In another article, we gave you 5 awesome and simple ways to take your old T shirts and breathe brand new life into them. With a little more research, we found 6 more amazing ways to use up that big bag of old T shirts you don’t want to throw away.
These are great projects to let your creative side out, save money, and make cool gifts for friends and family that have that unique personal touch that really shows you put time and effort into their gift.
Whatever your reasons and inspiration are for trying out these projects, read on and see which ones catch your eye!
Project #1 T Shirt Tote Bag
This is a super simple project to turn an unused T shirt into a super usable tote bag for grocery shopping, going to the beach, or anything else you can think of. All you need is an old T shirt and a pair of scissors (fabric scissors are best), and a (washable) marker.
- Start by turning the shirt inside out and laying the shirt out flat and cutting the sleeves off.
- Then cut the neckline just below the seam.
- Draw a horizontal line across the bottom of the T shirt (about 2-3” from the bottom).
- Cut evenly spaced strips into the bottom. Cut up to the line you drew and stop.
- Now take the first set of strips and tie them in a knot. Repeat this with the next two strips. Repeat once more.
- After you have three knotted sets, take one strip from the middle set (the second set of strips) and tie it to one strip from the first set.
- Then take the other strip from that middle set and tie it to one strip from the third set.
- Repeat this process all the way across.
- Turn the T shirt back to right side out. You’re done!
- Option: if you like the fringed look at the bottom, don’t turn the shirt inside out at the beginning and the fringe will be on the outside.
Project #2 T Shirt Yarn
This project doesn’t make something you can wear. Well, I mean, no one is stopping you from draping yourself in yarn. But it makes balls of yarn that you can use for knitting, crocheting, or making braided rugs (like in the project above).
All you need is a pair of scissors and a T shirt. The shirt should not have seams going down the sides.
- Cut a horizontal line directly underneath the arm holes.
- Cut another horizontal line just above the bottom hem.
- You are only going to use the middle piece you have now. Use the top and bottom pieces in other projects.
- Pick up one of the uncut ends and fold it over almost in half. Leave about a 1” space at the top.
- Start cutting strips that are roughly 1” wide. Cut almost all the way to the top but leave the top edge intact (the lower edge should be cut).
- Unfold the shirt so you can see the strips.
- Start cutting diagonally across the attached seam so that you are cutting from the left edge of one strip across to the right edge of the next strip. See photos for help here.
- You now have a single strip of T shirt. Start pulling at it so that the edges curl inward.
- Do this all the way across until the edges are all curled in.
- Roll your yarn into a yarn ball. That’s it!
Project #3 T Shirt Infinity Scarf
This easy project will turn an unwearable T shirt into a super trendy infinity scarf in a matter of minutes. You just need an oversized T shirt and a pair of scissors.
- Lay the shirt out flat.
- Starting from the bottom, cut the shirt into strips. You can start by cutting the hem off and then cutting out strips of roughly the same width all the way up.
- Note: it’s not important that they be perfectly straight or perfectly the same size. The more strips you have, the thicker the scarf will be. If you use multiple shirts of different colors, you can have a colorful scarf!
- Gather all the strips together and stretch them out. The edges will start to curl in. Stretch repeatedly (like you’re doing a workout) until they have curled in a lot.
- Cut off a strip from the arm of the T shirt (about 1” wide but no need to be exact).
- Gather the stretched out strips together again.
- Wrap the strip from the arm around multiple times until you have just enough length remaining to tie a secure double knot.
- Cut off the remaining length after tying.
- Tuck the knot underneath one of the layers of the wrapped fabric to hide it. You’re done!
Project #4 T Shirt Head Bands
Go from worn out T shirt to awesome hair accessory in just a few easy steps! You just need an old T shirt, scissors, a needle, and thread (or sewing machine).
- Similar to the first project, cut 5 strips from your T shirt (each about 2” wide, try to make them more or less straight).
- Stack the 5 strips on top of each other.
- Sew the stack together on one end (about ½” to 1” from the end).
- Pull on each strip individually until they start to curl on the edges.
- Tape the sewn end down onto a table so that it is secure.
- Divide the strips into 3 on the left side and 2 on the right.
- Now begin to braid just as you would a 5 strand braid in your hair.
- Once you reach the bottom, sew across to secure the edge.
- Then, put the ends together to form a loop and sew the ends together.
- Cut a rectangle of fabric from the same T shirt that is slightly wider than the edge you just sewed together.
- Fold the sides in until the rectangle is the same width as the edge.
- Sew one end of the rectangle to the edge of the headband.
- Wrap the rest of the rectangle around and sew again. Cut away extra thread.
Project #5 T Shirt Braided Rug
This project is super easy but does take a little more time. This can make a great little rug for the kid’s room, the bathroom, or anywhere else, really. You need:
- 5-10 T shirts (depends on how big you want the rug to be. Estimate that about 6 shirts are needed to make an 18” rug).
- Needle and thread (or sewing machine)
- Turn the T shirts into yarn (there is a project tutorial above that shows you how to do that.
- Sew the end of one yarn strip to the middle of another strip to create a T shape. This will create 3 pieces.
- Start braiding it.
- As you reach the end, sew another piece of yarn to the middle piece (make sure to sew the ends of the finished piece down, too, so they stay in place).
- Continue braiding.
- Continue the process until you’ve used all the T shirt yarn.
- Once you finished braiding, sew across the end to secure the braid.
- Start coiling the long braid you have created, keeping each coil flat on the ground.
- You can also coil it as you go along.
- If you have a distinct top side and bottom side, have the bottom side facing up.
- Begin sewing across the rows of braids so that they can’t uncoil.
- When sewing the end of the braid, tuck it into the braid of the row beside it to hide the edge. Sew it in place.
- Turn it over so the stitching is on bottom and you’re done!
Project #6 T Shirt Belt
This project is super simple and uses the same techniques you’ve learned in other projects earlier. You just need a T shirt, scissors, 2 small metal D rings, and a sewing machine (or needle and thread).
- Cut strips from your shirt just as you did for the infinity scarf but make them a little thicker. You want a total of 5 strips that are roughly the same size.
- Stack them on top of each other and stretch them a bit so the edges start curling.
- Pin them together at one end and tape them onto the table.
- Start doing a 5 strand braid all the way down.
- Once you reach the end, tie the strands into a knot.
- Sew across the pinned end. Remove the pin.
- Wrap this end around the flat edge of the D rings. Sew again to hold in place.
- So the knotted end several times 8about 3 to 4 rows of sewing).
- Cut off the extra bits of strands.
- Now you have a belt!
Between these 6 projects and the 5 from our other article, there are plenty of ways you can give your old T shirts a new purpose in life. You can have fun and create something that is unique and full of memories and meaning!
Now instead of just hanging on to old shirts you never wear or throwing them in the trash, you can upcycle them into a new item you can actually use and enjoy. So have fun and get creative! These are projects are simple, quick, and full of possibilities to let your own creative flare shine through!