If one of your resolutions was to recycle and reuse more items that you’d otherwise have thrown out, take a look at these ideas for upcycling your old rags. Think you don’t have enough rags to try out one of these creations? Consider the bags of old clothes you were about to donate to a thrift shop. Take a second look at the old towels, sheets, and t-shirts hiding in your closets. Start by cutting them into strips, and separate into similar colors to keep the chaos reigned in while you consider your upcycling options.
They're not just for Winter. Fall deserves a wreath, too! And maybe Valentine’s Day. How about a patriotic themed wreath for the 4th of July or Veteran’s Day? You may have seen them for sale in craft stores made with glittery ribbons and mesh. Make one yourself incorporating the scraps you've saved from the ripped band t-shirts you can't bear to throw out for sentimental reasons.
Find a wire wreath form at a craft or dollar store. Tie strips of rags or fabric onto the form, arranging them in balance for a full look. If you don’t like frayed edges, cut the fabric on the bias. Frayed edges add to the rustic charm, so the choice is yours.
The old school braided rag rugs have been around for ages. While we love the rustic look of them, we also like the more recent creations of the super casual, fluffy look of strips knotted into anti-slip rug mat, or a latch rug canvas. With the knots aligned on the bottom and the tips topside, imagine your sensitive toesies sinking into the soft pile of what used to be your old t-shirts. You're welcome.
Create a Coiled Basket
A basket can be functional for your everyday purposes or frivolous to satisfy your artistic desires. Sew together lengths of rags end to end, being mindful of the colors that will come together in the finished product.
Roll the resulting long strip longways. Coil it into a traditional basket shape or into something unconventional, whatever suits your purpose or mood. Sew rows together to keep it secure and use the roll to form handles or turn them into added embellishments for decorative purposes.
A Cozy Quilt or Beloved Blankie
If you’re not already a quilter, this may be more challenging, but not impossible. It may appeal to those looking for a relaxing activity incorporating lots of straight lines. Using scraps is a great way to practice this new hobby. While sewing skills on a sewing machine are great to have, it can be done without, although a sewing machine makes the process faster and easier. If you're just learning, start small. Maybe a blankie for a new baby, just to keep you from getting too frustrated or losing patience during the learning process.
Pillow or Tote Bag
We all have things that we can't part withfor sentimental reasons. If it brings you happiness, by all means, hold on to it, but if you're looking for a way to repurpose a cherished fabric item, whether to clear up some space to reduce clutter or make room in your closet for new acquisitions, sweaters can make excellent pillow covers, and linen garments can make perfect tote bags.
Wall Art or Headboard
Who says a rug has to lie on the floor? Even if that was the original purpose, doesn't mean you need to abide by the rule. Perhaps your creation has a certain je ne sais quoi that makes it ideal for a bare spot of wall space in your hallway or bedroom. Maybe it's got a Lebowski way of tying the room together. Rugs do that, you know. And so does wall art.
And if that piece of wall art you've created is so distinctive, with a personality of its own, turn a naked bed into a cozy place of repose with that rag creation mimicking a headboard. Then when you tire of that style, or else find a headboard you like better, use it for its original purpose on the floor beside the bed.
Make a Rag Doll
We've heard the term, but haven't given it much thought. What do you know? There was a time when most dolls really were made out of rags, and in some places, this is still a common practice. The cool thing about these is that you can sew them by hand, so each one is one of a kind. The untailored look of hand sewn dolls is charming and folksy and one we absolutely adore.
Tap into your inner crafter with these ideas to help keep rags out of the trash. Turn what's old into something new and enjoy it for the new year.