This Is How to Repurpose Old Jeans (11 Smart Ideas to Try)

Learn how to repurpose old jeans

It’s hard to imagine a wardrobe with no jeans in it. We usually have a few pairs of various styles for all seasons: skinny, slim fit, mommy jeans, boyfriend jeans, straight, bootcut, and so on. 

Unfortunately, the most loved pairs wear out after a year or two. Does it mean you should get rid of them? Of course not. You can give your lovely jeans a second chance.

Slow fashion and upcycling are new fashion trends of today. Let us see some ideas of how you can repurpose jeans. 

Spoiler: you won’t necessarily need sewing skills to give denim a new life.

What Can I Do With Old Jeans?

If you have a pair or two of jeans that you do not want to throw away or renew, you have two ways to go.

You can modify the pair to make it wearable again, like shorts or any other piece of clothes – these can be shorts, denim skirts, or even denim dresses. 

Or you can make some helpful or funny accessories. Here, the choice is limited by your imagination – boxes, flowers, decorative elements, necklaces and earrings, placemats, covers, organizers, purses, clutches, and much more can be made from old jeans.

How To Reuse Old Jeans Without Sewing

Many of us have at least a pair of unused jeans in the wardrobe. These jeans might be worn out or out of style, but we still don’t want to throw them away for multiple reasons. Be it an emotional attachment or a concept of reasonable consumption. We can still give them a new life.

There are plenty of great ideas on how to upcycle old jeans, though many of them involve sewing. But what if you don’t want to sew?

The good news is that you can implement many exciting ideas with the help of fabric glue or contact adhesive. This method is perfect for utilizing seams, belts, pockets, hems, and other elements that are difficult to sew.

What kind of projects can you make? Here are some examples.

A standard cardboard box wrapped into a denim fabric turns into a stylish denim storage box, which is more durable than the original one. You need to cut the jeans panels of the same size as the box edges and fix them with the help of glue. You can also embellish the box with decorative buttons, pockets, and other elements.

A denim photo frame is one more stylish chance to give your jeans a new life. You can use four denim panels, one for each side of the frame, or use a lot of narrow stripes to wrap around the frame to make it more eye-catching.

Photo: pillarboxblue.com

Here is a list of some creative ideas to get you inspired.

Old Denim Repurpose Ideas

1. Creating a Potholder

Make old jeans useful again by turning the pockets into a mitt or a potholder. Just sew together a few layers of denim for extra protection and durability. Add some colored cotton patches for more fun.

2. Turn Jeans Pockets Into Decorative Storage Organizers

Photo: project.theownerbuildernetwork.co

Cut the pockets closely to seam edges and add straps for hanging them. You can make the straps from leather or other durable material.

You can use such an organizer in the kitchen, office, kid’s room, or summer house.

3. Creating Denim Nampkinks

One more idea is to make denim napkins that look funny. Use these at the country house or a party. 

Denim napkins are easy to do, and you can create various styles with some imagination.

The simple one will be to cut the squares of the same size and sew these into sets of four, then trim the edges with the help of cotton, linen, or lace. Or, you can add a lining to the opposite side, whatever you prefer.

If you have some extra time, try adding some geometry. Cut the pieces of denim of various sizes and then sew them together to get an asymmetrical pattern. 

4. Denim Rug

A denim rug will most likely last for ages, even if you use it for animals.

Add a lining made from a tight, non-slip fabric for more durability. As with napkins, you can sew together multiple pieces of different shapes, from scraps to squares or hexagons, or even asymmetrical pieces. 

5. Making a Headband Out of Denim Jeans

Make a denim headband, an attractive accessory for hot summer days.

Cut off a jeans leg and get rid of seams. You will need a long rectangular panel, which you will fold over to the desired width. Then stitch the opposite ends of the band. 

You might also want to add an elastic band between the ends to stretch the headband for better fit and more flexibility. 

Add decorative elements, like lace patches, if you want a more glamorous look.

6. Planters

Photo: birdzofafeather.ca

Denim planters are trendy and easy to create.

