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How to Reuse or Recycle Denim Jeans

Updated on February 4, 2018
hsschulte profile image

I love to share my favorite patterns on the web for people out there who like making things as much as I do!

Fun Ways to Reuse Denim

Do you have old denim lying around? You can make it into something useful. Here are fun ways to reuse your old denim. Potholders, rugs, quilts, and roses are just a few of the things you'll find here. Don't throw it out, reuse your old denim by making something that you can use!

Reuse Denim for a Rug

This denim throw rug is made by sewing small squares of denim to a backing. The finished product is a fun rug with lots of cushion, perfect for a teenager's bedroom, or lounge area.

Reused Denim Rug by AllFreeCrafts

Recycle Denim Jeans into an Organizer

This adorable wall organizer is made from the cuff and leg of denim jeans. With a dowel rod, a sewing machine and a little creativity you can make this yourself at home. The contrasting stitching adds a lot of pizazz to the reused and useful denim art. Use it to store sewing and craft supplies, or organize just about anything in style with this cute and functional denim organizer.

Denim Organizer

Denim Braided Rug

Because denim is heavy, it makes a great rug. I also like that denim is a purely natural fiber, being made from cotton.

Frugal Veggie Mama gives a step by step tutorial of how to make these denim braids from old jeans and then shape them into a rug. I like the way she combined the various shades of denim. Read on to find out more about how you can reuse your favorite worn jeans to make a rug for you home!

Braided Denim Rug Tutorial

Denim Book Cover

This adorable denim book cover is sure to be a big hit with teenage girls. It is made by reusing old jeans. It would be a great craft for personalizing a diary, photo album, calendar, bible, journal, or agenda before giving as a gift. The pocket was cut out keeping the backing in tact, so when it was glued to the cover, the pocket still opened, making a perfect hidden stash.

Reused Denim Book Cover

Overall Handbag from Used
Overall Handbag from Used

Make a Handbag from Children's Overalls

#6 Way to Reuse Denim

Here is an idea for a tote bag made from used children's overalls. On a smaller scale, the same instructions can be used with a pair of baby overalls to make a purse. Cut the legs off the overalls and serge them or zig zag stitch them closed. For more instructions, check out this tutorial:

Overall Tote Bag from Used Denim

Denim Rose

Making a rose from the hem of denim jeans
Making a rose from the hem of denim jeans | Source

Denim Rose from a Hem

Denim crafts can grow on you quickly, because there are so many adorable ways to reuse it. This denim rose is one more example of a way to reuse denim in crafts. This flower is a great way to embellish an otherwise plain denim project.

Denim Rose

Denim Potholders

There seems to be an endless number of ways to reuse pockets of old jeans around the home. Denim is very thick and makes a great potholder. For more information on how RecycleCindy made hers, visit her blog at:

How to Make a Potholder from Old Blue Jeans

Reuse Your Old Blue Jeans to Make this Beautiful Denim Quilt - #9 Way to Reuse Denim

Denim Quilts

Denim is such a wonderful material because it's made of natural fibers (cotton), yet it is heavy and warm. It's durability, warmth, and natural construction make it my all time favorite materials for constructing quilts from recycled fabric. You can make a quilt for your bed from your old jeans. Not only is it eco-friendly, it's amazingly beautiful, creative and warm. Here are several sets of instructions for making a quilt from recycled denim.

Denim Quilt

Denim Quilt 2

Recycled Denim Quilt Number 3 (Instructions above)

Recycled Denim Quilt Number 3 (Instructions above)
Recycled Denim Quilt Number 3 (Instructions above)

Denim Pots for Plants

These are not only adorable, they have so many possibilities. Upon first glance, you would think it's only a denim flower pot, but you can work this style into many other projects. How about decorating an Easter basket from a plastic bucket? Jazz up that flower you give mom on mother's day. Create red, white and blue jeans Forth of July décor, or make a blue jeans gift basket for your next graduate.

For more information on making these and other cool denim crafts, see Cindy's blog.

Denim Pots

Denim Pocket Organizers

Gail Martin shows us how to use pockets from old blue jeans to make pocket organizers. Hang them on a locker, refrigerator, or anywhere a you could use a little extra organization.

