22 Clever Ways To Repurpose Old Jeans Around The Home And Garden

Jeans can be some of the most loved items in your closet, often lasting for years of wear. When their time as clothing has ended, they can also be the hardest to part with. But thanks to much recent emphasis on upcycling, repurposing, and sustainable design, you may not have to. With some simple sewing skills and ingenuity, you can use those blue jeans to create a wealth of fun DIY projects that are both beautiful and highly functional for your home.

Denim is one of the strongest fabrics out there, so it makes a great element in any project where durability is necessary. Old denim also wears and washes to a soft, beautiful texture that only grows more charming over time. The vibe of upcycled denim complements a number of design aesthetics, including shabby chic, cottage, farmhouse, and bohemian décor. Using them for DIY projects is also a great way to keep old jeans out of landfills, where textiles count for a huge percentage of trash created by humans.

1. Coasters

A fun and easy DIY sewing project is to turn your jeans into fabric coasters. Cut two identically-sized squares and sew around the perimeter and in a X-shape across the diagonal. Allow the edges to be loose and they will fray, giving a rustic look to the coasters. You can also cut the jeans into circles and sew along the outside edge. If you want your coasters to have a bit more thickness, sew a piece of cardboard or quilt batting between the layers. Or use just the pockets for a cute pocket-shaped coaster.

2. Throw pillows

You can turn any part of a pair of old jeans into a cover for a throw pillow. Use the top of the jeans to make a cute pocketed pillow, with elements like patches, rivets, and zippers visible, or use the legs to make smaller cushions. You can also create a large pillow cover by employing a patchwork design using several pairs of jeans. Or mix the denim fragments with other upcycled fabrics and elements like lace, ribbon, and buttons for a shabby chic-style cushion that is unique and one-of-a-kind. Using upcycled denim for pillows is a great way to embrace the denim décor trend.

3. Rug

There are numerous approaches to turning old jeans into a stylish rug, including weaving thin strips on a traditional loom. Braided rag rugs made from upcycled fabric are a great way to put jeans to use. You can also use a mesh fabric (like a non-slip rug backing) as a framework for tying smaller strips of denim into knots, creating a frayed rag rug with various colors and interesting shading. To make a round rug from old jeans, wrap the pieces of denim around a rope and begin coiling it, sewing each new rotation with thread to the previous row. Denim is also highly absorbent and makes a great shower mat.

4. Baskets

A denim basket is a perfect piece to fit your cottage, boho, or rustic aesthetic. Create a simple basket by cutting the denim into strips and carefully weaving it around a container in the desired shape, like another basket, a bowl, or a plastic bucket. You can also sew together rectangular pieces made from denim scraps. Fold it around to create the sides, using a round cardboard reinforced piece as the bottom. You can also add additional reinforced fabric strips or lengths of rope to create handles for the basket.

5. Curtains

Use denim pieces to create a patchwork curtain for any room. You can intersperse the fabric squares from the jeans with other pieces from different materials, or make the curtain entirely from several pairs of jeans. Leave the curtain unlined, or add a single layer of fabric on the reverse side to make it thicker. Denim makes an excellent blackout fabric that allows less light through, so they make perfect curtains if you like keeping a room dark during the day. Add some simple strips of denim or other fabric along the top, secured with a button closure, to hang them on the rod. 

6. Blanket or bedspread

Denim is an excellent element to add to any bed, including stylish quilts made entirely from old jean fabrics. Cut your denim into quilting squares then sew them together, using some solid fabric as a backing and some batting. Use different pairs and washes of denim, including white, to create a gorgeously varied pattern. For a rugged frayed look, sew the pieces together about a half-inch in and allow the remaining denim to fray with a little help from a comb. Use the quilt as a bedspread, picnic blanket, or beautiful wall hanging.

7. Hanging organizer

With their durability and number of pockets, jeans can be adeptly fashioned into hanging organizers with some simple sewing. Use some wide strips of fabric, backed with another material, to create a hanging pocket organizer. Or use the top part of the jeans with the existing pockets to hold smaller items. Cut the seams between the front and the back, then sew them together vertically so that all pockets are visible on the front. Another cute DIY idea uses just the pockets sewn onto a large piece of fabric in rows. Deploy these organizers to hold office supplies, sunglasses, or hair accessories and tools.

8. Planter

For a fun, whimsical addition to your garden, consider making an entire pair of old jeans into a planter. Adhere the jeans to an oval-shaped planter with some hot glue and allow the legs to dangle down. Fill them with batting, newspaper, or straw to flesh them out then pose your jeans on a bench. For a version without the legs, use just the top part of the jeans around a planter, cut down to the same height. Add patches or other detailing to decorate your phantom pair of legs.

9. Upholstery or slipcover

Denim makes a great slipcover or upholstery fabric due to its softness and durability. You can use the material for a full DIY upholstery redo by sewing several pairs of jeans together to cover a large piece of furniture like a sofa. Or just add a small piece on a chair cushion, affixed with staples on the underside. You can also create a simple, large furniture throw or loose slipcover by sewing different pairs of jeans together in a patchwork pattern. Denim is great if you have pets or children and need to wash the cover often, since it will just get softer and subtler with every additional laundering. 

10. Book covers

If you're looking for a great way to unify your home library or a curated stack of books on a table or shelf, you can make simple sewn book covers out of denim that just slip over the existing covers. They also work great for books that you are in the process of reading, protecting them from spills or tattered covers. Sew a long rectangle the size of the book with pocket enclosures on each end to slip over the book's original cover. You can also add a pocket to the front for holding your bookmark, post-it notes, or highlighter pens.

