3 No-Sew Ways to Upcycle Old Tshirts

Whether or not you’re ready to admit it, summer break is fast approaching – the kids are home and you’re going to have to think of a million ways to entertain them over those long, drawn-out weeks!

But don’t fret! There are tons of fun and, wait for it, (almost) free ways of keeping your little ones out of trouble throughout the summer. And, dare I say it; you might even find yourself enjoying the chaos too!

How To Upcycle Shirts

One fun and cheap activity you can do with your kids this summer is restyle old tshirts, which not only keeps your kids occupied, but it also makes a dent in those useless stacks of old tshirts hanging around. And before you throw your hands up in despair, I hereby promise that there will be no sewing involved in the ideas to come. You don’t need to be a needle and thread ninja to upcycle tshirts or have fun with your kids.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have plenty of old t-shirts folded in a forgotten drawer somewhere, and the only thing wrong with them will be that they’ve been outgrown. Well, dig them out, because they’re going to turn into something a bit special… Each of these upcycled t-shirt craft ideas has a link to the blog that shows full details and photos if you want to try it yourself!

3 Ideas To Upcycle Old Tshirts:


1. How To Make Braided Headbands From Old Tshirts


3 upcycle t-shirt crafts- DIY braided headbands
DIY braided headbands

This one is geared a little more towards the daughters, but would also make a really cute gift for any little Jacks or Jasons to give to their moms/sisters/grandmas!

You will need:
Some bare headbands
A few old t-shirts
Hot glue

1. Cut your t-shirt into strips a little longer than the headband itself and braid them, tying them at the ends.
2. Using the craft glue, wrap the headband with a strip of the same fabric.
3. Glue the fabric braid to the top of the covered headband.

Easy and effective! You can use lots of different types of fabric, and even combine materials if you choose. To make this even cheaper, you could sew both ends of your fabric braid together (but then I did promise no sewing!).

2. Recycled T-shirt Tote Bag

3 upcycled tshirt crafts- DIY tote bag
DIY upcycled t-shirt tote bag

This one suits just about anyone, and is also a great way to do your bit for environment by cutting down on the amount of plastic shopping bags you use.

You will need:
A heavyweight cotton t-shirt

1. Lay your t-shirt on a flat surface and cut the sleeves off. Make sure you do this on the outside (sleeve side) of the seam to keep your tote handles strong.
2. Cut the neck out of your t-shirt. You can draw around a dinner plate if you want a perfectly-rounded look.
3. Cut 2″ slits along the bottom of the t-shirt (through both layers) about 1″ apart. Keep the slits lined up and, starting with the end, tie the front and back slits together with double knots all the way along the bottom of the t-shirt.
4. Voila! Multi-purpose t-shirt tote.

You could also turn the t-shirt inside out before you tie it if you want the knots to go on the inside, but this is down to personal choice. The bottom seam could be sewn, too!

3. No-Sew Fabric Flowers From Old Tshirts

No Sew Flowers
No Sew Flowers Made From Old T-Shirts

These fabric flowers look gorgeous attached to scarves, hats and t-shirts, or worn individually as pins.

You will need:
A pen
Something circular to draw around
Hot glue
Some buttons or gems

1. Draw a circle on the back of your t-shirt fabric and cut it out.
2. Fold the circle into quarters and mark the center with a pen (so it shows like a small circle when you open it up).
3. Put a small amount of glue on the circle you just drew and fold up the edges.
4. Add more glue to the center of your fabric square, then fold in the pointed corners one at a time.
5. Add a little more glue, a pretty button, and you’re done!

There are tons of other ways to make fabric flowers online (some no-sew, some a little more complex!), but this is one of the simplest and great for doing with kids.

And that’s it, three simple ways to keep the kids entertained while doing a little recycling. Bring on the summer! I hope you enjoy these crafts to upcycle t-shirts. What’s your favorite? Do you have other upcycled tshirt craft ideas that you’d like to share?

Guest post by Leann Farmer who is a social media and customer experience manager at BlueCotton, a custom t-shirt design company. When not thinking up memorable and witty sayings to print on apparel, you can find her pinning away on Pinterest and thinking about creative uses for all the old t-shirts she’s accumulated.

Someone recently shared another fun way to upcycle old tshirts with me via pinterest- t-shirt wall art. Very clever and cute!  Do you have any ideas on ways to upcycle old t-shirts?


  1. says

    Wow … what great ideas. I especially liked the braided headband and could see using the same technique to do belts and decorative trim on other clothing. AND, I especially like that no sewing is involved … really great for those of us who don’t sew! :-)

  2. says

    I love these ideas, especially with no sewing (at which I am hopeless), with a couple of kids rapidly growing out of their clothes, I have a multitude of t-shirts.

  3. Kathlene says

    Hello There. I found your weblog the use of msn. That is a really smartly written article.
    I will be sure to bookmark it and return to learn more of your helpful information.

    Thank you for the post. I will certainly return.

  4. Tommie says

    If you desire to grow your know-how simply keep visiting this site
    and be updated with the newest information posted here.

  5. Najem says

    Generally I do not learn much on blogs, but I would like to say
    that this write-up very compelled me to check out and do so!
    Your writing has amazed me. Thanks, quite a great post.

  6. Steven says

    Simply want to say your article is as astonishing.
    The clearness in your post is just nice and i could assume you’re an
    expert on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post.
    Thanks a million and please carry on the rewarding work.

  7. says

    Great post. I used to be checking constantly this blog and I’m inspired!
    Extremely useful information specially the last phase
    :) I deal with such information much. I was seeking this particular info for a long
    time. Thank you and good luck.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *