How to Make a Picnic Blanket Backpack Out of T-Shirts




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Do you have an abundance of extra t-shirts lying around that you have no use for? Do they not fit you or are they too worn out? Well, with the help of Threadbanger you can take those t-shirts and make your own Picnic Blanket Backpack! All you need is 10 shirts to make blanket, backpack, and even pillow. So whip one up and go outside! For more information, watch the video, and for more Threadbanger diy style, subsribe to Threadheads on iTunes!

10 t-shirts, serger or sewing machine, scissors, ruler, pencil, pins

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Step 1: Cut the T-shirts Into Blocks

Take out one of the shirts, measure a 12 by 15 inch rectangle, and pin the front and back layers together. Use a straight edge to connect your points, cut out the square, and you will have 2 equal rectangles.

Repeat with 7 more shirts and you will have a total of 16 squares.

Step 2: Sewing the Blocks Together

Place 2 squares wrong side together, pin one side, and sew a seam. Use a serger, or if you don't have one, a small zigzag stitch on your regular sewing machine and cut the extra fabric from the seams.

Continue connecting squares until you end up with four rows of four squares.

Now sew all your rows together and sew a seam around the entire thing.

Blanket portion of the bag, finito!

Step 3: Adding the Flap and the Straps

Straps: Take out a large scrap and cut out two straps that are 20 inches by 4 inches. Serge or sew around the the edges of both straps.

Flap: Cut a rectangle measuring measuring 12 by 10 inches. Finish the edges of that rectangle as well.

To fold your blanket into proper position, Lay the blanket right side up. Fold in two sides then fold it in half. Now fold it up from the bottom square by square.

Pin your rectangle piece to the very back panel, flip it over, and mark where the ties go.

Open it all up again and pin your straps to the appropriate panel.

Use a straight stitch to attach your flap and two straps.

Step 4: Making It Tie Together

Make two holes in the flap.

Then cut two 20 by 2 inch strips and sew around the edges.

Now sew the strips to the appropriate panel using a straight stitch.

Step 5: Making the Pillow

So you may be asking yourself, "What are we gonna do with all these scraps?!" Simple: We're gonna make a pillow!

Cut the scraps into smaller strips, then cut two more 12 by 15 inch squares. Serge around 3 sides, stuff it with your scraps, then serge around the 4th side.

And voila! Pillow!

Now just fold the pillow up inside the blanket, tie it up, and go get yo'self some nature!

1 Person Made This Project!


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11 Discussions


4 years ago on Introduction

This would be a cute gift for a new couple - get t-shirts from both sides of the family and "merge" them together for their future picnics.


10 years ago on Step 4

Some treatments for waterproofing wood can also be used on fabric, with only a little loss of flexibility & softness. In the UK, there's a brand called Water Seal that works, find it in the building section of DIY stores.

1 reply

Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

That's actually a good idea, but are there any ways to waterproof with recycled household materials?


10 years ago on Step 1

sweet i made this for my sister for xmas and it came out so cute. great idea and thanks for the post.


11 years ago on Step 4

I modified this a bit by adding a layer of batting and sewing the whole thing onto a sheet I got from the goodwill- I also added a couple of shirts to make it 8 x 8 squares. I think the added thickness is a better idea- I would also recommend using a waterproof sheet on the bottom to avoid the wet-grass effect.

Cool idea. I haven't read through the whole thing yet, but I have a lot of old t-shirts I can't bring myself to get rid of for one reason or another. I'm a packrat. Might as well put it to good use!


11 years ago on Introduction

Instructions unlike patterns are great for their flexibility but I found your instructions almost deliberately vague in spots. There is not a clear image of the final product spread out. are the 4" staps - shoulder straps? which is the 'appropriate' panel for the 2" straps? if you thread them through the holes do they tie to each other? or back against themselves? i would lean towards pairs of 2: straps and tie them to each other but i am not certain what you meant.

2 replies

Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

I had exactly the SAME thoughts as jgodsey. The bit about the shoulder straps and "appropriate panel" was done too quickly and I cannot see what was meant!


Hey guys! For a better view of the final product, you may want to check out the Threadheads video.

The 4" straps are indeed shoulder straps. The "appropriate panel" for the 4" shoulder straps is the same panel that you pin the backpack flap to (check out the pics -- for ours it was the brown panel).

The appropriate panel for the 2" ties is the panel below the one with the straps. Each tie is meant to thread through the hole and tie to itself.

Thanks for checking out Threadbanger! Anymore questions please ask, and share with us your creations!!


11 years ago on Introduction

This is pretty awesome, it's a great way to recycle old clothes. One made of jeans would be pretty awesome and extra durable. 5/5 for the detail in the pictures.

1 reply

Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

I love you, Threadbanger! You two have some amazing ideas, thank you for making the world a more wonderful place by sharing them with all of us :). Great stuff!