Introduction: T-shirt Yarn

About: Hi! I'm a slightly feral mountain hermit that likes to be helpful. I do community management at Instructables & Tinkercad. 🙌 Want to hear me chat about making? Search "CLAMP Podcast" on YouTube or your favorit…

In this instructable I'm going to show you how to make the easiest t-shirt yarn ever! I'll also give you some tips and tricks for getting the best t-shirt yarn that you can get.

And it goes very quickly because of the way you'll cut the shirts - you'll be crocheting and braiding in no time!

Step 1: What You'll Need:

  • 100% cotton jersey t-shirts
  • scissors or a cutting mat & rotary cutter
Make sure that the shirts you're using are cotton jersey (preferably 95% or more!) and not any crazy blend of fabrics. Lycra makes horrible t-shirt yarn, as does modal. Polyester and cotton blends seems to work fine though! I had one of those in my stack and it worked just as well as cotton - not sure why. :)

Also, make sure the shirts are not ribbed jersey fabric - they will not curl properly. I bought one to try it out and it came out a mess. I'll still use it, but it won't be pretty!

Step 2: Lay the T-shirt Flat on the Floor and Make the First Cuts

Flatten your shirt on the floor and decide how big you want your strips to be.

I am making strips about 2 inches wide because they make a nice rounded braid, which is what I want for the project I'm making with the yarn. Play around with strip sizes to see what you like best - if you're using the yarn for crocheting instead of braiding you will probably want strips 1 inch wide or less. The strips will shrink by a little over half once we pull them to curl them.

Cut off the hem of the shirt if you want your finished yarn to curl nicely all over. :)

Cut the shirt into strips as shown, stopping a few inches from the top of the shirt. Keep making strips until you reach the armpits of the shirt.

Now the magic happens!

Step 3: Make the Final Cuts

We're going to cut from left to right. :)

Grab the cut shirt and rotate it so that you can see the side seam. (see the 3rd photo) Start a few inches below the first slit above the seam, and cut diagonally up to the slit. (photo 4) This is the beginning of your yarn!

Then look at the first slit under the seam. Cut from that slit to the next slit above the seam - you'll be cutting diagonally. The photos will help you here! (photo 5)

Make a diagonal cut from every slit below the seam to the corresponding slit above the seam, always moving to the right. When you get to the end, you'll make a diagonal cut from the last slit below the seam to the edge of the shirt.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this! I could always make a video if it's hard to understand. :D

Step 4: Pull the Yarn to Make It Curl

Working from one end of the strip to the other, pull it taut between your hands. This is pretty quick and gives the strip a nice finished look!

Now you've got yarn! What'll you do with it? :D