45 Ways to Revamp Old T-Shirts And Give Them Another Chance To Shine

By Aileen D

We all have our favorite tees, and there’s a unique story to each. You might remember where you bought it, who you bought it with, or something that happened while you were wearing it!

But like all things, these wear down over time. You might want to donate it, or sell it at a yard sale, but we can suggest some ways to revamp your shirt. After all, your own trash might become your very own treasure, with a little bit of creativity.

You could get creative doing the following projects with friends or your kids. If you’re feeling a bit generous and proud of the results, you could even box them up and give them as gifts. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to put a smile on someone else’s face with a little bit of effort?

Cheeky Headband

We swear by this fashion item because it allows you to frame your face with its color while accentuating the outfit you are wearing. Imagine, neon pink in contrast to jet-black hair – that ought to get the boys chasing after you. Apart from that, headbands are perfect for keeping sweat out of your eyes.

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You can throw cloth headbands in your bag without you worrying about them breaking like you would with plastic ones. To make one, choose a shirt in the color of your choice. While laying it flat on the floor, cut six inches from the bottom seam. You can sew on a ribbon, or cross the fabric over and twist twice. The cross should be at the center of the headband, and then wear it over your head. They’ll make you feel extra preppy for your Xhit workout!

Laundry Bag

The best laundry bags are those that don’t look like laundry bags. We wouldn’t want guests coming over and eyeing our pile of dirty linen. Since we don’t have a spare room to hide our unlaundered clothes in, how about making a laundry bag from one of those old tees?

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The longer the length of the shirt, the better. So we suggest that you upcycle your man’s clothing, or fashion a laundry bag out of an old pillowcase. Cut around the bustline. Turn the shirt inside out and sew the bottom of the shirt together. Turn it inside out once more, and then fasten the bustline into a hoop. Hang the bag by the back of your door. What a space saver!

Each Tee Has its Own Story

If you’re a music lover, then you might have gone to several gigs or live concerts with your friends. The night might have been rad, with a couple of bottles of beer, loads of fun, and memories to cherish for the coming years. One unlikely memorabilia is that t-shirt!

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Think about it, you might not be able to fit in it anymore, but it doesn’t mean that it has lost its meaning for you. Turn it into a wall decor with a canvas, a pair of scissors, and some thumbtacks. The trick is to keep the cloth taut. Encase it in glass, and then display it in your living room!

Create a Talisman

You’ve probably seen them in thrift stores or in your local street market. Threaded with simple designs, their webs are meant to trap bad dreams while you sleep peacefully. Of course, the positive memories stay with you as you rise from slumber. This totem is a symbol of unity amongst Native American communities.

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Now you can make your own version of the dreamcatcher. Choose a shirt with a webbed design, secure a hoop and some decorative beads, and then fasten the shirt into the center, as seen above. Attach a string at the top and hang it by your doorway or over your bed. We hope this totem brings you sweeter dreams!

Breathable Face Mask

Now you won’t have to worry about competing for a limited supply of face masks! All you have to do is find a cotton shirt, wind it around your nose and mouth, and tuck the ends inside itself. Use a white tee so that you’ll know when it’s time to launder. The best part is that it’s reusable.

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Use it whenever you paint a room, clean the house, or take the subway train. You won’t have to worry about spending a few dollars every time you go out for a run. Just toss it in along with your other laundry, and hang it out to dry! Who knew an old t-shirt could be a lifesaver?

Designing your Tank Tees

Tank tops don’t just make you feel sexy, they allow you to stay cool, literally. Since they’re sleeveless, and often made of cotton, they’re breathable in hot weather. Just in case, you need one for an undershirt, you could always upcycle a used tee.

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This project is perfect for free spirits. You’re trimming away edges, to your preference. Start by cutting two inches from the armpit to the top of the shirt, then shape the neckline. It could be rounded or V-neck. Then trim off the back, and repeat the process until its exactly what you want.

