Creative Crafts for Recycling Old T-Shirts

If you’re trying to find a way to upcycle some old t-shirts, try these creative crafts for recycling old t-shirts. With shirts and some thread, you can create new masterpieces.


Making headbands is a great way to use some old t-shirts.

Step 1: Lay the t-shirt flat and cut off the bottom hem.

Step 2: Cut the shirt into three strips approximately one inch wide. You can use wider strips for a thicker band.

Step 3: Stretch the strips until they begin to curl. Then, cut the three strips into long equal length strips.

Step 4: Gather the strands together, tie a knot about one-and-a-half inches from the top, and start a traditional three-piece braid. Braid to the size headband you want.

Step 5: When finished braiding, tie a knot at the end. Leave one-and-a-half inches of excess fabric. Tie the loose ends together and adjust to your head.

Memory Quilt

A memory quilt requires a little more skill and time. You’ll need to gather some supplies for this project. You’ll need:

  • A sewing machine
  • Thread
  • T-shirts
  • Batting
  • Cutting mat
  • Ruler
  • Rotary cutter
  • Straight pins
  • Iron and ironing board

Step 1: Prep your fabric. Wash and iron, if needed, to make sure your shirts are clean and ready to go.

Step 2: Decide what size pattern you’d like to follow and cut out pieces of the t-shirts. Once you finish cutting the shirts, lay them out, figuring out where they’ll go.

Step 3: Pin the squares together to form rows, then sew. Make sure the seams go in the same direction.

Step 4: Lay the patchwork onto the batting, leaving three inches of excess batting on every side. Sew the two pieces together exactly over the work. Trim the excess batting.

Step 5: To create the trim, lay half-inch wide double-fold bias tape around the perimeter of the patchwork, with double edge flush. Keep the raw and folded edge facing inward—pin, stretching around each corner to prevent puckering.

Step 6: Cut the backing so it’s the same size as the quilt and leaving a quarter-inch seam of extra fabric. Leave the straight pins in the trim and place the backing over the patchwork. Sew edges through all layers. Leaving one foot open on one side, turn the quilt right side out. Hand sew the opening shut and iron the seam.

Dog Tug Toy

In need of a new dog toy? This is the perfect craft for you! You’ll only need two old t-shirts and a pair of scissors.

Step 1: Start by cutting two to three-inch-wide slits at the bottom of your shirts. After you’ve cut your slits, rip along the slits to tear the shirt into strips.

Step 2: Gather the strips and tie off one end. Divide your strips into thirds and braid them together.

Step 3: Tie a knot at the end, and that’s it.

I hope you enjoyed these creative crafts for old t-shirts. If crafting in general is your passion be sure to check out these Monadnock Region spots for making art and crafts! Happy crafting!


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