Clever Ways To Repurpose An Old Bed Sheet Around The Home And Garden

Once our bed sheets get ripped, stained, worn-down, or simply go out of style, it's hard to find a new purpose for them. Depending on your personal design aesthetic, you may have swapped all your old linens for luxury sheets or are still figuring out the best bed sheets for every season. Regardless of rhyme or reason, many homeowners have an old set of bed sheets sitting in the linen closet that they no longer have a purpose for. If that sounds like you, we've got a solution. Below, we've listed a number of clever ways to repurpose old bed sheets around the home and backyard, from creating new bedding to adding an extra layer of protection to your garden.

Unfortunately, only 15.8% of all textiles like sheets and pillowcases were recycled in 2018, per the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Much of what wasn't recycled ended up in a landfill and has contributed to the many environmental hazards around us. Further, year after year, many still continue to throw away their old sheets — it has become human nature to allow our sheets to grow old, toss them out, and simply replace them with new ones without a second thought. However, there are plenty of simple ways to repurpose them and reduce your carbon footprint. All it takes is a bit of creativity, effort, and, of course, the old linens.

Protect your garden

One way to insulate your plants in winter is by placing a sheet over the garden at night, ensuring that your plants receive some much-needed warmth when temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Rather than purchasing a frost cloth or a lightweight fabric intended for plants, an old bed sheet will help you achieve the same results without spending a dime. To be certain your plants stay protected, anchor the sheet in place around the edges with something heavy like wooden logs and keep it off your plants with arches or stakes. With this foolproof method, you're likely to have a garden that lasts all year long.

Turn it into a patchwork quilt

Patchwork quilts are one of the best ways to collectively use up old bed sheets, all while turning old fabrics into memorabilia and a piece that will add more personality to your space. To make a simple patchwork quilt, you'll need cotton batting to use as a foundation. Once you've selected the appropriate base, you'll cut approximately 40 10-inch by 10-inch squares that can be of different fabrics and designs. Any additional fabric can be used as binding material, which are small strips that bring each patchwork piece together through binding stitches. 

Create a wall tapestry

Tapestries are an easy way to get rid of old bed sheets while adding personalization to your room. Using any uniquely-designed bed sheet of your choice, cut off extra fabric that you don't need with a straight edge. Once you're satisfied with the cut, you can pin or use command strips to attach the homemade tapestry to your wall. This will provide you with an oversized piece of "artwork" that has some texture as well. Consider adding some string lights around the wall hanging to enhance the look (and your room) even more.

Make a grocery drawstring bag

Out of reusable bags? Try bed sheets. Instead of carrying around paper and plastic bags, upcycled old bed sheets can be a sturdy alternative. Cut the seams out of your sheet, then cut out two 16-inch by 14-inch rectangles. Then, place them over one another and sew the bottom and sides shut. You'll then sew a flap at the top for the drawstring channel and put jute twine, cotton string, or a long piece of leftover fabric through the channel — a pipe cleaner can help with this. Finally, you can add wooden beads to the ends and knot the ends. 

DIY formal dinner napkins

Hosting dinner parties is back, and that means that you may be in need of some formal dinner napkins. To make them yourself, select a fabric that can match or compliment your tablecloth before cutting out small, lap-size squares for your guests to use. If you're up for a challenge, try folding in and stitching each side of the square's frame for a more polished look. Place these small napkins in front of each guest's plate. You can either neatly fold them or place them inside napkin rings.

Use as a tablecloth

To match your newly-stitched dinner napkins, why not simply lay the rest of the fabric over your table? These makeshift tablecloths are perfect for catching any spills and stains, all while adding a bit of character to your dinner parties. Once the bed sheet is placed over the table, you may cut off any extra fabric and use it for another repurposing idea, if desired. For your tablecloth, just about any type of bed sheet will do, but a twin-size fitted sheet will wrap around your table, preventing it from blowing away in the wind if used outside or sliding off of a slick surface.

Soften a dog or cat bed

Are you looking to make your pet's bed more comfy? The answer is an old sheet. One of the easiest ways to upcycle an old sheet is by tracing and cutting the fabric around your pet's bed. You can then place the comfy fabric on top of your pet's bed, fill it with cotton batting to ensure ultimate coziness, and stitch the sides of the sheet to the bed. Or, if you want to make a bed from scratch, cut out two equal pieces of fabric, sew three of the sides shut, stuff it with soft materials, and sew the final side shut. 

Cut cleaning cloths

A simple way to reuse your old bed sheets, especially if they're already torn or stained, is as cleaning cloths. To do this, simply cut the material up into small squares and store the cloths with your other cleaning supplies. The soft fabric won't scratch or damage any surfaces, and the squares can be cleaned in the washing machine after each use, making them a better option over one-time use paper towels. Further, using this fabric instead of your fancy towels to clean up dirty messes could keep those items from getting stained.

Fashion a fort for kids

Forts can be an exciting addition to your backyard garden or playground. Further, no cuts or stitches are involved, which makes this an easy and fun project. Find two trees that are close together, then tie a string between the trunks before laying a bed sheet over the top. The fabric will create the roof, and you can finish off the structure by placing another sheet underneath the fort for seating. Add pillows, blankets, and anything else your kid desires to make a cozy outdoor fort. During the colder months of the year, you can bring this fort inside and use furniture instead of trees.

Utilize as a projector screen

Are you always up for a movie night? Enhance the experience by using an old linen as a projector screen. Using clothespins or command hooks, attach a long and thin sheet along an empty wall. With a smartphone projector, screen mirroring, or an actual movie projector, point the projection towards the linen panel. Grab a drink, pop some popcorn, and you're ready for movie night! This could be done on an exterior wall of your home on a warm summer night, or it could be completed inside your space on any blank wall. 

Repurpose as gift wrap

Last but (certainly) not least, there's one final way to ensure you upcycle the very last scraps of your old bed sheets. Bed sheets are an environmentally-friendly way to wrap gifts, especially during the holidays. Much like wrapping paper, bed sheets can be cut, folded, and taped (or tied) as a creative and personalized gift wrap. Rather than ripping your way through store-bought paper, bed sheets are a sturdy alternative to celebrate birthdays, holidays, and any other events where presents are received that will last for years to come, thereby saving you money.