upcycle t shirts

Upcycle T Shirts: 20 Brilliant Examples


Do you have a pile of old t shirts in your closet that you no longer wear? Upcycle t shirts; don’t let them go to waste! With a little creativity and some basic crafting skills, you can transform those forgotten tees into fashionable treasures while making a positive impact on the environment. Welcome to the world of upcycling, where old t shirts become new and possibilities are endless.

In this article, we’ll explore the art of upcycling t shirts and discover a wide range of brilliant ideas to repurpose them into unique and stylish items. From turning sentimental t shirts into cozy quilts that tell your story to creating fashionable tote bags, scarves, and even planters, you’ll be amazed at the creative possibilities that upcycling t shirts offers.

Let’s dive into the world of upcycling and unleash your creativity while saving the planet, one t shirt at a time!

Why Upcycling T Shirts Matters

In today’s throwaway culture, clothing waste is a significant issue. The fashion industry is one of the largest contributors to pollution and waste generation. By upcycling t shirts, you can extend their lifespan, reduce the need for new clothing production, and make a positive impact on the environment. Upcycling is a sustainable practice that minimizes waste, reduces carbon emissions, and promotes a circular economy. By repurposing and breathing new life into your old t shirts, you not only express your creativity but also contribute to a more sustainable future.

Getting Started with Upcycling

Before you embark on your upcycling journey, let’s ensure you’re well-prepared. Here are a few steps to get you started:

Gathering Your Materials

Collect your old t shirts that you no longer wear or those with sentimental value. Look for shirts with interesting designs, vibrant colors, or patterns that you’d like to incorporate into your upcycling projects. Consider the fabric quality and stretchiness, as they may affect the techniques and ideas you can pursue.

Preparing Your Workspace

Create a dedicated workspace where you can unleash your creativity. Set up a table or an area where you can comfortably work on your projects. Gather your tools, including fabric scissors, sewing needles or a sewing machine, thread, pins, and any other materials specific to your chosen upcycling ideas. Having a well-organized and inspiring workspace will make the process more enjoyable and efficient.

20 Brilliant Ideas for Upcycling T Shirts

Now, let’s explore a variety of creative and inspiring ideas to upcycle your t shirts. These projects will transform your old tees into new, stylish, and useful items that you’ll love to use and show off. Get ready to let your imagination soar and embark on these brilliant upcycling adventures:

Quilted Memories: Stitching Together Your T Shirt Story

Turn your cherished t shirts into a cozy quilt that tells your unique story. Cut out squares or rectangles from your favorite shirts and stitch them together to create a patchwork of memories. Each square represents a special moment or a beloved t shirt you’ve collected over the years. Wrap yourself in warmth and nostalgia with a t shirt quilt that preserves your cherished memories.

Tote-ally Trendy: Fashionable T Shirt Tote Bags

Say goodbye to single-use plastic bags and hello to fashionable tote bags made from your favorite t shirts. Transform your tees into eco-friendly and trendy carryalls that are perfect for grocery shopping, beach outings, or everyday use. Cut off the sleeves and neckline of your t shirt, reinforce the bottom with a simple stitch, and voila! You have a unique and sustainable tote bag that reflects your personal style.

Infinity and Beyond: Chic T Shirt Infinity Scarves

Add a touch of fashion and warmth to your outfits with an upcycled t shirt infinity scarf. Cut a continuous strip from your t shirt and twist it into a fashionable and versatile accessory. The infinity scarf can be wrapped around your neck in various ways, making it a stylish statement piece. Choose t shirts with vibrant colors or interesting patterns to create eye-catching scarves that complement your wardrobe.

Wearable Art: T Shirt Wall Art

Give your walls a unique and artistic touch with t shirt wall art. Cut out interesting designs or logos from your tees and frame them to create personalized artwork. Whether it’s a favorite band logo, a memorable concert t shirt, or a visually appealing pattern, t shirt wall art adds a splash of creativity to any room. Create a gallery wall that reflects your personality and showcases your love for t shirts.

Head Over Heels: Colorful T Shirt Headbands

Turn your t shirts into stylish and colorful headbands that elevate your hairstyle. Cut strips from your t shirts and braid or twist them to create fashionable headbands. Whether you’re having a bad hair day or want to add a pop of color to your look, t shirt headbands are the perfect accessory. Experiment with different colors and patterns to match your outfits and express your personal style.

Skirting the Norm: Fashionable T Shirt Skirts

Give your old t shirts a new lease on life by transforming them into fashionable skirts. With some cutting and sewing, you can create unique and comfortable skirts that express your individuality. From mini skirts to maxi skirts, the possibilities are endless. Mix and match different t shirts to create patchwork skirts or experiment with asymmetrical designs. Pair them with a simple top, and you’ll have a stylish and eco-friendly outfit that turns heads.

