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6 Projects for Upcycling T-Shirts, from Produce Bags to Doormats

Want ideas for upcycling t-shirts? Here's how you can transform a t-shirt into a plant hanger, cat tent, potholder, and more.

Written by
Erika Schwerdfeger

Have an old t-shirt you don’t wear anymore? Don’t get rid of it yet. No matter what condition it’s in, there are tons of projects out there for upcycling t-shirts into something you'll actually want to use.

Whether you're upcycling t-shirts into something practical (like a reusable produce bag for grocery store visits) or something decorative (like a hanging planter), that's a quick DIY for everyone. And the best part? There’s no sewing required, making these projects doable for both crafting novices and total pros.

Check out the list below for some fun ideas for upcycling t-shirts into something new.

6 Ideas for Upcycling T-Shirts

1. Reusable Produce Bag

Bringing your own produce bags to the grocery store is a fantastic way to cut down on plastic use. With just a pair of scissors, you can transform an old t-shirt into exactly that.

Even better: The produce bag is completely machine washable. Check out different variations of this project from Delia Creates, Hello Nest, and the Sierra Club.

2. Doormat

Knotted t-shirt strips work wonders in creating your own funky and personalized doormat. This craft works best if you have several t-shirts available to use—typically five or more. (Bonus points if the colors work well together!)

HGTV has given us the how-to, and all you need is scissors, a hot glue gun, and a flat, unembellished doormat.

3. Cat Tent

Just because a t-shirt is too worn out for you doesn't mean it's too worn out for your feline friend. This upcycling t-shirt project from Upcycle That is super easy.

All you need are wire hangers, a piece of cardboard, and your shirt. You can even choose a t-shirt that goes with the other colors in your home so it matches the rest of your decor.

4. Hanging Planter

Like your pets, your plants could also benefit from your next repurposing project. Suspending your leafy beauty from a hanging planter of your own creation requires nothing more than a pair of scissors, an old t-shirt, and some knotting skills. See our step-by-step guide for the full DIY.     

5. Potholder

Upcycling t-shirts into handy kitchen aids? Count us in. Trivets and potholders made from crocheted or woven t-shirt scraps are unique, useful, and customizable depending on which shape or pattern you’re going for.

Just make sure the fabric of the shirt you’re using can withstand heat well. Luckily, materials with a high cotton content (like t-shirts!) shouldn’t melt after prolonged contact. Check out these helpful how-tos from Mommy Potamus, The Tiptoe Fairy, and Poppy Talk.

 6. Tie-Dye It

Say you’ve got an old white tee with a visible stain, or you’re just not looking to hack your shirt into pieces today. If you want to keep it a t-shirt but are still looking to reinvent it, you can tie-dye it for a brand-new look.

Best of all, it doesn’t take a trip to the craft store or artificial colors to do the job: You can use fruits and vegetables. Check out our guide to making DIY fabric dye with food scraps and give your white t-shirt a brand-new look.