9 Creative Ways to Upcycle Your Old T-Shirts

If your T-shirt drawer is overflowing, put the extras to good use with these fun DIYs.

No matter how many times I thin out my T-shirt drawer, I always have too many. It seems like every time you get rid of one, you somehow get another one for free, right? If you, too, are inundated with tees, try upcycling the ones you never wear into something you'll actually use. You may be surprised by how many cool things a humble T-shirt can be transformed into.


Old T-Shirt Rug

Old T-Shirt Rug

You know that overflowing drawer of T-shirts? Turn them into something functional, like this recycled shirt rug.

Get out your hot glue gun and dress up a plain doormat with colorful T-shirt fabric knots. 

Make This: T-Shirt Rug

Produce Bags

T-Shirt Bags

T-Shirt Bags

These eco friendly produce bags are just what you need for gathering a harvest from the garden or the farmer's market! Make them out of recycled T-shirts for the perfect Mother's Day gift, or share them any day of the year!

These lightweight produce bags are just what you need for gathering a harvest from the garden or the farmer's market. If you're not handy with a sewing machine, we've got two no-sew methods to make them.

Hanging Planter

Turn old T-shirts into yarn, then craft up this cute hanging planter for terra cotta pots.

Make This: T-Shirt Planter

More Creative Container Gardens

See All Photos

A Hanging Garden

Colorful purses, small tote bags and other handled handbags make fun and fashionable plant holders. Lining them with plastic will keep the potting soil from staining the fabrics. Hang the handles from hooks on a wall, slip them over fence posts or dangle them from tree branches.

At the Beach

Bring a bit of the seaside to your garden with a collection of beach-themed planters, such as inexpensive sand buckets or other plastic beach toys. Plastic and insulated metal coolers make great containers too. You can even fill large shells with sandy growing mix and tuck small succulents into them.

Basket Cases

Decorative or storage baskets come in an amazing variety of shapes, sizes and colors to complement any of your favorite container flowers. To help wicker and woven-wood baskets last longer, treat them to a coat of varnish or polyurethane and line them with plastic before adding the plants.

Beyond the Pails

Plastic, metal or wooden buckets are ideal for displaying all kinds of flowering and foliage favorites. Smaller pails are perfect for individual plants; bigger buckets are great for large single plants or colorful combinations.

Case by Case

Give an old suitcase new life as an out-of-the-ordinary container. Old (or new) chests, makeup cases or wicker cases are other good options. Add the plants, prop the lid partway open and let the stems spill out over the edge.

Color Your World

Recycle your old paint cans into pretty container gardens. Or buy metal paint cans at hardware stores and home centers. To dress them up, drizzle craft paint around the top rim and add some drips down the sides. Cover with a coat of polyurethane to stop the cans from rusting, or leave them untreated and enjoy the rusty, rustic look that develops within a few months.

Dad's Garden

Celebrate the guy in your life with a collection of containers that represent his favorite things. If he enjoys grilling, for instance, tuck some low-growing plants into a little hibachi, or go big by turning an old kettle grill into a mobile planter. Other fun ideas include coffeepots and mugs, animal-themed containers, toolboxes, auto accessories and sports-related items.

For the Birds

Old bird cages, birdhouses and feeders make fun and fanciful containers for displaying pretty plants. Abandoned nests, bird figurines, feathers and other avian accessories help to complete the theme.

Hats Off

Give tired or tattered old hats new life as a hanging garden. Baseball hats make instant pot covers: Simply open the sizing tabs in back, slip the opening around the base of the plant and snap the tabs closed again. On straw, felt or fabric hats, cut a hole into the front or top and gently feed the plant stems through the hole.

Have a Seat

Convert old wooden, wicker or plastic chairs into uncommon containers by cutting a hole in the seat and slipping in a pot of flowers. Doll-sized chairs don't need any extra preparation: Simply set a small pot right on the seat.

Kitchen Capers

Old or damaged kitchen-related items — those you don't plan to use for cooking any longer — offer endless possibilities for plant containers. Cooking pots and pans are just the start: Try colanders, cupcake tins, measuring cups or any other items meant for holding liquid or dry materials. Bundt pans and angel food cake pans make perfect planters for living wreaths.

Going Fishing

Turn a tackle box into a unique container. Display some lures in the upper tray or plant those sections too. Bait buckets, cricket cages, traps and fishing baskets also work well for holding plants.

Office Space

Turn an old desk into a charming container by tucking small bushy and trailing plants into the partly opened drawers. Complete the effect by popping plants into desk accessories, such as a pencil holder, an old telephone or a small desk lamp.

On the Farm

Bring a touch of country charm to your deck, porch or patio with a grouping of farm-related containers, such as bushel baskets, wooden crates and berry boxes. Feeders, waterers, buckets, feed scoops and other livestock-related items offer other planting possibilities.

