Listen, we LOVE buying new jeans as much as anyone. Unfortunately, that means we have a lot of old jeans lying around that we definitely don’t want to throw away. So, we’ve done our research, put our DIY thinking caps on, and found TEN ways to repurpose old jeans. By upcycling old clothes, not only are you reducing waste and prioritizing the environment… you end up with some very cute DIY denim decor!
Now, let’s get to the crafts! Grab your old jeans that are ready for a new life, and review this roundup of easy projects. If you complete any of these DIYs, tag us on Instagram! We’d love to see how they turn out.
10 Ways To Repurpose Old Jeans
We can’t think of a better way to reuse old jeans than to turn them into shorts! This DIY is perfect for the jeans you just don’t wear anymore, but they still fit around the waist. Simply put on your old jeans and mark where you want to cut them with chalk. Then, lay them on a flat surface, make your cuts, fray the edges… and voila!
02 Make a denim pillow
We love the idea of DIYing home decor. If you own a sewing machine, this beginner-friendly craft is a great project for you! Cut off one leg of your jeans, fill it with stuffing, and sew the edges. Alternatively, purchase a pillow insert and sew pieces of your jeans so they are big enough to fit the insert. Add a zipper for easy removal and washing.
03 DIY jeans pocket coasters
04 Cut denim bookmarks
This might be the easiest (and cutest) way to recycle jeans. Simply cut strips of denim fabric to make your bookmarks (or you can use the denim scraps from one of the other projects on this list!). You can decorate the bookmarks with pieces of felt, fabric paint, or ribbon.
05 Make placemats and napkins
We love the idea of making denim place settings (we can imagine the Y2K dinner party aesthetic already!). This tutorial walks you through how to easily sew placemats using the seat of your old denim jeans. To make matching napkins, cut off the leg and along the jeans seam so that the fabric lays flat. Cut equal-sized napkins, trim the edges, and you’re done!
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06 DIY denim bag
A denim tote bag makes for a perfect (not to mention sturdy!) reusable grocery bag and a fun craft project on a rainy day. Cut the legs off your jeans and snip the seams so the fabric lays flat. Use a simple tote bag pattern to cut pieces out of your fabric and sew them together. You can find more detailed instructions on finishing your bag in this tutorial!
08 Make pot holders
Cut two squares of denim out of your jeans, layer quilt batting (or fleece) in between the two squares, and sew up the sides! Attach a belt loop to easily hang.
09Craft a denim quilt
If you’re ready for a big DIY project, try making your own quilt! While this type of denim craft takes longer than others, it is so rewarding and allows you to use other old clothing too (bring on the old t-shirts!). Cut squares from your fabric scraps (try using different shades of denim) and lay them out in the order you want. Sew them together. Then, cut a big piece of quilt batting to fill the quilt. You’ll also need a piece of fabric that is the same size as the quilt for the backing. Sew the three layers together and you’re done!
If upcycled denim projects aren’t your thing (We get it, not everyone has a crafty side!), donate or recycle your jeans instead. Host a clothing swap with friends and trade clothes, or bring your jeans to a local charity.