5 ways to restyle t-shirts

My latest blog post for the Sally Ann blog is up! Here are 5 ways to restyle an old or secondhand t-shirt.

Restyling or upcycling old t-shirts is super easy and there's so much you can do with a torn or dated 'T'. Just because you don't or can't wear them anymore doesn't mean it's time to toss them out. And you can always find a funky top at your local Salvation Army Thrift Store that has tons of potential for getting crafty with.

Here are 5 easy peasy ways to extend the life of a secondhand t-shirt:

1. Restyle it!
You can find tons of simple DIYs for reworking an old T. You can find tutorials online or get a book out from your local library. You can cut up the back and weave the pieces like this top.

You can cut the sides and tie the loose ends together. Trim the sleeves for a tank top or sleeveless top.

Use fabric paint or bleach to create a design.

2. Make a one-of-a-kind pillow cover
I'm sure there's a way you can do this without a sewing machine but these I created by buying a pillow form, measuring my pieces then cutting and stitching up my secondhand t-shirt.

I bought this T with a heart design on the front. It turned into a super cute pillow cover!

Sometimes you luck out and find the perfect quote on a secondhand t-shirt like this one.

Note: you could even frame a FAV t-shirt. Why not!

3. A reusable bag
This is a no sew, low hassle DIY with long term benefits. All you do is cut off the sleeves, create a bigger opening at the neck then cut and tie up the bottom. It's that easy!

For this DIY bag I added glow in the dark fabric paint for a funky and safe trick or treat bag.

4. T-shirt yarn
Cut up the T to create t-shirt yarn. You can weave, knit or macrame with the t-shirt yarn.

Here's a finger knitted bracelet using t-shirt yarn.

A couple of DIY headbands.

A super simple macrame hanging planter.

The possibilities are endless!

5. Accessories and jewelry
Yup - you can make infinity scarves, t-shirt yarn cowls and even jewelry with old t-shirts.

Hope you try one or more of these fun ways to extend the life of an old t-shirt. Be sure to share your ideas as well. The more the merrier.


More Creative Expert awesomeness with the Salvation Army

Yahoo! It's official - my contract with the Salvation Army Thrift Store has been extended. I'll be posting more DIYs, thrifting tips and fun lists on their blog. Super stoked! These guys are so darn fabulous to work with. And I love sharing tips, tricks and DIYs cause sharing is caring.

Stay tuned for future posts... Find all of my posts and other Creative Experts tips on their blog at www.thriftstore.ca/blog.


10 ways to upcycle wool sweaters

Here's another one of my recent blog posts for the Sally Ann. Upcycling wool sweaters is da bomb!

It's always easy to find awesome wool sweaters at your local Salvation Army Thrift Store. If they end up being a bit damaged or accidentally felted - don't fret! There's tons you can upcycle them into. Felted wool sweaters are perfect for crafty projects. Look for bright colours and funky patterns. Although I find grey is perfect for adding colourful felt appliqué designs to.

Here are 10 ways you can repurpose a thrift store wool sweater:

1. Mittens
You can easily make basic and cozy mittens by repurposing a felted wool sweater. You can mix up different colours and patterns to create super funky accessories.

2. Hats
Stitch up a hat to go with your DIY mittens. You can try a simple pattern then jazz it up with buttons, etc. Or see if you can find a more complicated pattern to test your upcycling skills with.

3. Xmas ornaments
I've made many a Xmas ornament out of thrift store wool sweaters. You can either design your own pattern or use up scraps from other projects to create a tree.

4. Jewelry
There really is a way to create swanky brooches and jewelry out of felted wool sweaters. This is an easy DIY for making brooches.

5. Stuffies
Animals and creatures are fun to stitch out of old wool sweaters. And because their handmade they don't have to be perfect. Use felt and buttons to create faces easily.

6. Baby booties
This is one of my FAV things to make out of upcycled sweaters. Seriously I've made nearly 100 pairs of these for family and friends.

7. Gift card holder
Extend the life of a thrifted wool sweater by making reusable packaging. You can make wine bags, gift bags and gift card holders.

