Tag Archives: upcycle

How to make a T-shirt bag

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How to make a T-shirt bag

A few days ago I asked you, the reader, what you wanted the next DIY post to be about.  The winner, Leah, who earned herself a 20% off coupon for my Etsy store, suggested a how to on making the t-shirt bags that seem to be popping up everywhere. So, I’ve been working the last few days on it and I’ve come up with three different ways to recycle old t-shirts into shopping bags, a sewing option, a no-sewing option and one that is similar to the plarn tutorial.  BTW this project is great because it’s quick, and if you put on a few pounds during the winter now you can dispose of those shirts you don’t wear anymore in a way that you don’t have to feel guilty about!  The shirts that I used were boyfriend’s old ones that we found in the back of his closet.

Sewing Option

What you will need:

Scissors           Sewing machine or needle and thread

Old t-shirt

The first t-shirt to bag creation that I’m going to explain is the one that I think best combines simplicity with the best outcome!  The first few steps for both this and the no-sew tutorial are the same.  First get a pair of nice sharp scissors.  If they’re dull then you’re going to need to add a glass or so of wine to the list of what you will need for this project because cutting through the shirts is going to drive you crazy.  Start by cutting into the sleeve of the shirt heading towards the armpit/shoulder seam.   Don’t cut into the seam, instead when you reach it, turn your scissors and cut just outside the seam.  The easiest way that I’ve found to do this was by sliding your scissors sideways to the seam so you know you’re not cutting into it.  By leaving the seam you avoid the handles unraveling over time.  Do this to to both of the sleeves.  Once both of your sleeves are off avoid any man in the house because they may reclaim their shirt at this point and begin posing in the mirror.  Mine didn’t do it but I can definitely see it as a possible outcome.  🙂

Reclaim your project and decide what shape you want the top of the bag to be.  I personally like a squared shape, but you can use circular instead if you want.  Simply lay the shirt flat and cut out whatever size you choose from around the collar.   

Here’s where the sewing comes in.  Turn the shirt inside out and line up the bottom seams.  Sew along the bottom just inside of the seam, remembering to back tack or knot at both the beginning and end.   At this point technically you have a bag and you could stop here.   I wanted mine to have a squared bottom so I pulled out the sides and held them down to the bottom seam and sewed over them so I would have a triangle.   (Yes I know I should have fixed by nail polish.  What can I say, crafting is hard on manicures)  After doing this on both sides, when you turn it right side out you will have a rectangular bottom.  This part might be kinda confusing so if you get lost just e-mail me at brushesandthread@gmail.com or comment below.

No-Sew Option

You’ll need:

Scissors            old t-shirt

Safety or bobby pin

To start this project simply do the sleeve and collar steps from above.  Once that is done, take scissors and make a slit in the bottom seam of the shirt/bag up to the seam line, don’t cut through the seam!   You will then need a drawstring.  You can use like a shoelace if you wanted but I didn’t have any lying around so I cut a strip from the removed collar section.  I did this by cutting in a circle so that i would have a long, though kinda bendy, piece.  Now’s the fun part *sarcasm*.  Use either the safety pin (put the pin through the end of the strip) or the bobby pin (loop it through the end of the bobby pin) and begin to feed the strip through the pocket that is made by the bottom seam of the shirt.  Use the pin to help you push the strip through by pushing it through so that the fabric gathers on the pin then extending the fabric back.  When you have gone all the way through the pin should stick out the other side and you hopefully will have a strip going around the whole shirt bottom.  Now simply pull the drawstring until the bottom of the bag is closed.  Then tie off the strip and cut away the excess.

T-shirt Yarn Option

You’ll need:

Scissors        old t-shirts (multiple)

crochet hook

I did not personally do this method but it should be fairly straight forward.  Following the same method as my Lets Make Some Plarn post, you should be able to make t-shirt yarn.  Using this you will be able to crochet it into a bag.  Sorry I just didn’t have enough time to make one of these but I thought that I would include it here as an option.

 

Either option that you do I would love to see the results or hear what you think of the post!  Also if you have a good idea for a post send it in.  If I use it I’ll send you a coupon code for my Etsy Shop.  Have fun and keep crafting!

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I Want to Know What you Want to Know

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I Want to Know What you Want to Know

Lately I’ve been struggling with what to write DIY posts about.  Then it came to me, DUH I’m writing them for you, I should find out what you want to read about!  So here is an opportunity to decide what the next post or so will be about.  If I get multiple ideas then I’ll either pick the best one or do multiple.  To reward you for participating, the owners of the ideas chosen will receive a special coupon code for my etsy shop!  So start thinkin!  I can’t wait to see what you come up with!!

