Person hand stitching jeans

5 Easy Upcycling Projects To Try Right Now

Mandy Carr Sep 23, 2022

Everyone has things they don’t wear or use anymore in their home, but it always seems like a daunting process to donate or find a place you can recycle it

Sometimes you just don’t want to part ways with something, like that old Taylor Swift concert shirt. It doesn’t fit anymore or you just have no reason to wear it, but you won’t let go. With upcycling, you don’t have to. You can keep your things and give them a new life. Not only do you get to keep your favorite possessions, but you’ll also be helping the environment in the process by not letting your items end up in landfills. 


How To Turn a Concert Shirt Into a Quilt 

Depending on how many concert shirts you have, you could make one quilt or divide them into genre, artist, or group. For a small lap blanket, you’ll need approximately 16 shirts (45” x 45”), a twin 24 (60” x “90), a full 20 (75” x  90”), and if you want to go big, 49 (90” x 105”) for a queen or 64 (105” x 105”) for a king. It all depends on what you want to create.

You will need a few things to get started: a ½ yard per shirt of Pellon Featherweight interface, fabric backing, a rotary cutter, thread, an iron and if you can sew, great. If not, a simple baby lock sewing machine will come in handy. 

You’ll use that rotary cutter to cut the shirts into 16” x 16” squares. After you cut the sleeves off, lay the interfacing down on the back of the shirt, put a cloth over so the iron doesn’t stick to it. Work from top to bottom with the iron. This will stabilize the shirt and help in the cutting process. Once the interfacing is on, you can cut them. 

Once you have your shirts cut, lay them out to decide what kind of design you want. Next, it’s time to sew the shirts together. Make sure the seam is half an inch and start with the top row and continue down, making sure the graphics are lined up correctly. Once every row is done, you can connect them. If you want, you can pin the seams to make sure they don’t move while sewing. 

The front of your quilt is complete. Next, you’ll add the backing. This will need to be about two inches bigger than the shirts. Pin the fabric and shirts together, making them as straight as possible. Then, hold down the layers as you use the sewing machine to ensure the interfacing doesn’t poke out. Lastly, you’ll sew down all the seams. 


How To Turn Old T-Shirts Into Tote Bags

Creating a quilt is not the only thing you can do with old T-shirts. You can make tote bags. This type of bag is a sustainable way to do your shopping, instead of using those plastic or paper bags. Plus, creating a tote bag is easier and less time-consuming than making a quilt, so this is an excellent option if that is out of your skill or time level. 

First, you’ll cut both sleeves off and the neckline. You can turn the T-shirt inside out and trace a bowl with a marker for accurate cutting of the neckline. Next, decide how big you want your bag to be. Draw another line at the bottom of the shirt, leaving room to cut fringe. Cut the fringe three-fourths to one inch apart. Then, you will tie the pieces together. Move along the bottom, tying pairs of the fringe together, then go back the other way, tying two pairs of the tied fringes together to ensure no holes. And voilà, you have a tote bag for your shopping. 


How To Weave Old Fabrics Into Placemats

You’ll have to create your loom before you get started on the placemats. You’ll need cardboard or a foam board, scissors, a ruler, a marker pen and bed sheets in various patterns or colors. 

Take your board, start making centimeter marks from 5cm in, then use the scissors to cut these marks. Repeat on the other end of the board. Next, cut and then tear the bedsheets evenly. Continue until you have a nice pile, and then separate colors and patterns. Choose a color or design and slot the fabric in each notch, leaving about an inch on either end. Then, take another color or pattern, start at about 10cm down, start weaving the fabric under and over the strips. When you get to one end, loop around back the other way, continue this until the entire board is filled. Secure the weave by tying a knot at the back. Next, remove the weave from the board. You can choose to keep long tassels or cut them to the desired length by using a ruler. 


Use Plastic Bottles For Plant Holders

We all know how bad plastic bottles can be for the planet, but what if you could give them new life? Well, you can. You can create a plant holder out of it, and you don’t even need to be very crafty. All you need is plastic bottles, acrylic paint, a paintbrush, a utility knife and plants. 

First, you’ll cut the bottle in half or to one-third. Then, you’ll paint them in your choice of color. If you want to get creative, you can add something more, such as adding texture, pattern, or paint some sort of design on it. It all depends on what kind of vibe you’re going for. Finally, you’ll fill the bottle with dirt and the plant. It’s as easy as that. 


Give Your Furniture New Life 

The easiest way to give new life to furniture is to paint it a new color. But you can do more than just that. Take an old wardrobe, for example. Maybe the structure is still in good condition, but it looks a bit old. You can turn this into something else that will give you more storage. 

The easiest way to do this is to buy some shelves and shelf support pegs. Pay attention to the weight it can hold, so you don’t overload them, and they break. For the shelving, measure the wardrobe first to see what size pieces of wood you need. You can either buy the size you want directly from the store or go to a home improvement store to get them to cut the size for you. Next, follow the instructions that come with the pegs to install the shelves. Finally, choose a color that resonates with you. If you want just to spruce it up, this can even be the same color, but a new color makes it feel brand new. Sand it down, add a layer of primer—or find a paint that doesn’t need primer, and then paint to finish. Now you have extra storage for your stuff without buying new furniture. 


Are you looking for more DIY projects? Then, try these three fun craft projects you can do at home. 


Related Links (up to three related links from client blog):

5 Little Ways To Help The Environment Every Day

The Best Sustainable Bags To Channel Eco-Friendly Style

7 Ways To Get Involved In The Climate Change Movement

8 Passion Project Ideas That’ll Help You Practice Self-Care


Related Products or Services:

Recycled Waistpack

Recycled Superbreak

Superbreak Plus

Suede Campus

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