Aesthetic Plant Hangers

If you don’t have much space in your apartment, you could always maximize the aerial part of the room: affix plants, pots, and books along the vertical expanses of the walls. Better yet, you could just hang them as we do with plant hangers. You don’t have to spend around $8-$50 apiece, just use your faded shirts!

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We love this DIY item because it can accommodate plant pots of different sizes. And, you could always adjust the height at which the plant is suspended. Cut along the edges of the tee, making sure that the material is a continuous strip. Make at least four equal lengths of fabric and then create one big knot on one end. Split two strips and weave upwards. Hang it on your porch or in the kitchen and watch them sway in the breeze.

DIY Eco-bag

Plastic bags aren’t environmentally-friendly. They’re neither recyclable nor biodegradable. But guess what are – t-shirts! So they’re the perfect material for reusable shopping bags! They’re lightweight, and they come in different sizes. If they get dirty, you can toss them in your laundry.

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Lay your shirt flat and cut off the sleeves and neck. Cut off the bottom hem. Turn it inside out, and sew or glue the bottom of the bag. Turn it right side out. You can slip your hand in the holes where the sleeves once were. Voila, you have an eco-bag in under five minutes!

Fringe a Shirt

Have you always wondered why cats loved playing with yarn? Well, after making this DIY tassel, you won’t have to wonder much longer. There’s something playful about the sway of tassels. Whether it reminds you of a graduation tassel or a pompom, it always stirs us to grip the handle and cheer like crazy!

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Cut equal-sized strips from the bottom seam of the shirt. They must be 1-2 centimeters wide. Remove seams or excess threads. Group around four to five pieces of fabric, and tie a firm knot in the center with a different-colored cloth. In the picture above, that’s the neon-colored string. Secure the handle by tying an inch from the knot. Now it’s time to build someone up, Buttercup!

Designer Home for Pets

Have you ever come across a cat that didn’t love a box? They’ll fit themselves in it even if it’s a size too small for them. Just in case you find the right one, personalize it to their taste. It’ll give them an additional sense of security, especially since they love hiding out in nooks and dark spaces.

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Cover a box with an oversized shirt, and then tuck the sleeves at the sides, or against the wall. That entrance will make them feel like they’re creeping into a hideout. And it only allows enough light in so they can take frequent naps. Your cat will think it’s purr-fect for her!

Nifty Baby Bibs

This is a perfect gift item for expecting moms. Help them clean up after their babies with a baby bib. Repurpose old, memorable logo t-shirts by cutting out the center design, and sewing the outer seams. Just in case the neckline is too big, you could attach velcro at each end, or sew on a button and a hole.

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We suggest you use cotton or nylon shirts to make a bib out of. Cotton is lightweight and breathable, whereas nylon is stretchable and water-resistant. That’s perfect for keeping pureed fruits or spittle off a baby’s chest. These materials are also easy to clean!

Leisure Day with Pets

If you have ever had pets, then you would know that the best way to distract them from ruining furniture is to build them their own hammock! You read that right – a hammock. They can climb in it, change positions frequently, and, most importantly – keep their sharp claws off your furniture.

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You won’t have to worry about them ruining the leather upholstery. They’ll have their own comfy spot to lounge on. They might not even leave their hangout except for lunch! Anytime they miss you, they can always crawl out of that sling and lunge unto your lap.

Personalized T-Shirt Pochette

You could buy them either overpriced or at a bargain. But crafty individuals know it’s better to make pochettes (pouches) out of recycled shirts. Design and shape them according to your preferences. What do you want to fit in them – besides your phone, wallet, and your keys?

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Cut your pochette with the center design and neckline intact. Flip inside out and then sew the edges. Start at the sides while leaving an inch space at the shoulders for the straps. Turn inside out and then attach the strap to the pochette. You could use leather or a braided string. Slip in items through the neckline. All your nieces will want one!

Upcycled House Rags

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but how many households rack up on paper towels instead of recycling used t-shirts? Think about it. All you have to do is cut shirts into manageable sizes and hang them on towel rods. You could save loads of cash by cutting back on the use of paper towels.