Picnic Planters

When you're not using your picnic table, dress it up with a display of picnic-themed planters, such as plastic pitchers and glasses, colorful serving bowls and, of course, an old picnic basket.

Thrifting With Shoes

Sneakers, shoes and boots in either plastic or leather make absolutely adorable holders for individual flowering or foliage plants. Sit them on the ground, prop them up on a rack or hang them on a wall or fence.

Time for Tea

It's easy to get carried away collecting teapots and teacups to the point that you run out of room to display them indoors. Why not turn some of them into pretty planters? It's fine if they're chipped, or if their handles or lids are missing. Metal teakettles and tea tins can be delightful additions to the grouping.

Portable Gardens

When your kids have outgrown their play wagons, turn those toys into marvelous mobile containers. Regular-sized wagons can hold a wide variety of plants, so you can grow a whole garden in a single wagon. Wagons are also great for growing lettuces and other greens.

Wetting Your Plants

Don't throw away those leaky or dented watering cans. Use them as-is or remove the handle and widen the opening to make more room for plants.

Yes, You Can

Old or reproduction food tins make terrific pots for your favorite annual flowers or houseplants. Group them by a theme, such as candy, coffee or veggies, or mix them up for a quaint and colorful collection.

Boot Socks



Have a surplus of long-sleeve tees? Cut off the sleeves and transform them into cute boot socks. We embellished ours with buttons, lace, sequins and bows.

Make This: T-Shirt Boot Socks

Throw Pillows



©Jess Abbott

Jess Abbott

Some T-shirts have sentimental value, so you may be hesistant to completely cut them up even if you no longer wear them. Instead, turn them into decorative throw pillows that you can display at all times. Better than hiding them in a drawer!


DIY T-Shirt Headbands 00:30

Learn how to create super-cute headbands out of things you already own.

Watch the video above for two easy ways to make headbands out of old clothes — just cut and tie or cut and twist.


15 Easy DIY Headboards: T-shirt Collection

15 Easy DIY Headboards: T-shirt Collection

Kids often have a hard time parting with their favorite T-shirts even after they've outgrown them. Use old T-shirts, sport jerseys or old blankets to create a collage of color over your child's bed.

Photo by: Susan Teare ©Susan Teare

Susan Teare, Susan Teare

Perfect for a child's bedroom, this colorful collage headboard can showcase old sports jerseys, camp shirts and other items the kiddos have outgrown.

Make This: T-Shirt Headboard

More Low-Budget Headboards

See All Photos

Decal Dreams

A decal is one budget-friendly way to add style to the head of your bed. RMS user dodi used the decal as inspiration for the room's design.

Low-Cost Luan

Designer Kara Paslay made this headboard from a thin piece of stained luan for this small bedroom. She adorned the luan with spray-painted painter's tape in a geometric motif. The look is great for dorm rooms or guest bedrooms.

Whimsical Silhouette

A do-it-yourself headboard is the best way to get a one-of-a-kind look without the cost. Designer Maureen Toribio used some wood, chalkboard paint, primer and a handmade stencil to create this whimsical headboard. The silhouette adds a youthful touch and the chalkboard allows for fun and creativity. Silhouette image courtesy of Susie Harrington of Petite Prints

Photo By: Design by Maureen Tilibio; Silhouette image courtesy of Susie Harrington of Petite Prints

A Little Corkiness

What better way to display your child's art than a corkboard? Cork is a versatile material that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Designer Kara Paslay recommends using cork flooring material because it is less costly than buying cork tiles.

Behind Closed Doors

RMS user fleamarkettrixie loves to reuse items she has around the house. She used old closet doors and a settee to make this truely vintage headboard.

Marvelous Metal

Adding sparkle and texture to your bedroom doesn't have to be costly. This shining headboard was made from corrugated metal usually used for roofing purposes, and it only cost about $30. Design by Kara Paslay.

Window of Opportunity

When looking for items to decorate your bedroom, designer Jessica McKay suggests looking for pieces you already own and transforming them into something new. This headboard is made from an old paned-glass window from a barn door. It was too small for a standup mirror, but it works great as a budget-friendly headboard.

Vintage Textiles

A great, simple way to personalize a standard white headboard is by using vintage textiles. In this bedroom, designer Jennifer Jones used a kilim rug down the center of the headboard to add pattern and to reference the client's love of travel.

Inexpensive Luxury

Use a padded headboard to create a warm, comfortable feel in your bedroom. To get the look without the price, find two large cushions from a discount store and attach them to a piece of plywood covered in grass wallpaper. It has the look of luxury but won't empty your wallet. Design by Shoshana Gosselin.

