11 Creative Ways to Upcycle an Old Pair of Jeans

"Instead of tossing your old jeans in the trash, try creating something new! Here's how to upcycle jeans."

Denim never goes out of style. From classic sustainable jeans to vintage denim jackets, denim is here to stay. But that pair of worn-out jeans that can no longer be worn has got to go. Instead of tossing the once-beloved clothing item in the trash, try to upcycle jeans into something new.

Upcycling clothes turns your old fashion pieces into something completely new—and it keeps waste out of the landfill. Plus, denim is one of the least sustainable fabrics, requiring a significant amount of resources like water and chemically treated, dyed cotton.

Upcycling denim prevents unsustainable fabrics from getting tossed and decreases the demand for new, raw denim. Here’s how to upcycle jeans to give them a new life.

11 Fun Ways to Upcycle Jeans

1. Cut-Off Shorts

upcycle jeans

Sunshine and warm weather are around the corner, so it’s time to swap your winter wardrobe for a summer one. If you’re not ready to part with your favorite pair of jeans, you don’t have to.

You can turn old jeans into shorts using our step-by-step jean shorts DIY. And the leftover denim can be used to make something else on this list!

2. Denim Coasters

PHOTO: SCRATCH & STITCH

This DIY uses the pockets of your old jeans to make coasters! Cut a circle in the center of the jeans’ back pockets to get started, and rip the seams to create frayed edges.

When you’re done, you’ll have the perfect set of coasters for your home. They also make for a fun and interesting housewarming gift!

3. Bedside Pocket Organizer

PHOTO: UPCYCLE MY STUFF

This bedside pocket organizer is perfect for anyone. If you have young kids who love sleeping next to their favorite stuffed animal or bedtime story, this pocket organizer using the back pockets of your jeans will surely come in handy.

This organizer is even perfect for college students with lofted dorm beds. It can hold gadgets, wires—really anything they could ever need.

4. Denim Bookmark

PHOTO: HELLO SEWING

Most book lovers will tell you not to dog-ear the corners of your book’s pages to hold your place. Instead of bending the page, make a denim bookmark so you don’t lose your spot!

These denim bookmarks are easy to make and super customizable. Plus, they’re the perfect gift for your book lover friends.

5. Recycled Jean Planter

PHOTO: PILLAR BLUE BOX

Adding to your houseplant collection? Try these denim plant holders, made using denim seams or hems and old tin cans of any size.

This holder is perfect for succulents, as they don’t require a lot of water. They can be planted directly in the can. Plus, these denim-covered cans can also be used to hold pens, office supplies, or utensils.

6. Upcycled Jeans Tote Bag

upcycle jeans
PHOTO: LA CREATIVE MAMA

Canvas totes seem to be the latest fashion fad—so why not step outside the box? With this DIY, you can make your own tote bag using a pair of old jeans! And you can even personalize the tote using iron-on fabrics.

7. DIY Upcycled Denim Necklace

PHOTO: SALVAGE SISTER & MISTER

The opportunities for making your own jewelry using denim are endless. You can make earrings, bracelets, and even this necklace!

This tutorial uses the hem of a pair of old jeans. You can also use an old necklace as the base. Check local thrift stores for jewelry to make this piece come to life.

8. Denim Wall Hanging

PHOTO: EXPERT HOME TIPS

Need to spruce up your walls? Try some DIY wall decor! This tutorial uses the pocket detailing on a pair of denim jeans.

You can use any part of your jeans to create this piece. If your jeans have fun patterns or designs, feel free to turn them into a piece of art for your home. You can also embroider a design on the denim.

9. Patchwork Jean Bowl

upcycle jeans
PHOTO: HELLO GLOW

To make this bowl, try mixing and matching different pieces of denim. Take a light-wash pair of jeans and a true blue pair and combine the colors to create this patchwork bowl.

You can make the bowl any size you want. And it’s perfect for holding trinkets like jewelry, keys, or makeup.

10. DIY Crossbody Bag from Jeans

PHOTO: HEARTH AND VINE

Looking for something smaller than a tote to carry your necessities? Try making this crossbody bag using your old jeans!

It’s perfect for carrying your keys, some cash, and your phone. And you can even upcycle old leather for the strap.

11. DIY Denim Pouch

upcycle jeans
PHOTO: A LITTLE CRAFT IN YOUR DAY

This pouch is versatile. It can be used as a pencil case, a makeup bag, a wristlet, and more! And it’s easily customizable—try adding different fabrics to the inside, or use different jeans for patchwork.


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Instead of tossing your old jeans in the trash, try creating something new! Here's how to upcycle jeans.

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