Fashion & Beauty

Published on November 4th, 2011 | by Lynn Fang


6 Easy Ways to Upcycle a T-shirt

T-Shirt yarn

T-shirts. You’ve got too many of them sitting in your closet, and that’s stress on your mind. But it’s a good thing now, because you can upcycle them into super useful everyday things!

1. Tissues and Hankybooks

Cut your shirts to the tissue size you desire, leaving an extra inch to sew. You can leave them as single sheets, or reinforce by sewing on a second layer. You can even make a few “pages” of these double-layer tissues, and stitch them together at the center to create a Hankybook. The original concept comes from Leslie Uke.

2. Napkins

First, choose a napkin-friendly color. Similar to the tissues, cut out a napkin size you desire. Sew on a second layer. Optionally, you can add a border from the hem of your T-shirt.

3. Shopping Bag

The essential steps here are to

  • Cut off the sleeves
  • Cut off the neckline in semi-circular fashion
  • Sew the bottom shut, at the hem. Sew again to reinforce.

That’s it! I’ve made a few myself, and they actually hold up quite well. T-shirts are stretchy, so the bag does stretch under a good amount of weight, but mine has held up for a good while.

4. Yarn

You can actually cut up your T-shirt into one long strip. By stretching this skinny strip, it curls into a roll like spaghetti. Voila! Now you have yarn.

5. Drawstring Pouch

Cut out a square of your T-shirt, both front and back. Include the hem to use for a drawstring. Sew up the bottom and sides, then pull a ribbon through the hem. Now you’ve got a drawstring pouch for whatever you’d like.

6. Necklace

Basically, just cut 1-2″ strips from the bottom of your T-shirt and tie a few of them together for a lovely necklace. Bracelets work too.

[CC Image by sweettookie via Flickr]

How have you upcycled a T-shirt?


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About the Author

is a compost consultant and educator, eco-conscious writer, and intuitive artist. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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