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Use them for cleaning the kitchen table, or wiping the sink dry. If you ask us, we have the clothing we particularly love to re-purpose as rags – our ex’s shirts. If you can’t find a reason to throw them out, then at least put them to good use.

Teddy Toy

This makes for a great Easter craft. Engage your kids to make their own teddies, or make one yourself and then give them as gifts. Draw the outline of your toy onto the shirt. Cut through both layers and sew the edges. Turn inside out and then place cotton wool, beans, or the excess cloth inside.

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Sew the openings and then place it in a cute nook for your kid to find. If you feel like it, you could introduce this imaginary character to your child during playtime. Storytime will be twice as fun now that you have a prop to play with. Any time this teddy gets soiled, simply launder, dry, and then return to your child.

Treating Your Pet like Royalty

Given the number of ways we treat our pets like family, this project seems ideal. It’s something your pet will absolutely love! Remove the lining of your dog’s bed. You can launder it or discard it altogether for a full upgrade. Rummage through your drawers and find a clean sweater.

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Stretch it over the dog bed, and then tuck the edges into the cushions. We bet your dog would love to cozy up to the scent of you when they’re not hogging up space on your bed. It’s an endearing way to tell them how much you love them.

Reusable Cup Sleeve

In this day and age, who isn’t a caffeine addict? Whether it’s a cup of tea or coffee, there’s always a pot of it brewing by the kitchen. The smell of coffee brewing will draw you from your desk and up for a quick break. Like this coffee sleeve, it always evokes a feeling of security- keeping your fingers crossed that you don’t get burnt, and spill the cup all over the floor.

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Cut the shirt into a long, connecting strip. We suggest you zig-zag your way upwards to the neckline. Pull the edges until they curl. Then knit to make your reusable sleeve. You can create as many as you like for you and your caffeine-addicted friends. Please invite them for a cup of tea and a good conversation.

Trendy Flip-flops

While our sense of identity changes over time, there’s no other period that marks self-discovery like adolescence. You want to fit in with your peers, but you also want to develop a sense of self – one that’s unique. What lengths have you gone to catch attention? We’ve gone as far as braiding the straps of our flip-flops!

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When Regina George says it’s time to wear flip-flops, you’re guaranteed to steal the limelight with this trendy DIY idea. You can upgrade any pair of these comfortable shoes and personalize them in a variety of ways. This is so fetch!

To-Die-For Scent Packets

If you have too many t-shirts piled up in your drawer, then it’s best to use some for other purposes. Make sachets out of one, and then stuff in herbs or flowers, so that they’ll smell of your favorite scent! We suggest that you use the sleeves of your shirt. All you have to do is sew one side and attach a zipper on the other.

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Stash them by the back of your closets. If you want to keep pests away, you could place lavender or rosemary in them. This way, tendrils or petals won’t lodge into other clothing. And it’ll be easier to clean/replace when the scent wears off. Go ahead, make lots of them!

Charm Bracelets

Charm bracelets are supposed to fend off evil spirits and bad luck. But the best kinds are those that represent acts of friendship. Say, how many years have you and your best bud been together? How about reminding them of their value with this DIY charm. To start, make yarn from an old shirt.

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Cut off 1-inch wide strips from the shirt. We suggest you take them from the central part of the shirt. Bundle them together, and tie a knot on one end. Braid along the length and then sew both ends together. You could affix some charms or ribbon, or leave the piece as beautifully simple as it is. Show your friend just how much they mean to you.

Nifty Baby Carrier

Buying a carrier can be costly, especially if its a designer brand. They differ in color and patterns, but you can create a simple type of carrier, with your old shirts! They’ll help you hold your baby while keeping your hands free to do household chores.

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This mom simply cut off the lower hem of an elastic shirt, wore it over her shoulders, and then flipped one side for extra support. That ought to keep her baby safely tucked and close to her chest. Depending on your preference, you can double the layer of clothing.

Beanies for the Kids

What are the ways you show you love your kids? For many, it’s dress-up. Not that what they’re wearing has anything to do with how much we love them, but they’re loads more adorable when they’re dressed up like dad. So fashion a beanie out of cut t-shirt sleeves, and then tie a knot at the end.

