, a wreath, a cushion, a rug, a beanbag, a scarf or so much more!

The possibilities are pretty much endless because essentially t-shirts are just jersey fabric, and that in itself is super versatile. From printing your own designs on the front of a t-shirt, to adding ruffles and frills, or making your concert shirts into a lasting memento - whatever you can think of I'm sure there is a DIY for you to try.

I hope you find this lens fun and useful :-)

T-Shirt Potholders

t-shirt-woven-potholders
t-shirt-woven-potholders

You can buy 'potholder looms' especially for weaving your own potholders like these ones - Click here for more info.

Photo and potholders by Roses & Pearls.

99 Ways to Convert a T-shirt

99 Ways to Cut, Sew, Trim, and Tie Your T-Shirt into Something Special
99 Ways to Cut, Sew, Trim, and Tie Your T-Shirt into Something Special

Extraordinarily clever ways to transform any ordinary T-shirt

 

T-Shirt Craft Summary

Taking your old, misshapen and worn t-shirts, or even ones you just don't like or wear anymore, and turning them into something that can be of use to you is not only fun and practical, it's also eco-friendly because you are recycling rather than throwing away. You also get something unique at the end without having spent much, or any, money.

Another useful thing about t-shirt crafts is that the shirts already have been pre-washed and treated and have a shape which is something that can be used to your advantage - rather than it simply being a flat piece of fabric. There are different ways you can make use of what your t-shirt already provides:

- Make use of graphics: whether it's a case of cutting the graphics off the front of your t-shirts and attaching them to other material items, or making wall art, quilts, scarves, bags, pillows, pants or aprons that display the shirt graphics prominently, you may as well make full use of the pre-printed designs.

- Make use of shape: Shirts already have two sewn-together layers, which makes them ideal for turning into tote bags, especially as the sleeves can easily become handles. Other ideas for making full use of the double layered fabric are Japanese gift wrapping (furoshiki) and making simple stuffed toys.

- Make use of the jersey fabric: It's stretchy, able to be cut into narrow strips without falling apart, and any cut edges curl inwards; all attributes that can be used. Cutting t-shirts into thin strips can be used to make necklaces, bracelets, tassels, pom-poms, embellishments and even t-shirt 'yarn' - which can be used in weaving crafts, or for crocheting mats, baskets etc. The t-shirt fabric can also be used like any other fabric and sewn from scratch into other products like skirts or patchwork quilts.

- Make use of the fit: Simply keeping the basis of the t-shirt and altering the style, embellishing it, cutting it or re-assembling it into a different design is a popular choice. This way, you make a new and fresh fashion item for your wardrobe without dismantling the tee completely. A refashion if you will. The shirt still keeps its function and purpose, but interesting features are added. If you aren't revamping for yourself, you can also make items for others - such as making a girl's dress from a men's shirt.

Repurposed T-Shirt Bags

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T-Shirt Photo Frame

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Instructions for T-Shirt Revamps!

The following craft tutorials are for revamped, reconstructed and refashioned t-shirts!

From adding embellishments and cut-out patterns, to making underwear and swimsuits:

Long T-Shirt Bracelet

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Applique Embellishment

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Upcycling Old or Plain T-Shirts

More clothing projects.

T-Shirt Sleeve Pouches

Handy little drawstring bags made with just shirt sleeves!
Handy little drawstring bags made with just shirt sleeves! | Source

The Great T-Shirt Book

The Great T-Shirt Book: Make Your Own Spectacular, One-Of-A-Kind Designs
The Great T-Shirt Book: Make Your Own Spectacular, One-Of-A-Kind Designs

This beautifully illustrated book includes instructions for painting, stamping, tie-dying, batik, marbling, and screen-painting T-shirts.

 

T-Shirt Flower Embellishments

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DIY T-Shirt Bags - Two Different Methods To Try

diy-t-shirt-bags-easy
diy-t-shirt-bags-easy

You will need:

* A t-shirt; a larger t-shirt means that you can make a larger bag

* Scissors

* Ruler

* Sewing machine; you only need a basic machine capable of straight and zig-zag stitches

* Pins

* Water-erasable fabric pen

* Iron


Method 1:

- Fold your t-shirt neatly in half. Mark out a curved shape similar to that shown on the diagram above, using an erasable fabric pen. Cut along the line, cutting through all 4 layers at once.

- Discard of the rest of the t-shirt (or rather keep for future projects of course :)) and lay out the two bag shapes you have just cut out, one on top of the other, as they were arranged in the t-shirt.

- Pin the 2 shapes together around the edge so they are flat and wrinkle free. If the two pieces aren't exactly the same size/shape, even up the edges first so that they are identical and are the shape of the bag you want to end up with.

