How To Make Recycled T-Shirt Potholders

Heather Dessinger

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DIY Recycled T-Shirt Potholders #upcycled #t-shirtcrafts #diy

“Life is about using the whole box of crayons.” ~ Unknown
If you hadn’t guessed after seeing the colors pictured in this t-shirt tote bag tutorial, the overall vibe of my house is probably best described as “oh hey, a box of non-toxic crayons exploded on a gray canvas!

I’m also a minimalist by necessity. When Daddypotamus and I bought our homestead, we downsized our home by more than half in terms of square footage. Living in a small space has certain challenges, like figuring out how to incorporate beautiful things without filling up the home with lots of unnecessary stuff.

The answer? Make beautiful things that are also useful!

My potholder collection has become pretty worn lately, so after seeing some recycled t-shirt potholders on Pinterest, I decided to grab a $2 loom and experiment. This tutorial (and this one!) were really helpful, but it took me awhile to figure out how to make ruffled edges instead of straight ones. Because yeah, I may dig 170 foot trenches for fun, but I also like ruffles.

If you try this, I recommend putting them together while listening to a great podcast or watching a movie. Like adult coloring books that have become so popular lately, it’s pretty relaxing if you allow yourself to take some time and enjoy the process.

How to make t-shirt potholders

How To Make Potholders Out Of Recycled T-Shirts


  • Loom and hook (I bought mine at a local craft store for $2.47, but you can also find them here)
  • T-shirts*
  • Cloth scissors (Or a pair of regular scissors)
  • Fabric glue – Optional but recommended (I like Tear Mender because it is made with natural latex. )

* I bought some from our local thrift store that said things like “2007 Men’s Conference” and “Spring 2008 Walk-A-Thon.” It depends on the size, but one large t-shirt should make about one potholder. I opted to use several colors and use the leftover material for other projects.

DIY Recycled T-Shirt Potholders #upcycled #t-shirtcrafts #diy



Cut off the hem of the bottom of the t-shirt.


Determine whether the fabric is more stretchy when pulled in one direction or another – some are, while others are equally stretchy in all directions. Cut the t-shirt into strips that are 6 inches long and 2¼-2½ inches wide – the 6 inch length should work with the stretchiness of the fabric.

Strips of Cloth You Never Have On Hand
Strips of Cloth You Never Have On Hand


Fold the fabric in half and cut a 2 inch slit down the center.


Continue cutting the t-shirt into strips until you have enough for the length and width of the loom. You may not need all of them, but it’s good to have everything on hand before you get started. Add your first strip to the loom like this . . .



. . . and continue adding strips until one side is completely full.


To get started on the other side, weave the strips over and under in an alternating fashion. For example, the white strip in the center starts by going over, while the orange strip starts by going under. I used my fingers for this step, but you can use a weaving hood if you prefer. If your t-shirt fabric is exceptionally thick you may find that you need to skip a few pegs to get the right fit. That’s totally fine!


Some t-shirt material stretches more than the rest, so when I’ve finished weaving I trim off any that is super long. To finish the edges, watch the video below. (If you are unable to view the video, written instructions can be found underneath the video.)

Video Finishing Instructions

Written Finishing Instructions


Grab the hook that came with your loom and choose a t-shirt strip on one of the corners. Pull the hook through the loop.


Next, place the hook through the loop in the t-shirt strip next to the corner strip. You should now have both strips on the hook.


Finally, pull the second strip through the hole in the first. Now grab the third strip (in this photo, that would be the gray one) and pull it through the second one (the dark purple). Repeat this process until you’ve complete all four sides. When you get to the end, either tie the two strips near the corner together or secure the area with a little fabric glue.

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Heather is a holistic health educator, herbalist, DIYer, Lyme and mold warrior. Since founding in 2009, Heather has been taking complicated health research and making it easy to understand. She shares tested natural recipes and herbal remedies with millions of naturally minded mamas around the world. 

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21 thoughts on “How To Make Recycled T-Shirt Potholders”

  1. A relative got me hooked on making these years ago and I have been making them ever since. The only pot holders I use are the ones I make and I think they are better and thicker than the ones you can buy at the store.

  2. I used to always leave the last loop at the corner for hanging the potholder. Sometimes I would tie a knot in it(like one would tie off a balloon) for added security.
    I absolutely love the colors and patterns you chose!

    • I prefer the metal looms, which can be found on Amazon. And , I’ve seen them in toy stores. I found an original boxed loom and weaving hook like my childhood set, on EBay. Now they can also be found in plastic (as shown, but why take the chance of breakage). I’ve even seen a larger loom, in a yarn shop, etsy, etc.

      • The looms are everywhere. I can always find a vintage one on eBay. Harris ville Designs, back East, has the traditional size and a larger one. Keep in mind that the potholder will shrink down a bit when it comes off the loom.

        • I have been to the Harrisville Design Mill
          Store. They have both size looms, loops in beautiful colors, hooks, and a great book with many potholder designs. It was a long ways from home but well worth the trip. They are online and a have a mail order catalog.

  3. I used to make loom pot holders all the time with pre made loops as a child. I wanted to make them with old T-shirt’s but I was trying to figure out how to make loops. Thanks for the idea.

  4. I too used to make loom pot holders as a child. It was probably a hand-me-down kind of craft kit item from grandma, or one of her friends. The bag of pre-made loops came with plenty of ugly colors. I much prefer your bright, rainbow array.

    • This is so cute! I’d like to make a bigger version to use as trivets. Can you thing of a way I could attach 4 together, quilt-style? I guess I could just sew them, lol, but I mean a cute way :). Or do you think I should build myself a bigger loom and cut my strips twice as long?
      I know this is an old thread, just hoping you see this!

      • I would herringbone two (4,6,8…) blocks together.
        Make several blocks, remove them putting dowel rods (or pencils, crochet hooks, etc.) through the ends so they don’t come undone. Then you could loopity loop the hoops through one another starting with the first loop from block A put through the first loop through block B, then through the second loop and so on.
        When all the inner sides are looped together, finish the outer side following the original tutorial.

  5. Love it! I made about 6 potholders with scraps
    from my son’s memory t shirt quilt. I used one inch by approximately 6 inch strips of t shirt material and snipped a hole towards each end to hook onto the loom. Thanks so much for the idea!

  6. Making a pot holder was part of the UK Brownie Guide’s weavers badge, which thanks to this fabulous video – I have (just for fun) completed during lockdown.
    Of course also ticks a few boxes on recycling AND will replace pot holders that were made 50 years ago we take to camp with the girls. Here’s hoping mine lasts that long.

  7. i love this idea.
    can be an inspiration to readers that even clothes that are no longer suitable for use can still be used for useful things.

    thank you for being so inspiring 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    Love this! I started looking for alternative ways for my daughter to use her potholder loom, but came across this. She’s going to love try this!

  9. 5 stars
    I have a question. Would this work using old button-down dress shirts or flannel shirts that are still cotton but not as stretchy as regular t-shirts?

  10. finally, free instructions for making a potholder out of an old tee shirt. many, many thanks to you, mommypotamus.