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Craft of the Month, Green greener greenest

Craft of the Month: T-Shirt Yarn

Welcome our newest feature, Craft of the Month! Each month, with tutorial and photos, our resident crafting guru, Lindsay Taylor, will teach us how to do a new craft. This month, we kick it off with T-Shirt yarn. Come craft along with us!

One of our most popular crafts at here at Camp Stevens is the “t-shirt headband” – loosely defined as a headband braided together from cut up t-shirts. This material is known as “t-shirt yarn”, or “t-yarn”, for short.

pic 1 - t-shirt headbandspic 2 - t-shirt yarn aka t-yarnIn the hands of children and crafty adults alike, I’ve seen “t-shirt headbands” turn into t-shirt bracelets, t-shirt belts, t-shirt jellyfish and t-shirt pirate costumes. T-yarn is a versatile crafting material – it is sturdy, stretchy and eco-friendly, not to mention limitless color-wise. Browse the t-shirt section of your local Goodwill and you’ll likely catch my drift. The Camp Stevens t-shirt yarn box is a veritable rainbow!

Of course, turning t-shirts into t-yarn does take a bit of work. This tutorial will walk you through the process and show you how to use as much of the t-shirt as possible, for more t-yarn and less waste!

You’ll need a t-shirt (or several!) and a good pair of scissors, suitable for cutting fabric. The first method (steps 1-7) is bit quicker and will leave you with a bundle of individual t-yarn strands. If you’d like to cut one long continuous strand of t-yarn (say, for knitting) then scroll down to step 8!

Click here for printable instructions.

  1. Pick a t-shirt! Any t-shirt will do. The larger the shirt, the greater the t-yarn yield!

pic 3 - t-shirt2. Lay your t-shirt out flat and trim off the bottom hem, through both layers of the shirt.

pic 4 - cut off bottom hem3. From the bottom of the t-shirt up, cut HORIZONTAL strips across the body of shirt, through both layers and no less than ½ inch thick. I like to cut mine about 1.25 inches thick, for reference!

pic 5 - cut horizontal stripspic 6 - from the bottom up 4. Keep cutting strips until you’ve reached the shirt’s armpits. Pick up one of your strips – it should be a loop of flat fabric – and PULL on it!

pic 7 - pull on that flat loop5. The cotton jersey will roll into a rounded, yarn-like shape.

pic 8 - snip in one spot pic 9 - one strand of t-yarn6. You can still get more t-yarn from your t-shirt! Cut the sleeves off and cut them into horizontal and then  lay your remaining t-shirt piece flat and cut more strips all the way up to the collar!

pic 10 - follow the sleeve hempic 11 - cut up to the collar*FUN FACT* I am sewing together leftover collars and sleeve hems from the t-yarn stash to make headbands for Camp Steven’s volleyball team. ❤

7. Pull all of your flat strips into rolled yarn and admire your new bundle of t-shirt yarn!

pic 12 - t-yarn bundle8. This next method yields a long, continuous strand of t-yarn. As before, lay your t-shirt flat and cut off the bottom hem.

pic 13 - lay flat and cut off bottom hem9. Lift the front/top layer of the t-shirt up and cut into it a bit.

pic 14 - lift top layer and cut10. From there, begin cutting your strand horizontally as thick as you want it, remembering to only cut through this one layer.

pic 15 - begin cutting your strand through one layer11. Continue cutting the strand. Once you come back to your starting point, just cut up a little and keep cutting around and around, still through one layer! The green arrow in the photo indicates my starting point. pic 16 - keep cutting around and around12. With this method, you are cutting the t-shirt in a spiral from the bottom up!

pic 17 - a spiral from the bottom up13. Once you cut up to the armpits and can spiral no more, pull on your long flat strand to roll it into yarn!

pic 18 - pull it into yarnYou can even wrap it into a ball for functionality/fun.

pic 19 - bundle and ballThere you have it: t-shirt yarn! Braid a headband, knot together a wrap bracelet or layered necklace, knit up a crazy sturdy potholder, make a lion’s mane for your/someone’s baby. Imagination is boundless!

pic 20 - thumbs up

About Ashley

Marketing Manager / Dishwasher at Camp Stevens. CT '99!



  1. Pingback: Craft of the Month: How to Make a T-Shirt Headband | When the Bell Rings - November 26, 2013

  2. Pingback: Craft of the Month: T-Shirt Capes | When the Bell Rings - May 31, 2014

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