Color Happy

When choosing a headboard, pick one bright color as your inspiration. RMS user sford used yellow, black and white pieces of fabric and old frames to create a fun, dramatic effect in her bedroom.

Cottage-Style Shutters

Designer Layla Palmer created an impressive cottage-style headboard using shutters, paint and sandpaper. The weathered look is easily created by wiping some of the paint off the brush before applying it to the shutters.

Elegant Alternative

Hanging artwork behind the bed is an elegant alternative to getting an expensive headboard. Designer Andreas Charalambous adds the artwork as the sole source of color in this bedroom.

Chalkboard Frame

A headboard doesn't have to span the entire width of the bed. Designer Melaine Thompson painted an old round frame to match the four-poster bed then painted a piece of wood with chalkboard paint. This budget-friendly headboard allows the mind to be creative by being able to write different messages.

Two-Tone Plywood

Designer Nicole Potter uses a two-tone, oversize plywood headboard as an inexpensive way to create warmth and drama in this room. The darker wood frames the headboard giving it a defined look. The recessed light creates a calming effect.

Wallpaper Magic

Give an ordinary headboard an extra flair with a little wallpaper, paint and glaze. Designer Kara Paslay used a roll of paintable wallpaper along with hanging wall decor to create this unique, inexpensive look.

Glamour on a Budget

RMS user Tendenza Fl was on a small budget when designing this Hollywood-style guest bedroom. To save money, she chose to skip out on buying a headboard. However, she was able to add this glamorous design with some painter's tape and a bold paint color.

White Tile Headboard

Reusing materials in unexpected ways can add a creative and budget-friendly design element to any space. Designer Nicole Potter used reclaimed tiles set in metal frames to give a checkerboard effect. Bright pillows with black bedding will help offset the cold tiles.

Corset Dress

Make a 'Corset' T-Shirt Dress 03:54

Ariel shows how to make a no-sew corset-effect T-shirt dress.

All you need is a basic unisex T-shirt, ribbon, scissors and safety pins to make this corset-inspired dress — no sewing required!

Natural Tie Dye

Blueberry dye

Blueberry dye

Make the blueberry dye by adding 1 cup of blueberries for every 3 cups of water. For a medium or large men's t-shirt you will need about 12 cups of water and 4 cups of berries. To enhance color you can add blackberries. Bring the berries and water to a boil in a large pot. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Place t-shirt in a large bowl and strain out solids to cover with the water/dye.

Photo by: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo by Sam Henderson

Maybe you have a tee that's in pretty good shape but has a stubborn stain that can't be removed. Using berries, beets, onion skins and other fruits and veggies, you can make natural dyes to conceal your shirt's imperfections.

25 More Things to Upcycle

See All Photos

Trash Can Planters

If you're a beginner gardener and don't know how much sunlight each plant needs, consider making your garden mobile. To do this, attach casters to galvanized metal trash cans and fill with your favorite flowers.

Porch Rail Coat Rack

An old porch rail works great as a functional coat rack for a mudroom or kid's room. All it needs is fresh paint and hooks.

Old Cabinet With Antique Charm

The key to upcycling is being able to see the beauty in an old, damaged piece of furniture. Erinn Valencich found an old cabinet at a flea market and repurposed it as an antique bathroom vanity, bringing a charming look to this bathroom.

From: Erinn Valencich

Shutter Headboard

Layla Palmer added visual height to her bedroom by placing old wooden shutters behind her bed. To give them a coastal, cottage look, paint them in fresh, light colors. For added visual effect, alternate the colors of each shutter.

Mason Jar Lanterns

Creating a soft, intimate glow in your yard is simpler than you think. To illuminate your outdoor space, place tea light candles in Mason jars and hang them with shepherd's hooks.

Stair-Post Kid's Desk

The best part of upcycling is taking an old piece of furniture and creating a custom-made piece with new life. Designer Brian Patrick Flynn made a colorful kid's desk using old stair posts and stain-grade plywood — the perfect spot for a kid to do homework.

Repurposed Art

Upcycling can be as simple as placing a frame around an architectural object, bringing new life to it as a stunning piece of art. Here Brian framed an old barn door and placed it over the bed to create a focal point.

Ruler Clip-Art Rail

You probably have several rulers and yardsticks in your kid's school supplies stash. Get use out of some of them by gluing colorful clothespins to them and hanging them on the wall. You can use the clothespins to hang your kid's art projects and good grades.

Bold Nightstand

Don't know what to do with that small, damaged table? Brian cut a table in half and painted it a bright color to give the tiny piece a bold look.

Door Knocker Knobs

Door knockers add an intricate look to your home's exterior. Bring them indoors by giving them new purpose as knobs on your bathroom vanity or kitchen cabinets.

