Just about anyone you know likely owns at least one T-shirt, if not dozens or hundreds of them. As a result, they seem to be one of the most ‘disposable’ articles of clothing in today’s world. Walk into any second-hand store, and you’ll probably find several racks full of them. This provides the perfect opportunity for repurposing them, for mere pennies if you find the right sale.

Now begins the curiously addicting chore. You may find this to be a very relaxing process, like me. I have made and rolled up umpteen T-shirt balls.

And now, the most important question. What to do with this newfound material?

Please visit, and consider making, a Slouch Beanie Hat made from Recycled T-shirts

Step 1: Supplies Needed

PENS OR PENCILS – You will need a writing instrument in both dark and light colors in order to see the lines drawn that will be cut. Colored pencils work great.

PENCIL SHARPENER – No need to explain this one, right?

RULERS or MEASURING TAPE – Something to serve as both a straight-edge, and a measuring tool. Yardsticks are great methods of measure, and can also be used as guides for the width of your soon-to-be yarn. A 1 ½” wide yardstick produces a very thick yarn which is best for bulky projects such as rugs, while a 1” yardstick is ideal for making yarn that is thin enough for weaving and such. The good thing about using a 1” stick is that after you mark the 1” measurements, you can ‘eyeball’ the center enough to cut it in half, giving you an even smaller ½” yarn. Also keep in mind that lightweight shirts will produce a thinner yarn and can be stretched further, while a thick, heavyweight shirt will be bulky, harder to cut, and will not stretch as much. If you choose to cut thin strips, keep in mind that you should make them just a little wider if you select a shirt with a thin weave.

See the image provided (#4) which shows the different thicknesses of yarn based on the cut width.
How do you like those handy bread tie labels?

A FOLDING METHOD – Though I was lucky enough to find a shirt folding board for but a few dollars, you might not happen upon such a bargain. Consider making your own. :-) See step #3 for great tips and ideas from fellow Instructables authors!

T-SHIRTS - Plenty of them! Raid the second-hand stores, peruse your closets! Don't help yourself to your roommate's closet unless you have permission.

SCISSORS - Though some people use rotary cutters, I am not one of those people. I don't trust myself with them, and can't confidently advise others to use them. I know they can be used in a completely safe manner, but I'll stick with my scissors.

