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Make Recycled T-shirt Dishcloths

14 January 2010 214,868 views 23 Comments

by heather

Craftster user robotdinosaur snagged one of the Craftster Best of 2009 with this cool repurposing project. She shredded some of her unwanted t-shirts into yarn and then knitted them into these cool dishcloths. This is such a pretty thing to do with your old tees, and it makes the best-looking knitted dishcloths I've seen. [click here for the t-shirt dishcloth project]

She didn't post a knitting pattern for them, but I'm pretty sure it's a very basic knit square. If you need a pattern, you can google "knit dishcloth pattern" or check this page for a bunch of free patterns. You can also crochet these, but if you're a crocheter, you already know that! If you don't knit or crochet, how about sewing two or three layers of t-shirt together in squares to make dishcloths? That could be really cool!

T-shirt yarn: Apparently some evil company is harassing all the crafters who post tutorials about making t-shirt yarn (usually when they post tutes about making t-shirt yarn necklaces), and consequently every time I link to how-to instructions, they get removed. Well, first of all I want to say that whoever that evil company is, it's a simple process and although you may have filed a patent on it, I really don't think you should be able to patent the process of cutting jersey into strips and stretching it until it coils into a tube. Oops, did I just give away your trade secret?

Project Estimate:

  • Old t-shirt or two, on hand
  • Knitting needles or crochet hook, on hand

Total: FREE + bonus points for recycling!

p.s. Bonus project for your t-shirt yarn: How about knitting one of these fab scarves? I love the two-color stripes! Project found at Design Vagabond.

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  • Almost Unschoolers said:

    Those are excellent ideas. I don’t know which I want to try first, the disch cloth, or the scarf.

  • Paul Overton said:

    T-shirt knitting! Brilliant. And bound to be faster than all the other ignored and lonely knitting projects I have in my project box. Thanks for the tip!

  • Kathy V. said:

    What a practical idea and cotton is too good a substance to waste on a landfill.

  • amy said:

    love it! I also ended up on a craftster link to a tshirt star rug that was croched. Brilliant.

  • Lady in a Smalltown said:

    I am picturing all of our college t-shirts sitting in a box in our bedroom and in a trunk at my parents. I think I would use this “yarn” with my Knifty Knitters. I can see scarves, hats, and lap blankets.

    I would love to know more about the evil company.

  • Sophia said:

    Would this be anything like the loops we used to make potholders out of? I’m definitely going to try crocheting a few dishcloths! Thanks so much for sharing such a great idea!

  • Martha Heiden said:

    One of my favorite throw rugs was made with old t shirts. I cut them into strips about 6 inches by 1/2 inch and latch hooked a rug. I found that men’s colorful shirts worked best because the sleeves were the perfect size for strips when I cut the seam out. I did not use a design just blobs of the same color. It washes great and the color stay bright. What a great site this is.


  • Roundup: knitted dishcloth patterns | frugalandthriving.com.au said:

    […] Recycled T-shirt dishcloth @ Dollar Store Craft  […]

  • Betty said:

    Recycled T-shirts. One more. I had enough leftover ginham check for a skirt so I gathered it around the top, just to fit the bottom of a nice t-shirt and sewed it on. I like to have pockets so I put them in the side seams and added some fabric flowers to match the skirt around the neck. Lots of compliments on this cute summer dresss.

  • Ruese Tues: Things T-Shirts Become | Itty Bitty Impact said:

    […] you donate all your unwanted old t-shirts to Goodwill, you may want to make a few of these awesome dishcloths {here’s another neat pattern for a scrubby that I want to try.}  Or maybe a produce bag or […]

  • 101 Green Handmade Gift Tutorials said:

    […] Recycled T-Shirt Dishcloths – Dollar Store Crafts […]

  • Mona said:

    This is brilliant!!! I am off to rip up some of my husbands tshirts. Thrift stores beware!!
    I’m sad they keep taking down your tutorial. Buggers! But thanks for the repurposing idea.

  • 101 Tutoriale de cadouri din materiale naturale « ilikehandmade said:

    […] Recycled T-Shirt Dishcloths – Dollar Store Crafts […]

  • Dumpster Dive to Make Treasure Out of Trash - 1-800-Recycling said:

    […] T-shirts transformed into… crocheted/knitted dishcloths, a braided belt or perpetually blooming […]

  • Liza said:

    Ooohh i have some old t shirts i love and have been procrastinating the getting-rid-of-them moment… I’ll use them to give life to some of this upcycling projects! Thank you! And for giving away the secret! (Y) Like! Haha!

  • Barb said:

    Great projects and great way to reveal a “trade secret”! LOL

  • Loree said:

    How can they patent a technique that’s been around since forever? Rag rugs have been made with jersey rags since the early 1900s?

  • Norma said:

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Anne Dovel said:

    Yes! I was surprised to see “tshirt yarn” at the store the other day. Haven’t we been doing that for years and years? :)

    Hadn’t thought to make dishcloths though, with it! We always crocheted rag rugs with the strips. Thanks for the idea!

    Anne Dovel

  • Bethany said:

    If you have tshirts that mean a lot to you make a Tshirt quilt out of them first and with all the leftover material make your yarn! And make the dishcloths that way you are geting more than one project out do your material on hand!

  • Old Socks - again, and Fabric Yarn, especially from T-Shirts said:

    […] your imagination is the only limit as to what you could make with it. These dishcloths made with t-shirt yarn look just like I imagined an item knitted from it would look. Other fabric […]