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19 Things to Do with Old Jeans

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Don't throw away your worn-out jeans!  Recycle them into bags, toys, and other items.  With these fun and easy projects, you'll be able to put those well-loved jeans to use in ways you couldn't imagine.  From totes and bags to embellishments and home decor, these denim crafts will help you work through that stash of old jeans and transform them into functional and fabulous works of art!

Here's a fun project to help kick things off.  Made with various denim scraps, these Shabby Chic Denim Flowers are great for accessorizing your hair, clothes, purse, and more!
 

A few suggestions to help you get started:

  • To reduce your paper consumption AND protect your hands, make a coffee cup cozy from two layers of denim. Just measure, cut and sew. Use rick rack or contrasting fabric at the edge for a cute touch.
  • Cover a bulletin board with the denim if you can't stand the sight of cork anymore.
  • Glue a magnet onto the back of jean pockets for a handy place to stash coupons on your fridge.
  • Turn each pant leg into a handy lunch sack.
  • Make a pocket organizer. Cut off the ends of pant legs and stitch the cut side closed to make a pocket. Arrange six of these pockets on a sturdy piece of poster board and hang from a door for a handy organizer. Or, attach loops of demin to the pockets and hang from a bar.
  • Make a bucket for your yarn skeins or other craft supplies with a pair of jeans.
  • Denim makes a great, sturdy material for pet toys.
  • Create a water-bottle holder with shoulder strap and cute pockets for drink mix with Chica and Jo's brilliant tutorial (such as Crystal Light packets).
  • Use the leg of a pair of jeans to sew up a draft stopper.
  • Strips of old jeans can be crocheted into a bag or even a rug.

19 Things to Do with Old Jeans

Now let's get to the good stuff.  Here are a few denim crafts that are sure to inspire you.  We have tons of things to make with old jeans here, and you'll never wonder what to do with old jeans again!  Here are a few of our favorite things to do with old jeans and denim:

  1. Denim and Lace Flip Flops
  2. Funky Jeans Bag
  3. Denim Back to School Chalkboard
  4. Multicolored Denim Wreath
  5. Denim Circle Tree
  6. Cupcake Jean Purse
  7. Denim Drink Cozy
  8. Denim Apron and Basket for Mom
  9. Denim Flower Brooch

6 Old Jeans Purse Patterns
Do you have stacks of old jeans that no longer fit?  Clean out that closet and transform your jeans into adorable purses!  With these 6 Old Jeans Purse Patterns, you can not only make room for new clothes, but organize your accessories and must-haves with a brand new bag!  These patterns are easy to make and fun to decorate!  Make one for yourself and one for all your girlfriends!  Check out all the denim purse patterns today!

 


  1. Old Jeans Bracelet
  2. Denim Pocket Purse
  3. Rainbow Jeans Ring
  4. Shabby Chic Denim Flowers
  5. Denim Needle Case
  6. Denim Pocket Pincushion
  7. Upcycled Denim Flower Embellishments
  8. Denim Country Pumpkins
  9. Denim Art Can
  10. Handy Dandy Lamp Shade

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i just reupholstered an old oak rocking chair i bought at a flea market with old blue jeans. it turned out great. i have been making blue jean quilts for years. i like using a double fat bat and tying them. the make great comforter type quilts and they are thick enough for the kids to lay on when camping on the floor (slumber parties/sleepovers). i've made bags, purses, potholders and oven mitts, placemats, etc. i've also used old blue jean pieces doubled up sewn onto the bottom of crocheted slippers for a firmer sole.

Thank you for all the ideas. Now i have to dig out my old jeans and get to work. Ruth

These are wonderful ideas of things to do with denim jeans. I plan to make the apron out of the back side of a pair of jeans. Thanks for the instructions/photos.

Great ideas

Has anybody ever made a quilt using jeans with spandex? I have several pairs I could use, but I'm not certain if this will work out. Anybody?

Hi Have you tried cutting out a piece to try and see how far the fabric stretches.I can't see why you couldn't use it, make sure the stretch is going the same way.You could also try mixing with other quilt fabric this might stabilise it.Happy Quilting Judi

I don't think it really matters, but if you are worried about it, make a small one like a table mat. use iron on batting on the back then continue to make the quilt as usual. place mat size might work for size. I made my son and daughter in law a denim quilt top with all kinds of pant legs collected over the years ended up like a square,rectangle crazy type quilt top, I left some seams in and added some pockets for interest. I used a sheet for the underside. they wanted a tied quilt so with the denim it was really easy,heavy and very warm. and extremely durable. still looks great after 20+ yrs. sometimes you can over think things when they aren't needed.

I collect old jeans and corduroy pants. I buy them at thrift stores and garage sales. Cut them up into five inch squares and make twin size quilts out of them.