8. Pillow cover
You can either make a small pillow cover out of 1 felted wool sweater or a big pillow cover by patching pieces from various sweaters. Either way it's one comfy pillow. I'm a lover of felt appliqué to add personality to whatever you create.

9. Coffee or phone sleeves
Protect yourself from hot coffee or your phone from dropping by stitching a simple sleeve. Easily add a pocket to hold cards.

10. Costumes
I taught a workshop called Make Your Own Superhero Outfit years ago. One of the projects was making magic wands, superpower bracelets and eye masks out of repurposed wool sweaters. It can be done!

I'm sure there's more that can be created from wool sweaters. I hope you try one or more of my top 10 ways to reuse a thrift store wool sweater. Be sure to share your favourite DIYs and how you reuse old clothes.


Partnering with Lupii Cafe for my inaugural CwC Crafternoon

Yahoo! I have my very first Crafting with Crap Crafternoon lined up! And it's with a pretty FAB partner - Lupii Cafe. Lupii Cafe is a community focused, zero-waste space, dedicated to environmental and social sustainability in Vancouver Canada. It’s one kewl and happening community space!

Hope you'll join us May 5th from 12pm to 2pm for a Mother's Day Crafternoon at Lupii Cafe. We’re restyling glass jars into reusable packaging and filling them with DIY bath salts. Stay tuned for RSVP details!

And stay tuned for more CwC news and happenings. I have another partner in 'crapting' lined up! Super stoked to make CwC magic happen this year!


5 ways to refresh secondhand furniture

Here's one of my recent blog posts for the Sally Ann. Hope you enjoy!

One of the best scores a thrifter can find at the Salvation Army Thrift Store is the perfect furniture piece for your home. In my opinion that is. And sometimes if you're really lucky you can find a piece that doesn't need any TLC. Unfortunately that's not always easy to come by. But if you go looking with an open mind and bring some creative mojo then you'll be able to find something that just needs a bit of work.

Here are 5 ways you can restyle a furniture find - from easy to labour intensive:

1. Replace the hardware
A super easy way to refresh a furniture find is to replace the hardware. If you score a cabinet or dresser that has dated drawer pulls then replace them. You can find drawer pulls at your local hardware store, home decor store or online. You can even make your own!

This is one of my FAV furniture updates - the new drawer pulls are stunning!

2. Sand and stain
Sometimes, especially if you find a gorgeous wood piece, all you need to do is a quick sanding job then stain it. It can bring an item back to life in a jiffy. Minimal effort with huge benefits.





3. Paint
When it comes to a quality wood piece I'm not a huge fan of painting but for damaged pieces or low quality wood then painting is a great way to revive a secondhand find. Also you can infuse your own personal style and make it very 'you'.



You can also try adding chalkboard paint. I found that by painting a boring table then adding chalkboard paint to the laminate top my dated find became super fun and nifty.



4. Upholster / reupholster
Don't be deterred by a chair needing a new look. Start with a simple upholstery job then build up to more complicated pieces. I found these chrome stools with a wicker top that looked dated. I added some stuffing then upholstered funky fabric over the wicker to modernize them.



Reupholstering can be a bit overwhelming. And some chairs may hold unpleasant surprises under the original upholstery. But if you persevere then you'll be so thrilled with the final refresh.



Before and after:

Note: keep your eyes open during your thrifting adventures. I've found amazing upholstery fabric at my local Salvation Army Thrift Store that I've used for some of my favourite reupholstery projects.

5. Repair
Repairing can be the most costly and time consuming but can be the most worthwhile. I found this amazing coffee table but one of the embellishments was missing. I then went about removing the embellishments then re-adding them to compensate for the missing one.

This is a stunning table I picked up for $20 - yay! Furniture was 50% off that day.

Here it is mid repair:


Another way of repairing is to replace any missing or broken parts. I found this wood table for $10 but the glass top was gone. I sanded and stained the base then got a new glass top cut. Getting glass cut can be expensive so be sure you're committed to whatever furniture project you're working on that requires glass.



Bonus tip: combine 2 or more of the above ways for added value... Paint and reupholster, stain and replace the hardware. The possibilities for creating awesomeness are endless!