Bookshelf Turned Kid's Play Kitchen

You would never guess that the base of this kid's play kitchen is an old bookshelf. To get the look, use a cake pan as the sink and painted wooden play blocks as the faucet. Slide playful fabric on a tension rod, and place it in the shelf opening to create a sink skirt.

Bench End Table

Layla Palmer transformed an old bench into a vintage end table. Using a bench provides plenty of surface space and storage underneath.

Nature-Inspired Sunburst Mirror

Collect sticks and twigs of varying lengths next time you're hanging out in your backyard. Glue them to a round mirror and spray-paint in your desired color to create a contemporary sunburst mirror.

Shutter Sofa Table

Shutters are key design elements in cottage style. Many people repurpose them as wall art or headboards. Layla used a shutter as the top surface of a sofa table to bring in soft lines common in cottage design.

Wallpaper Vanity

Wallpaper isn't just for your walls. Brian updated an old bathroom vanity with vinyl wallpaper — it gives any outdated bathroom a fresh, new look.

Eclectic Dining Chairs

Flea markets are full of seating options, but they rarely come in sets. Brian suggests buying chairs in different styles and painting and upholstering them in the same shade and fabric. The mix-and-match chairs will bring an eclectic look, but the color will unify them.

Daybed With a Crib Mattress

If you're updating an old nursery, repurpose the crib mattress into a daybed for a cozy spot to read a book or for overnight guests.

Painted Brass Chandelier

Brass is a beautiful metal, but it may not fit in with your home's contemporary design. Brian painted this brass chandelier white to coordinate with the kitchen cabinets.

Kids' Craft Station

The Junk Gypsies sisters created a kids' mobile craft station using an old wooden spool. They attached wooden dowels to separate the stations and screwed on jar lids underneath the top surface to hold crafting tools.

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/Getty Images

Cardboard Drawer Dividers

Keep the packaging next time you buy a product. You can use the cardboard to create drawer dividers — they work great for socks, ties, jewelry or scarves as well as small desk items.

Wine Bottle Table Lamp

Lighting is one of the easiest things to upcycle. You can turn practically any hollow object into a lighting source if you wire it. The Junk Gypsies sisters turned a large vintage wine bottle into an antique-inspired table lamp.

Photo By: Sarah Wilson/Getty Images

License Plate Room Divider

Sometimes the items you collect make the perfect objects for upcycling. If you love collecting license plates, attach them to metal chains to create a vintage room divider. You can use it to divide a basement, outdoor space or studio apartment.

Piano Coffee Table

The Junk Gypsies sisters love scouring thrift shops for treasures, like this set of piano keys. They added a wooden frame and legs and topped them with a piece of plexiglass to create a coffee table that fits right in a music or theater room.

Photo By: Sarah Christine Wilson, Sarah Wilson/Getty Images

Outdoor Buffet Table

Use some sandpaper and spray paint to transform an old, damaged dresser that's been collecting dust in your attic into a buffet table or bar area perfect for an outdoor sitting room.

Lab Container Coffee Table

Don Short of West End Salvage used acryclic lab boxes from the '70s to make a sturdy coffee table. He stacked them in a spiral design and topped it with glass, proving you can make any unattractive object into a work of art.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Cool Off With 5 Watercolor-Inspired DIY Projects

Embrace the flowy, unpredictable look of watercolor with these 5 chic and simple DIY watercolor projects.

Seed Packet Place Cards

Encourage guests to plant an outdoor garden or their own window garden this season by gifting seed packets that double as place card holders.

Not Just for Kids: Braid Your Own Camp-Inspired Rope Tassel Keychain

Instead of exchanging bracelets with your besties, give them a stylish, summer-friendly accessory. 

How to Make a Bohemian-Inspired Chandelier

Everyday craft supplies are transformed into a boho-chic chandelier to accent your favorite room.

How to Make Colorful Rolled Beeswax Tea Lights

Any excuse is a good excuse to make a day at home a special one, and these colorful rolled tea lights will brighten up a room in more ways than one.

How to Make a Bohemian Tassel Necklace

Give your summer outfit some bohemian flair with a handmade tassel necklace embellished with bells, beads and shells.

Green With Envy: 5 Reasons Why We Can't Resist Earth Tones

Take a closer look at our favorite go-to hues.

DIY Citrus-Inspired Perler Bead Drink Covers + Coasters

Quietly steal your kids' Perler beads, because we've got a DIY you'll want to make ASAP. Turn your favorite summer designs into drink covers that double as coasters. Party on!

How to Give Vintage Trays a Boho-Chic Look

Give a boho-chic touch to found vintage trays by adding pretty patterned paper to the bottom.

Sand Art for Grown-Ups: Just Add a Votive Candle!

Remember this super-easy craft you did as a kid? Here's how to turn it into a stylish accent piece for your next summer gathering.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts