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What to do With Old T-shirts ... Transform them into a Fabulous Upcycled Rug!

6th Jul 2017

Make Your Own Upcycled Rug From a T-shirt

Blog By Upcycling Volunteer Sophie Burton


As a volunteer at Oxfam Online Batley Hub I was challenged to upcycle something from the rejected products that gets donated to us. As this is such a great way to recycle t-shirt fabric and make something new I decided to share it with you all.


My Idea: To make a rug. But not a regular rug, more of a quirky style rug that is different and unique. So my idea was to get lots of different jerseys and cotton blended fabric, cut them up into 1-2 inch strands and plait to make a continuous yarn. Once done I wound it together on top of an anti slip material to form the shape of a mat. My idea was to make something that would have been rejected or thrown away into a ready to use item. I have written down the steps below if you want to make a one-of-a-kind rug of your own!

My Rug


What You Need:



  •           Old T-shirts (To create a door-mat sized rug like mine I suggest 6-10 T-shirts, for a smaller table mat you should only need 3 T-shirts)
  •           Non-slip floor matting in a large enough size to create the base of your mat.
  •           Needle and thread
  •           Hot Glue Gun


Step 1: Find a variety of jersey fabric materials that include T-shirts, both long sleeve and short sleeve. Look for bright colours and stripes but avoid complex patterns and these do not work as well. Find a mid-stretch fabric, not too stretchy but not tight that it has no give. Try asking your local Oxfam if you could buy some of the damaged clothing that gets donated to them.

Step 2: Cut the shirts!!! To get the most out of one T-shirt I suggest that you cut across the t-shirt but leave a 1 inch space and don't cut through. Do this to the whole shirt and carry on cutting to the end once below the sleeves. When you've done this, open the shirt up to the part that is all still attached and cut across diagonally. I found this tutorial by My Poppet really helpful in creating my yarn.

Make Your Own T-Shirt Yarn


Step 3: Once you have a length of yarn, start to roll it up into balls. This makes the next step easier as you can see what you're working with and it makes sure that everything isn't getting knotted. It is also good to make up some cool colour ways.

Step 4: Once you have all your yarn balls you can then start to plait them together using a normal three strand plait. Sew the 3 pieces of yarn together across the top keeping it as flat as possible - this makes the next few steps less fiddly and gives you more yarn to work with.


Make Your Own Upcycled Fabric Rug


Step 5:  You can now start to lay out your yarn to get a feel for what style and shape you want! I chose an oval style square shape that would make a door mat. I started off by laying my plaited yarn onto non slip material which can be sourced cheap off line or at a general shop. 


Wound Rug


Step 6: Gluing. For this I used a hot glue, I cut out a rectangle of the non slip and started in the middle in a circular pattern. Once my circle reached the edges then I laid to pieces of straight yarn above and below the circle, I then went round the circle and created semi circles shapes to fit into the lines above.

There you have it - all finished! You can now enjoy your new mat. Hope you liked this tutorial and please share if you make it! Tweet @OxfamFashion #foundinoxfam


DIY T-shirt Rug


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