10 Creative Ways to Re-Use or Re-Purpose T-Shirts

October 16, 2011 View all articles in Re-Use-It

Whether too big; too small; dingy; over-bleached; or out-of-fashion, we all have t-shirts in our dressers that are unwearable. That doesn't mean they should be thrown away. So what are the Eco-conscious, earth-friendly t-shirt wearers supposed to do with their old garments? Here are some suggestions.


Create Patches: That tour, game, marathon, or bachelor party you want to remember forever can be preserved long after those commemorative t-shirt wears out. Simply cut a patch from the shirt and sew it onto a quilt, a sweatshirt, some worn-out pants, or anything that will keep your treasured memory alive longer.

Frame it: If you'd rather preserve the memory in a single piece without cutting the shirt, frame the whole thing in a shadowbox frame and hang it on the wall.

Make a Quilt: If you're skilled with a sewing machine, you can cut your t-shirt into squares and create a memory quilt!

Make a Skirt: Make a one-of-kind skirt out of several t-shirts by following the instructions provided by Cute Circuit.

Make a Laptop Cozy: Turn your old t-shirt into a laptop cozy by a) folding the shirt in half with the wrong sides turned in, b) stitching up the sides, c) flipping it back, d) lining the inside with fleece or felt to pad and reduce stretching, e) then reinforcing with a couple straps taken from an old gym bag or tote bag.

Make a Pillow: Turn your old t-shirt into a pillow by a) cutting a strait line from shoulder to shoulder, b) cutting from sleeves to the bottom hem, c) trimming from the bottom, d) stitching up the inside, e) leaving a bit of room to stuff with organic or recycled batting, f) and then closing the seam with a whip stitch.

Make a Scarf: Lay the t-shirt flat, cut across the body in several 1-inch strips, stretch the strips, and then combine them into a necklace, or scarf.

Make a Cloth Grocery Bag: Simply follow the instructions provided by Craft Bits.

Make Washcloths/Baby Wipes: Cut 12 small squares (6 from each side) and use them in accompaniment to cloth diapers to reduce the waste of store-bought baby wipes and paper towels.

Make Cleaning Rags: Cut four squares from each side of a t-shirt and use them for dusting and for wiping windows. Using old t-shirts instead of paper towels will further reduce paper waste.


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