To upcycle is to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original. Some would call it a transformation from trash into treasure.
Anything and everything can be upcycled, but the most versatile upcycling projects revolve around used fabric – its durability, usability, and aesthetic make it perfect for reuse. If you find yourself with a lot of fabric scraps, here are some easy projects for upcycling fabric around your home.
- Turn Any Two Fabrics into A Pillowcase
What’s easier than making a pillowcase? If you’ve taken a sewing class, a pillowcase was probably your first creation. All you need to make it are two pieces of fabric, some thread, and the ability to sew in a straight line.
Determine the dimensions you need or want for your pillowcase, measure and cut your material accordingly, then simply sew the two pieces of fabric together at their seams. Make sure to leave one side open for placing the pillow in. Turn the fabric inside out, and you’ve made yourself a pillowcase! The ease with which this is done makes it perfect for upcycling projects. Nothing can tie the room together like an eccentric, well-made throw pillow.
Pro Tip! Sometimes there are pieces of fabric that are too small or not aesthetically pleasing for upcycling projects. Instead of throwing this fabric away, you can place it into your new pillow as stuffing. This way, no money or fabric is wasted.
- Repurpose Scraps into Patchwork
One of the most classic upcycling projects is patchwork. Through sewing different cuts of fabric together, you can elevate fabric into something greater than the sum of its parts. By adding patchwork to any room, you can add depth, complexity, and a sense of timelessness.
The versatility of patchwork truly implies that the sky’s the limit. Clear out your dresser and you can make a quilt out of unused T-shirts. Or use old tablecloths to create a new tapestry for the living room. Or simply repurpose light fabric scraps to make a breezy curtain.
The key to upcycling fabric into patchwork is to make sure the finished product is accentuated in your home. For example, make sure the color wheel featured in your patchwork curtains is equally matched within your curtain rods. This way, the final effect is harmonious and cohesive.
- Use Your Scraps to Make A Stunning Art Piece
Maybe you want to upcycle your fabric but you don’t have access to sewing materials. Well, if sewing isn’t an option, but you still want to lessen your carbon footprint, then why not turn your fabric into art?
All you’ll need is some form of adhesive; this can be a stapler, glue, or fabric pins. Find a piece of cardboard or an unused corkboard for your base. Now, you can simply let inspiration take over. All art is subjective, so make something that you like! Layer your textiles to create a cool collage. Or cut pieces of fabric to make a striking chevron. There is no wrong way to make art.
- Repurpose Old Fabrics into a Shag Rug
A shag rug is a carpet that is made thick through its deep pile. These rugs, although beautiful, can be expensive. Why buy a luxury shag rug when you can make one cheaply (or for free) from the comfort of your own home?
To upcycle fabric into a shag rug, all you need is a rug gripper – or a mesh rug canvas. Take your fabric and cut it into strips. Try to make your strips at least four inches – the length of the strips will give the rug its ‘shag’ effect. Once you’ve cut all your strips, all you have to do is loop each strip through your rug base. After the fabric has been looped, tie a knot at the bottom. Repeat this process until the mesh is covered by the knotted strips. The final product should be a shag carpet that costs nothing and is also no-sew!
In this modern age, it’s important to think of the environment. The mantra for taking care of our world is to reduce our waste, reuse what we can, and recycle what we cannot. Upcycling is a combination of all three. We reduce our further purchases, we reuse old fabrics, and we recycle these fabrics into an entirely new item.
Through upcycling your fabrics, you are helping the environment and yourself, while having a lot of fun in the process as you explore your creativity. Everyone wins!