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Ages 10-12: Transform Old T-Shirts into Throw Pillows

Amy Brayfield
May 24, 2011

Finally--a way to revive those old, ragged t-shirts!  If your family tends to hang onto things long after you there's a use for them, this activity is for you! Invite your child to find an old tee around the home and turn it into a cover for a throw pillow.  This recycled craft project provides great fine motor skill practice and an opportunity to teach your child some basic sewing techniques.

What You Need:

  • T-shirt
  • Throw pillow
  • Measuring tape
  • Washable fabric marker
  • Needle
  • Thread

What to Do:

1.  Enlist your child's help in measuring the throw pillow.  Even if he's unskilled in using measuring tape, you can introduce him to the technique.

2.  You are going to want to trace the pattern onto a t-shirt about an inch and a half over the dimensions of the pillow.  Have your child do so with a washable fabric marker, making sure the image or logo is centered on the pattern.

3.  Cut carefully!  This may be the job an adult if your child isn't very steady with the scissors.  If you hold the t-shirt together, you can cut both sides at once and save yourself a step.  However, if your child likes an image on the back of the t-shirt also, you may want to cut it separately to center it.

4.  Turn the fabric so that the "wrong" side is facing out on both sides; pin the sides of the pillow together on three sides, about 1/2-inch from the edge of the t-shirt fabric.

5.  If your child is comfortable sewing, he can take over from here, neatly stitching up the pinned sides.  This can either be done by  hand or using a sewing machine, whichever is more convenient.  Remember: leave one side open that is wide enough to stuff the throw pillow into.

6.  Have your child slip the t-shirt over the pillow, smooth it out, and sew up the last side.  If you'd rather, stitch a zipper into the side you'll leave open and zip it up!  It works fine to sew it up too, if you're intimidated by zippers.

Voilŕ! Your child has crafted an charming throw pillow--with a twist!  Don't be surprised if your child enjoys this project so much that he wants to make more than the original plan.

Read more from Education.com in this age group:

Set Up a Lemonade Stand

Grow Crystals in Your Kitchen 

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