Pillow Talk: Comfy T Shirt Pillows

Transform your beloved t shirts into cozy and sentimental pillows. Cut out squares or rectangles from your t shirts and sew them together, leaving one side open for stuffing. Fill the pillow with soft filling or repurpose an old pillow to give it new life. These t shirt pillows not only add comfort to your living space but also remind you of the memories associated with each shirt.

Make a Statement: T Shirt Jewelry

Create unique and eye-catching jewelry pieces from your t shirts. Cut out different shapes and sizes, such as circles or triangles, and use them as pendants for necklaces or earrings. Add beads, buttons, or other embellishments to enhance the design and make a statement. Wear your t shirt jewelry as a fashionable accessory and let it spark conversations about your creative upcycling skills.

Green Thumb Chic: T Shirt Planters

Add a touch of greenery to your home with upcycled t shirt planters. Cut off the bottom of your t shirts, insert a plastic liner, and fill them with soil and your favorite plants. Hang them or place them on shelves to create a unique and eco-friendly display. These t shirt planters not only bring nature indoors but also serve as stylish and sustainable decor pieces.

Pawsitively Fun: DIY T Shirt Dog Toys

Don’t forget about your furry friends! Create fun and interactive dog toys from your old t shirts. Cut strips from the t shirt and braid them to make durable chew toys or tug ropes for your dogs. They’ll enjoy hours of playtime while you feel good about repurposing your t shirts and providing entertainment for your pets.

Stylish Arm Warmers: T Shirt Arm Warmers

Give your arms some extra warmth and style with upcycled t shirt arm warmers. Cut off the sleeves of your t shirts, leaving them in a tube shape. Slip them on your arms for a fashionable accessory that keeps you cozy. You can experiment with different t shirt colors and patterns to match your outfits or create unique combinations.

Cozy T Shirt Slippers: Comfort for Your Feet

Keep your feet warm and snug with upcycled t shirt slippers. Cut out the shapes of your feet from the t shirt fabric, sew them together, and add a non-slip sole for extra comfort. These cozy slippers are perfect for lounging around the house and make a great DIY gift idea.

T Shirt Bookmarks: Literary Accessories

Add a touch of personality to your reading experience with t shirt bookmarks. Cut out small rectangular pieces from your t shirts and decorate them with embroidery, buttons, or fabric paint. These personalized bookmarks will make your reading sessions more enjoyable and serve as a reminder of your upcycling efforts.

T Shirt Quiver: DIY Archery Gear

For those with archery interests, transform your t shirts into a DIY quiver. Cut a long strip from the fabric and sew the sides together to create a tube shape. Add a shoulder strap, and you have a unique and functional quiver to hold your arrows. Show off your creativity on the archery range with this upcycled gear.

T Shirt Keychains: Carry Your Memories

Turn your t shirts into memorable keychains that remind you of special moments or places. Cut out small shapes or logos from your tees and attach them to keychain rings using jump rings or sewing. Carry these personalized keychains with you and let them bring a smile to your face as you unlock your daily adventures.

T Shirt Dreamcatchers: Sweet Dreams

Create whimsical dreamcatchers using t shirt fabric. Cut out circular shapes, weave them together using string or yarn, and add feathers, beads, or charms for decoration. Hang these dreamcatchers above your bed to catch any bad dreams and let only the good ones pass through. The t shirt fabric adds a soft and cozy touch to these ethereal creations.

T Shirt Scrunchies: Stylish Hair Accessories

Give your hair a touch of style with upcycled t shirt scrunchies. Cut strips from the fabric, sew them into tubes, and add elastic bands to create unique hair accessories. These scrunchies are gentle on your hair and can be customized to match your outfits or make a statement. Experiment with different t shirt colors and patterns to create a collection of fashionable scrunchies.

T Shirt Coasters: Protect Your Surfaces

Preserve your tables and surfaces while adding a touch of style with upcycled t shirt coasters. Cut out circular or square shapes from the fabric and add a layer of felt or cork to the bottom for extra protection. These coasters are not only functional but also a great conversation starter. Choose t shirts with interesting designs or patterns to create coasters that reflect your personal taste.

T Shirt Laptop Sleeve: Fashionable Protection

Protect your laptop in style with an upcycled t shirt laptop sleeve. Cut out a rectangular piece of fabric, fold it in half, and sew the sides together, leaving the top open. This sleeve provides a cushioned and fashionable layer of protection for your laptop while showcasing your creative flair.