- Sew around the edge (but not across the top) using a straight stitch 1/4" in from the edge i.e. 1/4" seam allowance. Watch that you don't sew over the pins - take them out just before you get to them.

- Next use your scissors to cut around the outside of the stitches so that the gap between the edge of the fabric and the stitches is now 1/8" rather than 1/4".

- Turn the bag inside out. Press the edges briefly with an iron to get them to sit flat. Pin the edges again and this time sew 3/8" from the edge i.e. a 3/8" seam allowance.

- Turn the bag the right side out again. Congratulations, you have made a lovely French seam! You can of course do a regular simple seam if you want something slightly quicker, but I think a French seam looks much more professional.

- Lastly, mark out an oval at the top and cut it out (of both layers) to form the handle. Make sure that the hole lies underneath the hem that was (most likely) present originally on the t-shirt. You could zig-zag stitch around the handle to tidy the edges up a bit if you want.

- You can then add any kind of decorations or extras onto the bag or leave it as it is. Options include: adding bias tape edge around the top and/or handle, adding embroidery, or cutting evenly spread slits into the bag to produce a mesh grocery bag.

- Finished!


Method 2:

- Turn the t-shirt inside out and cut the sleeves off just inside where the seams are.

- Pin and sew across the bottom of the t-shirt (about 1/2" from the edge) in straight stitch. Then zig-zag stitch underneath this line.

- Turn the t-shirt the right way out again and fold neatly in half.

- Use the erasable fabric pen to mark out a curved line like the diagram above shows. This will be the tote bag opening.

- Cut along the line and unfold the t-shirt.

- Finished!

Boy's T-Shirt Trunks

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Non-Clothing Projects

The following tutorials show you how to turn your t-shirts into non-clothing items from necklaces to scarves, and from rugs to pillows!

T-Shirt Baby Slippers

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T-shirt Refashioning Videos

T-Shirt Poppies

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Crochet T-Shirt Basket

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My First Sewing Project!

This is my t-shirt quilt/rug/blanket.

It has its flaws but I love it so much!

Click here to see more photos.

More T-shirt Makes

T-Shirt Diapers

recycled t-shirt diapers
recycled t-shirt diapers

Photo and diapers by Dacarrot - Click here for a diaper sewing tutorial.

T-Shirt Yarn

Turn your t-shirts into yarn, and knit it into other creations!
Turn your t-shirts into yarn, and knit it into other creations! | Source

Recycled T-Shirt Dolls

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Crochet T-Shirt Bathmat

This mat was crocheted using T-shirts from the thrift store. The t-shirts were recycled into fabric strips first, and then this thick 'yarn' was used to crochet the mat.
This mat was crocheted using T-shirts from the thrift store. The t-shirts were recycled into fabric strips first, and then this thick 'yarn' was used to crochet the mat. | Source

Do you recycle your t-shirts?

See results

Please Comment On My Lens!

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    • Margaridab profile image

      Margarida Borges 11 months ago from Lyon, France

      What a huge source of ideas!

    • tazzytamar profile image

      Anna 3 years ago from chichester

      I have to say, this is genuinely one of the best web pages I've ever seen. I love how many creative ideas you have come up with for recycling and up cycling tee shirts. I am definitely going to try these out! I very rarely buy new clothes so I give things like this away - but I know people who could be a lot more Eco friendly so I'm forwarding this page to them! LOVE everything on here!

    • profile image

      GEMNITYA5 3 years ago

      Awesome, altering-embellishing-decorating-t-shirts-fashion-sewing

      (Also shared on Facebook :)

      ~Blessings

      *GEM*

    • Halloween Cosplay profile image

      Halloween Cosplay 3 years ago

      Some great ideas here. Thanks for sharing! :)

    • teelover profile image

      teelover 3 years ago

      Really great lens!

    • profile image

      buddhamind131 3 years ago

      I used to make those potholders in girl scouts, but the best are the T-shirt bags, what a great idea and easy too.

    • profile image

      ShelbyLinMarie 3 years ago

      Wow! I love this lens! I have some old shirts that I have wanted to make into something else and now I know what I want to do! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      Love the tshirts and the designs!

    • profile image

      tcaldy 3 years ago

      I may be keeping a few shirts from now on!

    • Sojournstar Media profile image

      Angela Hobbs 3 years ago from The TARDIS

      wow I never knew there were so many ideas for t shirts !!

    • profile image

      RANADEEP 4 years ago

      Sometimes I doit myself,sometimes my mom do it for myself!!

    • profile image

      BlowDryBar 4 years ago

      I use my old t-shirts as cleaning rags. LoL

    • profile image

      mina009 4 years ago

      Lovely ideas. Seems like never running out of inspiration!

