There are so many ways to go green these days. From energy efficient appliances, to phosphate free soaps, to recycling; if you’re looking to go green, there are no shortage of ways to get started. One very popular and inexpensive way to be a little more eco-friendly is through repurposing.

Repurposing can be something as simple as repainting an old chair and using it as your new bedside table, or it can involve completely dismantling that chair and using the wood to help build a new doghouse; nothing limits you but your imagination – and maybe your skill with power tools and sewing needles! Here are a few crafty ideas for reworking some of that old stuff you’ve been thinking about trashing.

Repurposing Old Sweaters

Got a few old sweaters piling up in the back of your closet that you’re always thinking about donating but somehow just never get around to it? Now you can finally use them; sweaters are one of the most versatile items to repurpose. For example, how about making them into some cozy new pillow covers for those tired old cushions? Carefully cut a straight edge just under where the sleeves attach, turn the resulting tube of fabric inside out and sew the rough edge closed to create a large pocket.

TipSew the rough edge with a sturdy thread and tight stitch to prevent any unravelling. You can even run a double row of stitching for added stability.

Next, depending on your desired look, attach a zipper or velcro closure to the finished edges at the top of the pocket – this allows you to wash the cover separately from the pillow, and allows you to change out the covers as you create more – or hand sew the edge closed with the pillow insert inside for a more permanent look.

Tip: You can get two pillow covers out of one sweater, by making double-sided cushion covers. Simply cut the sweater tube down each seamed edge leaving you with two squares of fabric. Then follow the same steps with an old t-shirt. Sew one sweater square to one t-shirt square to get this double-sided look.

Bonus Tip: Cardigans make great pillow covers too! Follow the same steps to create the sweater tube but then sew both ends closed. Insert the pillow through the front of the cardigan and button it up!

You’re not done with that sweater yet! Use the sleeves to make no-knit cosies for teapots by simply cutting holes in the sleeve for the handle and spout, trimming off any excess material, then finishing the edges to prevent fraying.

Tip: You can also use the sleeves to create unique covers for old jars, or even vases that need a facelift.

Repurposing Old T-Shirts

T-shirts are a fantastic repurposing item; they can be used for everything from quilting material to pillow cases. A really environmentally friendly craft project using old t-shirts is turning them into reusable shopping bags! Such a quick and easy project that’s eco-friendly in two ways – allowing you to repurpose an old item, and encouraging the use of reusable shopping bags instead of plastic.

Tip: Using old tank tops works just as well for this project – saves having to cut off the sleeves!

Repurposing Old Dressers

Take that ugly old dresser you were planning to drop at the dump, and turn it into back useful storage without even painting or refinishing it! Remove the drawers, add four caster wheels, and tuck under your bed to store socks, shoes, and even books.

Or take your old dresser outdoors for garden storage. Move it into your backyard or garden shed, use the top surface for potting your plants, then hide your tools and extra pots in the drawers. Add a few old strawberry baskets to the top drawer and keep your seed packets organised and out of sight. Then screw some hooks onto the side for hanging gloves and kneeling pads. Suddenly that scratched and dented old dresser you hated has become useful storage for all your gardening accessories!

Tip: If you’re handy with power tools, you can also repurpose old dressers into bathroom vanities by cutting holes to fit the sink and pipes, or into kitchen islands by adding caster wheels and a countertop – something to think about!

More Great Repurposing Ideas

  • Crafty Ways to Go Green – Repurposing Your Old Stuff

Repurposing is a great way to go green; anyone can take an old item, rethink its purpose, and create something new out of it. It is inexpensive and rewarding since it keeps junk out of the landfill and money in your pocket. And it feels really nice when people compliment you on your unique creations. There are projects out there for every crafting skill-level, so don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and start repurposing some of your old stuff!

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