If you are like most people, you probably have a bunch of barely or never worn t-shirts in your home. Perhaps one of them is a souvenir shirt from camp that does not fit or a shirt from an event or a contest.

Man frowning face holding two hangers with gray and orange Recycled T-Shirts hard to choose the best attire.

Guide To Crafting Recycled T-Shirts

And if you have those, you will likely have several threadbare shirts that look like they will not survive the next wash. 

You know those recycled shirts, the ones from college that have survived years of use, or those that bear the name of your favorite band. These shirts have grown so soft and comfortable over time that they have gotten stretchy and holey in several places. If you were to ask your loved ones, they would probably tell you that those tees now belong in the bin. While people often shop for a vintage grateful dead shirt on purpose.

Unfortunately, with so many t-shirts in the trash, they usually end up clogging landfills worldwide. According to recent data, about $183 million of clothing is in landfills annually. Not only does it lead to a lot of waste, but since it takes a long time for the fabric to decompose, they pile up and stay there for more than 200 years.

Instead of throwing away your t-shirts, though, why not recycle them? It is a great way to give new life to old favorites, and with creativity, you can turn hardly-worn shirts into something useful. Moreover, it is the perfect activity to do on a rainy day with your kids. So, before putting that souvenir shirt in the bin, consider its potential with this ultimate guide to crafting recycled t-shirts. 

Make Recycled T-Shirts into a Reusable Bag

Turning old t-shirts into reusable bags is a smart way to save the planet. Not only do you give a new purpose to an old item, but you’re also turning it into an object that can help reduce your plastic consumption. Moreover, since a study shows that the average person has six reusable bags at home, this DIY project can be a lucrative business too. 

To start a business or large-scale projects, you can use something like the Bella + Canvas Maker’s Program to order from a wholesale catalog. This program allows crafters and makers to purchase as little or as much as they want. You can make 20 or 200 reusable bags from blank t-shirts. 

Lay the shirt on a table to make a reusable bag from a t-shirt. Cut on the inside of both sleeves. Next, create the bag’s opening by cutting a U-shape from one shoulder to the other. Your shirt should now resemble a jersey at this point. Trim all the uneven bits, then sew the shirt closed at the bottom.  

Braided Rug

Have you got a lot of colorful old shirts? Why not make a braided rug? They are perfectly charming, and braided rugs make your home cozy. Making one is relatively easy too, and you will only need about 5 to 10 shirts, needle and thread, and a pair of scissors for this project.

First, you must make long strips of cloth with your shirts. Cut them from the top to the bottom, ensuring that all the strips are even in length and width. Next, get two strips of the same color and another strip from a different shirt and braid them together. Continue doing this until you have braided all your fabric. 

You can stitch the braids side by side to create a rectangular rug. You can also form a circle with one braid, stitch it so it stays in that shape, then attach more braids until you get a big circular rug. Rectangular rugs can replace door mats, while circular rugs look best as accent rugs for the bedroom or living room. 

Throw Pillows

Can you not imagine turning an old, beloved shirt into a rug? Give it some new life by turning it into a throw pillow. You can use it to redecorate and add interest to your couch or bedroom or place it in your car as a decorative element.

Apart from the shirt, you will need half a yard of fusible lightweight interfacing, a standard 14-inch throw pillow, thread, pins and needles, a 12-inch zipper, scissors, and a sewing machine. First, open the t-shirt by cutting off the sleeves, then cut along the shoulder and side seams. Using a flat iron, iron out any wrinkles. Next, cut two 18 x 18-inch squares from your interfacing. 

On the wrong side of the t-shirt, apply the fusible interfacing. Flip the t-shirt to the right side, then cut out two 15 x 15-inch squares. Place the pieces right side together, then pin the bottom edges together. Sew all the other sides together, then pin the zipper onto the pinned side. Use the machine to sew the zipper onto the pillowcase. Turn the pillowcase inside out, then place the pillow inside and zip it shut. 

Tie-Dyed Shirts

Turn dingy white shirts into summer-ready outfits by giving them a shot of color. You can use commercially available fabric dye, but for a more organic approach to this project, try using vegetable or fruit dyes. To create an excellent soft pink dye, use cranberries or cherries. For a bright yellow dye, try using turmeric powder. Use blueberries, mulberries, grape skins, or currants if you want a blue or purple dye.  

First, use rubber bands to tie up your shirt in strategic places, then prepare the dye. If you are using fruits, crush them up, then boil the crushed fruit with water for about five minutes. If you use powdered spices, boil them with plain water for seven minutes. Let the dye cool before submerging your shirts in the dye bath.

Let the dye soak into the fabric for 8 to 24 hours, depending on how intense you want the color to be. Rinse in cold water until it runs clear, and hang it up to dry under the sun. 

Recycling old t-shirts can give these items a new purpose, enabling you to do your part to save the planet. Try these crafts today to turn your old tees into something beautiful and valuable! 

Recycled T-Shirts, Ultimate Guide To Crafting Recycled T-Shirts, Days of a Domestic Dad