    • Julia Morais profile image

      Julia Morais 4 years ago

      Love this. I had so many t-shirts I had to throw cause they were in no condition to be given away to charity. These are great ideas to recycle them. Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This was so enjoyable! Thank you for the great ideas! Who knew all of these things were possible with a t-shirt? You've opened my eyes to the possibilities.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      What great ideas! You've spent a long time on this site. Thanks for all the hard work!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Amazing freaking awesome :DDDDD

    • kimberlyschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel, MLS 4 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      This lens is so comprehensive! Lots of great ideas. I usually make potholders and rugs.

    • MaxMunch06 profile image

      MaxMunch06 4 years ago

      Great ideas!!

    • profile image

      belinhafernandes 4 years ago

      Wonderful ideas!

    • JeffGilbert profile image

      JeffGilbert 4 years ago

      It's amazing how people find re-uses for things that were not intended to be used in the new way in the first place. Great lens!!

    • profile image

      DecoratingMom411 4 years ago

      I love these ideas! Really unique. Great job as always!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      My Junior High kids all have t-shirts that were printed incorrectly. We decided to have them make a new product out of them. I can't wait to see what they choose. Your site will give them a starting point for some ideas. Thank you.

    • profile image

      McMenimen 4 years ago

      I've got plenty of spare t-shirts to use for this stuff!

    • profile image

      ErnestGregorski 4 years ago

      This lens is stellar! Nice job :)

    • profile image

      JeffreyHodge 4 years ago

      Great ideas here :D

    • TarahFlesch profile image

      TarahFlesch 4 years ago

      Very nice lens!! :)

    • hartworks lm profile image

      hartworks lm 4 years ago

      I just blogged about making long string necklace-scarves from tshirts, on my site about simple green living, and at the end I linked here because of the great job you did compiling resources!

    • knitstricken profile image

      knitstricken 4 years ago

      Wow. Now here's a lens that truly stretches the fabric of imagination with myriad ways to re-purpose t-shirts. Nicely done!

    • IssacAlouf profile image

      IssacAlouf 4 years ago

      Love this lens :D

    • profile image

      GabrieleRatley 4 years ago

      Superb information, thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      These R G R E A T lots of NU IdEaS...........................

    • profile image

      EliseSaenphimmacha 4 years ago

      Super Lens!

    • ElizabethSheppard profile image

      Elizabeth Sheppard 4 years ago from Bowling Green, Kentucky

      I like all the different projects here. I think they look fun.

    • LonnieMahajan profile image

      LonnieMahajan 4 years ago

      Great lens!

    • HomeDecorKnight profile image

      HomeDecorKnight 4 years ago

      wow! very interesting lens, these T-shirt designs are very nice and unique.

    • River88 profile image

      River88 4 years ago

      Awesome lens - so many ideas to try! Might want to check your links though, some of them no longer exist it seems.

    • Sparkler923 profile image

      Sparkler923 5 years ago

      Great lens! I love all of the creativity. Can't wait to try the flower tank top.

    • profile image

      mouse1996 lm 5 years ago

      These a fun and unique ideas!

    • profile image

      LoveToClean 5 years ago

      The petal t-shirt is my favorite--- very fun! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Yea!!

      Really cool lens

    • profile image

      Modzed 5 years ago

      Wow! Best lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      best website I've seen on how to recycled t shirts! Thanks a bunch!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens :) keep up the good work :) crazy tshirts

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great ideas! I've tried similar thing myself :)

    • BlackSunflowerB profile image

      BlackSunflowerB 5 years ago

      I like the scarf.

    • psiloveyou1 profile image

      psiloveyou1 5 years ago

      My daughter said last night she wanted to do some T-shirt crafting. Now I know where to tell her to come for ideas!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for all the great ideas. Now I know what to do with all those old t shirts. Nice lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      It looks beautiful! thank you so much :)

      http://sewingbreakdown.blogspot.com/

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 5 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      Talk about tshirt fun!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      oh my God too many ideas- its like a dream come true finding all these in one website thanks a ton

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      A lot of great ideas here. I'll be coming back to apply some of the tutorials you have here. Thanks for sharing all these great ideas.

    • profile image

      leonasharon 5 years ago

      Great recycling tips.

      Good artwork also.Please visit my new lens.

    • Barbara2659 profile image

      Barbara2659 5 years ago

      I think my favorite is the t-shirt ruffled pillow. That looks like fun and something I would make. I have made t-shirt jewelry before and it turns out great! I want to make yarn from t-shirts, but haven't tried that yet.

    • InternetTrekker1 profile image

      InternetTrekker1 5 years ago

      the boys Tshirt trunks is an very innovative way of making trunks out of tshirts ..great advice and tips

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Awesome ideas! Thanks for sharing!!! Can´t wait to try a couple of them =)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      We had to do a recycled project for school. thank you so much for all the ideas

    • simoza01 lm profile image

      simoza01 lm 5 years ago

      So creative ! Thumbs up ...

