Make, mend, recycle: upcycled T-shirt necklace

Don’t throw away tired T-shirts: transform them into beautifully crafted necklaces with this easy hand-knitting technique.

We love Kate at The Makery’s simple and beautiful craft ideas. This make involves creating a length of yarn from an old T-shirt – once you know how, you can use these stretchy lengths for any number of craft activities. Even better, anything made from cotton jersey can be repurposed into the yarn (how about those old pyjamas?).

You will need:

• A T-shirt
• Scissors
• Optional: a large needle and two beads with large holes

Make the T-shirt yarn:


Step 1

Cut the bottom hem from the T-shirt.

Step 2

Starting on the right edge, cut strips across your T-shirt from the bottom up, stopping around 7cm before you get to the left edge. Each strip should be roughly 1.5-2cm wide.

Step 3

When you’ve cut as much as you need, continue to cut the top of the final strip all the way to the left edge. To make a necklace like mine, you’ll need at least 4 strips (you may need more if your T-shirt is smaller). My recommendation is to cut all the way up to the armholes to give you as much yarn as possible.

Step 4

Open out the T-shirt at the left edge.

Step 5

Cut a diagonal line from the centre-right bottom edge, up to the start of the first strip on the left as shown in the picture.

Step 6

Continue to cut in diagonal lines to make one long continuous length of yarn, as shown in the picture.

Step 7

Stretch all the yarn out; you’ll notice the edges roll in on themselves to create a neat length of T-shirt yarn. The yarn won’t roll in on the seams, but don’t worry − we can conceal those bits later on.

Make your necklace:


Step 8

Starting 30cm in from one end of the yarn, wind the yarn around your fingers; over, under, over, under.

Step 9

Wind the yarn back in the opposite direction, so each finger has one loop across it.

Step 10

Take the yarn back and forth one more time over and under your fingers, so that each finger has two loops across it.

Step 11

Starting with the little finger, take the bottom loop over the top loop and over the top of your finger.

Step 12

Repeat this step for your three remaining fingers, so you’re left with one loop on each finger. Again, wind the yarn back and forth over and under each finger to create two loops on each finger. Then continue to hook the bottom loop over the top one and over your finger. Continue this process until the knitted yarn on the other side of your hand is as long as you’d like.

Step 13

To check the length, turn your hand over and pull the knitting out. This will make it neater and give you a better idea on the size.

Step 14

When the knitting is long enough, take the loop on your index finger and move it across to your 2nd finger. Then take the bottom loop on the 2nd finger and hook it over the top loop and over the top of your finger. Repeat this process until you’re left with one loop on your little finger.

Step 15

Cut the end of the yarn so it’s roughly 30cm longer than the end of your knitting. Thread the cut end through the loop and pull tight.

Step 16 (optional)

Thread the end of the yarn through the needle, and thread on a bead. Repeat for the other side.

Step 17

Tuck in and trim any of the hem edges which are poking out. Then tie a bow in the ends of yarn and wear your new necklace with pride!

Find out more about The Makery at and on Instagram @themakerykate.

Show us your necklaces using #SeasaltArtsClub.