I have several pairs of old Levi jeans that I hate to throw away would you be interested in buying them?

i would always cut off my sons jeans when they had hole in the knees and use the bottom half and make quilt squares he has a good blanket one side denim other side t-shirt matterial

I could never say enough about favecrafts...because they are my very favorite...I look forward every day to it coming...I love it! God Bless You for sharing it with all of us! Dee, Pittsburgh, Pa.

I'll go to use my old jeans to do this craft, they're great, and I like to recycle with my kids. Thanks

Wanting to redesign my old jeans for a new look any ideas?

I have made a lot of things out of jeans, the hardest was crocheting a jean rug for our screened-in porch, I used the same principle as making an old fashion rag rug. I just wanted to see if I could do it, I did, a little rough on your hands. It turned out 6' by 4'

I was wondering about this very thing. I can see how it would be rough on the hands but I still want to try. Did you cut the denim in long thin strips? Thanks for the tip.

Dianne, how wide did you cut your strips? Thanks

OMG...don't know how I found your site...but so glad I did..it is a welcome addition to my email that I get everyday..and so nice to look forward to receiving the new ideas...I have forwarded it to all of my crafty friends...keep up the good work guys...you are such a welcome addition to all of our other craft ideas...Love it! Dee, Pittsburgh, Pa.

May not be original, but have made to suit my preference, not to infringe on someone's rights. A couple of super thing to do with old jeans - 1) cut out the back pockets, between 2 layers put a piece of felt or other fabric. Then put it together. It's pretty thick & arthritis may make it difficult. I'd suggest doing a piece of denim with felt & then putting the other piece denim on opposite side from other. 2) This is my favorite that I got from a resale shop. Take a leg that you've cut off, as close to front pocket (too make it extra big, & much larger than the ones you see at Walmart & lot more durable.) Run you a casing around each end, put elastic in top end which will be the bottom of tube when done, as it is the smallest. The hem end you could unloosen some hem & run a drawstring around to make it the top end. Hence, you've made you a tube for plastic bags. Thanks for a great site.

I made a clothes pin bag from old jean shorts, some gromets and old wire works great. these are all great thank you for sharing

Grama, you can use ANY pattern for using old jeans, I've started so many quilts i need to finish them...

These ideas are really cute. I love the apron, its a must do for me!

I am looking for a pattern to make checkbook covers out of jeans. Can anybody help me out??? Thanks

I have made several different ones from jeans. I've just used any pattern and added a label or loops etc. In fact, I've made purses,totes, aprons etc. just using any pattern. Hope this helps....

I'M LOOKING FOR AN IDEA TO MAKE OLD JEANS INTO A PURSE FOR MY GRAND DAUGHTER FOR CHRISTMAS ANY IDEAS OUT THERE ?

WOW...so many creative ideas. I hate throwing away jeans, started saving them a couple of years ago. I have made book bags for my church fair and sold them for $5.00, could have sold more. Becare when using jeans to make quilts, have had a couple of friends ruin sewing machines from that. Love the apron and tote bags, seems like you never have enough. I have gotten so many ideas and free patterns from this site, its wonderful.

I wish I could be this mind creative!! How clever! I love making tote bags/purses. This just gives me another idea to try. Thanks for sharing, it's great to have friends, especially creative ones like you!!! Mary Ann

Am looking for a pattern for a quilt using old jeans. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

Hi, I cut my jeans into five inch squares. I sew them 11 squares across and 18 strips down. Then I put a four or five inch border on it. Makes a nice twin size quilt. I have an embroidery machine with a lot of different designs and usually decorate 33 of the squares.

I made a yard quilt from old blue jeans, very durable. I cut squares 8" x 8" and made edges raveled. I love that shaggy look!

I made a dog bed out of old jeans, I peiced them together in strips and then cut out 2 large oval peices sewed them together and filled it with stuffing. Then I gave it to friend for their dog for christmas. This was 3 years ago and it is still in wonderful condition, and their dog loves his bed...

I made a really beautiful rug out of strips of old jeans. I turned some of the strips over to show the "wrong side" of the denim for interesting texture and color variation. Everyone comments on it when they stop by.

I think it would be a great idea to include pictures of the items mentioned. It helps to see a final product. Thanks.

I have use old jeans to make jewelry. I take the jean material and cut out petals for rose pins then soak them in Modge Podge and model them as I want. then I glue the pieces together with epoxy. When finished molding and gluing the fun really begins. I add glitter, flat backed rhinestones, and different beads. The last step is to attach a brooch pin. Laura

Check with your local Girl Scout council. Many of them collect old jeans to turn into quilts for the elderly and homeless.

I have taken the tops of jeans, cut just below the crotch, sew the bottom(legs) shut. Now fill the inside of the jeans with poly fill. Once the jeans are filled either stitch or glue the top closed. Add a ribbon or belt through the beltloops and you have what Girls Scouts call a "Sit-a-pon" Take the pillow and tie it around your waist while hike, walking or camping, when you sit down, you will not have a dirty or wet seat. We made over 100 of these for Bible School one year.

