Looking for a fun and eco-friendly way to create your own potholders? Look no further than your old t-shirts! With just a few simple steps, you can transform your worn-out shirts into colorful and durable potholder loops that are perfect for weaving.
After the kitchen was remodeled, I tried to find potholders to match the browns in the marble and cabinets, and the all the rich, deep red accent pieces I used. When I couldn’t find anything I liked, I decided to make my own potholders.
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How to make potholder loops from upcycled T-shirts
When you were a kid, did you make potholders on a potholder loom? I did. And I still have two of them!
But what I couldn’t find anywhere were loops in the right colors. And the price of commerically made loops was astronomical!
I also wanted the durability of cotton, because nylon will sometimes melt and scorch if it gets too close to the flame on the gas stove. Since I couldn’t find what I wanted anywhere, I decided to make my own darn loops!
What you will need:
- clean T-shirts, tank tops, turtlenecks, or any shirts made of cotton jersey
- a potholder loom
- curtain rings
Making potholder loops
Flatten out the first T-shirt on a table, and cut across the shirt right under the sleeves. For making loops, you will only be using the top half of the shirt.
Save the bottom part of the shirt, because I have a great project for using the remaining pieces of the T-shirts!
Each shirt is going to have a different amount of stretch to it, so there isn’t an exact measurement to use for the next step.
Hold a section of the shirt over the loom, and stretch it to see how much fabric is needed to go from the pin on one side of the loom to the pin on the other side – with a little bit of “give” for weaving. You don’t want the loops to be so tight that you can’t weave them! The loops I made are roughly 3 1/2″ long.
Steps for cutting the loops
- Cut 36 rectangles in your choice of colors – (cutting them across the shirts, not from neckline down) that will stretch from one side of the loom to the other
- Fold each rectangle in half, and cut down the center, ending about 1/4″ from the end of the rectangle
- With your scissors, round off the ends of the rectangles
- You now have a finished potholder loop!
Adding loops to the loom
Once you have put on the first layer of loops, add the top layer.
Colors and patterns
Loops can be added in random colors, or you can make a pattern by grouping colors, or alternating the colors evenly. For this potholder, I put the loops on in random order, but didn’t put two of the same color next to each other.
And now to weave!
Take the first loop on the top layer, and weave it under the RIGHT side of each loop on the lower layer.
With the next loop on the top layer, weave it under the LEFT side of each loop on the lower layer. You’ll notice that the side of the loop that you want to pick up and weave under will be a little lower than the side you just wove in the previous row.
Keep weaving all the rows by alternating going under the right side of the lower loop in the row, then going under the left side of the lower loop in the row.
Occasionally, squish the woven rows together pushing them up in case you are weaving too loosely.
Now sit back and admire your work! Doesn’t that look great? Let’s finish the potholder and take it off the loom.
Finishing the edges and removing the potholder from the loom
If you are familiar with crochet, finishing is basically a chain stitch.
Starting from one corner, take the second loop, and push it through the center of the first loop.
Continue by pushing the third loop through the loop you are holding. Keep going all around the loom.
As you go around the loom chaining the loops, the remaining loops may try to slip off the frame. To keep your weaving stabilized, grab a finished corner and hook it onto the pins of the loom.
Once you are done finishing off the loops, you can pull the potholder back into shape if it looks a little warped.
All done finishing, and the potholder is off the loom!
Add a ring to the last loop
To finish off the potholder, you may want to add a curtain ring so you can hang your potholder on a hook above the stove. Sometimes rings are hard to find, so that’s why I’ve provided this link to Amazon.
You are almost done!
Some of the loops may have extra fabric that needs a little trimming. With your scissors, carefully cut off the ragged ends.
Admire your work!!!
I started making potholder when I was about 7 years old, and this is a great project for kids to do!
What do I love about handwoven potholders?
- They wear like iron! I still have some that I made for my mom when I was a little kid. The colors don’t match the kitchen, but the potholders themselves are still in perfect condition.
- These potholders go into the washer and dryer with the rest of the clothes. Since we made them from old T-shirts, there is no shrinkage and the colors won’t run
- The weaving makes them dense, so you won’t burn your fingers when handling hot cookware.
- Custom. Colors.
- great for gift-giving too!
By weaving your own potholders using recycled t-shirt loops, you not only get to create something unique and practical, but you also get to do your part in reducing waste and promoting sustainability. Plus, it’s a fun activity that you can do alone or with friends and family. So gather up those old shirts, grab a loom, and start weaving!
2 thoughts on “How to Make Potholders from Upcycled T-Shirts”
Great idea! JW, why do you only use the top part of the T-shirt?
I use the top part of the T-shirts because they are what is left after I make yarn from the body of the shirt. Zero waste! I use the T-shirt yarn to knit throw rugs. https://doityourselfskills.com/how-to-make-t-shirt-yarn/