What can I Make from Recycled Jeans?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

One of the great things about recycled jeans is that the material from the used garment can be used to create all sorts of functional and fun items. While some of the new creations from blue jeans require needle and thread, other items can be created using nothing more than fabric glue and a pair of scissors. If you have a pair of jeans that you want to recycle, here are some ideas on how to reuse denim material to great advantage.

Jeans can be recycled to make a variety of items.
Jeans can be recycled to make a variety of items.

While many people are familiar with the denim purses that were made from recycled jeans in the 1970’s and 1980’s, there is a modern twist on this old favorite that has gained attention in the last few years. Using the same basic principles, recycled jeans can be reworked into functional laptop bags. The pockets on the jeans can be sewn into the interior area of the bag, creating pouches to house spare batteries, electrical cords, or a WiFi card. Material gathered from the legs of the jeans can be used to create more compartments if necessary, as well as to sew sections that can house padding to protect the laptop during transit.

Recycled clothing can be found at thrift shops.
Recycled clothing can be found at thrift shops.

Recycled jeans can also be used to create casual accents for the dinner table. By cutting longer sections of the material and adding some heat resistant batting, it is possible to create oversized pot holders that are perfect for use under a hot casserole dish. The potholder protects the finish of the table from the heat, while also providing an absorbent surface that prevents spills from marring the tabletop.

Many people choose to make their own decorative gift boxes rather than buy new ones. Using a little fabric glue, it is possible to cut sections of the recycle jeans to fit the body and lid of the boxes. The material can be secured in place using fabric glue, effectively giving a plain box an eye-pleasing look. If desired, the denim can be dressed up with rhinestones or rickrack material to further personalize the look.

In a similar application, recycled jeans can be used to create interesting picture frames. Using cheap frames purchased at a discount store, remove the backing and glass. Cut the denim into the shape of the frame, making sure to leave enough to secure all the way around the front and sides of the frame. As with the gift boxes, the facing of the frame can be embellished with other elements if desired. The end result are unique frames that add more texture and visual appeal to casual dens or children’s bedrooms.

Don’t overlook the potential of creating new fashion accessories with those recycled jeans. Often, the material is ideal for making a simple vest, caps, or even interesting collars to go over a tee shirt or blouse. There is also the option of simply cutting off the legs and turning the jeans into a pair of comfortable shorts.

Using recycled clothing such as denim jeans is a great way to make use of what you have without spending a lot of money. If you need more old denim to create additional treasures for the house or your wardrobe, thrift shops are a great source of recycled clothes that will cost very little. Once you have the recycled jeans in hand, let your imagination run wild; chances are you can think of many more ways to put the old clothing to great use.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


I just recently made a purse. I gave it to my friend as birthday present. She loves it. She uses it as a laptop bag, and to hold a few more things.


I have made several items from old jeans, but one of my favorite projects is to make a recycled jeans bag. You just cut off the jeans to the size of bag you want and sew the bottom shut. Then take some strips of denim from the legs of the jeans to make a strap.

You can make the strap as long or short as you want it and attach on each end. You can also decorate the pockets or add anything you like to personalize it. These can make a roomy, yet stylish bag and another great way to use your favorite jeans when they have become a worn out.


Making items from recycled denim jeans is only limited to your creativity! There are so many things you can do with your old jeans. You can just do an online search and come up with all kinds of ideas. One of my favorite things is to go to local craft shows or vintage shops. Here you can find all kinds of ideas, and see what creative projects people have used old jeans for.

This will motivate you to re-create some of the things you saw, and give you inspire you to come up with new ideas. I have a sweatshirt that has patches of recycled denim sewn on it. Many of them are embellished with lace or jewels to add a dressy look.

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