9 ways to upcycle old t-shirts

Photo by Kai Pilger from Pexels

We all have that t-shirt that we have loved a little too much. That shirt from your first country fair or your high school musical may have pit stains and holes that make it unwearable, but it still has many uses around the house.

The environmental impact of fashion is very high, and the cost of producing a t-shirt, from labor to the resources used to produce and dye the fabric that it is made from, is likely much greater than the price you paid for it.

Make sure your favorite t-shirt is put to good use even if it is too worn to wear. Here are 9 ways to upcycle old t-shirts when they have reached the end of their wearable life.

Tote bag

Turning your favorite, overworn t-shirt into a reusable bags will help you reduce your plastic waste and extend the life of your clothing. Check out this handy, no-sew DIY from Mommypotamus to make your own.

Produce bag

If you have a few, smaller t-shirts, make a set of your own produce bags to keep your roly-poly apples and oranges together without using a flimsy plastic grocery bag. Follow this tutorial from Delia Creates to make your own.

Dog toy

If anyone can appreciate the care and thought put into a homemade gift, it is man’s best friend. This DIY from BarkPost shows you how to easily repurpose old t-shirts into a tasseled dog toy.


Your favorite t-shirt will forever have a place in your heart — and your bed — if you stuff it to make a pillow to cuddle. Make a quick, quirky pillow from your old t-shirt by following these no-sew instructions from Creativity Connection.

T-shirt quilt

If you have a lot of sentimental old t-shirts and a bit of time, you can turn them into a quilt that can be passed down for generations. Follow this tutorial from The Spruce Crafts to weave your memories together in this wonderful, warm momento.

Dinner napkins

Millennials may be destroying the napkin industry, but no matter what generation you were born, you can make your own upcycled cloth napkins out of old t-shirts. Check out these step-by-step instructions from GreenWorld365.

Baby diapers

Reusable cloth diapers may seem like a messy way to care for your baby, but studies suggest that they are actually better for your baby — and the planet — than their disposable counterparts. Most disposable diapers are bleached with dioxin, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified dioxins as a probable human carcinogen. Sodium polyacrylate, the absorbent gelling material found in disposable diapers, has also been linked to toxic shock syndrome, allergic reactions and respiratory issues.

Though the industry disputes these claims by saying that these chemicals are only found in small amounts, many moms also say that cloth diapers cause less diaper rash. Try making reusable diapers from old t-shirts using these instructions from Natural Violet.

Plant hanger

For a cute, woodsy DIY aesthetic, you can hang your plants from your ceiling. This how-to from A Beautiful Mess will show you how to make a beautiful plant hanger out of an old t-shirt.


All homesteaders need a steady stock of rags to wipe up messes. Because of their soft, tight knits, old t-shirts are perfect for absorbing spills and wiping surfaces. These step by step instructions from Instructables shows you how to make seven rags out of a t-shirt with only two cuts to maximize the use of your favorite tee.

Do you have any creative ways to upcycle old t-shirts? Add them to the comments below.

1 comment
  1. Harvey Lee says

    Nice article! I’m so impressed by your work. These seem best ways to use old t-shirts. I like this article so much. Thanks and keep sharing.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.