T Shirt Pouf: Stylish and Comfortable Seating

Create a unique seating option with an upcycled t shirt pouf. Cut your t shirts into long, continuous strips and create a large yarn ball by wrapping the fabric tightly. Use the yarn to crochet or knit a pouf cover, then stuff it with old clothes or fabric scraps to create a comfortable and eco-friendly seating solution. This pouf will add a pop of color and style to any room.

Tips and Techniques for Successful Upcycling

To ensure successful upcycling projects, here are some tips and techniques to keep in mind:

Choosing the Right T Shirts

Select t shirts made of fabric that is suitable for your intended project. Consider the thickness, stretchiness, and durability of the fabric. Cotton t shirts are often the easiest to work with, but you can also experiment with other materials like jerseys or blends. Look for t shirts with interesting patterns, colors, or sentimental value to add a unique touch to your upcycled creations.

Cutting and Sewing Techniques

Invest in a good pair of fabric scissors to ensure clean and precise cuts. Depending on your project, you may need to cut your t shirts into different shapes and sizes. Learn basic sewing techniques like straight stitches and zigzag stitches to secure seams and prevent fraying. If you’re comfortable with a sewing machine, it can speed up the process, but hand-sewing works just as well.

Adding Embellishments and Details

Get creative with embellishments to add extra flair to your upcycled t shirt creations. Buttons, beads, embroidery, fabric paints, or patches can enhance the overall design and make your projects stand out. Experiment with different techniques and materials to create unique and personalized touches.

Care and Maintenance of Upcycled T Shirt Creations

Take care of your upcycled t shirt creations to ensure their longevity. Follow the care instructions for the fabric used in your projects. Some upcycled items may require gentle handwashing, while others can be machine-washed on a delicate cycle. Avoid excessive heat when drying or ironing, as it may affect the integrity of the fabric.

Environmental Benefits of Upcycling

In addition to the creative and personal benefits, upcycling t shirts has significant environmental advantages. By repurposing and extending the life of your t shirts, you reduce textile waste, conserve resources, and divert items from ending up in landfills. Traditional clothing production involves the use of natural resources, energy, and chemicals. By upcycling, you contribute to a more sustainable future by reducing the demand for new clothing production and minimizing the environmental impact of the fashion industry.


Upcycling t shirts allows you to unleash your creativity, breathe new life into old garments, and make a positive impact on the environment. The ideas presented in this article are just a starting point for your upcycling journey. Let your imagination run wild and adapt these ideas to suit your personal style and preferences. Whether you’re quilting memories, creating fashionable accessories, or repurposing t shirts for various purposes, the possibilities are endless.

By transforming your old t shirts into unique and stylish items, you’re not only saving money but also reducing waste and contributing to a more sustainable future. Embrace the world of upcycling, experiment with different techniques, and enjoy the process of turning your t shirts into functional and fashionable treasures.

Remember, with a little creativity and imagination, your old t shirts can find new life and become beloved pieces that reflect your personal style and values. Upcycle those tees, save the planet, and let your creativity shine!


Can I upcycle t shirts made from different fabrics?

Yes, you can upcycle t shirts made from different fabrics. While cotton t shirts are commonly used for upcycling projects, you can also experiment with blends or even incorporate other fabrics into your designs. Just keep in mind that different fabrics may require different cutting and sewing techniques.

Are there any specific tools or equipment I need for upcycling t shirts?

The tools and equipment needed for upcycling t shirts are generally basic and affordable. Some common tools include fabric scissors, sewing needles or a sewing machine, thread, pins, and a measuring tape. Depending on the specific upcycling project, you may also need additional materials such as zippers, buttons, or embellishments.

How can I ensure my upcycled t shirt creations are durable and long-lasting?

To ensure the durability and longevity of your upcycled t shirt creations, it’s important to pay attention to the quality of your materials and the construction of your projects. Choose t shirts with sturdy fabrics and reinforce seams with double stitching or using a sewing machine. Additionally, consider the care instructions for the fabrics you’re working with and follow them to maintain the integrity of your upcycled items.

Can I upcycle t shirts that have stains or holes in them?

Absolutely! In fact, upcycling is a fantastic way to give new life to t shirts with stains or holes. Depending on the severity of the stains or holes, you can strategically cut around them or incorporate creative patching techniques to hide or repurpose them. Upcycling allows you to transform imperfections into unique design elements.

Where can I find more inspiration for upcycling t shirts?

There are numerous sources of inspiration for upcycling t shirts. You can explore online platforms such as Pinterest, where you’ll find a plethora of DIY upcycling ideas and tutorials. Additionally, you can join crafting communities or follow blogs and social media accounts dedicated to upcycling and sustainable fashion. Let your imagination run wild and adapt ideas to suit your personal style and preferences.