Recycled T-shirt Scarf Tutorial


I had an hour of free time last night, so I decided to recycle one of Joe’s old t-shirts and make myself a scarf out of it.  This project was fast, easy, and only took me less than an hour start to finish (not counting the paint drying time).

Supply List:  tshirtsupplylist




Tip: Cut off the t-shirt hem and under the arms as directed in the photo above.  Notice how the t-shirt material curls and rolls as you tear?  You will want to paint on the top side, which may mean you turn the shirt inside out before painting

Once the above items were gathered, I laid down the plastic trash bag to protect my kitchen counter and just started painting.  In the photo below, I used some purple, blue and silver metallic fabric paints.  I work very fast, so it took me only 10 minutes to paint the t-shirt.  Note that I used an inexpensive foam paint brush and some fabric paint I had on hand.

tshirtpaintThe painted t-shirt was then taken outside to my garden faucet.  I scrunched up the shirt and lightly soaked it to blend the paint.  I used my fingers to blend any white areas or would simply rub the damp fabric to saturate the t-shirt fabric.  Here is what my painted fabric looks like after wet blending the paint:


Next, I hung up the fabric outside until dry.  Notice that I left the hem on, knowing I would tear it off later.


Tip: Once your fabric is dry, I recommend you heat set it, depending on your brand of fabric paint.  If you are not sure, go ahead and heat set the fabric to prevent color bleed.

The next step is to cut and tear the fabric into strips.  Here is a helpful illustration to show you visually what I plan to do next:


I found that by snipping through the side seam first, then tearing until reaching the other side (about an inch away), you could then use the scissors to cut your t-shirt strips to create a long loop.  Here is another visual for you:



Here is what your loop will look like:


To make the t-shirt fabric roll nicely, you just need to stretch it gently.  Here is what my finished strips looked like once I bundled them together and used other rolled t-shirt strips to tie them into a lovely scarf:


At this point, you could embellish your scarf, add beads or tie charms to it.  Braiding some of the strips is another option to try. Really, how you finish it off is up to you.  I used the leftover strips to make dangling bits and for added texture.

If you make one, I would love to see it!  My contact info is above.  Hope you enjoyed this free tutorial.  If so, go ahead and leave me a comment.  Regards, Carla

12 thoughts on “Recycled T-shirt Scarf Tutorial

  1. Carla, That looks like fun and you made in it my favorite colors too!! I would like to see what it looks like on around the neckline of different garments. I have made a beach cover-up with T-shirts with the fringe on the bottoms and sleeve edges. Thanks for sharing.

  2. i love your version of this, while i was reading your list, i thought ‘oh she’s going to dab paint on with a plastic bag!’ i’m going to add this to my to make list and find my beads! thank you for sharing!


    • Kudzu, thanks for writing… I have seen these made for many years, I think directions are in most refashioning books and online. I like to figure out things on my own, so I just paint, add water to blend, heat set, cut, tear and pull. It is that easy!

      The paint part can be applied lots of ways- as you already know. Your could spray, stamp, dye, dribble, pour, reverse print, and even use your hand to apply paint. What I used depended on what I found in my studio when the burst of creativity hit me. 🙂

      Off to check out your blog…. Carla

  3. Pingback: Refashioning a T-shirt Into a Contemporary Scarf | Team She

  4. Reblogged this on Team She and commented:
    I’ve seen t-shirt scarf tutorials before, but this great looking and seemingly easy t-shirt scarf tutorial by Feathered Fibers looks like something to try. Watch for the results in a later post…

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