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This is perfect for winter! Keep their cute heads safe and warm while you cozy up to them. If you want to create one yourself, we suggest that you fashion one out of colorful t-shirts. Then stitch on some designs like as seen in the ones above.

Individualized Gift Wrap

The festive season is just around the corner. Securing gifts is one thing, but wrapping them up is an entirely different art. In Japan, they wrap gifts with cloth. They call it Furoshiki. It’s downright breath-taking, and it’ll add a touch of individuality to a well-meaning gift.

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You could use white t-shirts, or colored ones and paint them with stencil art. You could use complementary colors – red and green, yellow and purple or blue and orange. But really, anything goes! Place your gift in the center of the fabric. Grab two opposite corners and tie them up!

Hair-Drying Hacks

If you want to change your hair-game, then follow these tips from haircare expert Isabella Vasquez. Choose a cotton shirt to dry your hair with. It leaves the hair with adequate moisture from your bathwater. In contrast, a towel absorbs all moisture from the hair, leaving it frizzy.

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Gather your hair and wrap the shirt around the bundle. Gently squeeze and allow the cotton to absorb the water. Flip your hair upside down and wrap the shirt around your head. Twist the shirt until the end and tuck it at the nape. This locks in moisture while you apply lotion over your body. Undo the wrap and style your hair after half an hour.

Get the Look for Less

How about using a t-shirt for a dress? The idea might not sound appealing, but believe us, it’s worth it. You might just find yourself running out of clothing on a trip, or wanting to reserve that black dress for a special date. In any instance, you could consider this go-to option.

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Look at that – you’d have a dress in less than five minutes! Simply wear the shirt over your chest, then wrap the sleeves around your bust. It’s simple and fun; anytime you feel like wearing it over pants, you could have a quick dress change!

Ruffled Necklace

Why do we love ruffles? First of all, they make plain tops look special. They make you feel confident because not everyone can pull them off. As you strut into the office, people will gaze your way, struck by the elegance of your walk and your unusual neckline.

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Second, you wouldn’t need to buy accessories. Ditch the earrings, bracelet, and rings. All you need to do is focus on one statement piece, and this ruffled necklace is it. It’s playful and sexy, and it can be paired with a tank top or t-shirt.

Make-Up Remover Pads

Here’s why we dislike makeup wipes – they only smear around the dirt, debris, and color over your face. Depending on the degree of pressure you wipe your face with, your face is inclined to further irritation from the chemicals in the wipes. Lately, women are going for reusable wash pads. But why not use cotton shirts?

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It’s perfect for sensitive skin. So there shouldn’t be any reaction if you use it on your face. Cut it up into 4 by 4 pieces and then place them in a container/ dispenser so you can take one like you do with commercially prepared wipes. It’ll leave your face clean and prepped for bed!

Simple Tote Bags

Wouldn’t it be divine if you could toss your gym bag along with your dirtied clothes straight in the laundry? Just add a few spoons of detergent and throw the whole thing in the washing machine. That would be possible if your tote bag were made out of a shirt! This DIY project only has four quick steps and takes less than 10 minutes to finish. If it takes any longer than that, then you can hurl those dirtied clothes in our direction.

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First, turn the shirt inside out. Sew the bottom hems together. Then, cut off the sleeves of the shirt and its neckline. You could go as low as you want, depending on how many items you wish to place in your tote bag. Turn the bag inside out, and then snip off any excess thread. How many minutes did that take you?

Cozy Infinity Scarves

This loop of fabric is meant to be worn on different occasions and in a variety of ways. No matter what attire, you’ll always look chic with an infinity scarf on. We haven’t even started with the number of ways it can be tied.

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The easiest way to create your infinity scarf is by connecting the sleeves of your shirt to each other. Embellish with beads, patches, ribbons, or even t-shirt flowers made form the leftovers of your top to create a variety of different looks to match any outfit.

Rad Pillow Covers

As much as we hate to invest in pillow sets, soft furnishings are an essential detail to add a homely touch in the living room. They draw the eyes to complement the design within the room. It’s just that you’d have to discard the whole set if one cover so much as gets a smudge on it.

