From Waste to a Work of Art: Ideas for Upcycling Textiles

Have you ever wondered what to do with a lovely piece of clothing or home furnishing fabric after it reaches the end of its useful life? There really is no need to throw it away, it can be recycled into something beautiful, not only giving you a piece of art for your home but also an enjoyable activity in the process of creating it. Can’t part with old clothes, or simply can’t find the right material for your creation? Why not try your local Oxfam?

Look out for striking colours, patterns and texture in materials or clothing to add interest to your creation. Not only does it spare you the expense of buying new materials but you are also supporting those in need. Here are a few artists that use textiles in their art work to inspire you!

David Agenjo specialises in layering texture and colour with a focus on the human body. This school lesson plan  on Collaboroo  explores art with materials and textures inspired by David and shows how a self-portrait can be created using upcycled fabrics and paint.

Louise Baldwin is a textile artist known for her combination of found imagery, colour and domestic packaging used alongside fabric to create rich wall hangings. She doesn’t plan her design in advance, instead adding layers and manipulating and sewing them until they look right. You can see Louise’s work on The Sixty Two Group of
textile artists
.

 

Mandy Patullo uses collage techniques in textile art. She is particularly interested in patching and piecing together fabrics or using paper ephemera and layering in her printmaking. She follows her own ‘thread and thrift’ vision by sourcing vintage fabrics and quilts to recycle into her own work.

Bethan Ash creates bold, bright and eye-catching pieces inspired by relatable social and popular culture including consumer goods combined with abstract ideas.

Jo Deeley is a textile artist who works with different textures and methods to create sculptural shapes and designs. She incorporates 3D designs into her work using traditional methods including weaving, knitting, plaiting and knotting, as well as more unconventional techniques like folding and pressing fabric.

Image of artwork

Top tips for upcycling fabric into art

  • Follow your instincts. There are no rules ­­­- you can combine your fabric with any other mediums and fix as you like using glue, staples or stitching.
  • Gather a variety of different textiles before you begin your creation. Old clothes and textiles from your wardrobe or your local Oxfam is a good place to start. Try asking at the till to see if they have any fabrics that would be heading to textile recycling that you could buy for a cheaper rate.
  • Look out for interesting trims, threads, buttons and fastenings to add interest to textile collages. Check the Homewares section of your local Oxfam or Oxfam Online Shop too for extra sewing supplies and crafting materials.
  • Consider different ways of manipulating textiles to create your art work. Gathering, shredding and fraying, knotting, plaiting, folding and layering will help you to create a 3D piece of art.
  • Use a sketch book to draft out your ideas before you begin but you don’t have to replicate your initial images – a piece of art can develop as you work on it.

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oxfam fashion blog donating clothes header.

 

Having a Spring Clear-Out: My Tips for a Clutter

Free Home Using the KonMari Method

Stylist Jenny Brownlees Shares Her Take On This Seasons Trends

 

Guest Blog: Stylist Jenny Brownlees Shares Her

Take On This Seasons Trends

Shop With Oxfam Online

Having a Spring Clear-Out: My Tips for a Clutter Free Home using the KonMari Method

I’ve long been a bit of a hoarder and quite messy by nature, but I’m trying to change (honest!). If anything, I’ve come to realise that getting rid of stuff feels really good. Last year, I jumped on the Marie Kondo bandwagon. Marie Kondo is the queen of tidying up, and developed the KonMari Method. In short, you’re encouraged to work your way through each room of your house, tackling different categories of items you own (clothing, paperwork, books…) and asking yourself, if each item ‘sparks joy’. An old pair of boots no longer sparking joy? Out they go!

I can’t say I followed the method by the rules. I didn’t personally thank each item before setting it free (as is part of the KonMari method) but I did ask myself if I really needed all this stuff. I managed to create six bin bags full of things I no longer needed, no longer used or I had lost interest in. I spent some time reorganising my rickety IKEA wardrobe, and again, I didn’t follow the rules of putting items in colour order, but just folding my clothes and putting everything into some sort of order felt
GOOD!

Bag of clothing that will be donated.

But old habits die hard, and I had all of these bin bags sitting in my living room for (I’m ashamed to say) months. But now we’re well into the new year, one by one, I’ve taken them all to my local Oxfam shop. What I didn’t realise before, is that you now get given a green label to stick on each donation bag – your Gift Aid donation number, name and postcode are added to it, and when your items sell you get an email to say how much money your items raised. You can also track your Gift Aid through the Oxfam Apptoo!   I admit, I got a bit of a buzz out of that email, knowing that some of my items were now ‘sparking joy’ elsewhere, and now I’m putting aside more things to donate. At this rate, I’m not going to
have anything left!

