15 Ways to Re-use an Old Sweater

Creating something with your own hands, whether it's as a gift or a project for yourself, is immensely satisfying. Finding new ways to do it for free when you re-purpose a sweater? So much more so!

I've put together 15 of the prettiest recycled sweater crafts I could find to give you a taste of the possibilities out there. Whether you're using an old favorite that no longer fits, or a new one (to you) discovered at the local thrift shop, you're sure to find an idea to get those creative juices flowing.

A been-there-done-that tip if you are using pure wool or cashmere sweaters: You will want to "felt" these first by washing them in the hottest water possible and machine drying them, because otherwise the first time you try to clean your project you will end up with a dollhouse sized version! Cute, but not all that useful.

Recycling Sweaters to Elevate Your Gift Wrapping

{1} Boxwood Clippings uses the sleeve of a sweater to wrap a cute little box. I'd love to unwrap a gift like this!

{2} Warm Hot Chocolate blog shared her simple, elegant winter wine bottle cover from a sweater sleeve. 5 minutes takes your hostess gift from ordinary to memorable.

{3} Aunt Peaches shows you how to make felt flowers using an old sweater and your washing machine. I love these as a finishing touch for Christmas or birthday gift.

Recycling Sweaters to Wear Again

{4} Beth shows you how to take a button down sweater and turn it into a Cozy Cardigan Cowl and Boot Socks From an Old SweaterMy teen would love making this!

{5} Using old sweaters to make mittens is a classic for a reason. Rebecca Mae Designs has a really clear tutorial on how to make lined mittens from an old sweater that will keep your hands the warmest they've ever been.

{6} Smile and Wave has the easiest poncho tutorial around, and it looks super stylish. She made hers with a length of fabric but it would work amazingly well with pieces of old sweaters instead.

{7} KrisKrafter on Craftsy shares this pattern for these awesome up-cycled sweater flip flops

{8} How about this beautiful lined purse from Lemon Squeezy Home? Another one that would chance its spots by choosing the sweater and lining fabric with care. And it's a make-in-a-day kind of project, too.

{9} Instructables has a terrific tutorial on how to make slippers from an old sweater....for any size of feet (this is especially handy if you have teenage boys or extra-tall husbands!). So straightforward that could make enough for your whole family in a day. And have I mentioned the zero dollar part recently?

Recycling Sweaters For Your Home

{10} Top Inspired shows you how they recycled sweaters to cover old vases and transform the whole look. I love this one for its use of parts I might toss as scrap otherwise.

{11} Better Homes and Gardens had some truly lovely recycled sweater pillows for you to make. The tutorial is more like a few sentences, and the results are so pretty.

{12} Cathy from Lemon Tree Dwelling shows how to make an Easy Mug Cozie from old sweaters. Depending on what pattern and fiber of old sweaters you used, this would make a great gift for almost anyone on your list! Cashmere for the mother in law? Scandinavian patterned thick wool for the outdoors enthusiast? You get the idea.

{13} Update your crayon storage containers with this cute how-to on reinventing an old sweater into new storage options from Carolyn at Home Work

{14} Craftstylish shows you how to make a pet bed from your old favorites. So stinking cute!

{15} If you're looking for a more ambitious project to cozy up your home, how about this felted chair cover tutorial from Better Homes and Gardens?

In the cold winter months, enjoy the warmth of the indoors while feeling good about re-using some of those old sweaters that are just taking up space in your closet!


  1. Marion on June 15, 2019 at 10:11 am

    Can I shorten sleeves on a sweater? I’ve had this sweater for years but the sleeves are about 4inches too long

    • Betsy on June 19, 2019 at 7:40 pm

      The fourth idea shows how to cut a sweater, use a zigzag stitch to keep it from fraying, and then turn under, pin and sew to finish. I know the pain of long sleeved sweaters!

    • Marina Mediuk on March 17, 2023 at 12:18 pm

      Yes, there a way to shorten them. You need to know how to connect them back so it does not look noticeable. You need to save the string long enough that you can use the same thread to weave it back into the 2 pieces. I have shortened long coats like that.

  2. 15 Ways to Re-use an Old Sweater - DIY Clothes on October 11, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    […] If you’re like me, you might have an old sweater or two that you’re never going to wear again. Here are 15 ideas for giving those old sweaters new life! familystyleschool… […]

  3. 15 ways to reuse an old sweater - Repurpose Ideas on November 19, 2019 at 9:25 am

    […] If you're like me, you might have one or two old sweaters that you'll never wear again. Here are 15 ideas to give life to these old sweaters! Family Style School … […]

  4. Melanie on January 14, 2022 at 12:56 pm

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE these ideas. These are some really great ideas that almost anyone can do. I am glad to see there are so many creative people in this world. Thanks for the ideas. I cannot wait to make a pair of slippers.

  5. nonoo on March 17, 2024 at 10:21 am

    Hello, I took information from your website for my scientific research. So I need to know when you wrote this website, can you provide this information to me? Thank you

    • Jason Strauss on April 3, 2024 at 10:02 am

      Hi! Yes, this was posted on 11/22/2017.

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