Old t-shirts become new yarn!

Ever gone through your old clothes and realized you have about 20 t-shirts from college events, football games, and vacations, none of which have even been picked up in about 5 years? Well then…

I’ll show you how to turn this…


into THIS!


It’s a pretty easy project, but I’ve got a lot of pictures, so it should be pretty clear, and we’ll go through it step by step!

1. Fold your T-shirt in half, sleeve to sleeve.


2. Cut off the top half, directly under the sleeves. I used a ruler to feel out where the sleeve seams ended, and draw a line marking that, for a guide.


3. Take the bottom piece and then re-fold it once, twice, or three times (depending on what your scissors can cut through) leaving about an inch of the t-shirt at the top. Then, cut off the bottom seam. If the layers are too thick to cut with your scissors, unfold once, and leave it unfolded to a comfortable thickness (this happened with mine, so my next sequence of pictures shows a longer piece of material)

4. take a ruler, and at the base (the side opposite from your 1in at the top), measure out the width of your strips. I measured mine out at 2 cm, but if your want your yarn thicker, cut thicker strips, and thinner for thinner. Be careful about going too small though, because the yarn will break during the final step, if you go too thin on your strips.

because I had to unfold a layer, and was going to be making cuts more than 6inches long, I used the dots to draw lines as cutting guides. Don’t be afraid to make marks on your shirt; Once it’s done, even if you can see the occasional mark, it will be barely noticeable.

5. Cut strips the width of your measurements, up to the 1in remainder. At this point, do NOT cut all the way through, separating the strip. Once you get to that extra inch, stop & move on to the next strip.

6. Cut the remaining strips in this manner until you get to the end. Once you’re done with that, pick up your shirt by the 1in piece, and let all the folds come apart

7. open up the shirt where the 1in area is. I like to insert my arm through this space, to keep it separated, and keep the spaces easy to see, and cut. It should look something like this:

now here’s the confusing part: take your scissors and place them in the 1st slit on the bottom row, and make a cut through to the SECOND slit on the top row. continue in this diagonal manner until you reach the end. Your cuts will be like this:

this method results in one long unbroken strip.

8. The last step is easy! Just grab one end of your strip, and pull! pull it pretty tight, but don’t break your strip. This causes the material to curl in on itself, making it into a small tube.

Once you get to the end, roll it all into a ball, and you’re done! The amount of yarn each t-shirt makes depends entirely on the size of the t-shirt. I used an XXL  so i ended up with A LOT. smaller shirts can result in significantly less.

I feel like this is the most long-winded tutorial I’ve ever seen, but if you have any questions, feel free to contact me!

Happy recycling, everyone!


About jlstotts

I'm a 19 year-old crocheter bouncing back & forth between by Chapel Hill and Boone, NC, depending on the season.
This entry was posted in Crochet and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Old t-shirts become new yarn!

  1. What a great idea! I imagine this would also work well for a rag rug weaving. Might make a great bath mat.

  2. Reblogged this on The Sweaty Knitter, Weaver and Devotee of Other Fiber Arts and commented:
    A creative young crocheter shared her way of making rag yarn. FYI!

  3. rooj says:

    This is so cool – I never thought about doing it with t-shirts tho! I’ve started making yarn like this with jeans but I have not made anything yet

  4. letran says:

    What a creative idea! I will definitely do this.
    (I found out about your blog from reddit)

  5. veldagia says:

    Fantastic instructons, I was wondering how to make cotton yarn for my next rug, thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  6. grimdreamer says:

    Awesome idea! I’ll keep this in mind for those t-shirts I never wear 🙂

  7. Lottie says:

    I usually use old t-shirts as big baggy pjs or as a chew toy for my birds, but this is a far better idea! thanks for the inspiration 🙂

  8. Now I know how to cut up the pile of tshirts I’ve been collecting – thank you! =D

  9. Vi says:

    I’m always looking for ways to use up my stash of t-shirts. I have so many and there are only so many ways to cut them up and revamp them into wearable stylish shirts. I am definitely trying this DIY out!

  10. Great instructions… I was getting ready to do this soon. I have a bunch of old T-shirts waiting to be made into “yarn”. I haven’t tried doing it this way yet, I would usually just cut the fabric in a way that there was a “corner” every so often from turning the fabric and cutting the opposite direction (if that makes sense). I think I will use your instructions for the next time 🙂 THANK YOU!

  11. Pingback: T-shirt Yarn!!! “Tarn”???? « artlovermommy

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