Welcome to a fun and creative DIY project that’s perfect for anyone who has a collection of old t-shirts gathering dust in their closet. This guide will show you how to turn those t-shirts into a cozy, unique blanket without needing any sewing skills at all.
Turning your favorite t-shirts into a blanket is not only an excellent way to recycle and repurpose clothes that you no longer wear, but it also allows you to create a personal keepsake filled with memories. Whether they’re shirts from concerts, sports events, travels, or just designs you love, each one adds a special touch to your blanket.
This project is not just eco-friendly and sentimental – it’s also practical. The resulting blanket is perfect for snuggling under on a cold day, taking on picnics, or using it as a unique piece of home decor. Plus, it’s a great conversation starter when guests notice your one-of-a-kind creation.
So let’s dive in and learn how to transform your old t-shirts into a fantastic no-sew blanket!
Gather Your Materials
Before beginning your project, gather all the necessary materials. Here’s what you’ll need:
- T-shirts: You’ll need about 20-30 T-shirts to make a standard-sized blanket. The exact number will depend on the size of your shirts and how large you want your blanket to be.
- Scissors: A pair of sharp fabric scissors will make cutting your t-shirts easier.
- Ruler or Measuring Tape: To measure and cut your t-shirt squares accurately.
- Fabric Marker: To mark where you’ll cut on your t-shirts.
- Fusible interfacing (optional): If your t-shirts are very thin or stretchy, you might want to use fusible interfacing to give them more structure. This is a type of fabric that can be ironed onto the back of your t-shirts to make them stiffer.
- Iron (if using fusible interfacing): To apply the interfacing to your t-shirts.
- Fleece or another type of fabric for the back of the blanket (optional): If you want your blanket to be extra cozy, you can add a backing. Fleece is a popular choice because it’s warm and soft.
When selecting t-shirts for your blanket, consider the following:
- Fabric: T-shirts made from 100% cotton or a cotton blend are best because they’re easy to cut and don’t fray. Avoid shirts made from delicate fabrics that might tear or shrink in the wash.
- Design: Shirts with large, centered designs work best for this project. Small or off-center designs might not show up well when the shirt is cut into a square.
- Sentimental Value: This project is a great way to preserve memories, so consider using t-shirts from special events, trips, or periods of your life.
If you don’t have enough t-shirts, or if you want to add some variety to your blanket, you could also use fabric from old dresses, pajamas, or other clothes. Just make sure the fabric is sturdy enough to withstand being used as a blanket.
Prepare Your T-shirts
Once you’ve gathered all your materials, it’s time to prepare your t-shirts for the project. Follow these steps:
- Clean Your T-shirts: Wash and dry all your T-shirts before you start. This will ensure that they’re clean, and it will also pre-shrink them so your blanket won’t warp or shrink after it’s made.
- Iron Your T-shirts: Iron each T-shirt to remove wrinkles. This will make the shirts easier to cut and measure. If you’re using fusible interfacing, now is the time to iron it onto the back of your t-shirts following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Cut Your T-shirts into Squares: Use a ruler or measuring tape and a fabric marker to mark out a square on each T-shirt. The size of the square will depend on how large you want your blanket to be and the size of the designs on your t-shirts. A good starting point is 12-inch by 12-inch squares, but you can adjust this as needed. Try to center the design of the t-shirt within the square. Once you’ve marked your square, cut it out with your fabric scissors.
The shape and size of your cut-outs will greatly affect the final look of your blanket. For a classic quilt-like appearance, squares are the way to go. However, if you’re feeling more adventurous, you could try other shapes like rectangles or even circles! Just remember that more complex shapes might be trickier to fit together without gaps.
Arrange Your Design
Now that you have your t-shirt squares, it’s time to arrange them into a design. This is where you can let your creativity shine!
- Decide on Your Layout: The simplest layout is a grid where each row and column has the same number of squares. However, you can also create a rectangular blanket by having more squares in your rows than your columns, or vice versa.
- Consider Color and Pattern: When arranging your squares, consider their colors and patterns. You might want to spread out squares with similar colors or designs so they’re not all in one place. Alternatively, you could group similar squares together to create a color-blocked or themed effect.
- Play with Arrangement: Don’t be afraid to play around with your squares until you’re happy with the arrangement. This is your chance to make the blanket truly your own.
- Take a Photograph: Once you’re satisfied with your design, take a photograph of the entire layout for reference. This will be extremely useful when you start attaching the squares together, especially if they get mixed up.
Attach the T-shirt Squares Together
Once you have your t-shirt squares arranged and a reference photo taken, it’s time to attach them together. Since we’re focusing on a no-sew method, here are detailed instructions on how you can do this using fabric glue or iron-on adhesive:
Fabric Glue Method
- Apply Fabric Glue: Apply a thin line of fabric glue along the edges of each t-shirt square. Be careful not to apply too much, as it can seep out and leave a residue on your blanket.
- Attach the Squares: Press the glued edges of two squares together, making sure the designs face outward. Hold them in place until the glue has a chance to take hold. Repeat this step until all your squares are attached in rows.
