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Frugal Friday: Make Your Own T-Shirt Necklace

t-shirt necklace

Welcome to Frugal Friday! Today we are exploring our frugal CRAFTY side with the help of Britta Marie!   Britta writes:  I was recently inspired by the Spring 2014 issue of GreenCraft magazine to make a t-shirt necklace. There are several things I like about this particular project. The FIRST is that I didn’t have to sew anything. I don’t own or even know how to use a sewing machine (sorry Mom!), so that was a relief. The SECOND thing I liked is that it was CHEAP! The only materials you really need for this are a t-shirt and a pendant of some sort, both of which you may already have at home! The THIRD thing I liked about it is that it only took me about 20 minutes to do.

The first step to making a t-shirt necklace is to make some “t-shirt yarn.” I found a really good tutorial showing how to do it on Mollie Makes.

t-shirt necklace

To make the “yarn,” you’ll need a plain t-shirt with no seams on the sides. You’ll be turning the t-shirt into one continuous “thread,” so having seams on the sides would be problematic. A word of caution here: if you purchase a NEW t-shirt for this project, take the time to wash and dry it before starting! I did NOT wash the shirt I bought for this, and ended up with fluffy t-shirt dust everywhere. Not great.

To start, cut the top portion of the shirt off under the sleeves, as well as the bottom hem.

t-shirt necklace

Fold the remaining section in half, leaving an inch of space at the top.

t-shirt necklace

Cut into 1-inch strips, making sure to NOT cut the extra inch at the top.

t-shirt necklace

Then, unfold it along the part you didn’t cut (as best you can).

t-shirt necklace

Starting at one end, make diagonal cuts to the next strip. Continue until you have one continuous strip of t-shirt.

t-shirt necklace

Finally, pull the strip tight so that it rolls into a tube. Keep pulling along the length until the whole strip is tube-shaped.

Step 1 is done! Now you have some really cool t-shirt yarn that you could use for a million different projects.

But we’re still set on making that necklace, so on to Step 2.

t-shirt necklace

Cut 3 long-ish strips from your length of t-shirt yarn. I guesstimated the length by going necklace length, plus several extra inches for some wiggle room.

Make a knot at one end of the 3 strips.

t-shirt necklace

Next, pretend you’re a preteen girl in summer camp and starting BRAIDING! Do your best to keep the braid consistently tight.

Once the braid has reached your desired necklace length, make another knot to tie it off, and you’re done!

t-shirt necklace

While I was doing the braiding portion, I noticed that Katara, my cat, was watching me from under the coffee table with great interest. As it turns out, t-shirt necklaces also make great cat toys! We played with it for a bit and she really liked it, so I decided to be a nice cat mom and just give it to her.

t-shirt necklace

Once I was done with necklace #2 (black this time), I added the pendants. I found this great skeleton key at George’s Architectural Salvage in Salt Lake City, and I found the coat of arms pendant at Walmart in the craft aisle. All I had to do to make them necklace-ready was create a jump ring using copper wire and epoxy. (Obviously, if you have some jump rings already, or can find some easily enough, I would just use those instead. Epoxy is messy.)

t-shirt necklace

I really like how this necklace turned out! I love how unique it is, both because it has a thick “chain,” and because you can make it your own it with whatever pendant you decide to put on it. You can also wear it without a pendant, if you want to! And when you’ve got people lining up to ask you where you got such a cool necklace, you can say, “I made it myself!” (And feel free to leave off the part about it costing pennies to make if you want to!)  :-)

t-shirt necklace

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  • I L O V E this idea!! Not sure I could do it but I’m going to give it a shot. lol I have tons of old tshirts so it’s no problem to find a junky one to use. ;) I’d also probably make a couple or 3 to wear like a scarf. I have short hair though so I’m not sure about how the tying in the back will look. I’ll just have to see. Thanks so much, this is awesome!!

  • Love this idea because I, too, do not sew even though I do own a sewing machine! But like the idea of making my own “stuff.” I see doing this in 3 different colors. I love Jamaica so I think I’ll do my first one in the colors of the Jamaican flag. I wouldn’t even necessarily need a pendant for that. It would also be a great project for my 6 year old granddaughter who finds it very hard to keep still but loves girly things. Love a poster’s idea about doing a belt!

  • Wow, what a fun post and great comments. I love the necklace and will make one but the keychain and belt ideas are great too since I rarely wear any kind of jewelry. Thanks for the creative ideas!

  • I think it would make a great belt. Right after rolling the strands and tying off both ends, you could have a strand belt…………….FOOD FOR THOUGHT …………

  • Great job Britta. I was thinking it would also be great for making lanyards too. You could just loop your keys through for pocketless days or even school id’s.

  • I do like these. I can think of all kinds of uses. Bet they would look cool made out of last year’s DIY tie dye tee shirts. Thinking DIY leis, just hot glue some old fabric f lowers to them. You could also layer them with Mardis Gras beads to stretch that Mardis Gras dollar. Young girls could make necklaces for their Teddy bears and have a Teddy Bear picnic. Thinking fashion collar, instead of the bandana that our dog chews off. Make some red, white & blue for holiday bunting/garland. Make them in team colors for game day. Make an 80’s workout headband (second thought, I think we are better off not touching that one). I think I’ll stop now.
    THANX!

  • What a unique idea Britta! I’m sorry I missed your birthday Jillee. I’m glad you had a great day. Happy Belated Birthday! Hope there are many more!!! Mine was on Wednesday and my fb friends made it so fun. I got to move cows to their calving pasture across from the house yesterday so didn’t know about your birthday.

  • I bet you could do the same thing using a large crochet hook (N hook or larger), keeping the “yarn” as one long strand, and crochet a chain for a necklace! May try this today :-)

  • What a great project! Can hardly wait to make some for my girls. I’m also going to look up Georges in Salt Lake next time I’m down there! Thanks so much!

    • Katara is usually pretty disinterested in toys that we get for her, but she LOVED this one! I think it’s the fact that there were 3 strands to chase and grab instead of just one.

  • I love this. Now to see if my 40 something mind can figure it out.
    I showed it to my mom who works with teenage girls who I can
    See having a blast doing this. You guys are so awesome.

  • My crafty teen will love this idea–thanks!

    Happy Belated Birthday, Jillee. :) Have a safe, happy and healthy year. Thanks for all the info/tips you provide all year long.

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