Recycling Your Cotton

Shirts by sporkist (CC BY 2.0)

Are you moving, cleaning out your closet, or just need to make room for new clothes?

Trying to decide what to do with old t-shirts can be difficult. It’s hard to part with that concert shirt or the swag you picked up from an event. Generation T—a blog dedicated to recycling shirts and everything shirt related—has highlighted some simple and straightforward ideas on how to transform your cotton.

If you don’t want to part from the cool graphic design on your worn-out T, listen up. Here are three of my favorite ideas from Generation T’s books on how to recycle your shirts.

Turn your sleeves into a flower!

#89 T-Shirt Flowers: Decorate other clothes with your old shirts. If you are looking for a way to spruce up a solid colored item why not create multi-colored flowers with shirts you are getting rid of. One flower requires one sleeve. Create 3 pill-shaped pieces as your petals and attach them with a needle and thread. Use a pin or button in the middle to create flower variations. Click here for the full set of directions

Use your shirt as a bag!

#42 The T-Shirt Shopping Bag: This idea, called “Plastic Surgery,” is one of the more popular posts on the Generation T site. The only pieces needing surgery on your shirt? The collar, sleeves, and bottom hem. This would be the ideal project if you want keep the shirt’s design. Give it a try!

#33 Coasters: Simple enough—make coasters for that table you’re always putting things on. Cut squares in your old t-shirts. Layer and sew multiple pieces together and you’ve got yourself a new super-absorbent coaster! Get creative and cut pieces that fit together like a puzzle… you might just find yourself eating off a shirt-shaped place mat!

Need an idea for a summer project? Try making some of your shirts sleeveless. There are plenty of ways to get creative with this one, and there are tons of ideas on Generation T’s blog site to help get you started. Why not check them out yourself.

Clearly, you can do more than throw your worn out shirts in the trash. Even at our office, some have customized the trademark NorthStar Moving® shirt to their liking. Do you have any other ideas on how to recycle your cotton? We’d love to hear!