- Arts and Design
Fun T-SHIRT Crafts! Recycling | Fashion | Sewing
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 :-)
99 Ways to Convert a T-shirt
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.
Fun T-Shirt Craft Projects
- T-Shirt Wreath
Creative idea for making good use of old tees.
- Cut-Out Tank Top
Gorgeous snowflake cut-out design.
- Re-Purposing a Long-Sleeved Top
To add cute accents of a pocket and roll-up sleeves.
- A-Line Skirt, Patchwork Quilt & More
A collection of projects including clothing, accessories and home décor.
- Embellished Tank Top
Add a beautiful ornate decoration using puff paint.
- T-Shirt Pom-Poms
Fun squishy decorations.
- Pleated Tee
Add horizontal pleats by combining 2 t-shirts together.
- T-Shirt Shorts
Refashion one t-shirt into cute and comfy shorts.
- Stripe Skirt
Fab striped skirt made with two shirts.
- Hula Hoop Rug
How to weave a circular rug.
- Woven T-Shirt Bracelet
Chunky bangle you can make with t-shirts of different colours.
Repurposed T-Shirt Bags
T-Shirt Photo Frame
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:
Cami with braided straps.
- T-Shirt Swimsuit
Change a t-shirt into a one piece swimming costume.
- Rosette T-shirt
Adding rosettes to the shoulder.
- Side Slits
Down the sides of your t-shirt to add a skeletal pattern.
- DIY Pants
Create your own underwear from t-shirts.
- T-shirt knickers
Another underwear tutorial.
- T-Shirt Shrug
- Adding Paillettes
Simple sequin embellishment to add glam to your tees.
- Frilly Collar
Pretty scrunched up circles on the collar.
- Ruffled Bib Front
Cute bib section on a vest.
- Argyle Applique
Fashionable argyle diamond pattern applique.
- Ruffle Layering
Very pretty layers of ruffles with fabric flowers too.
- Collection of Ruffle Tees
A list of tutorials with ruffles as the main feature.
Long T-Shirt Bracelet
Lots of Inventive Things to Make from Tees
- T-shirt Yarn Macrame Puppets
Cute little dolls that would make great keyring charms.
- No-Sew Drawstring Totes
Clever way to avoid the ordeal of sewing!
- Ombre Fringed Skirt
Layer lots of t-shirt fringing to make a charming skirt.
- How to Make a Hoodie
One shirt is used for the main body and one is used for the hood.
- Braided Dog Toy
Weave together strips of t-shirt material to make a fun toy for your pet.
Upcycling Old or Plain T-Shirts
More clothing projects.
- Monster Load of Tutorials
Plenty of how-tos to keep you going!
- Inkjet Iron-On Tuxedo Print
How to use iron-on patterns that you print out yourself.
Fun briefs made from t-shirts.
- MEGA List of Printing Tutorials
Comprehensive list of online screen printing tutorials for using on t-shirts.
- 15 Ways to Re-Use
15 creative ways to recycle shirts including a wedding dress!
In the shape of a rabbit, but you can let your imagination run wild!
- Bleach Stencil
Fun castle design on a dark t-shirt.
- Ninja Mask
Arrange a black t-shirt into a ninja mask!
- Fringe Skirt
Funky skirt using about 2 t-shirts.
- Mens Refashioned Tee
With a cycling theme.
- Ringlet Scarf
Using strips of tees to create a looped effect.
- Summer Vest
Turn your tees into a trendy top.
T-Shirt Sleeve Pouches
The Great T-Shirt Book
This beautifully illustrated book includes instructions for painting, stamping, tie-dying, batik, marbling, and screen-painting T-shirts.
T-Shirt Flower Embellishments
More Shirt Revamps!
- Skull Cut-Out Tee
Fun skeletal pattern in the back of a t-shirt.
- Petal Ruffle Sleeves
Add pretty ruffles on the t-shirt sleeves.
- Quick How-Tos
Including adding long sleeves and making a skirt.
- T-shirt Mish Mash
Combine 2 tees for a super duper tee!
- Tutorials Galore!
Lots of how-tos from resizing a t-shirt to embellishing with bleach.
- Bleach Stripes
Add stripes to a top with bleach
- Arm Warmers
For keeping your arms warm!
- Spider Web Tee
Cutting template for a fab Halloween t-shirt.
- DIY T-shirt Projects
Collection of very clever t-shirt tutorials.
Funky t-shirt apron.
- Neckline Pleats
Adding flattering pleats at the collar.
- T-Shirt Mish Mash
Pieced together tee pattern,
- Bleaching Experiment
Using bleach to add stripes to a tee.