<p>One of my husbands favorite t-shirts developed a hole under the arm, so he said I could sacrifice it. I just free-hand did the cutting, and managed to make it work, but I was sloppy so some parts are wider and other thinner. Then I gently stretched the resulting &quot;yarn&quot; to get it to curl. Slightly amazed at how much longer it got. But I got impatient near the end and pulled too hard on a thin spot and it broke. As an experiment, I stitched it back together to see if it would work, and it did! I used white thread so it shows - obviously if I did it for real, I'd use black thread. Pulled the ends to the inside of the curl, so I bet it would stay put just fine forever. Zig-zag stitch would also be better, as that gives.</p><p>The arrows show the white stitching on my join, and a thin and fat bit of the yarn.</p><p>Oh! one more thing. This t-shirt DID have art on it, but it was so old and worn that it was just faint, no feel to it of paint or anything. So it is not absolutely required that the t-shirt be completely free of decoration. Some old, faded decorations will not cause problems.</p>
<p>These T-shirts look new. I always thought you'd use old ones. We kids used to help Mom in cutting strips of old garments and roll into big balls to later take them to an Armenian man who ran a rag rug loom business. Suddenly, a neighbor started hoisery factory in our property. His factory produced clippings when slip-joint together made endless roapes. Mom started making rag rugs free of toil and cash, but with great amount of envy from other ladies. This production goes back to 65 years. </p>
<p>Hello Mihsin, yes, many of the shirts are new, but not from a store. <br>Rather, they were purchased in an all-you-can-fit-into-a-bag sale at a <br>local second hand shop. Many people are wasteful, tossing perfectly <br>good shirts out for the slightest stain. Our favorite second hand shop <br>offers a plastic bag stuffed with all the clothing that can fit for a <br>few dollars. I've become quite good at stuffing the heck out of the bag,<br> coming home with many shirts. :-)</p>
<p>AHA!!!!!</p><p>I feel your pain,,,literally!</p><p>gotcha beat I been bleeding myself since I am about 5 or so. Coffee used to come in tin cans that needed a &quot;key&quot; to undo a strip around the can....razor sharp coiled and ready for amputation duty... then there was the scout knife, the fireworks, (and the tractor trailor), countless carving stabs/slashes etc. I hacked off a nice chunk of finger put it back on taped it nicely then parents, being informed , rushed to Doctors office who said I did a wonderful reattachment and gave me 2 injections and a painkiller and a bandage that was bigger then my foot, on my finger!. Add to that all the chemistry class/physics class issues, BMX riding, before it existed, , as well as work related stuff (construction). How I did not earn a DARWIN AWARD is amazing.</p><p>But seriously, a roller knife, (and yes I donated blood with mine the first time I used it), is really good for this stuff. Just do what I tell boys scouts, use a glove(s). </p><p>running with scissors bad, but roller knives opens a whole new world of danger.</p><p>great project</p>
You have to die to win the Darwin! *laugh* &quot;Do Not Run!
<p>LOL, what a great read! Thanks for sharing!</p>
<p>what a great idea! I love it ????</p>
<p>I think this yarn would be great for making covered hangers since the traditional yarn used for hangers is no longer available in stores</p><p> can't wait to try it</p><p>Thanks</p>
<p>Great instructions! Thank you for sharing, this is awesome. </p>
<p>What a great instructable! For the leftover bits at the top, after making drawstring bags from the sleeves, T shirt scraps make excellent disposable cleaning rags. Of course they could be washed and re-used but I like to dust stairs with them and the cloths get really grubby and dusty so I just toss them out.</p>
<p>I love this idea! I was with you right up to the point of making the diagonal cut. I can't figure out from the photo where you are cutting. Help, please! (and thank you for a great idea!)</p>
A great way of conquering waste that can be used to make many items including blankets and cat beds ? Thanks for sharing sensible knowledge
<p>Hello Swati, thank you so much. :-)</p>
<p>one of the best ibles ever!! Love your details and your invention of the yardstick template ... love the idea of catbirds! going on my Art to Do list! thanx so much for the extreme precise details.</p>
<p>Thank you so much. What a wonderful compliment! Hope you'll make many things. :-)</p>
Thanks a lot. this well same me some money. Thank you Thank you
<p>Thank you, Jakaylahush. :-)</p>
<p>I love this! Now I'm eacking my brain trying to figure out a use for all the tee shirt string I plan on producing. Maybe I'll make a hammock! Look at this tool</p><p><a href="http://www.tandyleatherfactory.ca/en-cad/search/searchresults/3080-00.aspx" rel="nofollow">http://www.tandyleatherfactory.ca/en-cad/search/se...</a></p><p>I use it for leather straps. Works beautifully. Worth a try.</p>
<p>MJursic, I kid you not, a hammock was actually on my mind a few weeks ago. If you cut the strips wide enough, they are very, very durable, and would indeed make a great hammock. </p>
<p>*racking my brain</p>
<p>LOL. Eacking sounded good, too. Depends on what day of the week it is for me. </p>
<p>Nice, I was wondering if you were making loops or strings till the end, you make strings.</p><p>I do have a constructive suggestion, use a roller knife. They run 5-19 bucks and oh my god are they sharp. USE a proper cutting board surface and this is easier. You can make huge potholders, table pot rests etcetra. </p><p>I know you did not invent this but nice execution! Clear pics (unlike what I would do), easy to follow. </p>
<p>P.S. After losing part of my finger to a box knife a few years ago, I tend to stick with scissors, which are safer for people like me. LOL. Unless I run with them. </p>
<p>Oh, no, T-shirt strips have been around for ages. :-) I only WISH I had thought of them way back then. </p><p>Many thanks!</p>
<p>Can you add some pictures of your finished projects? Thanks.</p>
<p>Hi Shyrell, we must have been cross-posting with one another. I see you found them. :-)</p>
<p>I did. And thanks again. This is a great idea. </p>
<p>Never mind. I just clicked through your links. :)</p>
<p>This a great way to recycle t-shirts, I will hide this from my wife. Coincidentally, if you like using this as yarn my wife crochets with t-shirting bought at the local agricultural shop. They use it to tie fruit trees.</p>
<p>What do you do with the top (sleeves and shoulders) portion of the shirts?</p>
<p>I saw this recently -- drawstring pouches from the sleeves. </p><p>http://thethingswellmake.com/sleeve-to-pouch/</p>
<p>Hi Moonkyst, that is cute! Thanks for sharing. </p>
<p>You're welcome. I had wondered myself about all those leftover sleeves so I was glad to find this.</p>
<p>Hi Brian, at this point, I simply fold them up and set them aside for my next Instructable, but I may have to wait until the New Year when I have more time. :-)</p>
<p>I'm a handweaver-enough said. Great idea!</p>
<p>Costumer, would LOVE to see your work. One day, I'll get around to making rugs. I hope. </p>
<p>Thanks for the thorough instructions! and the links for the folding and projects.</p>
<p>Hi Debbie, many thanks!</p>
<p>Thanks for the thorough instructions! and the links for the folding and projects.</p>
<p>Hi Debbie, many thanks! </p>
<p>Instead of cutting all the way across to the stopping point with scissors, could you not just make short initial &quot;snips&quot; into the sides of the folded shirt, at the desired width intervals, and then pull and rip across to the stopping point before cutting diagonals? I have torn loops from T-shirts for years, for tying up garden plants, or broader ones for disposable sweatbands / headbands. It's faster than cutting and just as straight [or more so since the tears follow the &quot;grain&quot; or weave of the shirt and are parallel, and the strips &quot;curl&quot; instantly], but I never needed long yarn so had never cut diagonals. Nice work! </p>
<p>Hello Plant,</p><p>I'm sure others might find it easier to tear, which is what I also do with some of my shirts intended for all-purpose ties. I have issues with my forearm muscles, so it is better for me to use scissors. T-shirt ties are the best things to tie up electric cords and so much more, aren't they? I like to use them on my tomato plants and other things that get out of hand. </p><p>Love those old ideas from times past. </p><p>Many thanks!</p>
<p>Thanks for the wonderful instructable! I will have to share this with my mom. And BTW, that is a cute Papillon! </p>
<p>Hi North! Many thanks. Our Baby is actually a Pommie, rescued from a flea market. She was, no doubt, going to end up producing litters for cash. We put a stop to that practice and she is our precious sweetie!</p>
<p>Love the way you explained this! Great job! :)</p>
<p>Thank you so much, Jessy! </p>
What a great idea!
<p>Many thanks, Rachael. I certainly can't take credit for the original idea, which has been around as long as the T-shirt, but I sure have fun doing it. </p>
<p>You...</p><p>...are a recycling genius.</p>
<p>LOL. Oh, I wish! I could solve the world's recycling problems. Many thanks, TinKicker!</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: Let's skip the pretentious titles. At present, I am a paper pusher for a manufacturing plant. In the remainder of my life, I am ... More »
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