    • Stacy Birch profile image

      Stacy Birch 5 years ago

      Love these girly and awesome ideas for recycling and saving your favorite tees that have seen better days.

    • madnessmerritt profile image

      madnessmerritt 5 years ago

      great ideas, I'll come back and try as many as I can if not all, thank you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Super great ideas! nice lens

    • VeseliDan profile image

      VeseliDan 5 years ago

      I will surely use some of these ideas! *blessed*

    • profile image

      kmyangel 5 years ago

      Amazing how can you transform an old T-shirt in something new and great !

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is really a great lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great Lens!! You have put together really nice projects for t-shirt recycle fun!! Would love to have you join my T-shirt linkup here: http://www.mytshirttalk.com

      Have a Tee-rific Tuesday and Wonderful Week!

    • Barbara2659 profile image

      Barbara2659 5 years ago

      I am so excited because just the other day I wanted info on what to do with old T-shirts! I will be using this site often. Thank you!

    • profile image

      myamya 5 years ago

      Amazing lens! Thumbs up!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: Wow, great ideas! I really like that last one, it looks REALLY easy. Some time I might try that. Thanks for the rocking website! ;)

    • Millionairemomma profile image

      Millionairemomma 5 years ago

      I love this lens because it is so creative.

    • profile image

      enjoyecigs 5 years ago

      awesome, awesome lens! good thing i have *tons* of cute, old shirts!

    • Fcuk Hub profile image

      Fcuk Hub 5 years ago

      You very creative person and this is great lens :)

    • arcarmi profile image

      arcarmi 5 years ago

      Very creative! How do you come up with these ideas?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Fantastic ideas that go on and on ..thanks for a great lens!

    • KateHonebrink profile image

      KateHonebrink 5 years ago

      SOOOO many great ideas - I'll be sewing for YEARS!!! Thanks for all the great inspiration!!! Love your lens!

    • haganeedle profile image

      haganeedle 5 years ago

      Love the scarf idea. Nice lens!!

    • snazzify lm profile image

      Katie Harp 5 years ago

      blessed by a squid angel :) <3

    • LizMac60 profile image

      Liz Mackay 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Love this lens. Blessed.

    • profile image

      IncredibleArtWorld 5 years ago

      Wow! What wonderful ideas. My mind is reeling with creativity.

      Love the Quality of this Lens. Thank you!

    • profile image

      Freedhuman 5 years ago

      Great ideas!

    • SewingMama profile image

      SewingMama 5 years ago

      Cute ideas! Way higher quality stuff than you usually see from this topic.

    • teristazko profile image

      teristazko 5 years ago

      Cute t-shirt bags and other great ideas.

    • MarcoG profile image

      Marc 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      Some great ideas here for sure!

    • MarcoG profile image

      Marc 5 years ago from Edinburgh

      Some great ideas here for sure!

    • SmBizGuru LM profile image

      SmBizGuru LM 5 years ago

      I absolutely love upcycled t-shirts! This is a wonderful lens with lots of ideas. Gonna do some of them.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I like the t-shirt memory blanket idea!

    • PopcornThomas profile image

      PopcornThomas 5 years ago

      So many great ideas!

    • PopcornThomas profile image

      PopcornThomas 5 years ago

      So many great ideas!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wow..I like the ideas of t-shirt into scarf and into mini bag..Artistic!

    • Bloomsandbugs LM profile image

      Bloomsandbugs LM 5 years ago

      Wow! This is an amazing lens, there are so many great ideas here. Grat work Studentz

    • Lauriej1 profile image

      Lauriej1 5 years ago

      I can't figure out which one I want to try first!!! :)

    • Zodiacimmortal profile image

      Kim 5 years ago from Yonkers, NY

      I've recycled a tank top into a bag, & thank you for the scarf idea!!! <3 for that one! (which is a quicket project than starting the quilt I wanted to do. (tho have to get around to it)

    • BluKatDesign profile image

      BluKatDesign 5 years ago

      Wow! Loads of cool projects! Thanks!

    • profile image

      marsha32 5 years ago

      wow! I see so many neat ideas here.

      I think I need that 99 Way book. I'm hoping soon to learn how to make a t-shirt quilt.

    • profile image

      kcoti15 5 years ago

      is very nice â¥

    • MelonyVaughan profile image

      MelonyVaughan 5 years ago

      A very inspiring lens. Thank you!

    • MelonyVaughan profile image

      MelonyVaughan 5 years ago

      A very inspiring lens. Thank you!

    • TheAdornedArticle profile image

      TheAdornedArticle 5 years ago

      I love these ideas! Especially the t-shirt rugs-those are fantastic

    • profile image

      jeremykim2011 5 years ago

      Very nice!

    • davies86 profile image

      davies86 5 years ago

      some great ideas and a really great lens.