Once your t-shirt has been worn to its end, what do you do with it? Throw it away? After all, what do you do with old clothes that can not be donated, right? Upcycle it! These ways to upcycle old t-shirts are the answer! Each one is designed to give your old t-shirts one last use and to save you money at the same time!
Steve is a t-shirt and jeans kind of guy. I am a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl. I don’t think I need to tell you that we have a whole lot of t-shirts here at my house.
Yes. I wear his. No, he doesn’t wear mine.
In any case, due to how many tees we have, I have had to get creative and find new ways to upcycle old t-shirts. Let’s face it; even our favorite tees eventually wear out, but if you’re like me, you won’t want to simply toss it.
Giving it a new use extends its life, creates less waste and saves me money all at the same time. It’s a win/win/win situation!
Make DIY Fabric Softener Sheets
Fabric softener sheets are one of the biggest wastes of money a home can have. You are literally paying for something just to throw it away. Instead, use your old t-shirts to make THESE reusable fabric softener sheets. They’re toxin-free and work amazingly well! We have used them in our own home since I stopped buying certain things and started making them myself.
Make DIY Cleaning Wipes from Old T-Shirts
Just like dryer sheets are a waste of money, cleaning wipes are as well. Why? Because they are incredibly easy to make yourself. My tutorial here uses wash cloths but they work just as well with old t-shirts cut into large squares. When you make them, you will be cleaning and disinfecting your home without toxins, reducing waste and saving money at the same time.
Make DIY Baby Wipes from Upcycled T-Shirts
Baby wipes are another great way to upcycle t-shirts. Since they need to be super soft for your baby, be sure to only use 100% cotton t-shirts. The process is the same as making my DIY Reusable Cleaning wipes with one exception. Instead of using a homemade all-purpose cleaner, you will use unscented Castile soap or your favorite baby soap
Do not, I repeat do not; use anything other than Castile soap or baby soap when making homemade baby wipes.
Make Yarn from T-Shirts
If you are a crafter, you will appreciate this. Old t-shirts can be turned into yarn quite easily! It can be used for your next crochet project, knitting project or whatever you might use craft yarn for! Making t-shirt yarn is a great way to give them one last use and since your project will likely last a good, long while, they won’t be going into the trash pile!
Make Rags from T-Shirts
This way to upcycle t-shirts is an oldie, but still a goodie. Instead of using disposable paper towels around your home, cut old t-shirts into rags to use as reusable unpaper towels. This is best for those tees that are not fit for any other use. One thing to watch for when cutting shirts into rags is size. It is very easy to make them too small to be usable so just be sure to keep an eye out.
Make a Rug from T-Shirts
I am always in need of a new rug somewhere and using t-shirts to make them is not only something I enjoy but also something that saves me quite a bit of money! Making braided t-shirt rugs is super simple! They make great weekend crafts for you or the kids!
Compost Old T-Shirts
If you have a compost pile, I’d wager that you’re not composting your old tees, right? Okay, I’ll grant you this; t-shirts are something most people are not composting but should be! T-shirts are great organic material for your compost pile with one caveat. You can only safely compost clothing that is 100% cotton. Do not attempt to add any synthetic threads such as polyester.
Recycle Your T-Shirts
If you look through this list and still don’t know what to do with your old clothes and t-shirts, finding a way to recycle your old clothes is a great option. In fact, there are quite a few ways to do so that are not included in this list.
Make a Blanket from T-Shirts
One idea that I truly love is making a blanket from old shirts! Once completed, they tend to be super soft and if you only use 100% cotton shirts, they will be incredibly warm a well. When making a blanket from old clothes, you can use any fabric you would like, however, opting for the more durable fabrics such as cotton will help your blanket last much longer.
Make Dog Beds from T-shirts
Making a dog bed from t-shirts is a very simple way to provide your dog with a comfy bed. To do so, grab your favorite old t-shirt and sew the color shut. Stuff the shirt with quilt batting and sew the bottom closed. Finally, wrap each sleeve around the bed part and sew them closed and to the body.
Upcycle Your Old T-Shirts into a Cat Scratching Post
We can’t forget our feline friends! Your old t-shirts can also be turned into an amazing cat scratching post for them! Here are some instructions to help get you started!
Recycle T-Shirts into Cloth Feminine Pads
It may not be a topic you want to discuss, but a few years back, I switched to reusable feminine pads and have never looked back. There are a lot of reasons why I switched, but comfort and waste with the two big ones.
Your old t-shirts are great when they are recycled into cloth feminine pads. Unsure how to get started? HERE is the pattern we use around our house to make our own cloth pads.
If you can’t sew or simply would prefer not to, you can also buy some really amazing ones HERE.
Recycle Old Clothes into Placemats
Old clothes, especially t-shirts, make great fabric placemats! Since placemats can help reduce mess at your table, what could be better than one you essentially pay nothing for? To help you get started, Apple Green Cottage has a great tutorial on how to make placemats.
Use Old T-Shirts to Make Rag Rugs
Not only can you use your old t-shirts to make braided rugs, but they make fantastic rag rugs as well! These are great in front of a bed, your door and so on. If you’re looking to get started making them, there are loads of great rag rug tutorials on Youtube.
Make Curtains from Old Clothes and T-Shirts
Some of the prettiest curtains I have seen are ones that are made from old clothes; especially old t-shirts. A great way to use them in this manner is to make patchwork curtains. Find a few tees or other shirts with a pretty pattern and cut them into squares or fat quarters. Sew them together ending with a loop for a curtain rod at the top.
Make a Memorial Quilt with Special T-Shirts
If you have lost a loved one who wore a lot of tees, making a memorial quilt from them is a great idea. Unlike a regular blanket or quilt which can use any fabric, a memorial quilt uses only tees that meant something to the person you lost. These can include souvenir shirts and others that were special to them.
Make Cloth Napkins from Old Shirts
If you use napkins in your home, why not make reusable cloth napkins instead of buying disposable ones over and over again. Your old t-shirts are great for this! Simply cut squares and hem the edges to prevent the threads from coming unraveled.