DIY upcycled t-shirt scarf

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these DIY upcycled t-shirt scarves are so so easy! Rachel and i had so much fun making them – seriously a great gift idea for this coming holiday season! using recycled leather and broken jewelry really makes them unique and elevates them beyond just cotton strands. make them and send me pics of your creations!

 

What You Need:

  • t-shirt – the larger and wider the t-shirt, the longer and chunkier your scarf will be.
  • scissors
  • decoration elements: leather, ribbon, broken jewelry, buttons, beads, etc. get creative!
  • hot glue gun

Do It:

watch the video for the step by step with visuals…

  1. cut your t-shirt from armpit to armpit lengthwise and dispose of the top part of your t-shirt (the part with the sleeves).
  2. take your tube (the body part of the t-shirt) and cut the bottom hem off so you’re left with a tube that has two un-hemmed edges.
  3. cut 3/4″ to 1″ wide strips from one looped end to the other, leaving around 1″ uncut at the top  - watch the video for this step to see the visual.
  4. once you have all your strips cut pull on each length to stretch them out and get them to curl.
  5. gather all of your strips together at the un-cut section so you have them all together in a loop – it should look like a looped scarf at this point.
  6. cover up your uncut section using whatever you want: a piece of leather, ribbon, another piece of t-shirt, etc.
  7. add some snazz to your leather or ribbon by hot-gluing on some jewelry, beads, chain, buttons, etc.
  8. optional step: cut three strips and braid them together and then tie them back into the scarf so you have one braided length

voila! wear it long or double it. fun fun fun!!!




  • Tori

    I have seen this idea before, but I think you do it better! The one I have seen you cut horizontal lines and end up with a seam on every strand. I love your idea much more!! Thanks for sharing!

    http://www.mythriftychic.com/

    • Anonymous

      thank you! glad you like it!

  • Guest

    You’re vegan but you use leather?

    • Anonymous

      i do eat a mostly plant-based diet and try to wear mostly used or re-claimed leather (vintage, etc.) – the leather i used for this DIY is re-cycled from old leather jackets and scraps. i believe that if it exists already, let’s get the most use out of it possible to honor the animal, but i wouldn’t buy a new leather jacket, etc. thanks!

      • Jaimee

        You’re always so kind and diplomatic…BTW, Your true fans know how passionate your are about animals! Keep up the good work!

        • Anonymous

          That’s so nice of you to say Jaimee! thank you so much for your comment!! I really appreciate it! xx – kate

  • gurlwithacurl.tumblr.com

    Done!! It was theraputic to cut my old work shirt into shreds! Take that retail mogul, I will be ur stooge no longer!

  • Leoti

    HI! I love this idea.  I feel like I need to cover the seems that show on the other end.  Any suggestions?

    • Anonymous

      if you used a t-shirt with seams on either side, i would use the hem of the shirt to cover the seams on the other side or just do another decorative wrap! then you’ll have two decoration opportunities!

  • Anonymous

    I love this Mr. Kate!  I will be making these for my girlfriends for Christmas!  I saw you on the Nate show and have been a new follower since!  You have so many inspiring ideas! :)

    • Anonymous

      thank you so much! glad to have you! keep in touch! xx – kate

  • Anonymous

    This is so cute!!!!! But i dont have any leather what can i use instead?

    • Anonymous

      no worries if you don’t have leather, you can use anything! try some ribbon, or another piece of fabric, maybe in a cute print, a piece of denim, lace, etc.! lot’s of options. ; ) kate

      • Anonymous

        I think I’ll try denim thanks!!!!!!   :)

        • Anonymous

          you’re welcome! i’m sure it will look amazing! xx

  • Jaimee

    Awesome idea Kate! This would make a great gift idea too…Christmas is just around the corner after all!

    • Anonymous

      true dat!

  • Emleeej8

    Awesome! This site has been really encouraging me to try and get creative and try new stuff.. so far I’ve done the turban (LOVE IT!!! I’m obsessed with scarves), the cat eyes (with regular liner since I’m not good with wet) and now I just did my own version of this.. I used a tank top that was too tight and i didn’t cut the one end i kept it closed then made it thinner and it’s great it has shreds hanging down like a fun necklace! Really happy with it!

    • Anonymous

      So so great! I’m thrilled that you tried all those things! Thank you so much for commenting and please stay in touch!

      xx – kate

  • http://www.facebook.com/jennykoenig Jenny Wallen Koenig

    These are so great! My mother, sister, mother-in-law and I all made these as an after Thanksgiving dinner craft project. They all turned out different. We cut up a leather purse that we bought at Goodwill for $4.99 to use for leather. We also got a bunch of grandma-esque earrings there to use as super cheap and unique decorations for the scarves.  I wrapped mine w/a patterned fabric. Also, we learned that t-shirts that aren’t made out of 100% cotton don’t curl when you stretch them. Unfortunately we didn’t realize this until one of us had cut an entire scarf. Oops. That one turned into a cat toy instead.

