DIY T-Shirt Scarf / Necklace Tutorial!

Posted on January 11, 2014

I’m home from Calgary after 5 weeks there and back in Vancouver now! It’s still cold here but nothing like it was over there. That cold was just crazy, sometimes goes down to -35 degrees Celsius with windchill. My friends were saying that you could get frostbite in 10 minutes standing outside.

So, I wanted to make scarves this week since we’ll probably have two more months of cold weather. I googled lots and lots of t-shirt scarves and there are so many cool ones – I might end up doing a whole series of t-shirt scarf videos. Let me know if you’d like that!

I used my already cut up Hobbit Smaug t-shirt so I’m actually re-recycling t-shirts. Even though the t-shirt is cut up with holes, I figured it wouldn’t affect my scarf that much.

Some tips on picking out your t-shirts:

  • Size: You can use any old t-shirt but you want it to be large. The bigger the t-shirt, the longer your scarf will hang down so try to find the biggest ones you can! I used a size medium t-shirt for mine and after wrapping around your head twice, it becomes a very small / tight scarf.
  • Seams: It’s ok to use any t-shirt but the ones without seams long the side of your body  are better because you’ll have thin, even ropes, instead of having bumps and a chance the seam will unravel from pulling and come apart. If your t-shirt does have seams, make sure you cut thicker strips – do 1 inch thick.
  • Re-recycle: You can even use a t-shirt that you’ve cut up before but it didn’t work out or you don’t like it anymore.
  • Colours/Patterns: Shirts with colours or patterns that are part of the fabric will make the scarf look really cool and really unique, like striped fabric, tie-dye or bleached t-shirts.
  • Avoid graphics: Avoid t-shirts that have printed graphics below the armpits because it will prevent the fabric from rolling along the edges when you stretch out the strips, making some of the ropes look irregular.
  • Use more than one: Consider using more than one t-shirt in your scarf. This will add more bulk when you wear it. Plus, it’ll look more interesting with different colours. You could do contrasting colours like black and white or shades of the same colour.


Here are some photos from Google and Pinterest for colour inspiration! Check out my account for more.

Step 1: Extend the length of the t-shirt

Do not cut off the bottom hem of the t-shirt. I used to do this in my tutorials but I’ve realized you can just remove the threading here and extend the length of your t-shirt! See the de-threading tutorial here!


Step 2: Cut horizontally across your t-shirt

Most tutorials online tell you to cut the strips all the way across so each loop becomes separated. But I’m going to try leaving 0.5 inches on one end so all the fabric is still attached. Cut strips 1 inch apart all the way up the t-shirt to the bottom of the armpit holes and then stretch everything out! The ropes will become very thin and stretch out longer.

If you don’t cut the loops all the way across, they will all still be attached and you can wear it right away (after cutting and stretching). Recommended more for t-shirts without side seams.

If your t-shirt does have a side seam, you’re better off cutting strips into separated loops and wrapping the seam ends so it’s hidden. Cut a loop or two from the leftover t-shirt fabric – try to find the longest area you could cut. Use to wrap around the seams. Start off by tying a knot then start wrapping neatly and tightly. Knot a few more times throughout so it’s secured in multiple places (not just beginning and end). Double knot to finish it off. Use a safety pin to help weave the loose ends through the wrapped part to hide the ends. You’ll need to repeat this process for the second side.


Step 3: Customize and style!

  • Add jewelry, broaches and beads into the scarf
  • Add a tassel using scrap fabric from the rest of the t-shirt
  • Section off scarf into loops with short strings
  • Loop loops into smaller loops and tie together into a chain
  • Incorporate braids into the ropes (not exactly sure how yet)

Hope you liked this tutorial! Don’t forget to follow my Cut Up Tees Facebook Fanpage.


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