While you’re thinking here is a picture of our fat adorable guinea pig, Bacon Bit, to help you along.  He thinks that all posts should be about the joys of carrots though so you probably shouldn’t listen to him…

Headband Saver

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Headband Saver

I’ve always loved headbands, but since I’ve been growing out my hair, I’ve really been wanting to wear them more.  The problem always was though, that I had no place to store them safely when I wasn’t wearing them. None of them were that expensive, it’s just that I did put money into them and would prefer to not have them ruined.  Because of that, they seemed to have be in a drawer where I couldn’t see them.  Out of sight, out of mind, I always forgot to put them on.

To keep my headbands safe and remember to wear them I devised hanging storage.   Strangely enough it started with an oatmeal tube and two pieces of scrapbook paper.      Those of you who read the post about the typeset box, you know I have a love/hate relationship with scrapbook paper.  This though turned out a lot better than that, I don’t think I cursed once…well maybe once…

After taking all the oatmeal out of the container I cut the paper to size.  Because it wasn’t big enough to go all the way around, I had to take a piece from the second page.  I secured all the pieces of paper with hot glue.    I purposefully cut the paper slightly longer than the height of the tube so that I could bend it over the end.  To do that, I snipped the extra paper with scissors and bent the tabs over before gluing them.    I still didn’t like the look of that though, so I cut 2 circles, one for the top and one for the bottom, and again used hot glue to attach them and make it pretty.  So now I have a good looking tube, but I need to be able to hang it.  I had some extra trim from an earlier project and decided that it looked nice with the paper that I picked.

To attach it I not so carefully punched a hole through the bottom (kids ask for help with this one, I nearly stabbed myself), and glued it on the inside of the tube.   I put another hole through the top and glued in the other side of the trim and TA DA!   Hope you enjoyed the post and I’d love to hear what you think!  Keep crafting!

Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Plarn!

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Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Plarn!

As you may have seen in my last post, I made a huge ball of plarn.  Well what’s the use of making it, if you don’t use it?!  In the past I had made my mom a large shopping bag, and my grandma a plastic bag holder (yes I understand the irony) out of plarn.  While the bag holder had potential, I wanted to find other things that I could make relatively quickly to sell on my etsy page.  For obvious reasons I wasn’t going to make anything like clothing or a stuffed animal, plastic bags and children just don’t mesh well.  I decided that wallets were a potentially sellable item.

The blue bags that I used to make the plarn from the previous post were saved for me by my friend Kim and her mom while she was home, since we don’t have any stores here that have bags that are such a pretty color.  To thank her I decided to make her a wallet.  I didn’t want to use a pattern off the internet that someone else had made since I wanted it to be all my work, start to finish.  The end product of this was a lot of stitch ripping and a bit of grumbling but I like the result.

When I finally worked out a pattern that was going to cooperate, I started crocheting away until I had a rectangle with triangle at the middle of one end.  That would eventually become the fold over for the button.

  Because of the holes in the pattern, I decided that the wallet needed to be lined so stuff didn’t fall out (not how I wanted to thank her mom). I had a ton of linen laying around from a skirt that I had mocked up so that I could get the size right before cutting the expensive fabric.  I hemmed a square and then stitched it to the inside the plarn stitches so that it would be mostly hidden.  I then used plarn to whipstitch the sides closed and sewed on a button.    I’d love to hear what you think, and as always please comment or shoot me an e-mail at brushesandthread@gmail.com if you have any questions.

A cute but frustrating craft

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A cute but frustrating craft

The first item that I upcycled when I began doing this, was a beat up old type set box.  It was covered in dust and was screaming to be sanded and wiped down with some Murphy’s Oil Soap.  At the time I didn’t know that I was going to start a blog so I didn’t take pictures as I went, but i promise to get better about that!

  Refurbishing this particular item started with sanding it with a fine grit sandpaper because the wood was fairly rough.  After sanding, I wiped it clean with a damp cloth to remove the dust.  Although the sanding made the wood much smoother, it still was craving some moisture.  This came in the form of the wonderful product Murphy’s Oil soap.  The type set box was so dry that it took multiple coats to rehydrate the wood.

While the box looked much better than when I had gotten it, it still seemed as though it was missing something, it was too plain.  BRING OUT THE MOD PODGE!  Now I’m not a scrapbooker really, nothing against them, I just can’t get into it personally.  Scrapbook paper is beautiful though!    Originally I wanted to take the back off so that I wouldn’t have to cut each square out, but with how thin the wood was, I was sure that it would split.  Thus started one of the most frustrating projects I’ve ever taken on…

The one break that I got was that I didn’t have to cut out each of the squares separately.  I found that if I held my mouth just right I could get the paper to slide underneath the dividers.  The only problem with this was I couldn’t do the length of the box all at one time because it had to be put in at an angle so that it would slide underneath, and the paper wasn’t long enough.

