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Monday, March 7, 2011

Upcycled T-shirt Scarves and Neclaces


Though I am a social/political fine artists, I do still have periods of time where I just want to be creative and take a break from my more serious work.  I love upcycling and the idea of making something beautiful out of something we would otherwise throw away.  Here is one of my favorite projects to create during the times between heavy social/political research and project creation.  T-shirt scarves/necklaces.

I have seen these all over the place (well in upcycling and DIY YouTube videos and websites) so I decided to start making them myself.  Every time I wear one of mine I get multiple compliments and I am going to share my secret with you..

All you need is an old T-shirt, good scissors.  I like to use fabric glue, charms, beads, and fabric scraps (can be from your t shirt).
Instruction and more images below.


1.     Lay your shirt flat on your working surface.  Cut your T-shirt into horizontal strips (keep them in a loop for now).  Keep in mind fitted ts will have seems that will show up.
2.     Stretch out your loops.  This will make the jersey material roll into a tube. I can not figure our a way to control what is on the outside (It is always the wrong side out)
3.     You can cut the loops into strips at this point if you want to create a scarf or necklace by braiding the strips together.  If you want a simple T-shirt necklace you can take 15 to 30 strands and tie them together by wrapping a cut piece of T-shirt around the top (see the top images).  For the ones above I used fabric glue, but you can also use one of the loops to secure the dangling strands (See the blue image below).  You can then choose not to use fabric glue and change your necklace every time you wear it.
4.     Once you have the basics, be creative.  You can add twists, braids, beads, fabric, or charms.  Strands can be left out as bracelets.  I have even seen people sew the strands (the same way you would create a handle on a bag).  I have some of my variations below.  If you have any more ideas please do comment.

Green with beads necklace
I added wooden beads to this one.  The texture is created by both the seems in the side of this shirt and some knots I created when I cut the strings to add the beads.  If you are using a fitted t-shirt you will have the seems show up.

This design is a little different.  Instead of keeping the strips as loops, cut them and tie them together.  This is one long loop that can be as long or short as you want. 

The turquoise necklace has two twist ties on the side.  This one could also be worn as a scarf. 
The ties/twists could be made from full bands.  Then they could be taken off and worn in a variety of ways. Be creative
Multi-colored T-shirt necklace
The Multi-colored T-shirt necklace was created using three t-shirts.  If you like this style, you can make a ton.  This would work well for a little girls birthday party favor.  This project would be incredibly simple to make with kids.


Cut strips of fabric to wrap around the necklace and braid three strands.
Brown and Gold medium braid T-shirt scarf
The Brown and Gold T-shirt scarf was created braiding strips from two T-shirts together.  The University of Wyoming's colors are brown and gold.  This would be perfect for a football players wife or mom (or any other student).
I added an earring that my husband found to this one for some detail.  (I typically make found earrings into necklaces so he gave it to me)



These upcycled necklaces/scarves made from old t-shirts are the perfect way to dress up your spring wardrobe at an affordable price. If you are interested in one of them a certain color or made from your favorite shirt I will custom make a scarf/necklace of your choice.  All of these are currently up for grabs (until they sell) just comment or find Felicia Follum Art + Design on Facebook for more information.

For more upcycling projects for you and/or your kids check out my upcycing section.
I also have art lesson ideas for kids.

I also found this great post on the Trashion website.

What else can you make from an old T-shirt?

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