DIY T-Shirt Bags - Two Different Methods To Try
You will need:
* A t-shirt; a larger t-shirt means that you can make a larger bag
* Sewing machine; you only need a basic machine capable of straight and zig-zag stitches
* Water-erasable fabric pen
- 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.
- 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.
Boy's T-Shirt Trunks
The following tutorials show you how to turn your t-shirts into non-clothing items from necklaces to scarves, and from rugs to pillows!
- Grocery Bags
T-shirt tote bags.
- Rag Rug
Using strips of t-shirts.
- Another Rag Rug
Crochet t-shirt strips together.
Multi-layers of t-shirt material.
- T-Shirt Yarn
For use in knitting, weaving and crocheting.
- Weaving T-shirt Yarn
To make t-shirt fabric.
- T-shirt Weaving
Using a peg loom.
- 5 Minute Headband
Made by braiding t-shirt material.
- Ruffled Scarf
Very feminine scarf.
- Quick Fix Grocery Bag
T-Shirt Baby Slippers
T-shirt Refashioning Videos
More Non-Clothing Projects
- Pillow Chair
Using t-shirts and foam.
- Quick Laptop Sleeve
Very simple to make from a t-shirt.
- Braided Necklace
- Tomato Container
To grow tomatoes in.
- T-shirt Necklace 1
With added foil bling!
- T-shirt Necklace 2
Chunky necklace with a clasp.
- Quilted Coasters
Which can be made using t-shirts.
- Ruffled Pillows
Very pretty cushions for you home.
- Scarf with Flowers
Pretty t-shirt scarf.
- Drawstring Bag
Little bag, perfect for gym.
- T-shirt Pillow
With the t-shirt design as the centrepiece.
- T-shirt Scarf
With applique pattern.
- Shag Rug
Warm rug made from lots of t-shirt strips.
Crochet T-Shirt Basket
DIY Tutorials Galore
- Mesh Produce Bag
Very easy grocery bag made with minimal sewing.
- Decorate with Applique
How to add personalized designs and shapes to your t-shirts.
- Cape & Mask
A fun project for superheroes everywhere!
- The Shirt Skirt
Easy skirt made by shirring a large t-shirt.
- Gucci Cut-Out Tee
Cut-out design inspired by a designer dress.
- Trendy Zipper Shirt
Add a zip to transform a t-shirt into a cardi.
- Bleach Pen Drawings
Draw any doodle or pattern with a simple bleach pen.
- Recycled T-Shirt Rag Rug
How to tie strips of jersey together to create fun flooring.
- Embroidered Necklaces
You could use a machine or embroider this by hand.
- DIY Workout Tee
With a twisted racer back design.
My First Sewing Project!
This is my t-shirt quilt/rug/blanket.
It has its flaws but I love it so much!
More T-shirt Makes
Cool T-Shirt How-Tos
- Painted Petal Tee
How to add painted petal shapes to make a plain shirt pretty.
- Girl's T-Shirt Dress
How to make a cute stripey dress from several tees.
- Hangable Art
Stretch a t-shirt to make it into wall art.
- Shredded Tee
Shred your t-shirt to add interesting thread embellishments.
- Woven Fashion Tee
Weave two tops together to create a lovely textured effect.
- Chindi Rug Reindeer
Amazingly creative idea for using t-shirts to wrap ornaments.
- T-Shirt Wedding Dress
Perfect for a wedding on a budget!
- Rainbow Ripple Rug
Crochet a rug using t-shirt yarn.
- Hook Rug Pouch
Hook t-shirt strips through a hessian sheet.
- Girl's Dance Skirt
Fun no-sew skirt made by tying strands of t-shirts onto a waistband.
- T-Shirt Beanbag
Fun and practical use for old tees.
Recycled T-Shirt Dolls
Creative Shirt Ideas & Inspiration
- Summer Beach Cover-Up
Vibrant dyed t-shirt cut up into fun beachwear.
- Re-Imagined White Tee
A variety of ideas for how to transform your boring basics.
- Recycled Diaper
Make a t-shirt diaper which is reusable so is nicer to the planet.
- Tie Dye Shirt
DIY dyeing of a plain t-shirt to create a unique and colourful garment.
- T-Shirt Women's Dress
Drop-waist t-shirt dress with a cute frilly skirt, brilliant for the beach.
- Easy Kid's Lounge Pants
I'm sure you could also scale up this pattern into an adult's size.
- Fashionable Weaving
Cool idea for embellishing a t-shirt.
- Sweetheart Bow
Combine 2 shirts together make a feminine garment.