DIY T-Shirt Projects

Photo by Steph Distasio

Do you have what seems like hundreds of old t-shirts taking up space in your closet? High school and college are the prime times for getting random t-shirts for everything from THON to sports to concerts. The truth is, even if we don’t want to admit it, we don’t need four navy blue t-shirts with Nittany Lions plastered on the front. But, before you throw those old shirts away, think about turning them into one of these easy and cute DIY projects.

Workout Shirt

If any of your shirts are on the bigger side, you can turn your boring t-shirt into a cute workout top. Cut off the neckline and cut straight across the bottom, shortening the shirt. Cut the sleeves from the shoulder down, curving your cut around the armpit. To make a racer back, flip the shirt over and cut curving toward the armpit. Then, cut a deep V in the back of your shirt and wrap the excess material you cut off the bottom of the shirt around the racerback, knotting the ends. The step-by-step directions can be found here. The whole process only takes about 15 minutes and it’s totally worth it when the end result is a breezy top that’s perfect for the gym.

T-Shirt Blanket

This project is a little trickier and it requires some basic sewing skills. You’ll need 20 or 30 old t-shirts, some fleece and as many pins as you can find. There are different variations on Pinterest and online, but this is the easiest set of directions.

Tote Bag

This bag is so easy. It doesn’t even require any sewing! Grab one of your sturdier, thicker t-shirts and cut off the sleeves. Cut off the neck and turn the shirt inside out. Then, cut slits in the bottom of the shirt into fringe and tie them together (like everyone used to do in middle school). After you tie knots in each pair of fringe, tie one of the strands from each pair to one of the strands in the pair next to it to eliminate any holes. After this, turn the bag right side out again and you have yourself a cute tote! These totes are perfect to bring to the grocery store or farmer’s markets in place of plastic bags.


This is a great idea for your millions of Penn State t-shirts. Cut two identical squares from the front and back of your shirt and place them on top of each other, upside down. Pin the two squares together and using a sewing machine or just a needle and thread, sew along the inside edge. Sew three sides of the square, leaving the last side open for stuffing. Stuff the pillow with polyester stuffing (you can buy it at your local craft store) and sew the last side up. Voila! You’ve just made your very own Penn State t-shirt pillow in less than 15 minutes.


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