When we first met, my husband Steve had more clothes than I did. Not only that, but the man had kept clothes that were barely fashionable twenty years ago. As a result, we ended up with quite a few 30-gallon trash bags of old clothes. This left me finding new ways to use old clothes, but specifically looking for ways to use old blue jeans.
I wish I was kidding when I tell you he had over 40 pair of jeans hanging in his closet. He wore 6 of those on a regular basis.
Needless to say, I was over run by old blue jeans.
Ways to Use Old Blue Jeans
As I started looking for ways to repurpose denim, I was pretty surprised by how many ways there actually were.
I didn’t think there would be so many, but I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to come up with as many as I did. I ran and got a few supplies I needed and turned each pair into something amazing!
Hopefully, if you’re looking for new uses for old jeans too, you’ll be just as surprised as I was.
Ways to Repurpose Old Denim
When I first started upcycling jeans, I separated them into two groups. The first was jeans that only had minor imperfections such as a small tear. These were few and far between, but these are the ones that I sold to make extra money.
If something is still wearable, I want to help someone else out while helping my own family at the same time.
Where to sell jeans you no longer want
If you have women’s and kids jeans, ThredUp is a fantastic place to sell them. As an online consignment shop, all you have to do is request a bag or shipping label and send in your clean clothes. You can check out ThredUp HERE (and get yourself a free credit while you’re at it!)
For men’s jeans, group them together and try selling them on Facebook Marketplace or an app such as OfferUp. This is where I have had the most luck.
No matter where you’re selling them, there are a few tips for selling kids clothes online that you should follow. They’re not just for kids clothes though. They hold true for adult clothing as well.
Uses for Old Denim
The second was jeans that were not able to be sold. He’s a man who works in grease. Jeans don’t last long around him.
These were the majority that I found myself with. Most had at least one significant stain while others had rips and tears.
I won’t sell torn or ripped clothing unless it is supposed to be that way.
Denim Craft Ideas
Make a woven denim rug
If you would rather make a rag rug, cut the denim into long strips, pull them through the mesh and tie each into a knot leaving the ends showing on top.
Make Denim Yarn
Have you ever heard of plarn – aka plastic yarn – or t-shirt yarn? You can do the same thing with denim! Youtube is full of tutorials on how to make denim yarn.
Turn old blue jeans into a skirt
If the top parts of your jeans are still in good shape, you can use them to make a nice upcycled denim skirt! Simply cut off the bottom of the legs then remove the inseams.
Sew the inseams together to create the front and back of the skirt and you’re good to go!
Make a pencil holder from a jeans pocket
Tired of pencils and pens laying everywhere? This craft idea for old jeans is perfect for you! You can use old jeans to make a denim pencil holder.
Cut the back pockets off old jeans making sure to leave the back of the pocket intact. Use cardboard or some other “stiff” item to the very back to give it some stability.
Attach a small magnet or velcro to the back if you want to mount your upcycled denim pencil holder on the wall and decorate however you like.
Make a repurposed denim purse
I first saw this idea when I was a kid and I still love it as much as I did then!
You can make a quick upcycled denim purse by using a pair of old jeans! Cut the legs off and remove the original zipper and button.
Sew the zipper and button hole up then add a zipper along the waist of the jeans. Use the leg pieces to create a strap and you’ve got a cute new purse!
Insulate gaps in your home with old jeans
One of the energy leaks you should plug in your home before winter are any gaps around windows and doors.
Believe it or not, one of the ways to use old blue jeans is to help plug these gaps.
To use old jeans to help boost your insulation and plug small gaps in your home, mix equal parts Borax and water then soak cut up squares (of different sizes for different sized gaps) of old denim in the mixture.
Allow the denim to dry then use to plug the gaps. When it dries, the mixture creates a flame retardant, mildew resistant and bug repelling insulation and gap filler.
Repurpose jeans into a table runner
Cut large blocks or strips and remove seams as needed. Sew them together to fit the size you need.
Upcycle old blue jeans into Hot Wheels roads
One of the cutest ways to use old blue jeans that I have seen was to make roads for Hot Wheels cars!
They cut long strips of old denim and sealed the edges with fabric tape (or sew them) to keep them from fraying.