I make throw pillows out of old jeans. Just cut the bottoms side into a square or a circle, incorporating the pockets. Cut out a corresponding piece of fabric for the back of pillow. I put my reading glasses and pens in the pockets so I never have to search for them.

Unfortunately, when we contacted Habitat for Humanity in January 2010 they told us that they no longer are accepting jeans for insulation. It was apparently a program in conjunction with a jeans company that is no longer effective. However, I do like the other ideas readers have shared.

I made a Queen size blanket for my son using several colors of denim. I scattered the back pockets throughout the blanket as an added touch. I frayed the seams on the outside for a more masculine touch.

Water bed outer pads(orignal= oil cloth,plastic,or vinyl)-Replaced with legs of jeans. I choose black, got padding and a staple gun.

I never throw out old jeans! They have so many uses. You just need to stop looking at them as jeans and see them from another angle. I have made purses, jackets, hot pads etc from old jeans. Using old jeans is fun, especially since the fabric is free. You don't feel so bad if the project doesn't come out just the way you planned.

Create a long tube by sewing two, (or more depending on jeans and size needed) jeans legs together with a flat seam. Close one end with a reinforced straight stitch. Make a pair of button holes an inch or so apart near the top of the open end, and fold over. Lay a cord in the hem, entering one button hole and exiting the other. Allow enough cord to leave a 6-8" tail. Sew hem closed. Put a barrel lock on cord if desired, and securely tie, or sew cord ends together. This is what I use to carry tent poles, or pre-assembled poles to make camp set-up faster. Sure helps in the dark and rain. From the body portion of ample jeans, I sewed the cut off end closed, and added two pieces of parachute cord through the belt loops for a laundry bag style cinch. I use it to stuff the volleyball and net. The stakes go into a pocket, poles in the tube, and we're ready to go.

I once made a padded top for a wooden box my husband brought home from work. I pieced pieces from old jeans in a crazy quilt pattern and zigzagged them together onto a piece of an old sheet, then put that over several layers of material cut from old clothes. That was years ago and it's still good!

I have made skirts, purses, rugs, backpacks, and many more things from jeans my kids have outgrown, or worn out the edges or jeans that have gone out of style (the 80s!). The best project I have done is take a piece from jeans my three sons have outgrown and made a piece representing each of them into a floppy eared bunny to sit on my bed. It is a huggable reminder of my "babies" now they are grown!

I've used old jeans as the liner for crocheted purses. The back pockets make nice pockets inside the purse. I sew it with right sides together and then come back around and zig zag. I leave a bit of excess at the top which I then fold over and hand sew to the inside of the crocheted purse. It keep stuff from falling through the crocheted holes. Works nicely. Also, I have used old holey jeans for the fabric to make Barbie and Ken doll jeans. I have several old Simplicty, Butterick and McCall's patterns for Barbie clothes. I use old clothes quite a bit. Not just jeans, but I also use t-shirts, etc. for the fabric. You can usually work around a big stain or rip as doll clothes are small. Beth

Use leftover jeans legs to make quick hot pads. Cut the lenght of the leg the size you want the hot pad. Insert a layer of batting, turn under the raw edges of the leg and stitch the closed. Stitch a few places near the middle of the hot pad to keep the batting in place.

I have made quilt from old blue jeans. Take and cut the squares from the legs sew them togather for size need for bed sew a sheet to the underneath side and use yarn or embroidery thread to make knots caddy corner on the squares. I've also seen where they make a picnic blanket with legs cut open and sewed togather and the upper body part cut in half front from back and use to put napkins, utencils in pockets. I'm wanting to make me a purse from the body part of jeans if i can get info on where and how to start it.

Gotta nice organizer oir inside a school locker or hanging in a bedroom Cut off a jeans leg above the knee, fold down far enough to make a rod pocket and sew across from side to side. Next sew on a couple pockets you cut off the back of old jeans onto the leg piece just created. Now run a dowel through the rod pocket you made, tie ribbon or shoe string to form hanger and put it up for use. Neat trick, huh? Also , I add a top on the apron turning it into a BBQ style because I am a messy cook. Long ago , I made duffle and tent bags from old jeans and even added a side mounted handle on them and used the belt lopps for the drawstring casings.

I have made quite a few shoulder bags from old jeans. I originally made one for each of my two granddaughters but ended up making them for their friends as well. They especially loved the ones made from their old girls' size 46 brightly colored jeans. Cut off the legs from the body of the jeans and cut them into four 2-inch wide strips lengthwise, stitch two together and turn right side out. These are the shoulder straps. Stitch the bottom of the body jeans. Adjusting the length of the shoulder straps to the desired length firmly attach to the 'waistband' of the jeans. I used the belt loops as my guide for spacing and stitched a box around the bottom inch of the straps for extra strength. You can add a belt or scarf through the belt loops, decorate the pockets with fabric paints or even jeweled studs.

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