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If you don’t want to spend money on cushion covers, you could just use old t-shirts. Fashion, sew, and fit according to pillow sizes. After all, your living room might need a little redesigning. Your guests will envy the covers – after all, they’re individualized to taste.

Brand New Skirts

Just because you’ve outgrown the color palette you loved when you were 16, doesn’t mean that you can’t use those colored shirts. For this piece, the more striking the colors, the better! Measure the widest part of your hips; add one inch. Then do the same for the required length of your skirt.

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Cut off the sleeves of your shirt, and discard the area above the bustline. Turn it inside out. Sew an elastic band along the length of your bustline. You could use a straight stitch or a cross-stitch, but it’s essential to use a matching thread. Now you can wear the skirt out for a date with friends!

Comfy Armband

One easy way to get you off the couch and running is to sprint with music. Whether it be EDM, pop, or metal rock, that vibe is meant to get your groove on. In no time, you’ll be anticipating that adrenaline spike at 4 pm even before you slip on your earphones.

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We prefer running hands-free – just in case we feel like doing burpees or planks. House your phone in an armband. You can always hit next every now and then; just reach to the cut sleeve of your knit fabric top. It should be as wide as your arm and as high as your phone. Make a pocket to secure your gadget, and then slip it on before your run.

Sexy 90s Tube

It seems like the fashion highs of the 90s are making a comeback this decade. Which artist wore the tube top best? How about Britney Spears; we can imagine her wearing a leatherette tube worn over low-slung baggy pants. This tomboy glam worked well with her song I’m not a girl, Not Yet A Woman.

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Just in case you want to sport the look, find a brightly colored shirt and then cut around the bust line as well as mid-riff. You could sew on an elastic band around the top and bottom opening. In case you don’t have solid abs, you can always pair it with an over-sized coat.

Cute Eye Pillow

Meditation has become popular in recent years. Our favorite type is mindfulness meditation, but anything goes so long as you become more attuned to your feelings and thoughts. When practicing, you could use this meditation eye pillow to add to the sense of stillness.

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Mark two 5-by-10-inch rectangles on your shirt. Sew the seams while leaving one side open. Fill the pillow with two cups of flax seeds and one tablespoon dried lavender. You can also fill it with rice. Then sew the final seam and place it over your eyes. We hope that by the end of this DIY project, you’ll grow more aware of that inner ball of light.

Home Rug

At home, we love to walk around barefoot. But we don’t want to rest our bare feet on the tiles. No matter how clean they are, they’re too cold to touch. That’s why we suggest that you create your own DIY Rug. Place it under your desk or by the side of your tub!

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You will need multi-use netting, scissors, and different colored shirts. Buy multi-use mesh depending on the size you’d like your rug to be. Cut out equal-sized strips from your t-shirts. They have to be around four inches long and about 1.5 centimeters wide. Insert each piece in between the netting grid, and then tie them together using an overhand knot. You should have a rug that looks like the one above in no time!

Play with your Pets

The best way to show pets you love them is to give them attention. That, and a dog toy for you to play tug-of-war with. They’re simply showing off their predatory nature. Since they’re well-trained, they should leave your other clothing items unharmed. The trick is to use that shirt he had previously ripped apart.

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There’s no wearing it now, so you might as well combine it with two other different colors. The material should be about a foot-and-a-half. Tie at four inches from one end and then braid the strips together. Tie or knot at both sides. Dangle the prize in front of his face, and then yank until either one of you struggle.

Fancy Shirt-dress

This is a steal if you love knee-length shirt-dresses. You could wear them with a pair of sneakers or pumped-up kicks. Search your closet for oversized cotton or polo shirt (by over-sized, we mean five or six times larger). It would help to steal one from your husbands closet

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Turn it inside out, and then sew an elastic band around the chest. It should be somewhere below your bustline. Turn it inside out once more and then wear it. This is perfect for women who have an hourglass or pear-shaped body. But with confidence, you can beguile anyone with this fashion piece!