- Glue the Rows: Once your rows are complete, apply glue to the edges of the rows and press them together. Again, hold them in place until the glue takes hold.
- Let It Dry: Allow the glue to dry completely before moving on to the next step. This could take several hours or even overnight, depending on the glue you use.
Iron-On Adhesive Method
- Cut Your Adhesive: Cut strips of iron-on adhesive that match the length of the sides of your t-shirt squares.
- Attach the Adhesive: Following the manufacturer’s instructions, use an iron to attach the adhesive strips to the edges of each t-shirt square.
- Iron the Squares Together: Once the adhesive is in place, remove the backing and press two squares together with the iron, making sure the designs face outward. Repeat this process until all your squares are attached in rows.
- Iron the Rows Together: After your rows are complete, repeat the process to attach the rows together.
Regardless of the method you choose, here are some tips to ensure a strong bond and a neat finish:
- Be Patient: Whether you’re waiting for glue to dry or for adhesive to cool, give your blanket plenty of time to set before moving it around too much.
- Apply Evenly: When applying glue or adhesive, make sure it’s evenly distributed. This will help prevent lumps or weak spots in your blanket.
- Press Firmly: When attaching your squares together, press firmly to ensure a good bond. However, be careful not to stretch or distort the fabric.
- Check Your Work: After your blanket has had time to set, check all the seams to make sure they’re secure. If any areas seem loose, you can add more glue or adhesive as needed.
Add a Backing (Optional)
Adding a backing to your blanket can give it extra warmth, comfort, and a finished look. Here’s how you can add a no-sew backing to your t-shirt blanket:
Materials Needed For the backing, fleece or flannel fabric would be ideal due to their warmth and softness. You will need a piece of fabric that’s the same size as your completed t-shirt blanket.
- Prepare Your Backing Fabric: Wash, dry, and iron your backing fabric just like you did with your t-shirts. This will prevent future shrinkage and make the fabric easier to work with.
- Cut Your Backing Fabric: Lay out your backing fabric and place your t-shirt blanket on top. Use this as a guide to cut your backing fabric to the same size as your t-shirt blanket.
- Attach the Backing: Line up your t-shirt blanket and your backing fabric back-to-back. If you’re using fleece, the “right” side (the side that’s more colorful and soft) should face outwards. For flannel, either side can face outwards.
- Trim the Edges: Trim the edges of both your t-shirt blanket and backing fabric so that they are the same size.
- Cut Fringes: Cut 1-inch wide fringes around the edges of your blanket. Each fringe should be about 2 to 4 inches long.
- Tie the Fringes Together: Tie each fringe on the t-shirt blanket to the corresponding fringe on the backing fabric. This will secure the two layers together without sewing.
Caring for Your T-shirt Blanket
Taking proper care of your t-shirt blanket can help it last for many years and keep those memories alive. Here’s how you can do this:
Washing Your T-shirt Blanket
- Check the Care Labels: If you still have the care labels from your t-shirts, follow those instructions for washing your blanket. Most t-shirts are machine washable, but it’s always a good idea to double-check.
- Use Gentle Cycle: Wash your blanket on a gentle cycle with cold water. This will help prevent the colors from fading and the fabric from shrinking.
- Use Mild Detergent: A mild detergent is less likely to damage the fabric or cause the colors to fade.
- Avoid Bleach and Fabric Softener: These can be harsh on the fabric and cause it to deteriorate over time.
- Air Dry : To prevent shrinkage and protect the integrity of your blanket, it’s best to air dry it. If you must use a dryer, use a low heat setting.
Storing Your T-shirt Blanket
When not in use, store your blanket in a cool, dry place. Avoid areas with direct sunlight, as this can cause the colors to fade. It’s also a good idea to fold it neatly to prevent wrinkles and creases. If you’re storing the blanket for a long period, consider using a breathable fabric bag to protect it from dust and moisture.
Inspect your blanket periodically, especially along the seams and edges. If you notice any loose squares or fringes, you can reattach them with more fabric glue or iron-on adhesive.
Creating a blanket out of t-shirts is a unique and fun project that allows you to recycle old shirts while preserving memories. This no-sew method we’ve discussed is an easy way to create a cozy keepsake without needing advanced crafting skills.
We started with preparing your t-shirts, cutting them into squares, and arranging them in a pattern that suits your style. We then explored two no-sew methods for attaching the squares together: using fabric glue or iron-on adhesive. For added warmth and comfort, we also looked at how to add a backing to your blanket. Lastly, we covered how to care for and store your new t-shirt blanket to ensure it lasts for years.
The result is a personalized blanket full of memories. Whether it’s concert tees, sports jerseys, or shirts from your favorite vacations, your t-shirt blanket will be a unique reflection of your experiences and tastes.
So why not give it a try? Gather up those old t-shirts and start creating your own memory-filled keepsake. Not only will you end up with a special item to cherish, but you’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing you created it yourself. Happy crafting!