Upcycling is a huge part of living a frugal lifestyle. Reusing an item as many times as you can before you replace it is one of the best money saving tips that exists. Aside from the fact that it really is common sense to know that it will help you save money, upcycling or reusing things is a great way to reduce the amount of waste your family puts out. We see it all of the time with the things that thrifty people reuse over and over, we see it with new moms using cloth diapers, we see it every day of our lives. A lot of us ignore it though and simply don’t reuse what they can. Yes, reusing things takes thought. Yes, sometimes it takes work. Yes, you’ll have your favorite ways to reuse the items you already use everyday. One of mine is sheets and because of that, I’m always looking for ways to upcycle sheets.
Sheets are great to upcycle not only because of their size, but also because of their material. Flannel, cotton and even silk all have a huge amount of “other” uses which means that if you upcycle nothing else, sheets should be one of the few items you do keep for upcycling. We also find new uses for old towels, ways to use old bottles, ways to use empty milk jugs, ways to use fabric softener and even ways to use coffee mugs! Between all of them, I save a lot of money. I’ve never sat down and figured out exactly how much but I can tell you that there are a lot of things that I haven’t had to buy because of those towels and how often we find ways to upcycle sheets.
Ways to Upcycle Sheets
The sky really is the limit when you’re upcycling sheets. They’re fabric so as long as it is clean? It can be reused. No one wants to just cut a few squares of fabric and stuff it in a box though. That’s why I love these 17 ways to upcycle sheets. They’re all so creative that you’ll wonder why you didn’t start upcycling your old sheets a long time ago!
Go medieval with a sheet fort – Grab your old sheets and a few chairs (or whatever happens to be handy) and get busy building the most awesome fort you’ve ever seen. Your kids will have a blast and trust me on this…you will too. Holey sheets work great for this too! They can function as windows and more in your blanket fort!
Sew a homemade rag rug – Pick sheets with your favorite colors and make a braided rag rug. You will need to have a sewing machine on hand, but you can customize size, shape and colors for a personalized rug. These would make amazing gifts and give your worn out sheets one last hurrah!
Upcycle sheets as homemade packing material – Cut your old sheets into small, medium and large squares then use them to protect your items when you’re packing for a move. For protecting the inside of items such as glasses, cut another old sheet into strips. Use the strips to stuff the inside of the item and the squares to protect the outside. You could even lay a few extra large squares on the top and bottom of each box and in between layers to create even more protection. When you’re done, bag your “new” packing material up and save it for the next time or use it to make the rag quilt below!
Make a homemade rag quilt – Speaking of rag crafts, you can use your worn out sheets to make a rag quilt as well. Cut your sheets into squares of whatever size you want then sew together. Use another sheet that is in good shape to make a quilt backing . Fill with quilt batting if you want and sew your two larger pieces together. Voila! You’ve made yourself an awesome upcycled quilt!
Use old sheets to make homemade gift wrap – Sheets that are pretty, bright or filled with cartoon characters make excellent gift wrap if the colors are bright with no stains or rips. Cut a piece big enough to wrap your gift then wrap like normal. Your giftee (is that a real word? Oh well, it is now) will love the creativity and the fact that they can re-use their gift wrap a lot easier than paper wrapping!
Make upcycled sheet doll clothing– This one is great for Moms and daughters to do together. Grab your sewing machine and give her a quick a sewing lesson to make some “new” doll clothes for her dolls! You can find tons of free American Girl doll clothing patterns, free Barbie clothes patterns and more online with a quick search. You could even make sheets or curtains for her doll furniture!
Upcycle homemade sheets to make cleaning rags – Just like with upcycling towels, sheets make excellent cleaning rags. Cut them into squares of whatever size you’re comfortable with then use them to clean your house with. They’re also great for making homemade reusable dryer sheets with and while you’re making cleaning rags? Why not make a homemade all purpose cleaner too and save even more money?
Sew your own kids play clothes – Sew some basic play clothes for your kids. You can make aprons, shirts, skirts, purses and more out of old sheets. They’ll be sturdy enough for play, but since they aren’t they’re “nice” clothes, you won’t have a heart attack when they get dirty! For a bonus, make the whole thing a history lesson and explain that this is how clothing was made long ago, go through the process with them and more. They’ll love learning about the past!
Use upcycled sheets to make a homemade dog toy – Dogs chew through toys so quickly so it doesn’t make much sense to me to buy them very often. Instead, one of my favorite ways to upcycle sheets is to make a homemade dog rope toy. They only take a little bit of work and your pup will love it!
Make an upcycled bed sheet maxi skirt – Moms, grab your sewing machine again and use it to maxi skirt from an old bed sheet. It’s best if you only use one color since maxi skirts typically look best as a solid color, but if you want to use more than one? Go for it! Either way, you’ve got an awesome skirt and a new idea for when you’re looking for ways to upcycle sheets!
Sew a “no sew” heat pack – Grab your old sheets and fill them with rice or small stones to make an awesome DIY no-sew heat pack. They’re easy to make and make amazing gifts for older folks with arthritis or included in a gift basket for a new mama.
Make bedsheet pajama pants – In my house we call pajama pants “comfies.” Upcycling an old sheet is a great way to make a new pair! Use this simple pattern to make bed sheet pajama pants. You can use any sheet pattern you want, any color you want and can even dress them up if you want!
Make a homemade picnic blanket – Grab a few old sheets and sew them together one on top of the other. Sew some bias tape or other finishing piece around the edges to keep the edges from fraying too badly. Add pockets if you want or embellish in any way that suits your fancy! If you want to make it waterproof, sew a large piece of waterproof fabric onto the back of your blanket. When you have your next picnic, you have a sweet homemade picnic blanket to lay on the ground!
Upcycle old pillowcases as shopping bags – Skip paying for reusable shopping bags and instead, make your own using pillow cases. Cut each pillow case in half and sew one end closed (use the end that already has a hem in it for a stronger bottom). Using the second half, cut 4 strips for handles. Sew two of your strips together to reinforce them a bit and then attach to your new bag!
Upcycle sheets to help lower your heating or cooling bills – Unless you live in relatively new construction, your home very likely has drafts that allow cold air in during the winter and cool air out during the summer. These leaks are likely killing your heating or cooling bill. A great way to upcycle sheets is to use them to block these drafts. Put them under doors and around windows that are leaky to seal them up a bit. If you wanted to get fancy with it, you could cut your sheets in half widthwise and roll them up. Sew the top part of the roll to the rest of your “log” to create a blocker that is easy to manage.
Stock up on rag yarn using old bed sheets – Cut your old sheets into strip to make homemade rag yarn to use in your craft projects around the house. If you have a craft habit, this could save you a ton of money over the course of your crafting days!
Make homemade plant coverings – Old sheets can be used to help save your garden plants when you have a light frost. Make sure they don’t have any holes or tears and use them to cover your plants to keep them safe from the frost and cold.
These are by far the only ways to upcycle sheets that are out there. In reality, if you can think of a way to use it, it will likely work. Use them for kids play, in other areas of your home and more. The more uses for old sheets you can find? The more money you’ll save!