If you’re a crafter who is concerned about your budget or the environment, you may have heard of t-shirt yarn. T-shirt yarn can easily be made from t-shirts that won’t be used any more so that you don’t have to throw them away or end up with way too many dust cloths. It’s a great way to upcycle, which is important if you’re trying to live eco-friendly
It’s also rather versatile. It’s a chunky yarn, so it can be used for things like rugs and blankets, and it’s a natural fiber (if you’re using the right t-shirts) so it can be used it the kitchen and dyed easily to match décor.
If you don’t knit or crochet, and have no intention of learning, cutting t-shirts into strips also leaves you with cord for things like tying plants in your garden and other things that can use a stretchy cord.
If you don’t have any extra t-shirts on hand, they’re also easy to get. Check with family and friends, or hit garage sales and thrift stores and you could end up with more on your hands than you know what to do with. That’s when rugs come in handy.
Stripping t-shirts isn’t that complicated, either. It takes basic tools (scissors would be most basic) and you can get a decent amount of yarn out of large t-shirts.
How to strip t-shirts to make yarn
Step 1: Wash your t-shirts (simple enough)
Step 2. Gather your tools. While scissors will do, you can strip a t-shirt down faster if you have a rotary cutter, cutting mat, and a ruler designed for use with a rotary cutter (optional).
Step 3. Lay your t-shirt on your cutting surface. Open the bottom of your shirt and prepare to cut a strip about 1 to 2 inches in width. You’ll be cutting slightly diagonally so that you get one long cord. This means that at your starting point, it won’t be the full width.
Step 4. Start cutting. You can start anywhere along the waistline of your t-shirt. Cut on a slope (diagonally) until you have a strip about 1 to 2 inches wide. Continue cutting your strip, using up your t-shirt, until you’ve gotten to the sleeves. At this point, you can work around the sleeves, still cutting in a continuous spiral to use up as much fabric as you can, or…if you’re not feeling that brave, you can stop and begin again with another t-shirt.
Once you’ve cut up one t-shirt, roll it up into a ball. You can then tie or secure the beginning of the next t-shirt strand to the ball and wind it onto your ball when you’re done cutting the second t-shirt.
Your yarn will be super-bulky, which means you’ll have to use large needles to knit with it. The rug in the picture above is being knit on US size 35 needles, though smaller ones can be used. If you want thinner yarn, you can cut thinner strips. You can also crochet with your new yarn using a large hook, or you can braid your strips or use other techniques to create not just rugs, but market bags (stretchy) and many other things. You’re only limited by your creativity. Just remember, the yarn will be stretchy so it won’t be good for every purpose.
Have fun with it!
If you liked this craft idea, check out these other articles to get the creative juices flowing:
Make a decorative wall quilt for Halloween
Easy felt cakes