How-to: Recycle old t-shirts
By CG Lifestyles & People Editor Sarah DeCarlo
Spring has sprung, and with it the emergence of seasonal sales and that compulsive need to clean instilled by our well-meaning mothers. But before your de-cluttering habits lead you to introduce old t-shirts to the trash can, consider your options. Sure, you can take these hand-me-downs to your local Goodwill or re-sale store. But, if you’re feeling a bit more creative, consider this easy craft taught by the Office of Sustainability’s eco-rep team: t-shirt totes. All you need are a few simple items that you probably already own: scissors, a stapler, (colorful) duct tape and – of course – an old t-shirt. Follow these quick and easy steps, and you’ll soon find yourself owning a recyclable grocery tote or a new beach bag.
1. Choose your shirt
While you want to use a shirt you no longer wear, you probably don’t want to lug around a drab bag. Pick a shirt that has some color or a cool design on its front or back, as you’ll soon lose the sleeves. Once you’ve made your choice, turn your shirt inside out and lay it on a flat surface so that the seams are lined up evenly.
2. Cut off the sleeves
Cut just inside of the seams of the sleeves, so that they are no longer on your shirt. You can either discard them or, if you’re feeling really eco-friendly, save them to adorn your tote once it’s completed. Make sure your cuts are clean, and don’t cut too close to the neck as the leftover material will serve as your tote’s straps. If they’re too thin, they might fray and snap.
3. Re-fold and staple
Re-position your shirt so that the folds are in the center of the shirt’s front and back instead of directly on the seams. Then, staple the two sides of your shirt together along the bottom hem. Allow about an inch between the bottom of your shirt and the line of staples, and space the staples close together to avoid holes in your tote’s base. After this is done, line the staples with duct tape to further secure your base.
4. Put on the finishing touches
Turn your shirt inside out and – voila! – it should resemble a tote. You can reinforce the straps and/or the inside of the bag with lines of duct tape if you prefer added security. Access your artsy side and decorate the outside of your bag, too, with beads, ribbon or really anything else you might have lying around your home.
Do you prefer to use your leftover clothes for other crafts? Send us your most impressive ideas!