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30 Easy And Cuddly DIY Ideas For Recycling Old Sweaters

Instead of throwing them out or throwing them to the moths, use them for things like home accessories and slippers.

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First, a few guidelines for working with old sweaters for the following projects:

When cutting a sweater, be careful to keep it from unraveling. Most small-gauge machine-knits, like thin store-bought sweaters, will probably be fine, but for big and chunky, you'll want to use the existing hem or cuff as an edge when possible. If there's no way to avoid a raw edge, you can fold it over and secure it with hot-glue. If you're more craft-oriented, sew a firm line of stitches about half an inch or so from the cut edge. There are some good tips for crafting with old sweaters here, and they don't just apply to sewing projects.

For nearly all of these ideas, it's easy to swap out sewing for hot-glueing when the instructions call for it. And felting — when you shrink something woolen in the hot washer and dryer, the way you've probably actively avoided doing your entire life — will make the fabric thicker and much less likely to fray.

Bonus pro-tip: do not use a sweater somebody handknit for you or they will never speak to you again.


3. Sweater mittens:

Instructions from A Beautiful Mess; you can use a glue gun if you don't sew (and if you've always wanted to learn how, this is an awesome, easy project to start on. Plus, if you mess up, you'll still have a ton of fabric to try again with.)


8. Trick boot socks:

Just cut the sleeves off of an old sweater and secure the cut edge. These are great when worn over tights because they give the look of big knit socks without the added bulk. (Not that I'd ever knock the value of big knit socks.)


19. Laptop cover:

Find out how to make it here. If you're planning on hot-glueing instead of sewing, use a second layer of glue to reinforce the edges and make sure it's as strong as possible. Either way, this won't keep your computer safe in the event that you drop it or something equally terrifying; it'll just keep it extra cozy. You could also size down to turn this project into an iPad, iPhone, or other iThing cover.


View this video on YouTube

This video shows you how to make a pom-pom out of yarn.


29. Infinity scarf:

Instructions from b. organic; again, hot-glueing or iron-on hemming tape can stand in for sewing. You might even be able to get away without finishing the edges at all, especially if you're going for a slightly deconstructed frayed look.

This site looks promising but unfortunately it is in Finnish, and Google Translate is proving woefully inadequate. (Sample line: "Now is the time to make shirts to something useful, so I'll take a pair of scissors in your hand, and the plan for making it." It's actually quite poetic.)

Use the site for visual inspiration and apply some of the tricks above; the ottoman, for example, looks like it could be easily covered with the body of a huge sweater if you hot-glue the unsightly cut edges underneath. Or if you happen to speak Finnish, a legion of crafters would be forever grateful for your help.

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