They are perfect for holding pens, pencils and pocket notebooks. Your teenagers will love these. The are also functional refrigerator magnets. You will never lose your pencil again. Thanks Gail!

School Locker Pockets

Reuse Old Jeans to Make a Denim Journal Cover and Pencil Holder

For Christmas this year, I made some pencil holder and journal sets from recycled materials. Everyone loved them, so I thought I'd post a photo of the sets here. I made the journal following the basic instructions for a book cover below. Before I attached the pocket, I ran the ribbon around the cover and glued it. I used matching ribbon to wrap a bow around the pencil holder that is made from a soup can and repurposed old blue jeans.

Denim Circles

You can make spiraled circles from the hem of old jeans and use tacky glue to hold the spirals together. If you don't want to set a drink on them, stitch them together many combined would be an adorable rug or wall art.

Reuse Denim to Make Coasters and a Pencil Holder

How to Make a Recycled Bank - #15 Way to Reuse Denim

Coin Bank

We used:

*old denim jeans

*tacky glue


*and a Pringles can

to make this little bank. It stores your coin and your cash with a little pocket embellishment. This is a great way for kids to get involved in creating recycled crafts.

Reuse Old Jeans to Make Denim Pillows - #16 Way to Reuse Denim

Were you wondering about a pillow? I was, so I Googled "how to make a denim pillow," and found these instructions from Sookie at Info Barrel. She has instructions for both the frayed denim pillow and the "tooth fairy" pillow with the pocket on the front. Another great way to reuse your old jeans!

Denim Fray Pillow

Denim Tooth Fairy Pillow with Pocket

Oven Mitt

You asked for it, and here it is an oven mitt from reused denim. The denim is thick and heavy enough to keep heat away from the hands. Then its lined with more protective layers. It is a very practical reuse idea. Over at the MyRecycledBags blog, they are always coming up with new ideas to reuse denim, so check it out.

Reuse Denim as an Oven Mitt

Refrigerator Pocket Organizers

Add a magnet to the back of an old jeans pocket and you have a perfect organizer for your refrigerator. It holds pens, pencils and small notepads. They would make a great gift for high school girls to keep in their locker at school. I used magnets that had a self adhesive strips on them for attaching business cards, but you could tacky glue any magnet on to the pocket.

Your descendants shall gather your fruits. ~ Virgil

How do YOU reuse Your Denim?

See results

More Reuse Ideas at

4 Ways to Reuse Denim

© 2010 hsschulte

Questions or Comments About Reusing Denim? - Leave them here!

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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Great ideas. Very crafty and clever ideas to reuse old denim jeans. Voted up!

    • asereht1970 profile image

      asereht1970 3 years ago

      Great tips. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      tcaldy 3 years ago

      Great ideas!

    • williamslaw profile image

      williamslaw 4 years ago

      Wow these are some great tips. I esp. like the oven mitt one.

    • profile image

      mary-kraft-14 4 years ago

      I have been saving my husbands Wranglers for years thinking that someday I would find a way to reuse the material. You can see my denim scarves at my shop markatkrafts on Etsy. They are so awesome, I;m really proud of them.

    • teelover profile image

      teelover 4 years ago

      Great ideas and tips, thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      r_anand 4 years ago

      thanks for sharing such amazing uses of old jeans

    • profile image

      Doc_Holliday 4 years ago

      Some great ideas here. Thanks for sharing.

    • Alrady profile image

      Alrady 4 years ago

      Was on Pinterest looking for jean recycle ideas and started new board , then did google search and look who I found ------ HSS pinned your awesome squidoo lense. Miss seeing you round - our paths don't cross as much as they used to!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      Absolutely loved this article. I don't do many crafts, but maybe if I did I could justify watching TV! Most of these involve a sewing machine though. Ah, well - maybe I need to get a machine! Anyway - social bookmarked this awesome lens. I donate most of my old denim to Goodwill, but I may keep some. I love giving cash for gifts - the bank would make this classier and it looks like an easy craft. The rugs and quilt would become family heirlooms.