    • Anonymous

      WOW Jenny!!!!! Those photos made my day!!!! You all did SUCH an amazing job with all the scarves! They look unique and beautiful and I love that you used an old purse! GEEENIUS! I’ll probably post some of these pics this week if that’s alright with you. Thanks for commenting!!! xx – kate

      • http://www.facebook.com/jennykoenig Jenny Wallen Koenig

        Yay! So glad you like the pictures. Feel free to use them. 
        Thank you so much for the awesome idea. We had so much fun making them!

        • Anonymous

          great! I’ll post soon! keep in touch!

  • http://www.facebook.com/THEChrisTaylor Kévin Schmidt

    Wow! This thing is so great ! I’m a young man, but I’ll sure make one for my mother ! This scarf is soooo good looking!
    Cheers from Paris !

    • Anonymous

      Cheers Kevin! These could look great on guys too – make it chunky and out of a darker color t-shirt. I’m sure your mom will love hers! xx – kate

  • Nia

    Absolutely love this DIY! I made a few scarfs yesterday and posted it in my blog, mentioned Mr. Kate too! :)
    You’re and inspiration girl!

    Freelycourageous.blogspot.com

    • Anonymous

      NIA! amazing amazing work girl! the studs! the rope! you go girl!!!! thank you for commenting and inspiring me! xx  – kate

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1670156690 Lisa Cressey

    so cute! i just tried this tonight…i came across one problem. after you pull on the strands to make them “tube” up, and then you gather the uncut section to wrap it in the leather..the part opposite the uncut section (where there is a seam/stitch in the side of the shirt) doesn’t seem to tube up very well and it’s super noticeable. does that make sense? maybe i am doing something wrong?? i dont see it in any of your pictures you have up. thanks!!

  • Heidi (LoeLaLoep)

    I loved your scarfs so much that I made one myself the same evening ;) I did it a bit different, though. You can see photos from my scarf here: http://www.loelaloep.nl/?p=1779
    Thanks for this awesome tutorial!

    • Anonymous

      that looks so great!! thank you for sharing and commenting! xx!

  • Alie_0764

    turned out great love them

    • Anonymous

      awesome! so glad to hear!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000566558014 Rhea Eeltink

    I just made this in white! I added some wooden beads which looks awesome!

  • Eyifas

    This is one of the best DIY accessory I’ve ever seen! I tried it out & loved it from the start :) The thing is that there is a big difference in the fabric and whether if it curls or not. But it’s still smashing! Thx so much.
    Here is my uncurled version :) http://eyifas.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/emeraldgreen-diy-scarf/
    Greetz from Germany ;)

  • Jkgandfam

    LOVE IT! Great instructional video. Going to  do one now.

  • Darsdoodles2

    Thanks for a wonderful tutorial. We’re going to a St. Patrick’s weekend club party where my son is performing. So I decided I’m going to break up my usual black with a green tshirt scarf. I have an old pair of brown pleather pants (yes, I actually owned a pair, lol). I’m thinking they would work instead of the leather. It’s a brown distressed pleather, so should look fab with the khaki green tshirt I’m using. Thanks again. Oh and I pinned this weeks ago.

  • Marita

    OMG that is amazing! i work in a library and we do programs for the community so guess what is going to be my next class. thanks a lot!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sue.anderson.98622733 Sue Anderson

    I’m digging through my bag meant for Goodwill right now to take the t-shirts back out! I can’t wait to try this with my daughter!!

  • stefanie2no

    what size shirt is the best?

    • http://www.facebook.com/carrie.grubb.10 Carrie Grubb

      I liked Mens L or Women’s XL or XXL. The wider the longer the scarf is. Make sure you get ones with no side seams. Made the mistake of going to Goodwill and buying a bunch. Only to find that over half ahd side seams :(

      • stefanie2no

        Thanks! I made one tonight with a women’s XL shirt! Need to add some embodiments but so far turned out great!

  • http://www.facebook.com/carrie.grubb.10 Carrie Grubb

    Awesome, and easy. Below is some that I already did. Going to continue my rainbow of colors.

  • Loren Hackney

    I did it! I just to go out and get the leather. Thanks to Jenny Wallen Koenig, for giving me the idea of cutting up a Goodwill purse!

  • Patti Crowder

    Thank you for that video, I would have cut it wrong otherwise. That was so easy. My daughter just went through and bagged up the clothes she doesn’t want, I’m grabbing the tshirts before they get donated! yaaa.

  • http://lisakracyla.mypremierdesigns.com Lisa

    My daughter will absolutely love this. She loves scraves and is very creative. Thank you for the video it was every informative and entertaining.

    • http://www.mrkate.com/ Mr. Kate

      No problem Lisa! Hope your daughter’s turns out awesome.