There are a great number of crafting projects that use recycled jeans. Whether you are thinking of remaking them into other clothing items, decorations, rugs, or something completely different, there is a project just for you. This is a guide about crafts using old jeans.
Solutions: Crafts Using Old Jeans
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I cut up old jeans and make coasters and/or pot holders. I make four - 4 1/2 inch squares of the jeans, and one - 4 inch square of any cotton material, then sew around the square and sew from corner to corner so it has a big X through it.
Then I cut small slits on each side and then wet and put in dryer to make the jeans fray. I give as gifts, as a 4 pack of coasters. NFL and college team materials are a great hit! When making pot holders, I cut the squares 8 inches.
Whenever your kids outgrow their denim jeans, save them for making bags from the legs. Cut off the legs at the crotch, turn inside out and hem the unfinished edge. Now you have a nice long tube-bag for tent poles, beach umbrella storage, or anything else that comes with poles or long, skinny pieces. You could label the leg-bag with puffy paint, duct tape, or Sharpie marker so you know what is inside.
If you need a fatter bag, take multiple legs, split them at the inner seam (cut off the multiple-thicknesses of the leg), sew the long edges together for a fatter tube, and now you have a bag for a sleeping bag, beach towels, tent (small one, of course), or perhaps off-season blankets.
This is a denim purse with jute handles and a button closure. I crocheted a rectangle for a sample, since I wasn't sure the heavy weight denim would work for this project. Instead of starting over, I chose to make a purse with it.
Approximate Time: One afternoon
denim blue jeans
large crochet hook
elastic ponytail holder
Cut denim into 1 1/2 inch strips. I just used scraps I had from other projects, so the colors don't match exactly.
Sew ends together to have one continuous piece to work with. I did this by machine, but you can also do it by hand.
Crochet a rectangle twice the size you want your purse to be tall. My purse ended up being 14 inches wide by 9 inches high.
Sew the sides together.
Crochet jute as wide as you would like your handles to be. I crocheted the jute about 1 1/2 inches wide until I liked the width for the purse.
Sew the side seams with the sewing needle and fishing line. Attach the jute handles through a "hole" in the crocheted piece and tie a slip knot. Repeat until the handles are attached in a placement that satisfies you.
For closure, attach a large button and an elastic loop for closure.
If you have small pieces of scrap denim, you can construct a simple hat for children in no time at all! This pattern shape can also be modified to create a skull cap!
Cut six pieces in denim and six in contrast fabric for each hat desired. Join the pieces two by two, then connect the six pieces together. You hat will be reversible.
Pin the sewn contrast fabric lining inside the sewn denim hat, making sure the right side of the fabric lining is facing you looking inside the hat.
After pinning the lining inside the denim, sew in place. Pin double width bias tape to cover raw edges.
Sew in place. You're finished!
These simple hats take very little time to complete. Embellish as desired. Small buttons or lace can be used to embellish if you wish. Don't forget to 'press and sew' as you go! Things look nicer if you remember to press as you go along.
Not to long ago my grand daughter went through a growth spurt and she asked me to turn her skinny jeans into shorts. After cutting above the knees and hemming, I was left with some good material.
After thinking about it, I pulled them up my arms as sleeves. Since the jeans are stretchy, I didn't have to do anything to them. They can be used when trimming shrubs, trees, working in the garden, etc. We live in Florida and I'll wear them in the house when it gets cool, but not cold enough to turn the heat on.
When my children were growing up, I cut the legs off their bluejeans and made shorts for the summer months. I saved the legs and made several things from them. I remember one being a cover for the dog bed and another a tennis racket cover.
I ran across the tennis racket when cleaning out the closet the other day. Bluejean material is tough and will hold up for years and years. This was made in the 80s.
Save up and ask friends and family for old jeans. Make a throw or bed blanket!
Cut every good part you can into the same size squares. Anything from 3 to 4 inch squares. Sew all these together in strips and then sew the strips together. Once you have the desired size for a throw or bed cover. Teens love these. To make it all tattered on the edges wash and dry many times!
This is a mat to put near the door. It will catch lots of outdoor dirt before it makes its way all over the house. This mat is made from recycled blue jeans, and makes use of very small scraps. You can make the base whatever size you want your mat to be.
Extra tip: Cut your scraps with a rotary cutter to save time. The picture is of a partially finished mat. Sorry, I have not had time lately to complete one for a photo session.
old blue jeans scraps
thread, any color*
sharp scissors for cutting fringe
*Since stitching doesn't show, this is good place to use up those odd colors of thread.
This project has no close tolerances. If measurements are a little off, everything should still work.
Cut your muslin to the desired size. My pictures are of just a small portion. A nice size would be about the size of a small throw rug.