11. Gardening apron

Fashion your old jeans into adorable gardening aprons with lots of pockets for stowing seeds, clippers, and other supplies. Cut the top part of the jeans from the legs and use some alternate fabric as a cute trim to keep the jeans from fraying. Then open the jeans at the center front seam and add a tie to either side to secure it around your waist. You can also make a larger version, perfect for the kitchen, sewing a little more to create a top segment that ties around your neck. 

12. Pencil cases

A great way to securely stow pencils and other similar tools is to store them in a pouch or pencil case. Because they are small and rather simple to create, these pouches make an excellent, simple sewing project for beginners. For a basic pouch, create two rectangles of fabric and sew them together before adding a zipper. For a pouch that stands up on its own, use smaller pieces of fabric whose seams will provide a stiffer cube-like shape. Add pins, lace, or other decorative elements to personalize. Use small tabs of fabric at either end for a finished look, or create a loop for a carrying handle. 

13. Pet toys

Because it's so durable, denim is a great fabric for making pet toys. For a simple cat toy, create a square pillow with two pieces of fabric and fill with some batting and dried catnip. Or cut your pieces into a mouse shape and sew them together, adding yarn and other fun elements to create eyes, ears, whiskers, and a tail. For dogs, cut out a bone shape and sew in some cotton filling. Or use strips of denim to create a braid that will stand up to even the most rambunctious pup as a tug-a-war toy. 

14. Wreath

There are numerous fun ways to turn everyday denim into beautiful wreaths for any occasion. For a simple wreath, use a foam wreath form wrapped in strips of denim and secured with hot glue, adding decorative accents like lace and flowers for a shabby chic aesthetic. Or tie strips of denim fabric, in various shades and washes, in knots around a wire wreath form to create a fringed wreath that makes a beautiful addition to your décor. You can also cut round pieces of fabric and fold them into small rosettes, attaching them with glue to a wreath form. 

15. Draft stopper

A perfect solution to a very common problem is to take the legs from a pair of jeans and create a long pillow to stop drafts from slipping in under doors. Cut two long strips and sew them together after filling them with plastic beads, beans, or rice. The thick fabric and filling will help eliminate the chill air, and can also be used to hold a door open. It's also very washable if it gets dirty. Make a similar, smaller version as an easy way to hold books open hands-free.

16. Ottoman or pouf cover

A stylish way to rehab an old ottoman or pouf using old denim is to create a new cover using several scraps. Begin by creating a pattern for the top of the ottoman, planning how to piece your fragments together. For the perimeter of the piece, create a long rectangle, also from denim scraps, and wrap it around. Add some elastic on the underside that you can slip around the bottom then sew it all together. It's an especially charming look if you add some patches and appliques to the sides and top. 

17. Beverage sleeve

Another simple sewing project for beginners, using old denim jeans, is creating cup sleeves to help avoid burned fingers and assist in keeping coffee warmer. Just sew a couple of rectangles together with snaps or buttons to fasten them around the cup. Or use stretchable denim to create a simple expanding sleeve. For a more advanced project using larger pieces of denim sewn together, create a cozy to keep a French press or pot from cooling down too fast. You can also create a fun "jeeve" (coffee jean sleeve), using a contrasting thread to design tiny pockets and seams that make your project look like a tiny pair of pants.

18. Holiday stocking

A great holiday project is to turn your old jeans into rustic holiday stockings. Just cut two stocking-shaped pieces from the legs and sew them together on all sides but the top. Add a pocket to the front or finish with other kinds of fabric for a patchwork look. You can also add patches with holiday accents like poinsettias, bells, or reindeer to the stocking, or sew on other elements like trim, buttons, beads, and crystals. If you sew the stocking together a little further in from the edge, you can create a fringed perimeter perfect for a shabby, rustic look. 

19. Wall art

Jeans, with their rich color, can make beautiful pieces of art for your walls. Use a stencil to create designs by deploying bleach on a flat piece of denim. Mat and frame them for a truly original piece of art. Alternatively, use a large stick to create hanging objects, with feathers created from denim pieces, for a lovely boho look. Like canvas, denim can be stretched across wood to form a backdrop for painting. Use acrylics or fabric paint to make your design, or add elements like old jewelry, buttons, trim, and lace to create a stunning mixed media piece. 

20. Flowers

Due to its thickness, denim is a great medium for creating fabric flowers. Use them as decorative accents or add wire stems to create a stunning bouquet. Cut denim into circles and bunch them together to create rosettes secured with glue. Or use strips of denim to fold into a perfect blue rose. You can also cut them into the shapes of daisies, violets, and other flowers. They make cute additions to pillows, furniture, curtains, and table runners. For a beautiful centerpiece, create a bunch of denim flowers in various shapes, sizes, and washes and place them in a basket or vase.

21. Picture frame

For an easy way to display photos, create a simple cardboard frame and cover it in old denim and other decorative accents. These soft but durable objects make great temporary frames that fit a rustic-style space. Because they are simple and inexpensive to create, you can make a lot of them in various shapes, sizes, and shades of denim. Or employ them as small keepsake frames attached to gifts. This is also a great way to preserve a favorite or cherished piece of denim with a souvenir photo tucked inside. 

22. Storage bins

A great way to make your storage both functional and beautiful is to create durable bins out of your jeans that are perfect for organizing closets, toy rooms, and other spaces. Use hot glue to cover your boring cardboard storage boxes and bins with denim fabric. Or create deep bins from scratch, using the thick seams to add structure to the sides. Line them with a fun complimentary fabric inside. You can also add handles and labels for a more finished look. Smaller bins are great for organizing toiletries and office supplies, while larger ones are perfect for storing clothes, shoes, and toys.