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Upcycling your Old T-shirts

By ShirtSpace | Aug 23, 2019 |  Updated Jan 24, 2024

For years, I have held onto old t-shirts from my past that have had some sort of sentimental significance. Old high school, college, and sorority t-shirts have collected dust in the top of my closet and underneath my bed for over a decade with the ultimate goal of being upcycled into something creative that spares them from my next trip to the Goodwill. They have survived this long, but with a growing family and shrinking closet space, I have gone on a mission to find clever ways of recycling the shirts from my glory days and breathing new life into them.

Below are some great ways I discovered to upcycle your old t-shirts that you just can’t bear to part with.

T-shirt Quilt

This was my original plan for upcycling my old tees because it seemed like the perfect way to showcase all of my fun t-shirts in a single way- and it would also keep me warm! After doing some research, there are many tutorials online that give excellent DIY instructions. I have included the instructions that seemed most manageable for me, and also because there are 2 ways to go about doing this. Keep in mind that there are many tutorials available online, but this one spoke to me!

array of different shirts together

T-shirt Pillow

In looking for an alternative to the t-shirt quilt, I discovered the t-shirt pillow. Genius! Who doesn’t love throw pillows, and what better design, than a t-shirt you just can’t part with?! This upcycle seemed like a particularly great option for one or two t-shirts that just didn’t quite vibe with my t-shirt quilt vision. What’s more, this pillow option is perfect for kids shirts that no longer fit, but your children are still wildly attached to. Win, win!

In terms of construction, this project is less time-consuming than the quilt (by a long shot!) and doesn’t require a ton of materials. After scouring for DIY instructions that didn’t make me go cross-eyed, I discovered these instructions that were my personal favorite.

Yellow pillow with honey bee

T-shirt Tote

Another great way to re-purpose one (or MANY!) of your old tees, is to make it into a t-shirt tote bag. You can use a dyed, printed or plain t-shirt. Not only is this very green of you and environmentally friendly, it is also a fabulous way to highlight one of your favorite tees and add a little something to your look. Like the other two upcycle suggestions, there is a lot of advice and tutorials online that detail how to do this. After browsing around and evaluating which project was most up my alley, I decided on this DIY project. It is extremely straightforward, requires minimal supplies, and is not time consuming- which I LOVE!

Woman holding 4 tote bags made out of t-shirts


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