Today we will discover some ideas for recycling old jeans, obtaining useful and cute objects from them. We can recycle old denim to create a bag, a computer holder, a pet toy, a cushion, slippers, a glove box, a miniskirt…. or a lamp! What are you waiting for?
How many times have we found ourselves faced with an old pair of jeans that are out of fashion, too worn or no longer fit? Jeans produced by fast fashion companies are cheap, but it’s still sad to see them abandoned in the back of the wardrobe because they can no longer be worn.
How to Recycle Old Denim: 11 Innovative Ideas
Here are some useful ideas for recycling them, transforming them into something useful.
Denim is a robust and versatile fabric that can last many years without ever letting you down. So, why not turn your old jeans into a practical, always fashionable bag? The idea is probably not very original, given that you often see similar models in shop windows.
Then you might as well arm yourself with a needle and thread and create an accessory that you can customize according to your tastes.
To do this, simply cut the garment just below the crotch and apply a zip after carefully basting the cut to the desired shape.
And if you don’t have a sewing machine, you can also do without the zip and leave your bag open like a shopper, ideal for small daily purchases. With scraps of fabric you can also create many beautiful decorations and ‘patches’ to apply on them. You can further cheer them up with beads or old costume jewelery that you no longer have the courage to wear…
A computer holder (or tablet holder)
Same technique (but here it will be necessary to take the measurements carefully before holding the scissors) to create another original creation. An eco-clutch for your laptop or tablet.
To do this, it is best to first draw the outline of the PC (or tablet) with the exact measurements on a sheet of paper. Trace them onto the fabric with chalk, turn the fabric inside out and proceed with the ‘cut-and-sew’.
Take care that the back of your case (the part where the pockets are sewn) matches the back of the device you plan to store in it. Apply a zipper to close the clutch bag and pad it with soft fabric, sewing it by hand from the inside.
Another classic way of recycling jeans is this: what fabric other than jeans is better suited to creating beautiful and modern covers for your cushions? If you have one or more large-sized denims available, you could cut the widest and most regular part of the fabric (for example the lower part of the legs) into two equal parts (two legs, in fact) and sew them from the wrong side, leaving 15 cm on each side (necessary to insert the padding, perhaps that obtained from old cushions).
To personalize them you can sew a large button or a pocket from the same trousers to the center of the cushion. It will also act as a convenient remote control holder.
Creating denim quilts is a delightful way to breathe new life into old jeans while crafting a visually captivating piece. Begin by meticulously cutting your old jeans into squares or strips. The beauty of this project lies in the diversity of denim shades; by mixing and matching them, you can achieve a visually appealing and dynamic result.
The varied washes and textures add a charming character to the quilt. As you sew the denim pieces together, their stories and histories intertwine, resulting in a unique patchwork that not only provides warmth and comfort but also preserves cherished memories within its seams.
A toy for your pet
Another great way to recycle old denim, especially if you still have fabric scraps left over from your DIY projects. In this case, be aware that denim is the best fabric for… letting your dogs play!
To make a nice chewing toy, all you have to do is cut out the lower part of the trouser leg, roll the fabric up on itself and tie a nice knot in the centre. Your 4-legged friend will be thrilled!
But you can also use old jeans to create a dog coat with a little skill with needle and thread.
Here’s another DIY to try to recycle old denim in a smart way. Get an old pair of jeans, some foam rubber, measuring tape, scissors, needle and thread. Measure your feet or, better yet, take another pair of slippers that fit you perfectly and take their measurements (length and width).
Let’s craft the sole first, cutting two rectangles with beveled corners that have a width and length equal to the measurements just made: after which overlap the two rectangles and sew them along three edges, leaving a short edge open, which you will need to insert the foam rubber rectangle, which must be approximately 1 centimeter shorter on both the long side and the short side.
At this point, you can also sew the fourth side, completing the sole. For the upper part of the slippers, use the two back pockets of the jeans: simply overlap a pocket on each newly sewn slipper sole, positioning the bottom at the tip of the sole and sewing the edge. The foot will fit right into the pocket, brilliant right?
Repurposing your old jeans into denim aprons is a practical and creative endeavor. This transformation not only breathes new life into your worn denim but also provides you with stylish and durable aprons suitable for various tasks. The enduring nature of denim ensures these aprons stand the test of time, protecting your clothing during culinary adventures, gardening, or crafting endeavors.
To add a personal touch, consider incorporating pockets and decorative elements that not only enhance their functionality but also make them more visually interesting. These upcycled denim aprons become more than just practical garments; they become unique expressions of your creativity and sustainability efforts.
If you like useful but personalized and unique objects, you can make purses, coin purses or even mini-holders out of your old jeans. A useful pocket for storing your smartphone is really easy to make and will give you satisfaction when you take them out of your bag.
Just sew the back part of the trousers from the inside, where the pockets are, taking care to leave enough fabric to insert a metal snap closure (glued with hot glue). Alternatively insert a zip.
Upcycling old denim into denim coasters is a practical and visually appealing way to give your worn jeans a new lease on life. Begin by carefully cutting small circles or squares from the denim fabric. These denim pieces, with their distinctive textures and shades, add a touch of character to your coasters. To ensure sturdiness, adhere them to a cardboard base, providing the perfect balance between form and function.
The result is not only an eco-conscious choice but also a unique set of coasters that protect your surfaces and double as conversation starters with their rustic charm. These repurposed denim coasters effortlessly combine style and sustainability in your home decor!
You can elevate your home decor with the ingenuity of denim wall art. By cutting and framing denim squares or shapes, you can craft one-of-a-kind pieces that infuse a sense of character and innovation into your living space. The versatile nature of denim allows for endless possibilities. You can arrange the denim pieces in a carefully designed pattern, creating a captivating visual focal point.
Alternatively, you can opt for a mosaic-style composition, where the juxtaposition of different denim shades and textures brings a dynamic energy to your walls. These repurposed denim artworks not only add a touch of originality to your decor but also serve as a testament to your sustainable and artistic spirit.
For all those who love manual work and do-it-yourself, recycling jeans can be a relaxing pastime to renew the appearance of many objects and accessories in the home. Among these, also the old lamps and hats of the bedside lamps that we no longer like. To do this, you will have to cut the jeans into patches of different sizes and attach them with hot glue to the hat of the lamp, creating the patchwork that you like best or that best suits the corner of the room in which you intend to place the lamp.
If the jeans are light or worn, the light that will filter through them will be sufficient. Otherwise the lamp will become a design object that you could enrich by perhaps overlapping a pocket cut from the same trousers.
Mini-skirts and shorts
We close with a couple of ideas that many of you will have already tried successfully. Here too, what is needed is a little patience and familiarity with needle and thread. If your trousers have gone out of fashion, but still fit you perfectly, you could transform them into a pair of shorts or a mini-skirt to wear during the summer.
More than the difficulty (very minimal), the fundamental aspect consists in the ability to customize the garment with the suitable inserts. An advice? Have fun with lace, lace, beads, buttons and brooches. The result is guaranteed!
For more creative recycling ideas, check out some of these posts: