Upcycle This! Reuse T-Shirts

Upcycle This! Reuse T-Shirts

Have you ever considered the environmental costs of a t-shirt throughout its life? It’s astounding, really, to see the amount of cotton, water, and pesticides that go into making these t-shirts. We won’t even go into the additional energy and water we use when washing our shirts throughout their lifetimes. And then what happens when our shirts get a little holey? We throw them away!

It’s time to put a stop to that. There are a lot of ways we can help to lessen the damage we are doing to the planet. During the lifetime of your shirt, consider line drying instead of machine drying – it is cheaper, lowers your energy bill, and extends the life of your shirts! And once you’re through with the shirt, consider donating it. And better yet, flex your creative muscles and upcycle those old t-shirts!

We found 15 wonderfully creative ways people have upcycled their own shirts. Check them out below!

Upcycled T-Shirts DIY Braided Baskets

1. DIY Braided Basket (via Corner Blog)

This project is great for groups; everyone can contribute one t-shirt. The more t-shirts, the bigger the basket!

Upcycled T-Shirts DIY Braided Coaster

2. DIY Braided Coasters (via Carolyn’s Homework)

If you continue braiding this circle, you could make yourself an entire rug!

Upcycled T-Shirt DIY Fabric Rosette

3. DIY T-Shirt Fabric Rosette (via Instructables)

This project makes use of leftover fabric pieces from your other t-shirt crafts. These rosettes take advantage of the natural roll of cut t-shirt fabric to make their own petal poofs.

Upcycled T-Shirts DIY T-Shirt Scarf

4. DIY T-Shirt Scarf (via Ninth & Bird)

You don’t have to wear your shirt the same way all the time – just a few snips and braids, and you’ve got an entire new look with your t-shirt scarf.

Upcycled T-Shirts DIY Yarn

5.  Upcycled T-Shirt Yarn (via Operation Overhaul)

This project sets the stage for so many other t-shirt projects you can work on.

Upcycled T-Shirts DIY Quilt Blanket

6. DIY T-Shirt Quilt (via Totally Stitchin’)

These t-shirt quilts are extremely popular, and we see why!

Upcycled T-Shirt DIY Tote Bag

7. DIY T-Shirt Tote Bag (via Instructables)

Stores have been selling reusable bags to replace the wasteful plastic bags, but this DIY project takes advantage of two things: it removes your need for plastic shopping bags and makes a new use for your old t-shirt!

Upcycled T-Shirt Sun Tea Jar Plant Holder Macrame Style

8. Macrame Style Plant Holder (via ThoughtfullyUnique)

Who knew t-shirts were durable enough to old something up to 10 pounds? $5

Upcycled T-Shirts Wine Bottle Cozy

9. Wine Bottle Cozy (via DistrictUpCycle)

Because every wine bottle needs to get a bit cozy before we pop the cork open. $20

Upcycled T-Shirts DIY Braided Rainbow Rug

10. Braided Rainbow Rug (via Sew Liberated)

A much more advance project, but the finished product is beautiful.

Upcycled T-Shirts DIY Jersey Knit Bracelets

11. DIY Jersey Knit Bracelet (via V and Co.)

The braided look of these jersey knit bracelets make for great accessories for the budget fashionista.

Upcycled T-Shirts DIY Produce Bag

12. DIY Knit Produce Bag (via Delia Creates)

A more advance version of the t-shirt tote bag. We’d be proud to carry these produce bags around the farmer’s market!

Upcycled T-Shirts Handmade Rug

13. Upcycled T-Shirt Rug (via buyoldschool)

This beautiful rug is plushy goodness. Enough said. $169

Upcycled T-Shirts Tie-Dye Lampshade

14. Mini Tie-Dye Lampshade (via SingOn)

It’s a small lampshade, but it adds a splash of color wherever you place it. $12

Upcyled T-Shirts Wall Art

15. DIY T-Shirt Wall Art (via Crafts ‘n Coffee)

A super easy and quick way to decorate your wall.

Check out our Upcycle This! archive for other cool upcycle projects.

What other ways would you reuse your old t-shirts?

Featured photo credit: el frijole via photopin cc



  1. Great ideas — love the totes and especially the rug. Thanks for including the T-Shirt Wall Art from Crafts ‘n Coffee, too.


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