DIY: Recycled T-Shirt Scarf

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by Cassy Krueger

If you’re anything like me, you’ve acquired quite a t-shirt collection over the years. And if we’re really similar, you’ve also got almost zero use for the things. Personally, I think plain old t-shirts are boring and constricting unless I’m headed to the gym, and let’s be honest: that’s not happening. So I decided to get creative and put them to better use. With spring semester coming to a close, what better time to sift through your closet and clear out some of those old t-shirts? Here’s one idea for recycling those boring shirts by making them into something you might actually wear.

  1. Pick out some shirts (at least 2) that match each other nicely. I chose a nautical theme for my colors. I’d suggest using thin or worn out shirts. Lay them out flat on a hard surface.
  2. Cut off the sleeves of the shirt and save them for later. They’ll be useful later when you hide the knots in the scarf. Start cutting the shirts into about 1.5’’ vertical strips and try to get them as long as possible. Where I could, I cut all the way from the front of the shirt to the back of the shirt. Varying lengths are okay. Cut off the hems.
  3. Gently pull on the ends of the strands so that they curl in on themselves. Organize the strips into lengths.
  4. This is the fun part!  Get creative with your strands: twist them together loosely or tightly, braid them, or add in some miscellaneous decorative material.
  5. I had some strands of lace lying around so I intertwined some of it into my scarf. You can tie strands together to secure them or use small pieces of unused scraps. Don’t worry if it looks messy right now – you’ll cover up the knots later.
  6. Organize the pieces of your scarf how you want them and lay them out on a flat surface so you can start to piece them together. Use the leftover material from the sleeves and wrap strips around your knots to make them look a little more polished.
  7. Tie everything together and add any finishing touches as you see fit. I added the off-center bow with some excess material to cover up where the lace material ran out. Make it look as neat as possible, but it’s supposed to look a little unkempt so don’t fuss over it too much.
  8. Voila!  You’ve turned your unused t-shirts into a light and fun accessory to wear as the weather warms up this spring!

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