Zipjet Top 5: Creative Uses for Old T-Shirts

Everyone has that drawer or corner of their closet closely resembling what one might call… hoarding.

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A t-shirt from summer camp when you were twelve, another from a concert in ’08 and a handful more from various events and places you don’t even remember.

But for one reason or another, you’re not ready to part with them. That’s okay! We all deserve a memento or two to remind us of the good ol’ days.

Still, they’re of little use to you hiding in your closet. By repurposing your t-shirts, you can create serviceable items for carrying groceries, accessorising an outfit or spoiling your dog.

Here, we’ll list our top five creative uses for old t-shirts, so keep reading!


1. Tote Bag

Turning your old t-shirt into a tote bag couldn’t be simpler. All you need is a pair of scissors & a washable marker.

First, lay your t-shirt out on a flat surface. Step one: cut off the sleeves with an inward curve, so that the seams are completely gone.

Tote bag shirt 2.0.JPG    Tote bag shirt 2 2.0.JPG Tote bag 3 2.0

Next, you’ll need to widen the neck hole a good bit, for which you can use a large mixing bowl as a guide, or just eye-ball it. Either way, you can use your marker to trace out the new hole and then carefully cut it out with your scissors.

Now we move on to the bottom. Use your scissors to cut fringe into the bottom of the t-shirt, about 6cm tall and 2cm wide. Once you’re done, flip the t-shirt inside out and begin tieing the fringe together in tight knots to create the base of the bag. When it’s all tied together flip it back to the right side and admire your work.

You can embellish it by tieing funky knots into the handles or adding colourful patches. Either way, you’ve given an old memory new life and remained environmentally-conscious by creating your own recycled tote bag.

2. Braided Belt

For this recycling craft, you’ll want to pick a t-shirt that has little sentimental value, as you’ll be cutting it up into thin strips. You’ll also need to know how to braid. If you don’t, no fear – it’s the perfect way to learn.

Once you’ve found that right t-shirt, turn it inside-out and place it on a flat surface. For materials, you’ll need a ruler, pencil and scissors.

Braided Belt 1 2.0      Braided Belt 2 2.0    Braided Belt 3

First, use your ruler & pencil to make a straight line down from the right edge of the collar. Next, make a line down the far right side of the shirt. Your final two lines will divide the highlighted piece into three individual pieces.

Repeat this step on the left side of the t-shirt. Now, use your scissors to cut out the two highlighted pieces but remember not to cut horizontally across the top shoulder seam. You’ll need your strips to remain long to transform into a respectable belt.

Once cut out, use the pencilled in lines to divide each piece into three sections.

With your six long strips now ready, grab two of them and make a loose knot. Before you tighten it, insert the third strip. Now tighten the knot.

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For this next part, you’ll need a friend to hold the end of the knotted strips while you braid them. Or, you can use a tight drawer to hold onto the end. Braid the three strands together and when you get to the end, make another tight knot.

Repeat the same procedure for the remaining three strips to create a second belt. With your belts finished, you can tie them around your waist to accessorise a dress or add it to your belt loops to jazz up your jeans.

3. Workout Shirt

Working out – some people love it, most people hate it. But at the end of the day, it’s a necessary evil for those who want to live long, healthy lives. So why not make it more enjoyable by repurposing a t-shirt you like?

Tote bag shirt 2.0.JPG    Workout drawing.JPG

Turning a regular t-shirt into something with a bit more airflow for working out is relatively simple. You’ll want to expand the neck hole, that way it doesn’t rub against your skin when you’re getting sweaty.

Next, you’ll want to do the same to the sleeves. Who needs sleeves anyway? Your arms need room to sweat and breathe.

Start by cutting on the inside of the shoulder seam on the top. When you arrive at the bottom of the sleeve, feel free to cut as low as you’re comfortable with.

Just remember not to make the new armholes too big or you’ll be catching them on the workout equipment left and right.

4. Dog Toy

Dogs love toys, and we love our dogs. So why not make them some toys that are fun to play with AND smell like their favourite person in the world?

For this craft, you’ll need an old t-shirt. Cut off the sleeves first and then cut horizontally across the shirt just beneath the collar. Next cut the body of the shirt into long, vertical strips and set aside.

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Group them in threes, as you’ll be creating 3 individual braids to combine later to make your toy.

Tie small knots at the ends and make 3 braids from your t-shirt strips. Next, take all your braids and make tie them together with one big knot.

Then, braid those braids together to form a master braid. When you’re 3/4 of the way down the braided strips, tie it off with another large knot.

Voila, you should now have a floppy, fun toy your dog can play fetch and wrestle with at no cost to you!

5. Art

Everyone has a favourite t-shirt. They can be hard to part with then they have sentimental value – even long after they’re appropriate for daily wear.

But you don’t have to throw them away! Simply buy a few canvases from a local arts & crafts store and get creative.

You’ll need to do a little scissor work, but nothing that would damage the design on the front of the shirt.

First, cut the shirt in half by the seam – with one half being the front and the other being the back of the shirt. You can throw away the back of the shirt.

Canvas t shirt.JPGNext, cut off the remaining half of the sleeves horizontally beneath the collar and compare your new t-shirt square to your canvas.

You’ll want the t-shirt square to be large enough to wrap around the edges of the canvas so it can be stapled to the wood frame from behind. But, if it’s still too big, trim down the sides until it fits.

Next, lay your t-shirt square design-side down on the floor and place your canvas on it face down. Grab your stapler or staple gun and start with the top of the canvas.

Grasp the t-shirt and fold it over the canvas and wood frame. Use your stapler to attach the t-shirt to the canvas with one staple every 5-7 cm. Do the same on the bottom.

After that, you’ll need to fold the left side over and make sure the edges are flush to the frame, which means you may have to fold the edges in a bit. Make sure the t-shirt is tight to the canvas and staple these down.

And you’re done! Hang a few on the wall in your living room to bring a personal touch to your decoration.


We hope you enjoyed these five creative uses for old t-shirts. Reusing and recycling old clothes is a great way to decrease your waste and help keep our home nicer for longer!


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