You can make a jeans planter of any size and shape, even using jeans as is. There are various solutions, from folding the pots into the denim fabric to creating funny figures dressed up in jeans. You can find many DIY guides, from simple ones to more tricky variants.

7. Denim Placemat

A denim placemat is another helpful accessory you can create with the help of old jeans.

Placemats can be square or round. You can use whole legs or denim scraps for this purpose.

Make sure you have some template to cut off equal pieces that can be used for the front and backside, and then sew these pieces together. You might want to make decorative seams or trims. 

8. How To Make a Denim Jeans Bag

Photo: hearthandvine.com

A denim jeans bag is one of the most popular jeans upcycling ideas.

For this, you will need the upper part of the pair. Cut off the legs below the crotch, cut off the center to obtain a straight line, and sew the bottom. You can also add a zipper inside the waistline.

9. Denim Stuffed Animals

Denim stuffed animals will require some effort, time, and skills. However, you can still make a funny animal yourself.

There are lots of printable patterns online that you could use to cut off parts and then sew them together. The most often used filling material is polyester fiber, which is relatively easy to find.

10. Decorative denim pillows

Decorative denim pillows look nice and are easy to make if you are looking for one more idea of upcycling old jeans.

Pillows made from stripes of various colors of the denim will be a great accessory. You can mix the colors and create different combinations for two or three pillows to obtain a great set.

11. Apron From Old Jeans

Apron made from old jeans is a great idea due to the high durability of denim. It will work great in the kitchen or the garden. Try it if you are a fan of craft projects.

Photo: adirondackgirlatheart.com

You will need to cut off the legs and the crotch and leave only the back part with the pockets. Trim the edges and stitch the belt. For the belt, you can use the fabric from those parts of jeans that you cut off before.

FAQ

How to Repurpose Jeans That Are Too Big?

There are a few ways to make your jeans fit better. Some are easy temporary fixes, and some require sewing skills.
As a quick and easy fix, you can thread the button through the nearest loop on the jeans’ waist and then button the jeans the usual way. The crotch might look a little baggy, and this solution works fine when looking for a relaxed outfit. Match it with a loose sweatshirt to complete your look.
Move the button. Buttons packs are available, so you can easily purchase one to move the button and cut off one size from the waist of the jeans. Put the jeans on, pull them, so you feel comfortable, and mark the spot where you want to place a new button. After that, get rid of the old button and fix the new one in a new position.
Add an elastic band at the waist. If you don’t have new bands, check your old clothes. Jeans for kids often have elastic bands that you can reuse for this

How to Repurpose Jeans That Are Too Small?

Add new fabric panels, easy as that.
Add two fabric panels at the side seams of the waist to size your jeans up. You can use patches from old jeans, not necessarily of the same color. You can mix blue, white and black.
The panels should not necessarily be denim: lace or cotton panels of contrasting colors will give the jeans a new life and add a new fresh look.

How to Repurpose Jeans With Holes?

As a rule, jeans wear out at the knees or bottom, where the fabric gets the most tension.
If this is the case, you can create a skirt or shorts. For shorts, cut off the jeans above the knee, higher or lower, depending upon the desired length.
If you want to have folds, leave more length so you can fold them over for one or multiple folds. Otherwise, you can trim the edges. 
Making a skirt is a little bit more tricky. After cutting off the desired length, you will need to open the inner seams of the jeans. Then add fabric panels on the face and opposite side: you can use the patch from the same pair or add denim of a contrasting color. 

How to Mend Jeans With Holes?

It often happens, especially with kids, that jeans tear or wear out at some particular spot and the remaining part is intact. In this case, you can fix the affected area with the help of a patch and continue wearing your beloved pair.
The patch is an extra piece of fabric made from denim, cotton, or other material, of the same or contrasting color. Just make sure that the patch is bigger than the hole so that you cover it fully.
Depending upon your design idea, you can put the patch either from the inside or from the outside. You can use some decorative pieces to

Last Words

As you see, there are lots of funny upcycling ideas and crafts for your good old jeans.

Reasonable consumption and upcycling are not just smart but make real fun! Collect jeans of various colors, from white to black, try some of these ideas, and don’t forget to share the results!

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