Grilling Steak in Tees

You’ve got your hair and make-up done, and the table os set for the night. The candles are lit, and the music is playing. You’ve got 30 minutes to cook the last course and even less time till the guests arrive. How do you manage to greet them while remaining immaculately dressed?

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By cooking with a t-shirt apron on! If it were up to us, we would have just used oversized sweaters by tying the sleeves around our bust, or waist, whatever your preference may be. You could also wear oversized shirts, and then take them off after cooking. Or you could cut out the center design, and use the sides of your shirt as waistbands. Whatever works for the Master Chef!

Snuggle Weather

If you can make a scarf out of them, then best believe you can make a quilt too! The rad part is that it can cover the whole bed. You can sleep under the quilt of memories. You don’t have to wear each tee separately but snuggle underneath every single one of them all at the same time.

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We’re sure you have someone who gives you shirts bought at tourist destinations. They scowl every time they don’t see you wearing them. Now, they just might forgive you for not having worn any of them. The bottom line is that you’re using them to sleep with.

Making an Oversized Coat

Try this out if you’re planning on throwing out your dad’s tees. It could be the perfect match for your brightly colored top or neon pants. You can also pair it up with a midriff tank and slim fit jeans. Can you see it- your OOTD two days from now?

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If it’s long-sleeved, then cut the sleeves mid-arm. Open up the center of the shirt with a lengthwise cut, and add fringes at the bottom hem. You can opt to sew the edges so that there won’t be any loose threads, or you can rock it as it is.

Makeshift Mop

Clean up spills and messes with this DIY floor mop. Now you won’t have to spend dollars over flimsy mops. Neither will you have to handle those messes with your bare hand. Don’t you hate having grime stuck underneath your nails? Now you can clean the floor and change the mop head as often as you want.

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Lay the shirt on the floor. Cut off the shoulder and the sleeves; separate the front and back fabric. Fold the shirt once crosswise. Cut both sides of the shirt lengthwise, leaving an inch space above. The strips should be an inch wide and of equal lengths. You would have a tassel of sorts. Wrap the inch-part around the end of a stick, and secure it with string. Have fun cleaning!

Accentuate your Curves

Women live for accessories. You could have the perfect tee and pants, but it’d be amiss to go out in them without a necklace or a belt on. These final details accentuate your look and bring out the wow factor in you. You don’t have to splurge on money to look amazing. Just recycle that brown woolen shirt!

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Cut about four strips of cloth from your shirt. They should be about an inch wide. Start from the bottom hem, and cut crosswise. Pin one end together and then braid along the length. Knot both ends. Wrap one end around one of the D-rings and sew to secure. What are you waiting for?

Daring Crop Top

If you’ve got the six-pack, then, by all means, so it off! We know how painstaking it is to carve those muscles and strengthen the core. So you deserve the praise when you show them off in this nifty crop top. You’ll only need a used shirt, an elastic band, and a ribbon.

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Stand in front of the mirror, and wear the shirt as you would. Raise the bottom hem and then bundle the fabric just above your navel. secure it with the elastic band. You could tuck that in, or you could tie it with a ribbon. Your friends will want to try on this look too!

Historic Scarf

Thomas Merton once said, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” You can do both with this fashion item. Show off your unique genius and artistic preferences, while staying warm. This scarf is a great conversation starter over a cup of warm coffee.

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Imagine unwinding it from your neck and laying it on the table as you extend your hand towards company. The designs per patch’ll draw him. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by the variety of art, politics, and culture in this scarf? Now, how about making one for yourself.

Life Ring Dog Toy

At first glance, you’d think it’s a fashion item. But it’s really for your furry pet. We wouldn’t discourage you to make a pair. You and your pet could sport it on your walk. You can use it as a headband whereas he can chew on it as his dog toy.

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To make one, cut off a sleeve from an elastic sweater. You can also use the sleeve of leggings or socks. Roll it up like a donut, and then wind a long strip of fabric around it. Secure with an overhand knot. To make it more durable, you can double or triple the donut layer. Have fun, you two!