Wednesday 18 April 2012

25 Recycling Projects For Old Jeans

I'm on a revamping mission. Or is it upcycling? It could be repurposing I suppose. But then again maybe I'm recycling. I'm sure there is an argument to say I'm refashioning. What is the difference anyway?

Recycling according to wikiwhatsit is processing used materials (waste) into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials.
Whereas upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.
Repurposing on the other hand is to use a tool for use as another tool, usually for a purpose unintended by the original tool-maker.
And Refashion does not exist according to the authority that is wikiwhatsit. So it definitely can't be that.

Could jeans be considered a tool? Not sure so let me just say that I have a couple of pairs of jeans that are too big (yay!) and too shabby to be decent for anything more than gardening and I couldn't just throw them out. One pair has a particularly nice back pocket which I thought I could use for something so I googled recycle/repurpose/upcycle/revamp jeans/denim and after hours of research which uncovered a denim covered car (save that project for another day) I found I was spoilt for choice.

Some of the projects I found look really simple (I say look, but the reality may be anything but simple) and some are of a seriously professional quality. Now there's a profession: Jeans Upcycler. Explain that at a dinner party!

Here are some of my favourites:

recycle upcycle jeans
  1. Knee patches
  2. Turn them into a skirt
  3. Crop them
  4. Make a bag
  5. Make a pot for pens
  6. Make a pot holder
  7. Make coasters
  8. Make a quilt (you may need a few pairs of jeans for this one)
  9. Upholster an armchair (yeah in my spare time!)
  10. Make a whale
  11. Weave a handbag
  12. Make a pencil roll
  13. Create art (requires an artistic eye that I may not possess)
  14. Make a corsage (check out missielizzie who has a Jeanius Challenge going on)
  15. Make an owl
  16. Make a coffee cup cosy
  17. Make bunting
  18. Make a dog coat (This is not Misty by the way)
  19. Make an ipod, iphone, kindle case
  20. Make a cushion
  21. Noticeboard organiser
  22. Mobile phone socket organiser
  23. Make gift wrapping
  24. Make some monsters!
  25. Make a business or credit card case.
Challenge is I only have two pairs of jeans and a limited number of hours in the day.

I really want to try to get the most out of them though, so I am going to make a skirt, an owl cushion, a corsage,  a monster, a mobile charging pocket, and a business card holder.

So watch this space and who knows what jean-carnage will be erupting here soon!

Sorry Misty but you will have to wait to get your doggy jacket!


  1. I had wondered why you were pinning so many! Do you need a special needle to sew denim?

  2. What a fantastic idea! You are very creative aren't you? I look forward to seeing what you create!

  3. Oh how fab.

    Hacking up jeans is definitely where it's at! Shame you missed my challenge (that was won by the one and only Maggy Red Ted Art), but I hope you give some of the ideas a go.

    I've seen photo frames; rugs; chairs and place mats all from denim at ridiculous prices in homeware shops x

  4. Some great ideas here. Denim is great for projects isn't it. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

  5. Thank you for the Great Ideas.
    Very inspirational. Have 20 pair of denim jeans.
    I have cut/separated the legs/from top of jeans. Separate bins. Now to start my project.
    Thanks again.


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