Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Upcycle: T-shirt keepsakes


A couple of days ago, a friend sent me a message: "I have a ton of old tshirts that I don't want to throw out. Any upcycle ideas for me?" I was about to fire back links to lots of great ideas when I realized:

a. Most ideas for upcycling t-shirts involve seriously repurposing the shirts. In other words, some serious destruction followed by reconstruction.
b. Most ideas for upcycling t-shirts result in things women will like, use or wear. This friend is a man.
c. Most of the ideas are DIYs. My friend Jason is not about to sew himself... well... anything really.

So. This collection of ideas is for him. And others who've collected lots of t-shirts over the years and now realize that some of them have real stories associated with them. They aren't wearable, but have acquired too much meaning to just donate them, or turn them into t-shirt "yarn".  
1. The memory blanket or quilt is a really popular option for sentimental old t-shirts. Lots of tutorials out there (like this from Totally Stitchin) but there's also Project Repat. You "build" your quilt on their site, send them your shirts and they turn them into a quilt for you. There are also Etsy folk offering a similar service.


2. Jason has too many for this t-shirt art idea, but it's definitely easy to do. And the right designs grouped together look really good. (image via)

3. These tote bags are easy DIY. Perhaps not respectful enough of the originals ... but still a good option if you just really like the image on the shirt, but don't want to wear it. 

4. This might be my favorite option. A "memory" scarf is actually something you might use. And it would be really comfortable! The DIY involves some sewing. But I found an Etsy seller who will make them for you. There are probably others. Anyone on Etsy making "upcycled t-shirt scarves" would probably be happy to talk to you about a custom version. And the only "extra" you might pay is shipping to send her/him the scarves.

5. Again, this DIY for t-shirt throw pillows involves some basic sewing. And you being ok with old-t-shirt decor (ahem). Want them made for you? Here's your Etsy go-to






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