16 Cool Things to Make From Your Old T-Shirts

recycle t-shirts

Looking for cool ways to recycle t-shirts? These awesome tips and tricks will have you reusing them in no time at all.

What’s the one thing that sports teams or events, field trips, church trips, and family reunions have in common? T-shirts. Almost every time you sign up for these, or things similar to these, you are given a shirt to commemorate your participation. But how many of those shirts do you actually wear anymore?

a collage of useful ways to recycle t-shirts pictures
If you’re honest with yourself, probably very few (because let’s face it, the generic fundraiser shirts just aren’t that cute). But you have memories tied to those shirts and you can’t possibly get rid of them. But you need to do something with them because they are taking up space in your drawer or closet that could be used for clothes you regularly wear.

So what do you do? RECYCLE!! You can make all kinds of awesome (and cute) things out of those shirts that will actually be used.

If you’re an artist, you could make cute bags, cushions, or book covers out of your old clothes.

Shirts or any type of clothing are useful when they are worn, even if only as pajamas. They can also be used as gifts for friends and family. The pieces that get cut off of shirts can be repurposed in all kinds of ways. You can turn them into decorations inside your house, throw them in the trash, or use them to make something new. If you venture outside the realm of shirts, you can find even greater varieties of materials that you can use.

To give you some ideas, we’ve gathered up 16 different projects to recycle t-shirts and give them new life.

Creative Ways to Recycle Old T-Shirts For The Family

1. Make Capes for the Kids – Recycle Ideas for Cotton T-Shirts

Make some cool capes for the kids with those T-Shirts. The world needs more superheroes! What if you had a neighborhood of superheroes?

It’s important to make time for the things that matter in your life, and helping the kids is a great way to do so. By making some capes for the neighborhood kids, you are engaging in a fun activity while spending time with the ones you love—actually becoming a superhero in their eyes!

All you will need to make them is:

  • an old t-shirt with a blank backside
  • acrylic paint – metallics and glitter work great
  • sponge brushes
  • printed stencils
  • rotary cutter or Exacto knife
  • Press’n seal wrap

super hero cape made out of t-shirt

2. Create No-Sew Dresses

Turn too-big t-shirts into recycled no-sew t-shirt dresses for the kiddos.  They don’t even have to be a dress…but a pajama shirt or shower shirt works great too!  You will need: an old t-shirt, scissors and your fingers to tie knots!

cute recycled t-shirt dress on a daughter

3. T-Shirt to Skirts Transformation Upcycle

What was that? You have a sewing machine and you want to learn how to make yourself some cute skirts in ten minutes? If you have 10 minutes, whip up one of these easy peasy skirts. Seriously… how cute are those?

All you need for this project are: 20-30 old school t-shirts, 2 1/2 yards of fleece, thread, and a sewing machine.3 t-shirts recycled to 3 different skirts

4. Got Teens? Recycle Those Logo T-shirts In This Fresh Way

If your kids have been using that binder since forever, and you want to customize it. Then cover the  binder with an old t-shirt to add a touch of flair and an extra layer of protection. Neat way to keep using binders after they’re looking a little ragged.

Now that binder looks great!

notebook decorated with a recycled t-shirt

5. DIY T-Shirt Bracelets

Girl Parties are always so much fun. I’m so excited to share this idea with you!

Save some t-shirts to recycle for your tween or teen’s next sleepover. They’ll love making these bangle t-shirt bracelets.

What you’ll need to make recycled t-shirt bracelets

  • T-shirts
  • Bangle bracelets
  • White craft glue
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun

Recycled T-shirts used as cute bracelets

6. Teen Spirit…Sports T-Shirts Recycled Right

As your kids outgrow their t-shirts for school sports, save them to make a school spirit t-shirt blanket. What a neat idea and a great keepsake for the kids.

Pro Tip: This would make a great gift for grandparents! What I really like about this tip is that it is thrifty and eco-friendly..

Recycled Sports T-shirts used as blanket

7. How About Momma? Here Are Some Recycle T-Shirts Ideas For You

Use a couple of t-shirts to create this chic designer-inspired scarf. Gorgeous!

Pro Tip: You can create a scarf that is cooler and more stylish than a traditional scarf by wrapping a t-shirt around your head. You can even use different shades of the same shirt to create different colors. Follow this design to create a quirky, cute scarf!

Recycled T-shirts used as a super cute t-shirt

8. Create a Belt from Old T-Shirt Material

Create a few new belts to add to your wardrobe. Stylish!

If you feel like you have too many belts (we all do), then create a few new styles with your recycled t-shirts. Personalize those belts so that they are awesome.

Recycled T-shirts used as a fashionable belt

9. Crafty Old T-shirt Knotted Headband

Use some of your t-shirt yarn to create this pretty knotted headband. Great for kids or adults!

Pro-Tips: T-shirt yarn is just one way to reuse old t-shirts – there are many crafty ways of repurposing t-shirt material, like making knitted accessories, and I just recently discovered how to make bracelets out of it! This method works well with the same yarn as this pattern, but you could also use cotton or other types of t-shirt yarn.

Recycled T-shirt as a headband on a woman

10. Upcycle T-Shirt Braided Headband

Here’s a braided headband that’s just as gorgeous.

Braided?  Think a product that has a very simple, clean design that’s not over-designed with complicated details. It’s a delicate balance between something beautiful without being too small, or too large.

Recycled T-shirts used as braided headband

Old T-Shirt + Your Home = Design Gold!

11. Recycled T-shirt Coasters For Your House

Tired of water rings on your coffee tables? Turn some of those shirts into handy dandy t-shirt coasters.

T-shirt coasters are a great way to reuse old t-shirts that you have sitting around. A recycled T-shirt coaster is way cutter than using a recycled t-shirt as a rag.

Recycled T-shirts re-used as coasters

12. Easy DIY Recycled T-Shirt Throw Pillows

Make some playful t-shirt throw pillows for the deck furniture (or for your couch).

Just imagine sitting on your furniture with that fancy new pillow.  Then sharing its story.

The stories a t-shirt can tell about you are endless. It could be the story that you worked hard to get where you are today or could be the story of how you started getting into tech, or even how working at tech jobs helps fund your travels around the world – each t-shirt tells a different story!

Tips for Sewing With T-shirts

    1.  Wash and dry the T-shirts before using them.
    2.  Make sure you use a sewing machine needle designed for jersey/knit material.
    3.  Make sure you use a stitch on your machine designed for stretchy { jersey/knit } material.
    4.  Remember that T-shirt material stretches, so do not allow any extra room or your pillow cover will be loose on the pillow form

Two pillows decorated with Recycled T-shirts

13. Upcycle Rug Made From T-shirts

Make a t-shirt rug for the kids’ room.

Don’t have enough fabric? Got a handbag?

Clean and reuse it to create a gorgeous, rug. Crafting is great not only because it’s an enjoyable activity, but also because you can save up on cash in the long run.

All you need are these few items:

  • Rug Canvas
  • Latch Hook
  • Cutting Mat
  • Rotary Cutter

A Rug Created From Recycled T-shirts

14. Upcycle T-shirts Into Yarn

Learn how to turn t-shirts into t-shirt yarn for craft projects. You’ll find several fun ways to use it further down in the post!

Here are the easy DIY instructions:

  • Lay your shirt flat on the table and cut straight across right under the arms
  • This leaves you a nice big section of T-shirt
  • Cut off the bottom hem of the T-shirt
  • Fold the T-shirt in toward the side leaving an inch on one side…this will be the top
  • Cut the T-shirt into 1 inch strips not going all the way to the top.  You want to leave the top inch of the shirt in one piece.
  • Once you’re done with all that cutting…take a break and shake, shake, shake your hands.  I know they have to hurt by now.
  • Now unfold your T-shirt and place the top inch of your fabric flat on the table.  Cut on an angle from the first strip to the second creating one long piece of fabric.

What is recycled t-shirt yarn used for?

Tshirt yarn can be used for all kinds of things, from hanging baskets to floor poufs to purses. When working with this yarn you’ll want to use a large hook – typically a 8mm or larger, depending on how stiff the finished project will be…

Quote from: https://hearthookhome.com/t-shirt-yarn-crochet-patterns/

Balls of yarn made from Recycled T-shirts

15. Beginner At Sewing? Here Is A Zero Sewing Tote To Recycle Those Old  T-Shirts!

If you’re a beginner sewer and don’t want to take the time to make a tote, this project is perfect for you. You’ll get a bag that’s durable and stylish without any sewing!

Make a no-sew tote for yourself or for a friend with only two items:

  • an old t-shirt
  • scissors

A tote bag made from Recycled T-shirt hanging

16. Crochet An Easter Basket From Recycled T-shirts

Can you crochet? This t-shirt was turned into an adorable Easter basket.

New to crocheting? Crocheting is an easy craft that can be done by basically anyone. It involves making loops out of yarn. These loops create crocheted shapes. When you’re done, you have different patterns to make. You can use all types of different yarns and thread to create different designs and weaves.

Interested get all the directions here.

a basket made from a Recycled T-shirt

Need More Ideas?  2 Bonus Tips To Recycle Your T-Shirts + A Silly Question

  1. Holidays coming around the corner? Create a Christmas cone
  2. Have a teen? Teach them these Hacks and they will love you later.
  3. Silly Question? Need more T-shirts Here are our go-to designs : )

Goodbye to guilt over getting rid of memories. So long crowded closets and drawers. You can make space for the things you need and give your t-shirts new life and purpose while still hanging onto those memories, and maybe bringing them to mind more often since you’ll be using the “shirt” more. Which idea inspired you most?

Want more upcycling ideas? Try this list of wine cork projects!

Collage of Recycled T-shirts coasters, binder cover, blanket, and scarf

And if you love those creative ways to reuse t-shirts, don’t forget about how practical they can be around the house as well! You can use old t-shirts as paint rags, dusters, or even as items to wrap up things when you move. (old t-shirts make the best packing material, ever!)

The next time that you think you don’t have a need for a certain t-shirt, it’s time to give it new life by turning it into something else! Be creative and use your mind to create something amazing!

Do you have any ideas on how to reuse t-shirts that you no longer need or wear?

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