Jeans are a staple in almost everyone’s wardrobe. I have about 8 pairs – all different styles and colors. Denim is versatile and rugged, outlasting many other fabrics. But when it is time to say goodbye to a pair of jeans, do you repurpose them? Send them to thrift? or toss them away? Hopefully not the latter. If repurposing is not within your means, then consider donating to thrift. Even if they are damaged beyond repair, most thrift stores send clothing elsewhere for recycling or reuse. (But always ask to make sure they don’t just send it to the landfill.)
I pick up bags of unwanted thrifted jeans from a local thrift store for 20¢/lb. I’ve made denim yarn for weaving, and used bits for patching other jeans. There are literally hundreds of ideas online for how to repurpose jeans. My projects tend to be a modern or minimalist interpretation of a traditional design idea. Most recently, I was inspired to make floor pillows. Modern, durable, easy to clean – they will be perfect for using outside this summer at SouLodge Medicine Gathering
Cutting off all seams, cuffs, zippers, and pockets, I used the best denim pieces to create a 20″x20″ pattern. I incorporated a scrap of orange upholstery as a complementary color accent to the modern design. Stuffed with a 24×24 thrift pillow, the jeans case is removable via a hidden orange zipper. Since the inner pillow was rather soft for a floor pillow, I open the seam and added leftover jeans scraps to the inner pillow to create a more dense fill.
Have you repurposed jeans? What has been your favorite project? Feel free to share ideas in comments below. Maybe your project will be inspiration for my next modern, minimalist project.
Every air plant (Tillandsia) deserves a cozy felted wall pocket. This integral piece is wet felted by hand using a variety of natural brown to black alpaca roving from Flying Dutchman Alpacas here in Bend, OR. The pocket interior reveals a surprise of light cream felt, which blended with the dark roving during the felting process to make the pocket lighter than the background mat. A few of these wall pockets are available in my Etsy store
This set of handmade trivets was wet felted from a blend of natural merino and alpaca wool roving. 1/8” thick mats were cut into 10” and 8” squares. The remnant cut edges were then needle felted onto the squares to create a minimal vertical appliqué. Aside from the functional (and obvious) use as a trivet, I can imagine a whole wall covered in a grid of these minimalist felted squares. Like warm, textural wallpaper. Or more simply, they could be applied to a square piece of homosote and used as a pin-up board. I could also sew them into a quilt or create six quilted panels that are then sewn into a modern cube pouf. Lots of ideas and probably not enough time or focus for me to realize all of them.
While browsing through a local thrift store, I found an old 100% wool blanket that someone had (likely accidentally) shrunk in a washing machine. I brought it home and washed it again just to make sure it was completely felted before cutting it up to make a pouf. The minimal design is a 17″ square with exposed raw seams. It is filled with over 10 lbs of fabric remnants that I’ve collected, as well as a layer of polyester fiber fill to smooth out lumps and give it a plush feel.
I have been brainstorming ways to use what I already have to create an interesting display of products from BypPauline for the upcoming ARTist Saturday at Armature. Supplemental lighting is encouraged, so I decided to make my own ambiance floor lamps. Using heavy duty cardboard (yes, I’m still making use of moving boxes) I created a “Golden Section” rectangular light box. Tracing a few glasses of various sizes as templates, I cut a few holes on each side and even across one corner. I’ve never wired a lamp from scratch before, but the plug and inline switch were super easy to install onto the cord using the instructions. The actual lamp holder was more of a challenge to wire because it didn’t come with instructions. But thanks to YouTube, I safely attached the hot and ground wires and turned on my light box with giddy excitement.
The possibilities of magazine paper. I have often used magazines for various art and craft projects. Paper beads, collage, origami, paper mâché. For this project, I scoured old magazines for full color pages and rolled them tightly along the diagonal around a bamboo skewer, gluing the edge to create a tube. I then cut them with scissors to measured lengths, and used floral wire to construct open pyramid structures. Elsewhere on the Internet, I’ve seen these geometric structures made of metal tubes and have wanted to make them myself. But I didn’t want to have to buy any new materials (My craft bins are overloaded anyway.) I really like my version of the pyramid and how I was able to play with color in making these out of magazine paper.
I created this tiny wool wet felted pot a long time ago. A couple days ago, I decided to complete it with some succulent pups cut from an Aeonium suffering a slow death in my front yard. The inside of the felt pot is painted with a bright yellow rubber coating that you can find at hardware stores for dipping tools, so it is waterproof. Wool felt is dirt and water resistant by itself, but I wanted to make sure the little pot didn’t decompose from constant contact with the moist potting soil. In restrospect, I prefer to keep the wool raw and natural rather than add the rubber coating. But of course I would not know that if I didn’t experiment in the first place.
While researching creative uses for my bins of scrap fabric, I found a pattern on bhg.com for a pouf. I chose an outdoor cotton duck fabric and pretty much followed the bhg.com instructions verbatim except that I opted for minimal hand stitching to finish the top and bottom octagons. To fill the pouf, I used two large storage bins of scrap fabric and fiber fill from three old pillows. It was very satisfying to use so much “waste” to create something so useful, lasting, and attractive. To be totally honest, I am not in love with the octagonal shape. If I make any more poufs, they will be cubes. I found two wool blankets at a thrift store that I felted just for this purpose. Since I am all out of fabric scraps for filling, I can purchase bags of rejected thrift store clothing for $0.10/lb.