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5 minute DIY: Upcycled T-shirt necklaces

Posted by Melissa Massello  May 10, 2013 10:32 AM

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howto_DIY_tshirt_necklace_shoestring_upcycled.jpg

Photo: Melissa Massello/Shoestring

Since 2008, around the time Necklush arrived on the Etsy scene, multi-strand necklaces made from upcycled T-shirts have been all the rage in hipster fashion. The big secret is: these grunge-chic accessories take all of 5-minutes (and little to no crafting skill) to make.

Using thrift store tees from the Goodwill Outlet and Garment District's Buck-a-Pound, we created this little 3-minute video tutorial showing how to make a unique, personalized, and totally eco-friendly necklace in exactly as much time.

Hello, easy (last-minute) Mother's Day present!

DIY Boston: Upcycled T-Shirt Necklaces from Melissa Massello on Vimeo.

If you're interested in making the (only slightly) more advanced version containing a braided strand made of T-shirt strips, here are some step-by-step instructions in photos:

diy tshirt necklaces

First, you need your T-shirts, preferably without side seams (as explained in the video), a nice sharp pair of fabric scissors (like Fiskars), and optionally a sewing kit, if you want to permanently secure the necklace.

redbird_tshirt_necklace_strips
redbird_tshirt_DIY_funny
diy tshirt necklaces

Fold the T-shirt in half, with the folded side facing you, and cut the T-shirt into approximately 2" strips. (It's fun if you have a helper, like my friend Amanda Dugay Forrester of Redbird Vintage, who makes refashioned headwear and was the perfect partner in crime for a little lunchtime "crafternoon" last week!)

diy tshirt necklaces

Once you have your T-shirt strips cut and stretched into rolled loops, cut each loop in half (at both looped ends). You may notice that some loops are larger than others, because one of your T-shirts was slightly larger than the other, or more stretched out at the bottom than in the middle, and that's actually great for the braided strands because it will give you an extra allowance to tie the finished braid together.

diy tshirt necklaces
diy tshirt necklaces
diy tshirt necklaces

Take three strands of the cut T-shirt loops and knot them together, leaving about 3" of the longer loop at the end (if you have a longer loop), as in the top photo. Begin braiding until you get about 4" from the end, and then knot again to secure.

diy tshirt necklaces
diy tshirt necklaces

When you're done, the braided loop should look like the ones above, with two longer strands at the ends. Tie the two longer strands together and knot twice to secure.

diy tshirt necklaces
diy tshirt necklaces

Then, trim the ends of the shorter strands and the ends of the knot to clean things up and make the braid look a bit more professional (especially if you opt not to secure the finished necklace with fabric, as shown in the video).

diy tshirt necklaces
diy tshirt necklaces
diy tshirt necklaces
diy tshirt necklaces

Voila! A totally unique, eco-friendly gift and an accessory that you, your mom, or another lucky recipient will totally love. Try making them in trendy color combinations for summer, or in school colors to support your (or mom's) favorite teams.

If you're interested in purchasing one of these T-shirt necklaces or bracelets, which we made & are selling to raise donations for One Fund, please check out our Etsy shop. 100% of all sales (after listing & processing fees) will be donated at the end of each month!


This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the Authors

Melissa Massello is a newspaper journalist turned startup junkie and lifelong Bostonian who prides herself on her do-it-yourself attitude. From making her prom dress out More »
Tara Bellucci is a Boston-based writer that lives for fonts, food, and flea market finds. Whether decorating jars of her homemade jam for The Boston More »

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