Use a black Sharpie to draw the center lines and shoulder lines. Let your little one lay them out however they like to create their road system.
Make basket liners from old blue jeans
I almost always have baskets that need new liners. Old denim works great! Simply cut out a square of denim to fit the basket, use fabric tape on the ends and fit into your basket.
Make an apron from an old pair of jeans
I love the look of these upcycled denim aprons! They’re super easy to make too! Cut the legs of the jeans off and separate the front of the jeans from the back.
Use the back of the jeans as the front of your apron. The jeans legs can be used to create the apron strings.
Make exercise weights from old blue jeans
One of the most unique ways to use old blue jeans that I could come up with was to use them to make exercise weights.
You will need craft sand, the legs off jeans and a way to sew them. To do so, weigh the sand out in different units of weight starting with half pound. Seal each weight in a plastic bag so it doesn’t get everywhere.
Sew one end of the leg piece, add the sand bag then sew the other end shut.
Make tough cleaning rags
Sometimes you just need a tougher cleaning rag and old blue jeans make great ones! I tend to use the scraps that I have left for this so I don’t waste any usable part of the denim.
Use old jeans for painting
If you are painting walls or a craft, using a scrap of old denim can help you add texture. Just ball your denim up and paint away.
Protect breakables when moving or storing
Using newspaper to protect valuables when you’re moving can be rather wasteful. Instead, pack them rolled in old blue jean leggings.
It’s a reusable way to protect the things you love.
Make drink coasters from old blue jeans
Another of my favorite ways to use old blue jeans is to make drink coasters. The easiest way to do so is to make denim yarn then roll the yarn into a pinwheel. Glue or put small stitches wherever you feel it is needed to help secure it.
Make wall decor from old blue jeans
This way to repurpose old jeans is actually rather creative! Turn your old denim into wall art! I’ve seen everything from United States maps made from old denim to bleach drawings on denim.
Make denim baskets from old jeans
Can you weave? If so, make denim yarn and repurpose old jeans into baskets!
Replace broken straps
Broken straps on tote bags, duffel bags and backpacks can easily be replaced by old denim. Make sure you use a piece with no tears or visible wear so your repair lasts.
Make a tote bag from upcycled jeans
Just like you can make an upcycled denim purse, you can also make a tote bag from old blue jeans.
The legs are best for this. Cut them to the size you want and remove the inseams. Sew three ends together and hem the fourth. Add straps, decorations and a snap if you choose.
Make denim placemats from old blue jeans
Dress up bland jewelry with old denim
If you’re like me, you have a drawer full of jewelry that you really don’t like. An easy fix is to use old denim to make them look great.
Make a cute bulletin board with old denim
When one of my girls wanted to update the decor in her room, she wanted to add a cork board to put photos and things on.
One of the easiest ways to use old denim was to dress up that cork board. We wrapped it in denim and secured it with a couple of single stitches and some fabric glue.
Then, we cut flowers and other decor and attached with velcro.
Make blue jean pumpkins from old blue jeans
Fall decor looks great in denim and making blue jean pumpkins is one of my favorite fall decor DIY’s. They’re super easy to make using this tutorial from Favecrafts.
By the way, did you know Favecrafts will give you a free wine bottle crafts e-book when you sign up for a Favecraft account HERE?
Make Bookmarks from old jeans
I love my Kindle, but I still love the feeling of holding a real book in my hand. I hate losing my place or dog earring the pages though.
A quick fix is to wrap some cardboard with old blue jeans to make a denim bookmark.
Are you enjoying this post? You may also like these:
- Ways to Use Old Towels
- Ways to Use Old Sheets
- Uses for Coffee Cups
- Uses for Coffee Filters
- Uses for Empty Milk Jugs
- Ways to Use Empty Bottles
Organize your closet
I hate having a messy closet. I feel like I can’t find a thing when it is messy. Upcycled denim has helped me get everything in order.
You can make hanger organizers with old denim. Just cut into strips that will fit around your hangers and add a button or medium sized bead to close the strip. You can then hang more hangers on the loops, hang scarves, belts, hats or anything else that you may want to get up out of the way.
Make reusable napkins
Reusable napkins are super simple to make from upcycled denim. Cut squares of denim in whatever size you want.
