Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Recycled T-Shirt Seat Cushion Tutorial

A few weeks ago I made this braided cushion out of old t-shirts. They were in good condition, but I couldn't see anyone at Good Will wanting an old running shirt or a Hannaford t-shirt. It seems like every time I run a race I get a new shirt and no one needs 40 t-shirts. This was a great project that freed up some space in my dresser.

Since that post, a few people have asked for a tutorial. Today I made another braided rug/cushion so I could show you how to do it!

1. Grab three old t-shirts. If you want to make a rug (larger than the seat cushion above) you'll need at least 6 shirts. You'll also need a ruler and a good pair of scissors.

2. Cut the top of the shirt off. Start at one armpit and cut across to the other armpit.

3. Make a 2-cm slit on one side of your t-shirt, two inches from the left side. Continue to make 2-cm slits every two inches apart. Use a ruler as your guide. If you want to make a coaster or something smaller, then I would recommend one-inch spaces, which creates a thinner yarn.

4. When you get to the bottom of the t-shirt, cut off the seam/folded over part.

You should have one large, folded piece of t-shirt. It almost resembles a pillow case, which could also be used in this project! 

An example of the slits

5. Using your 2-cm slits as guides, cut panels in the t-shirt, but DO NOT cut all the way to the other side. Leave about a 1.5 inch of uncut t-shirt at the top, as shown below.

Your t-shirt should now look like this, still connected on one side.

6. Open your t-shirt and start on the right hand side. Cut a diagonal slit that goes from the bottom, right hand-side of one panel, across to the top of the other panel. This will create one continuous piece of fabric. I can't quite figure out how to explain this step, so leave a comment if you need clarification. It's also helpful to practice on a piece of paper or a paper bag before doing this step. The key thing to keep in mind is that you want ONE piece of fabric, not many. If you end up messing up and cut the fabric too soon, you can fix the mistake by sewing the pieces together.

7. Your t-shirt should now resemble this continuous strand of fabric.

7. Find one end of your t-shirt and hold with both hands. Pull taunt. This will "curl" the fabric to create your yarn. 

An example of curled fabric on the left, versus the fresh cut fabric on the right.

9. Keep pulling the fabric until it is all curled.

10. Roll into a ball

The more colors/t-shirts you have, the more options you have for your seat-cushion or rug!

11. Some may choose to sew the pieces together, however, I just knotted the ends of three pieces of t-shirt yarn to get started. I take the knot apart when I sew the cushion together. This of course, is after the rug is completely braided.

12. Start braiding until you reach the end of your balls of t-shirt yarn! Be careful! These balls of yarn tangle very easily. I found that the best way to keep them from getting tangled is to move each ball side to side, every time I add a new layer to the braid. 

Wilson absolutely loves the balls of yarn

13. Once you reach the end, tie your yarn into a knot. Don't worry about tying it tight. Once you start sewing you will need to be able to take the knot apart.

14. Warning: You'll need thread and a needle for the next part! Start in the middle of your rug/cushion and use a straight stitch to sew the sides of the braids together. You can create a circular shape, oval, or even a square. I did this by hand, but some people may be able to figure it out on a sewing machine (which I don't have!). When you get to the very end of your rope, untie the knot and sew the yarn into the bottom of the rug/cushion.

Please let me know if you have any questions or if you make a rug/cushion of your own! I'd love to see what others create with t-shirt yarn!


  1. I can't wait to do this! Do you mean 2 inch strips, or is it really cms? Cms just seem so small!

    1. The strips should be 2 inches wide. I cut a 2cm slit the shirt before cutting the full strips to mark the two inches, instead of using a pencil to mark them. You could always use a pencil instead, and make marks on it every two inches.

  2. In any case, this can be balanced by the utilization of strength froths and gel; while more costly, they cushion more successfully than standard froth while lessening the general stature. Housewife pillow protector waterproof

  3. This was really interesting info in this blog that to very happy for the nice technology in this blog about office chair cushion...... best seat cushion

  4. An essential hotspot for the gathering of people that makes the peruser stride by step.

  5. I love significantly your own post! I look at all post is great. I discovered your personal content using bing search. Discover my webpage is a great one as you.I work to create several content this post. Once more you can thank you and keep it create! Enjoy! 100 silk pillowcase

  6. If you don't have your own store, you can print t-shirts with your own design - even your own style of graffiti - and offer them for sale in retail stores. teeript

  7. I've seen some zombie t-shirts where you can actually observe the cerebrums dribbling out of the edge of their mouth's!gifts

  8. On the off chance that you have any t-shirts that are just to worn and stained, simply cut them or shred them and turn them into shops rags. Shop rags prove to be useful for messy spills in your carport.Kinderschoenen 

  9. I would like to say that this blog really convinced me to do it! Thanks, very good post. Job t-shirt

  10. Much appreciated such a great amount for this data. I need to tell you I agree on a few of the focuses you make here and others might require some further survey, however I can see your perspective. best t shirts for men and women

  11. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to start my own Blog Engine blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it. manst shirt

  12. Very informative post ! There is a lot of information here that can help any business get started with a successful social networking campaign ! steampunk mugs

  13. There is no setup involved. Custom Iron On Patches Unlike screen printing there is no additional preparation needed in the printing of digital T-Shirt transfers.

  14. I am very enjoyed for this blog. Its an informative topic. It help me very much to solve some problems. Its opportunity are so fantastic and working style so speedy. custom shirt maker

  15. I like your post. It is good to see you verbalize from the heart and clarity on this important subject can be easily observed... T shirt

  16. Chronicled specialists characterize the principal recorded episode of the acquaintance of the T-shirt with the United States happened during World War One when US fighters commented upon the light cotton undershirts European troopers were given as standard uniform. https://teedoris.com/product/adidas-hoodie/

  17. What's nice about funny shirts is they usually don't land in your closet unless they're given by someone. And that's what makes them even more special. If you're not comfortable with prints or quotes that seem to make you look funny, don't fret. funny quote tshirts

  18. Be that as it may, by the last part of the 60's the dimness of the Hippy age had made the creatively colored shirt. Leslie Jean Designs

  19. Individuals who challenge governments nowadays keep their mottos near their heart - that is they print the trademarks on the T-shirt. celebrities leather jacket

  20. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. www.luminousprinting.com.sg/

  21. There are different styles in the shirts fastening. Plain front style is the point at which the shirt's sides meet up in a plain style with no additional items. mens leather jackets uk sale

  22. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return. Football T Shirt Designs