    • profile image

      GreenGirlsGuides 4 years ago

      Awesome article, I'm hoping to try the organizer soon!

    • profile image

      ScentsWithBling 4 years ago

      I have a stack of old jeans that will find their way into some of these projects! Great Lens

    • tammywilliams09 profile image

      tammywilliams09 4 years ago

      Thanks. These are really creative and frugal ways to recycle Denim. The potholder and pocket organizers sound fantastic!

    • socialcx1 profile image

      socialcx1 4 years ago

      Very clever. My wife use to make similar things from denim in the 1970s. Thanks

    • LaptopLeader profile image

      LaptopLeader 4 years ago

      These ways of reusing denim are super cool! :O Amazing compilation!

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      I always recycle my old denim, the last project I made was a denim lunch bag.

    • mirrie profile image

      Mirrie 4 years ago from France

      I cut up the kids jeans when the holes are beyond repair and use the good bits to make patchwork place mats - but I have always thrown away the hems - I am definitely going to try the coasters with them next time. Thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for the potholder and coaster ideas! We reuse old denim to resharpen razor blades and that really extends the life of them.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I've been reusing denim for years and you came up with projects that were new to me. Good job!

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 5 years ago

      Great ideas! Thanks for the tips! Sundae ;-)

    • OldCowboy profile image

      OldCowboy 5 years ago

      We are all about recycle and reusing most anything. And now we have some great ideas about how to recycle and reuse my favorite color in jeans, the blue jeans. Awesome page.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I made a quilt using denim blocks that my late mother created using machine embroidery. It's a great memory piece.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Great ideas! The blue jean quilts are so pretty, but so are all these projects!

    • N Beaulieu profile image

      N Beaulieu 5 years ago

      What great ideas! I usually turn my old jeans into rags for dusting but now I can't wait to give some of your craft ideas a try. I really liked the magnets and pillows.

    • profile image

      NanAdrisMom 5 years ago

      Great crafty lens! I like some of these ideas to try with my girls... what a fun way to recycle!

    • profile image

      MatthewDasher 5 years ago

      Cool lens! I've got plenty of old jeans I can use for this stuff.

    • profile image

      StephenObrion 5 years ago

      Nice ideas on this lens... gonna have to try 'em out.

    • profile image

      FreddieHanger 5 years ago

      Wish I would've seen this before I got rid of some old jeans last week. Oh well, now I know!

    • profile image

      sojourner-1 5 years ago

      Super great ideas that make us think about just tossing items away. Great lens.

    • profile image

      acreativethinker 5 years ago

      This is a great lens with creative and useful ideas. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • profile image

      timshyu63 5 years ago

      cool! I loved the book cover

    • profile image

      ideashine 5 years ago

      Cool!!! Like this a lot..

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You can use the hems to make dog toys too. Braid three or more together and voila a nice denim rope toy! Sew 2 denim pockets together add stuffing and a squeaker velcro the top and you have a durable dog toy.

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image

      hntrssthmpsn 5 years ago

      I love the coasters made from denim hems! I've reused my old denim for years, but the hems are often hard to find a use for. Awesome!

    • robertzimmerman2 profile image

      Robert Zimmerman 5 years ago from SE Florida, USA

      Groovy Stuff, thanks!

    • PeacefieldFarm LM profile image

      PeacefieldFarm LM 5 years ago

      I will have to try the organizer. Thanks for all the ideas.

    • KateHonebrink profile image

      KateHonebrink 5 years ago

      Awesome article - love the denim rug and coasters!! Congrats on making the upcycling monsterboard!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago


    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

    • profile image

      marsha32 5 years ago

      I like that potholder idea......I have some jeans I was going to put out in the yard sale, now I think I will try to see what I can do with them instead.

    • compugraphd profile image

      compugraphd 5 years ago


      I think these are great, but I don't have any old jeans ----

    • Kathryn Beach profile image

      Kathryn Wallace 5 years ago from Greenbank, WA, USA

      Love the braided rugs and pocket organizers - bravo!