How to Use Old Jeans
There are so many uses for old blue jeans that this post would be 4-5,000 words by the time I listed them all.
The ones above are some of my favorites, but these are just as amazing! Some of them, I would have never thought of myself!
Use old denim to make a reusable denim lunch bag
Dip the bag then use a plastic card (an old debit card works great) to smooth and thin the wax out.
Make a denim baby bib
This is adorable and Becca’s Paper Cutz has a great tutorial on how to make denim baby bibs.
Add a red bandanna to your denim baby bib and your baby will look country beautiful!
Make a denim quilt
Make pillow covers
Have throw pillows? Upcycle your old denim into pillow covers! Use embellishments, fabric paints, markers and even bleach pens to decorate them.
Make an ottoman from upcycled denim
This is one way to use old blue jeans that I never would have considered! Michele Made Me has a fantastic tutorial available on how to make a denim ottoman.
Make pot holders from denim
Pot holders are actually quite expensive for what they are. Using repurposed denim is a great way to stock your house with them. Make and Takes has an easy to follow tutorial for them.
Make a cute seat cushion
I love to refinish thrift store chairs and using denim is one of the easiest ways! Strip the fabric from the cushion, and follow the decorations in my tutorial HERE. Decorate as you prefer or leave plain denim.
Create a pennant banner from blue jeans
Pennant banners look great as part of any party decor. Cut triangles from old denim and attach them to a piece of hemp rope. If you don’t want to cut triangles, cut the pockets of the jeans off and use them.
Decorate with sharpie or bleach pen to create the letters or wording of your choice.
Dress up boring headbands
Do you remember those boring plastic headbands? Head over HERE and find out how to reuse denim to dress them up a bit!
Create a garland for parties
Garland is another great decoration for parties or weddings that can be made from old denim.
Group together several strips of denim and tie them in a knot at the top. Shred below the knot to create the garland look. Add to rope and hang for decor.
Make a denim duffel bag
Like purses, totes and lunch bags, you can also reuse denim to make a duffel bag.
Make scent sachets
I love having scent sachets around the house. They just help the house smell more homey in my opinion.
Sew large squares of denim on three sides. Stuff with potpourri of your choice, fabric softener sheets or anything else you like that holds scent. Sew up the top and place around your home.
Make country ornaments
I absolutely love this denim craft idea! If you’re looking for a country or farmhouse themed Christmas, use upcycled denim to make denim country ornaments! They look amazing when you decorate them with lace or burlap.
Sew curtains with denim
The next time you need new curtains, sew them from upcycled denim instead of buying them. You’ll save money and have window dressings that look great.
Make a seat cover for your car
Our dog goes with me almost everywhere which means if I don’t cover them, my seats will end up a hairy mess. Old denim is perfect for this.
Sew or glue denim onto a rubber door mat and you’ve got a comfy cover that will protect your seats from messes.
This also works for kid messes too. 😉
Use as unpaper gift wrap
If you’re trying to find ways to reduce waste around your home, wrapping paper has many uses aside from wrapping presents.
Old denim makes a great substitution when you use it as reusable gift wrap.
Make a remote control holder
I got so tired of having to hunt down the remote control that I used some of those old jeans to make a remote control holder.
Youtube is a great place to find a tutorial.
Dress Up Mason Jars with Old Jeans
Jeans are great for dressing up mason jars or for drink cozies. Ruffle them with some lace for cute additions to your mason jars or make them into a drink cozy to help keep your drink warm or cold.
Make reusable confetti from denim
Confetti is great for things such as weddings and graduations, but it’s incredibly wasteful. Honestly, it’s pretty expensive too.
Instead, make reusable confetti by cutting denim into shapes such as hearts or stars.
Make Reusable Book Covers
I’m sure most adults will remember covering their school books with store bought book covers or brown paper bags.
Old denim makes an amazing book cover! Cut to fit and cover as you have always done.
Make a hanging organizer
This is probably one of my favorites too. I love wall organizers but a good, quality one will cost you a pretty penny.
Instead, save yourself some cash and use those old jeans to make one. The pockets make fantastic holders and the denim helps stabilize the back.
Do you have any other uses for old denim? I’d love to hear them!