Make a narrow hem around all 4 sides.
Cut your denim strips all the same width. I used 2 inches. Cut them any length that you are able to cut from your scraps. You can piece the short ones together or cut the long ones to fit. Just butt the ends together, and stitch as one.
When cutting the fringe, it doesn't have to be really even slashes. Just be sure you don't cut through the stitches.
In just a few easy steps, your child can turn an old pair of jeans or shorts into a couple of pen and pencil holders that mount easily in a school locker.
Approximate Time: About 30 minutes
old pair of jeans or shorts
iron on patches
Begin by having your child cut each back pocket from the jeans. (Make sure she gets the material it's attached to as well and not just the pocket.) She should cut closely around the three sewn edges of the pocket.
Now she can start decorating by attaching any iron-on patches according to the package directions, using fabric paint, buttons, etc.
Let the paint dry.
With the pocket face down, cut the magnetic tape into one-inch strips and affix a magnet to each corner of the pocket (add a dab of tacky glue for an even stronger hold, if needed), and it's ready for hanging in a school locker.
My 7 year old is a little larger than average around his waist, so I have to buy pants that are to long for him in order to get ones that will fit him around his waist, and end up cutting and hemming them for a better fit. I use the leftover pants legs to make cute little bags to keep things in.
You just take a leftover pants leg, turn it inside out and upside down, hand stitch (or machine) the cut end together, and turn the leg inside out. Then take two colored shoelaces or pieces of string and run them through the top of the open end so you can pull it tight to close, and use for a handle.
My daughter and niece make and decorate them, and they turn out great! (Their ages are 9 and 8).
Holiday table decor made from Styrofoam and denim fabric.
Approximate Time: one afternoon
Styrofoam cone shapes
wooden clothes pins
Cut denim scraps into one or two inch squares. Fold squares into triangle shapes and secure with glue, then hold in place with wooden clothes pins. When the triangles are dried, remove clothes pins. You can now begin covering the Styrofoam cones for the trees.
Beginning at the bottom of the cone, begin placing the denim pieces in the direction you want your design to run. There are two designs here to choose from.
The hardest part is waiting for the glue to dry. Hot glue will result in melting the Styrofoam, so you must use tacky glue and hold each piece in place until nearly dry or the pieces will slide off. For the one design, you will need sewing pins to secure the denim.
Complete the pattern on each row before moving to the row above it.
Embellish the trees as desired with purchased or crafted items.
Last night I cut off my husbands blue jeans and made him some shorts. What can I do with the bottom portions that I have left? It has to be something really easy as I do not sew and don't have a machine and I have no little ones at home, just three little doggies! Thanks in advance! You ladies and gentlmen are the best! :)
Most Recent Answer
By Alex (Guest Post)11/14/2007
You can make non-sew pot holders. Use any kind of glue (washable glue if you are going to wash them) and glue 2 squares of any size together. You can cut some cotton batting a little smaller than the jean squares and glue in the middle of the 2 jean squares. OR: glue the jean squares inside out (on only 3 sides), let dry, turn right side out and glue the open end! Hope this helps!
I have several pairs of my husbands old overalls. The legs are worn thin and ripped, but the top bib part is still good fabric. Any ideas what craft I could use these for? I had been saving them to replace the bib clips on a good pair that break, but I have a good supply of those now.
Many! They can be cut into strips, sewing the ends together to make long strips, and braided or crocheted into 'rag' rugs. They can be cut into squares and sewn together to make either quilts or unlined, unpadded throws. You can make pillows for the couch, or thinner chair pads, for the kitchen chairs. You could make a shower curtain with the jeans, just be sure to get a plastic liner. There are lots of things that can be made out of jeans.
If it were me I would cut the jean leg the length & width I wanted it & fold it over lengthwise to make cutting faster & cut strips from the bottom up to a pre-marked line on the backside.Use a yardstick to make the line in ink at the top.When you cut,that's where you should stop.
Then cut with sharp scissors up to the line only. Folded you will cut at least 2 thicknesses or possibly 3 or 4 depending on how you fold it or cut every piece singly which could take a while. You could even mark the cut lines on the back if you wanted to. I would cut the fringe 1/2 an inch thick at least but that's up to you.
You can use recycled jeans to make a fabulous quilt! The entire background of this Eagle Quilt was made from recycled blue jeans. Bleach, acrylic paints, and different colored jeans make up the landscape and the whole thing was quilted by free motion.
When jeans are past their prime and not suitable for wearing, you can recycle the fabric to use in craft projects. Denim is durable and great for making purses, quilts or sleeves to hold tools. Here are some ideas...