    • Fushi LM profile image

      Fushi LM 5 years ago

      My friend have lots of jeans which she want to shred away, but i feel this idea from you lens will make her mind change as she is a art lover like you. I will surely send it to her on FB wall

      Thanks for this on time : )

    • profile image

      enjoyecigs 5 years ago

      Awesome lens with awesome ideas!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      love your denim makeovers!

    • abloom lm profile image

      abloom lm 6 years ago

      This is great... My daughter has so many torn up and jeans that don't fit. These are must projects! Thanks!

    • profile image

      chiquitasmom9665 6 years ago

      I really liked all the ideas in this denim site it made me want to make a couple of the things i liked for my daughter

    • profile image

      ideadesigns 6 years ago

      I have to say that I love the denim book covers. I would love to see one on a bible, Always need a pocket for a pen and paper. I saw a handbag that was made from brown denim, thought it was a good reuse. Great lens, love your style. :)

    • profile image

      fish-oil-expert 6 years ago

      Cool denim rug!

    • profile image

      Shedbuilder 6 years ago

      Good ideas, I never throw anything out. Guess I'll have to learn how to sew.

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 6 years ago

      I've got a couple wore out pants thanks for the ideas!!! Blessed

    • hippiechicjewelz profile image

      hippiechicjewelz 6 years ago

      What a delightful and fun lens! I love to re-purpose denim, I cut denim into small pieces to use as a buffing cloth for polishing polymer clay beads that I create. It works beautifully and I never run out!

    • kerbev profile image

      kab 6 years ago from Upstate, NY

      I've got one of those denim book covers. I also have a keychain that is a small denim pocket (two pockets from kids jeans sewn together). I can keep a couple bucks tucked down into it in case I need it in a pinch. Also, I have some recycled denim pencils. They are made with compressed denim rather than wood.

    • kerilovesadeal profile image

      kerilovesadeal 6 years ago

      Seems I'm going to be making a denim organizer! There are a few pairs of jeans around the house with non-functioning zippers and holes that would be difficult to repair. Thanks for the lens.

    • kerilovesadeal profile image

      kerilovesadeal 6 years ago

      Seems I'm going to be making a denim organizer! There are a few pairs of jeans around the house with non-functioning zippers and holes that would be difficult to repair. Thanks for the lens.

    • mariaamoroso profile image

      irenemaria 6 years ago from Sweden

      You can buy used jeans on flee market and second hand shops to make stuff!

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 6 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Super craft ideas - the denim bank is one I've never seen before. Adding to my Recycling lenses!

    • MargaretJeffreys profile image

      MargaretJeffreys 6 years ago

      Some great ideas!

    • MargaretJeffreys profile image

      MargaretJeffreys 6 years ago

      Some great ideas!

    • tabster2 profile image

      tabster2 6 years ago

      this has given me lots of ideas, thank you :)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I like the different items you made out of denim. Teens would love this in their room and i would love to have one of those organizers.

    • profile image

      jammarti 6 years ago

      "High Five" I like your ideas. Very creative! I will definitely try it at home since I've been wondering how to improve my old jeans.

    • profile image

      jammarti 6 years ago

      "High Five" I like your ideas. Very creative! I will definitely try it at home since I've been wondering how to improve my old jeans.

    • arcarmi profile image

      arcarmi 6 years ago

      Unbelievably creative! Thanks!

    • kindoak profile image

      kindoak 6 years ago

      This is cool. My sis used to have a denim bag made of old pants - back in the real 70's. would be awesome to see that fashion come back again

    • LeslieMirror profile image

      LeslieMirror 6 years ago

      All ideas are great, but Refrigerator Pocket Organizers... This is brilliant! I am going to cut my old jeans right now!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      HI, I've made a lense about making bags out of jeans, you can check it on I hope you like it. I really like your ideas. We shouldn't throw clothes away.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 6 years ago

      I love your ideas for reusing denim! Thanks! Blessed!

    • profile image

      getwellsoon 6 years ago

      I really like the woven or braided rug idea!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      great and very useful many good the wall organizer

    • profile image

      alfredLebeau 6 years ago

      really cool! but I would not have time too do all that with my old jeans

    • designsbyharriet profile image

      Harriet 6 years ago from Indiana

      I always cut my worn jeans into shorts, but the way they sell jeans now I would be better served to keep wearing them, holes and all.

