DIY Headbands From Old T-Shirts

The 8-foot, metal rod in my closet is literally caving at the center. My overstuffed drawers refuse to fully close. My neatly folded pile of sweaters has transformed into an unorganized heap. And I kind of think my roommate is thinking about holding an intervention…

I’m a class-A hoarder when it comes to clothes.

Thus, my closet cannot hold another hanger. But I promise you that’s not going to stop me from buying more clothes.

So, I need to make some space without parting with my dearly beloved clothes. Here’s my solution: repurpose them.


What am I supposed to do with that little league softball shirt? Or my (embarrassing) chess club champion shirt? I can’t even bring myself to throw away my favorite yellow shirt with a stain on the neck (because it’s just SO comfortable!).

So, my first project? Headbands. And lots of them. One T-shirt yields roughly three headbands, so you can see how I ended up with plenty.

Here’s the best part: You don’t have to be an advanced sewer or creative goddess to make these. Trust me; this is coming from the girl who barely passed 7th grade home economics….

The Five-Strand Braided Headband

I began gathering old T-shirts, sticking to jersey cotton material. After experimenting a bit, I found that 100 percent cotton shirts don’t stretch as well as jersey cotton, making it difficult to wear as a headband.


Next, I cut the shirt (length wise) into five  20-inch strips. I recommend making them between 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide. After I cut them, I pulled each strip, stretching it as far as I could.


Here’s where you can cheat a bit.  For this tutorial, I hand-sewed the five strands together, laying them on top of each other. But if the mere thought of a needle and thread gives you nightmares, hot glue works just as well (I tried both).


Now for the five-strand braid. Before you begin, it’s important to know that you will be essentially braiding two braids with a shared middle strand. After I grasped this, braiding became much easier.

I anchored my fabric by putting it under a table leg, making it easier to braid. If you’re working on a table, you could also use heavy-duty tape.

Here’s how to braid a 5-strand braid:

When you’ve braided as far as you want, sew or hot glue the ends so they don’t come undone. Once you have the right length, sew the two ends together. Don’t worry if it looks messy, you can cover it up with extra fabric.


To finish, cut a small piece of fabric, wrapping it around the part where the two ends meet. Then sew or hot glue the seam.


Once you’ve got the hang of it, try out some different combinations. Here are a few I put together using more t-shirts I found and a some cheap chain from the hardware store.




6 thoughts on “DIY Headbands From Old T-Shirts

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