What to Do with Old T Shirts: Fun Projects to Make

If you looked inside your dresser at your parent’s house, you would see dozens of old T-shirts from when you were in high school. Spirit day t-shirts, old sports uniforms, t-shirts from family reunions, etc. The list could go on and on. Most people donate old t-shirts to charitable organizations, or they throw them away. Some may hoard the t-shirts and store them in a memory box. Old t-shirts are an inevitable part of life and represent dozens of unique experiences you have had. If you don’t want to keep the t-shirts because they take up too much space there is a creative solution. Here are a few ideas for what to do with old t-shirts! 

Make a Dog Toy

Many people love furry companions and spoil them rotten. There is a way to recycle old t-shirts and make your fur-baby happy! First, you will need to cut strips at the bottom of the t-shirts that are only a few inches wide. As a side note, the recommended number of t-shirts to use is two. More t-shirts can be used if you’d like a colorful toy or a sturdier, less destroy-able toy. Also, the strips will need to be cut on each end of the t-shirts. Next, tie the cut strips together to look similar to a mermaid’s tail. Braid the longer stripes until you reach the other end where you can tie it like another mermaid’s tail. Once the other end is tied, the toy will look like a tug-toy!

Sew a Quilt

It may seem like an age-old gift, but a quilt made out of memories is enough to fill anyone’s heart! First, you will need a lot of t-shirts, and I mean a lot. It is often recommended that you use 30-40 t-shirts for a quilt! Caution: this project will likely take a while, so don’t feel frustrated if progress is slow. Next, cut out your t-shirts. Makes sure the cut portions are all the same size. Most people will cut out the logo or event illustration. You will need to buy fusible material to cut and iron to the back of the cut t-shirt squares. Any craft store should carry what you need! After you cut the fusible material to the same size as the t-shirts, iron the material and the t-shirts together. Once that is done, sew the t-shirts together and add any finishing touches you would like! If sewing is not your forte, have no fear, because there are tons of other ways you can recycle old t-shirts.

A Nifty Tote Bag

We are busy people who lead busy lives. Frequently, we need to bring food, drinks, books, earphones, tablets, and more with us on the go. Bags and purses are an essential part of our day because they carry everything we need. It’s easy to create a tote bag out of an old t-shirt. First, you need to cut the sleeves off the t-shirt you are using to make the bag. Next, you need to cut the neckline. An easy way to determine where to cut is by using a plate. Place the plate halfway on the neckline of the t-shirt and trace a line. That line will tell you where to cut so that your bag has a suitable opening! Next, flip the t-shirt inside out and sew the bottom closed. Pro-tip: in order to make a sturdier bag, sew the hem twice. This will reinforce the weight the bag can hold. Once the shirt is sewed closed, flip right side out and you have a tote bag!

From Riches to Rags

If your old t-shirt isn’t sentimental and has stains on it, then you can turn it into a rag. Some people don’t bother to cut the t-shirt, they will use the t-shirt as is to clean. That is the easiest way to turn a t-shirt into a rag. If you are more creative and long for a fun project, then you can create a rag from the t-shirt. First, you will need to cut out what pieces of the t-shirt you will want to use. Make sure you are cutting out pieces of the same size. As a side note: you can cut out various sizes so that you have different sized rags. Next, you can sew two pieces of the same size together. If you aren’t a fan of sewing, then you can glue the pieces together with hot glue. Since rags are meant to get dirty, you don’t need to have perfect craftsmanship for this DIY!

Make an Apron out of Old T-shirts

There are three things every single person needs to do every day. The first, is sleep. The second, is drink water. The third, is to eat delicious food. People spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking meals and clean up after cooking. Why not use old t-shirts to create something you can use every day? In order to make an apron out of old t-shirts you need scissors and a sewing kit. First, cut the design out of the t-shirt, but only the front layer. Next, fold the bottom of the t-shirt up until it hits the bottom of the design and sew. This will create a pocket for spoons or other kitchen equipment. It is recommended to sew into four equal sections but to sew the last section in half to store smaller items. Next, cut six strips out of the back of the t-shirt. The strips should be 2.5 inches by 24 inches. Sew three strips together, so there should be two long strips of fabric. Lastly, sew the longer strips onto the top of one another and then to the apron. They are to be sewed to the top of the apron for a waistband.

Make a Braided Rug

The amount of t-shirts you will need for this craft depends on how large you want to rug to be. The average amount to use is about 13 t-shirts. To begin, cut the sleeves and neckline off of the t-shirt so that is leaves a rectangle. Cut the t-shirts into approximately 2 inch strips. Each t-shirt should essentially create a ball of “yarn”. Next, braid the fabric while keeping in mind what you would prefer your finished product to look like. Begin wrapping the braids in a circle on the floor, the braids should not overlap and should be flat on the floor. You will need to sew the pieces of braided fabric that touch to each other so that the rug doesn’t fall apart. Pro-tip: take it braid-by-braid. Sewing will be the most complicated step, but sewing as you lay out the braids for the rug will help!

Can’t Think of What to do with Old T-Shirts? Sleep on It.

No good night’s sleep is complete without a comfy pillow to rest your head on. There is an easy way to make your old t-shirts into pillowcases! Sew around the part of the t-shirt you would like to have decorate the pillowcase. Next, cut around the seam to get rid of the excess material. Another way to do this is to cut the decorative part first, making sure to cut both layers of the t-shirt. After the fabric is cut, then you can sew the pieces together. Regardless, leave a few inches untouched so that you can add stuffing. Stuffing, also known as poly-fil, can be found at any craft store. Once the stuffing is inside the pillowcase, you can finish sewing the seam. Once that’s done, voilὰ, an adorable, sentimental pillow!


Believe me, there are hundreds of unique and easy crafts you can do to refurbish and reuse old t-shirts. Many of our t-shirts hold sentimental value and help us remember the good times we had when we were younger. Some people may even still wear old t-shirts if they are lucky enough to still fit into them! From tote bags to pillowcases, there are many everyday items that you can create from old t-shirts. Some other ways to use old t-shirts focus around wearing them again. Whether you intend to re-wear or to re-use, there is bound to be a craft out there that can turn your old t-shirts into something remarkable!

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Bailey Longhurst

I am amazed every day by the beauty that this world provides for us and think it is important to preserve it! Taking care of ourselves and our earth is crucial and I want to help people discover new ways to do both. Publishing for Green and Growing is a unique way that I can get my message across, and I hope you all enjoy what we write about!

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