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Ways to Recycle Old T-shirts

 By Kim Robson

We all have some old t-shirts cluttering up our closets and drawers. They might be faded, misshapen, stained, or full of  holes. They might have logos that bring back happy memories. They might be too aged to donate to Goodwill. Aside from making them into diapers or dust cloths, what can be done with old t-shirts — other than tossing them? Below are some creative ways to repurpose those vintage treasures.

Create your own “flokati” style hook rag rug. They look amazing, are inexpensive, and are totally washable. If you don’t have the time to invest in making your own, Talking Squid on Etsy custom makes them to order. Another option is to make a braided rug.

If you want to save fun or vintage logos, make the t-shirts into kitschy underwear or a bikini. Logo tees also make great pillows. Got some old spandex? Transform it into a sexy bandeau top.

Make or purchase alternative natural dryer sheets or drawer sachets with t-shirt sleeves by filling them with lavender buds and sewing them shut. You also can fill sleeves with buckwheat to make bean bags for the kids to toss around.

Fabricate your own braided bracelets. Tweens and teens love to collect and trade these. They’re good for girls or boys, depending on which colors you use. You can also make your own elastic hair scrunchies.

Sew on ruffles, embellishments, fringe, and other decorations to take a boring t-shirt from blah to RAH! The possibilities are literally endless.

Fashion a fun necklace or scarf.

Produce your own continuous t-shirt yarn, with which you can make numerous other projects. Substitute it for regular yarn used to crochet, knit, braid or knot.

Construct fun and colorful place mats. This one is easy enough to include the kids.

Fabricate open-weave produce bags in different colors and sizes to take to the farmer’s markets.

Donate old t-shirts to preschools or day-care centers to use for smocks, or to animal shelters for use as bedding.

Cut up a few smaller squares to use for cleaning sunglasses and eyeglasses. Keep a few in the baby bag and in the car for small wipe-up jobs. Include the collar, and cut out baby bibs. Cut up larger squares for garage rags.

Braid a thick rope and knot it at both ends. Play tug-of-war with your dogs.

Use t-shirt strips instead of gardening twine to tie up plants to stakes. It’s softer and easier on the plants.

Turn an old hoodie into a laptop bag! T-shirts can also be made into unique book covers.

There are so many fun and creative ways to repurpose old clothing. It just takes a little imagination. If you still have any unwanted t-shirts left after all this, I’ll eat my hat!

About Kim Robson

Kim Robson lives and works with her husband in the Cuyamaca Mountains an hour east of San Diego. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, cooking, and animals. She has written a blog since 2006 at kimkiminy.wordpress.com. Her interests include the environment, dark skies, astronomy and physics, geology and rock collecting, living simply and cleanly, wilderness and wildlife conservation, and eating locally.

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