New Uses for Old Denim
If your family is like mine, we live in denim. From denim jeans to denim skirts. We have plenty of denim in our house. With three children, we go through plenty of clothes. Two of these children being boys, many of these clothes are worn out before grown out of. So I found myself with a lawn and garden garbage bag full of no good denim. What is a frugal mother to do?
I'll tell you what I did. I rose to the challenge and went to work researching. I found there are so many uses for this denim, that I want more worn out clothes! Here are a few items you can make with denim scraps:
Cut the good parts of the denim clothing into four inch squares. Sew together to form a quilt. I did this and made a "rag" quilt. I sewed the quilt and left the denim seams on the outside of the quilt. Washed and dried for a little fraying and bam .. one Christmas gift was finished.
Turn the jeans (I used shorts) to the inside and sew just below the bottom at the beginning of the legs. I sewed a few times for extra reinforcing. Sew on a strap using the waistband from another pair of jeans. Lace a belt or use ribbon through the belt-loops to draw closed. I also put a strip of Velcro on the inside of mine to keep shut.
I made "butt" pillows for our van the same basic way the purse is made. Except you need to close the entire top with Velcro. Put a ready made pillow form in and you can un-velcro for easy cleaning. Just toss in the washer. I used an old pillow as the pillow form and had no cost at all for my pillows.
Use a pair of overalls for this project. Cut the seams of the legs apart and then sew both of the front legs together and then both of the back legs together. Slip over you head for a great apron. You can also use as a great overall dress. Quick and easy.
So what are you waiting for? Go clean out your closets and see what you can make.
By Roxanna Ward
Here are some projects from our archive that you can make with jeans.
Make a chair slip cover! You can even use the pockets to hold remote controls etc. I saw a slipcover made for a couch! Pretty nice and holds up very well to pets and kids. (05/19/2004)
Denim squares make nifty pot holders too. Cut 2 squares (8 - 10 inches), Place right sides together and sew 3 sides together. V-knotch corners. Turn inside out (so right sides are facing out) and insert cotton batting cut a little smaller, so that it fits inside. Tuck the 4th side edges in and whipstitch. You can quilt this, or just stitch an 'X' corner to corner. A belt-loop makes a nice hanger. (05/19/2004)
Just one more thought about the quilt idea: My mom made a crazy quilt with leftover denim jeans. Cut big pieces in all shapes. Then we used it for a picnic blanket. It was nice because it was so heavy. (05/20/2004)
When you get down to the *little* scraps, cut in strips, about 1 inch by 4 or 5 inches and make a rug for wiping feet at the door. Just use a heavy fabric cut to the size you want the rug as a base, heavy muslin will work and is inexpensive. Position a row of strips crosswise so the middle of the strip is close to the left edge of the base. Sew them down, fold the strip to the left, and position the middle of the strips quite close to the first row of stitching. Repeat until your base is covered. Just shake well and throw in the washer and dryer as needed. (05/21/2004)
Make notebook covers with the denim. Put the Pocket on the front for pencils etc. (06/06/2004)
RE: New Uses For Old Denim
O use old denim to make purses, bags, pillows, you name it. Denim is really fun to work with since it is really versatile (07/17/2004)
In Praise of Blue Jean Blankets
I like the quilt/blanket idea. I like using the back pockets of blue jeans for the quilt also. These come in handy especially when on a picnic. A blue jean blanket is great for the beach because the sand does not stick to it. A blue jean blanket will not shrink. A blue jean blanket is very very durable. When a hole develops in it, patch it OR now make it your pet's blanket until it really is ready to throw away. I think the oldest one I have, and it is very much a dog's blanket, is about 19 years old. I have made a black and white one for my son, one with a multitude of colors for my sister for Christmas, a dark blue one, etc. I make my blankets with 5" by 7" pieces and serge the edges together. I do not add a bottom layer of flannel to make a blanket like some do, mine is a single layer only of denim. Go to thrift stores to get the additional colors YOU need for making your OWN blue jean blanket. (10/29/2004)
Using the leg portion of the jeans, cut into four inch wide strips however long you want your bookmark to be. Fold the strip in half and place a strip of either cardboard or a strip cut from a filing folder inside the fold and either sew or glue the edges around the cardboard strip to form a semi-ridged bookmark. You can put a hole at the top to string a piece of yarn as a tassel. You can also put a strip of folder in the middle of the jean strip and fold the fabric around and make a ruffle on the front. (01/02/2005)
By Angela Harman
My daughter likes to make little catnip pillows for her cat with old denim scraps. I think I came up with a pretty good idea when I was at the garden center the other day. Instead of buying those plastic hanging bags that you can put flowers in, I am going to cut the bottom of the legs off some old jeans, sew up the bottoms, cut a few slices in the sides for the flowers and sew on a denim handle. Hopefully this isn't a nutty idea and will work! (03/21/2006)