20 New Things You Can Make With Old Denim Jeans
Denim fabric is one of the few things in life that actually looks and feels better as it ages. And, unlike other textiles, denim never falls out of fashion. As a result of its timeless style, used denim, in the form of old jeans, is an inexpensive and easily available craft supply for just about everyone. (See also: Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects)
If you don't already have an old pair of jeans languishing in the back of your closet, collect a few pairs from your friends and family for free, or buy a stack of them at a charity shop or garage sale for less than $10. With a little planning and creativity, one pair of jeans can be cannibalized into more than one project. Even the grungiest jeans can be turned into something lovely, as spots and holes can be cut out.
Whether you are a novice crafter or a advanced sewist, old jeans are a great starting point for a huge number of DIY projects, that range from charmingly primitive to sophisticated. (See also: Great Uses for Old Ties)
There are tons of great examples of denim quilts (with free patterns) available on the Internet.
Rugs and Floor Mats
By the way, denim quilts are very heavy and can also be easily used as area rugs.
Place Mats and Table Runners
Smaller strips of fabric left over from other project can be used to make mini quilts as place mats or table runners.
Although denim patchwork has long been a staple of country style, it can look surprisingly modern. I like the idea of making denim pillows appliqued with punctuation marks rather than a traditional monogram.
Jeans have long been associated with the American West. However, a Union Jack pillow, made from vintage denim can inject a little English Punk Rock into any decor. (See also: Home Decorating Ideas for Under $5)
Floor Cushions, Poufs, and Pet Beds
You really don't even have to know how to sew to make denim coasters. Use fabric glue or hot glue to make spiral-shaped coasters from the seams of old jeans. Pro tip: put a thick rubber band around the outer edge of the coaster while the glue cures. It will keep the spiral tightly rolled, and preserve the round edge.
The woven denim straps on this charpai (Indian string cot) gave me a great idea for refurbishing old-school, fold-up lawn chairs that have lost their uncomfortable nylon webbing. (See also: Simple Tricks to Make Old Furniture Shine)
Director Chair Covers
Instead of buying new canvas, create padded seats and backs from salvaged fabric.
The Internet is full of patterns for denim handbags that range from chic to hideous. Use good judgment.
This firewood tote would also make a great picnic basket. (Yes, they re-use and recycle in Russia, too.)
Although craft maven Betz White originally designed the upcycled Do-It-All bins to hold craft supplies, they would also be great for storing toys. Make these as gift baskets for food gifts. They would also be the perfect wine or water tote.
Sewing Machine Pad/Organizer
Keep all your tools handy for your next crafting binge.
Adult bibs, AKA aprons are a good way to use up random pockets. This apron tutorial is in Korean, but the photos show the step-by-step process of turning denim fabric and a washcloth into a cute wrap-around apron.
There are a number of free patterns for house slippers floating around on the Internet, but I thought these were the cutest. Pro tip: To make your own pattern, trace around the soles of a pair of flip-flop sandals for a more custom fit.
Softie Toys For Dogs and Babies
This softie would make the perfect tooth fairy pillow because of the pocket.
FYI, when making toys for babies and pets, make sure to not use buttons, loose strings, or anything else that could be a choking hazard.
Cat Toys and Christmas Decorations
Although these were intended to be cat toys, these would also make very cute holiday decorations.
Speaking of holidays, a denim Christmas wreath is an easy, no-sew project that even kids could make.
Carnival is just around the corner! If you have a pair of embellished jeans that have seen better days, repurpose the denim and the doodads into a fabulous mask.
What's the best repurposed denim item that you've seen or made?