real earth-friendly craft: making accessories from recycled tees

Photo courtesy of Bettijo B. Hirschi & Aimee Lowry.

In honor of Earth Day on April 22, reuse outgrown or even stained T-shirts to create colorful recycled necklaces, bracelets, headbands and more. In just minutes you and your kids can transform old tees into colorful and fun accessories—recycling has never been this stylish! Most T-shirts are made from stretchy knit fabric that does not fray, which makes it perfect for cutting up.

SUPPLIES: old T-shirts, scissors

INSTRUCTIONS: Gather a handful of old tees, particularly ones in bright colors.

Spread your T-shirt on a flat surface, and find the longest area of your shirt. (For most shirts this will be from the shoulder line to the waistline.)

Using sharp scissors, cut strips of fabric (about 1/2” to 1” wide) down the longest length of your shirt. This will create ribbon-like strips. Your cuts do not need to be perfectly straight, as braided jewelry is very forgiving. If you’re using small shirts, you may wish to cut along the bottom waistline, through both the front and back of the shirt at the same time. When you’re finished you’ll have a fabric loop that can be used as is or cut at the seam to make a flat strip.

Take three strips and knot together on one end, then braid through the length. It works best if you pull tightly, stretching out the fabric as you braid.

Once braiding is complete, cut to your desired length. Tie ends together to create a braided circle. Wear as desired.

You can also use these knit strips unbraided to make bracelets and headbands or to tie on a gift-wrapped package instead of ribbon.

Monthly “Real Crafts” are created just for RAK by Bettijo B. Hirschi & Aimée Lowry, the Arizona moms behind the family-style blog Paging Supermom. For more ideas visit pagingsupermom.com.


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