  This created the problem of matching up the the pattern.  You can imagine the amount of cursing and frustration that came about because of this.  To alleviate some of it, and to break up the pattern, I decided to use the reverse side of the paper, which was maroon with some aging marks on it.  After finally getting all of the pieces cut out, I put Mod Podge on the wood, and slid the paper into the sections.  This was my first experience with Mod Podge, which can be seen in the bubbling under the paper.  For tips on how to use Mod Podge, check out this video!  Everything for me was going relatively well until I got to the far right section.  I couldn’t get the paper to wedge itself under the dividers.  The longer I tried, the more saturated the paper got with Mod Podge, and the less stability it and I had.  Finally, much to my frustration the paper tore beyond repair.  Back to Michaels I go, for another sheet of the scrapbook paper and another infuriating session of matching up patterns.

Finally all the sheets were in place and I brushed an additional layer of Mod Podge over the top of the paper to seal it.  For those of you who haven’t used Mod Podge before don’t panic at this point of the project (like I did) because there is a milky white layer over the paper, it dries clear!

I was thinking that this item could now be a cute home for nick knacks.  I hope you like the results and keep crafting!

Read any good shelves lately?

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Read any good shelves lately?

I know what you’re thinking, silly blogger, shelves are not for reading!      Technically this one could be read, though I don’t believe the end result would be very legible.

I completely forgot to take a picture of the original look of this shelf but just imagine this was dark brown raw wood.  Originally I thought I would keep the pages complete, and just fold them around the edges of the shelf.  This, beyond being semi impossible was not nearly as cute as I was hoping, so, with the consultation of my boyfriend it was decided to instead decoupage the surface of the shelf with torn up pieces of book pages.  Now I know that somewhere there is a book lover weeping, quite possibly my friend Martha.  Don’t think that I don’t love books, but I promise that not only was this not an old book (it was published in 2000), according to Amazon reviews, it was not very good.  I hope that this has quelled the anxiety of at least one bibliophile.  Way that I see it, the book now feels pretty and worthwhile again. 🙂

That being said, once I decided that I was going to tear the paper the process actually began.  Each piece overlapped and was secured with matte Mod Podge and for those who have ever used this product before know that as much as all of us crafters love it, it gets EVERYWHERE.  Well once the entire shelf and part of me was covered, I let it dry before I put a sealing layer of Mod Podge over it.

While the paper covered shelf was fairly cute in and of itself, it really felt as though it needed something.  Thankfully, a few days before I had come across I’m a Yarner a great craft blog.  She had made a beautiful paper wreath.  I used the technique she described there to make different sizes of paper roses from more of the book pages.  I hot glued the flowers onto the front of the shelf and voila!  Love to hear anyone’s comments or questions!

In the beginning there was a truely hideous shelf

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In the beginning there was a truely hideous shelf

My last trip to the second-hand store left me with multiple shelving units all of which will be presented in future posts.  One particular shelf though that caught my eye was what can only be described as one of the ugliest pieces of handiwork I have ever seen.  This, along with the fact that it was priced at the extremely reasonable price of $3.99 convinced me to take this poor item home and rehabilitate it into something that could be visually appealing and loved again.

I took a picture of the original top of the shelf but since I currently can’t get it off my phone here is a beautiful reproduction that I made in Paint.

In all fairness this was a kind recreation as the original’s paint was completely uneven and gloppy.

I was shopping with my friend Kim when I found this poor thing and she insisted that the new life of the shelf should come in the form of bubblegum pink with zebra print trim.  Although not my particular tastes, this combination is currently quite popular so I decided, eh what’s the harm.

The process to turn that into this  (and yes to those of you who knew me in college, that is my old bedspread)

The project began with some extensive sanding to remove the million layers of paint which had been caked up while the design was painted.  After trying not to breathe in the paint dust (I have a mask now) and my arm cramping up numerous times, I was able to remove enough of the paint to create a smooth surface throughout.  The whole shelf was then wiped clean with a damp towel to remove any lingering remains of paint dust.  Let the painting commence!

3-4 layers, depending on the level of coverage was needed, of pepto bismol pink (I say it first so no one else has to) were painted onto the shelf thoroughly covering any remnants of the previous paint job.

After the pink dried completely, zebra print ribbon was attached to the edges with Aleene’s brand fast grab tacky glue.  If I were to do this again I think I would use hot glue just so the ribbon wouldn’t slip around the surface as much.

Once the ribbon was secure, I sealed the surface, minus the ribbon, with Plaid brand Matte Mod Podge.  I was pretty happy with the results, seeing as it was the first one that I did.  Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed!  I would love to hear any comments on this process!