10 Tips to Repurpose a T-Shirt

October 5, 2009
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If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, then you know that one of my favorite ways to repurpose a t-shirt is to turn it into a rag. Get out a pair of scissors, snip-snip into usable pieces and you’re done. But the craftier folk among us have other creative ways to turn a t-shirt into something other than a shirt. Here are 10 tips I’ve tracked down for repurposing a t-shirt.

  1. Make it a pillowcase. I read about this idea on the Hide Your Arms blog. The description made me laugh out loud: “Here’s how it goes: get a pillow, get a t-shirt, put t-shirt over pillow. Done.” Seriously, though, if you’re ever desperate for a pillow case and don’t have one clean, you can just use a t-shirt instead. Brilliant!
  2. Turn it into art. Got a threadbare shirt that you couldn’t wear in decent company but still love? Why not cut out the part of the shirt you love, stretch it over canvas, staple it in place, frame it and, voila, you’ve got art.
  3. Craft a quilt. There are companies that will take your old t-shirts and make a patchwork quilt out of them. This is a great option for anyone who collects concert shirts but will never get around to wearing them all. Makes me wish I hadn’t gotten rid of my old Styx, Squeeze and Sonic Youth shirts from the 80s!
  4. Make a rug. OK, so this really would only fly in a college dorm, but check out this website that shows a picture of t-shirt rug. My rocker cousin Joe would have loved this idea in his teen years!
  5. Deem it a doggie shirt. So say you have a shirt that you loved but somehow super-shrunk it in the laundry? Well, if you’re into dressing up your dog (I’m not!), you could hand that shirt down to your four-legged friend.
  6. Turn it into a throw pillow. Even the most remedial sewers (that would be people who sew, not the place where your water waste goes) could figure this one out. Cut your t-shirt into two squares of the same size. Line up with the outside facing in. Stitch three sides of the square, then turn rightside out. Stuff and sew up the fourth side. (Wow, can’t believe I remember that from Girl Scouts!)
  7. Cut them into cloth napkins. Need I say more?
  8. Make a laptop case. This makezine website offers step-by-step instructions for turning a t-shirt into a case for your laptop. Bonus: use a pocket tee and you’ve got a “case” for your iPod, too!
  9. Turn it into a tote bag. You can even craft the handles from excess t-shirt fabric!
  10. Design a doggie bed. Just stitch up the neck and sleeves of a shirt, stuff with other old shirts, and then sew the bottom of the shirt to create a new bed for your pet.

What about you? Done anything clever with an old shirt? Post a comment to let us know.

6 Responses to 10 Tips to Repurpose a T-Shirt

  1. Thanks for the recycling love! | T-Shirts on October 18, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    [...] Blogs Round Up: Halloween Tees, How to Recycle Your T-sirts, NIWL’s Dead, and More | cottonable 10 Tips to Repurpose a T-Shirt « Suddenly Frugal Blog Live 2 CREATE! » Blog Archive » Friday Fun, Miscellaneous & Merriment! Home Made Originals: T [...]

  2. Thanks for the recycling love! :: Hide Your Arms on October 17, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    [...] Blogs Round Up: Halloween Tees, How to Recycle Your T-sirts, NIWL’s Dead, and More | cottonable 10 Tips to Repurpose a T-Shirt « Suddenly Frugal Blog Live 2 CREATE! » Blog Archive » Friday Fun, Miscellaneous & Merriment! Home Made Originals: [...]

  3. leahingram on October 5, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Cool ideas!

  4. cheaplikeme on October 5, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Last week, I came across a post on the Repurposeful blog about patterns to make little kids’ clothing out of old adult T-shirts – http://repurposeful.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/upcycling-old-tees-into-clothes-for-kids/.

    You also can cut up the T-shirt in a spiral (the same way you can peel an apple in one long circle) to make jersey “yarn”!

  5. Craig on October 5, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Turning it into a pillow case is a good fun idea. Maybe not with all your cases it will look weird, but with one just for fun it can be real cool.

  6. dee dee on October 5, 2009 at 9:20 am

    Great post. My dear friend Lydia made her (then) boyfriend (now husband) a beautiful quilt from dozens of his old t-shirts. It’s a work of art.

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