    • MelonyVaughan profile image

      MelonyVaughan 6 years ago

      Wonderful ideas and very attractive. I love the rugs.

    • profile image

      JZinoBodyArt 6 years ago

      You have no idea how happy I am to have stumbled into this lens! I've got a basket filled with tattered clothes that need repurposing and I was lacking serious inspiration. I was even tempted to throw it all out but I just couldn't bring myself to trash good material. lol! Like my mother says, "But the rest of it's still good!"

    • livinglargeandh profile image

      livinglargeandh 6 years ago

      Great ideas. Thanks.

    • Nanciajohnson profile image

      Nancy Johnson 6 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      Great ideas on this lens. Makes me want to save all our old denim. Years ago I made my teenage son a denim quilt for his bed with blue and black old jeans. He loved it.

    • profile image

      dumutu 6 years ago

      Thank you for the tips, they all are amazing, you're very creative :)

      Great lens.

    • profile image

      oiloflife 6 years ago

      Thank you for the awesome lens! Very informative I loved it

    • allenwebstarme profile image

      allenwebstarme 6 years ago

      Excellent reuse of Denim jeans. Super like.

    • profile image

      linkreggie 6 years ago

      great lens and nice tips. Recycle Denim Jeans into an Organizer is really a good idea...

    • profile image

      linkreggie 6 years ago

      great lens and nice tips. Recycle Denim Jeans into an Organizer is really a good idea...

    • profile image

      Gala98 6 years ago

      I have 2 recycled jeans handbags but my sewing machine can't handle too many layers so I cut up the legs & make patchwork fabric out of them, then I make a bag from the patchworked denim :)

    • Mim Art profile image

      Mim Art 6 years ago

      I love durable denim - and these are beautiful brilliant ideas. Great lens!!!

    • CamelliaPenny profile image

      Perrin 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Love the scatter rugs! Terrific lens.

    • CamelliaPenny profile image

      Perrin 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Love the scatter rugs! Terrific lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great tips

    • RachelDillin profile image

      RachelDillin 6 years ago

      I normally donate my denim to a thrift store. However, I am in love with those coasters. I will have to make some soon.

    • FalconFan LM profile image

      FalconFan LM 6 years ago

      Very creative! Love this lens - lots of great ideas!

    • athomemomblog profile image

      Genesis Davies 6 years ago from Guatemala

      Excellent lens, I love these ideas. When I was a teen, my mom made me a pieced denim quilt from old jeans and I loved it! I want to try the denim rug for my boys' room and the coasters for my kitchen. Cool ideas!

    • rentinlondon lm profile image

      rentinlondon lm 6 years ago

      These are fab ideas. I particularly love the bookcovers and coasters. Some of the others require just a little bit too much denim! I'm now going to go through some of my old clothes and see what can be recycled!

    • rentinlondon lm profile image

      rentinlondon lm 6 years ago

      These are fab ideas. I particularly love the bookcovers and coasters. Some of the others require just a little bit too much denim! I'm now going to go through some of my old clothes and see what can be recycled!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Just blessed this a while back and had to return to congratulate you on front page honors!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I used to weave rag rugs from recycled denim. I've also made tote bags from old jeans.

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 6 years ago from Templeton, CA

      Those are some neat ideas. i'm afraid I haven't got as far yet as deciding which denim needs to be recycled.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 6 years ago from Shanghai, China

      You can take strips and weave them into denim rugs. Looks great and is really sturdy.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Lots of great ideas! Jeans work good for insulation too! I love the square jean quilt! The coasters are kind of neat also.

    • Julia Morais profile image

      Julia Morais 6 years ago

      I used to just cut them up and use them as rags. Now I see there are more things I can do with them.

    • profile image

      StaCslns 6 years ago

      Now I know what to do with all those old jeans! Great lens!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      ...very interesting site....

    • accfuller profile image

      accfuller 6 years ago

      Some really cute ideas here!