Want to join Sarah in starting a clutter-free life? Find your local Oxfam shop or donation point here  or donate to your local M&S for some loyalty card goodies
You can also get some declutter inspiration from another of our amazing Oxfam Fashion bloggers, Colleen,
here.

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Coming Soon: The Oxfam Fashion Hack with Love Your Clothes

Watch this space for further information about our free Super Crafter events as part of Oxfam’s Fashion Hack with Love Your Clothes. Follow @OxfamFashion to stay up to date with the latest information.

JOIN THE OXFAM FASHION HACK

Breathe new life into denim. Turn an old jumper into a snuggly poncho. Transform a simple tee into a statement top. Anything’s possible with some upcycling know-how. And we’ve got all the know-how and pre-loved clothing you need.

The Oxfam Fashion Hack with love your clothes

In partnership with our friends at Love Your Clothes, we’ve launched the first ever Oxfam Fashion Hack and we want you to be part of it. Because when you upcycle with Oxfam, you won’t just transform your wardrobe, you’ll help beat poverty too. You’ll also reduce waste, stopping yet more jeans, jackets and tees going to landfill.

Dates and activities will be released soon.

Follow @OxfamFashion or search for #OxfamFashionHack for the most up to date information about the Fashion Hack

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DIY: How to make a Tie Lampshade

I’m sure everybody’s Dad / Granddads’ have a ton of ties, some never used?

This Lampshade is very easy to create, and is perfect for a handmade gift or even for yourself!

 

What you need:

 

– An old lampshade

– A few ties  (Oxfam Online Shop)

– Glue

– Scissors

 


 

1. Firstly, I started measuring the ties to the lampshade and cutting off the excess

 

2. Then, one by one I started to glue the ties to my lampshade, making sure the ‘V’ is just hanging over the edge of your shade. (I used strong Fabric Glue and tiny bits of Super Glue)

 

3. After this, Leave your  glue to dry (around 1hr)

4. Finally, depending on how you want your shade to look, you can add some other fabric like lace around the top to neaten up where the ties have been cut!

 

And there you have it, your handmade Tie Lampshade!

 

 

With the leftover bits of ties that had been chopped off I decided to put them to good use experiment and make another lampshade.

 

What You Need:

– Left Over Tie Cut Offs

– Glue

– A lampshade

 

1. I got all the ties together and measured them around the lampshade to make sure they fit snug. If they are a little big I cut them to size(remembering the lampshade is not all the same size and usually gets bigger towards the bottom..make sure you do measure before you start to glue)

 

2. I Then started to wrap the ties around the lampshade making sure the V is glued on top of the raw edge

 

3. Carry on repeating this process all way down to the bottom of the lampshade using the same glue as before.  And before you know it you have 2 Up-Cycled Unusual Handmade Lampshades!!

 

Share all your creations with us @OxfamFashion #foundinoxfam

Post written by Leah Topham, volunteer at Oxfam Batley where she helps upcycle the clothes. She’s written this series called ‘Rags to Riches’ where she lets us in on her DIY secrets. You can also check out her last one ‘How to make some Lace Bottom Tailored Trousers’Shop With Oxfam Online

How to make a terrifying cushion for Halloween

By Cassie of cassiefairy.com

Bring a touch of Halloween fun into every room of the house this October by adding some custom-made soft furnishings. This project will help you to turn a t-shirt with a spooky design into a throw pillow to make your sofa look spooky or your bedroom more bonkers.

Pick up a tee at a charity shop or, if your little ones have outgrown last year’s Halloween costume, you could recycle the fabric. This ghoulish cushion will bring a touch of scariness to your autumn décor or can be used to create a gothic look in your home all year round.

You will need: A t-shirt with spooky design, scissors, matching thread, needle or sewing machine, pins, cushion pad.



  1. Iron the t-shirt flat and lay your cushion pad on top of the design.

 

  1. Use the edges of the cushion pad as a guide to cut up one side of the t-shirt.

 

  1. Fold the t-shirt in half down the centre and then cut along the other side in line with the first cut.

 

  1. Unfold and use the cushion pad to determine the top line of the fabric and trim across

 

  1. Fold in half width-wise and trim across the bottom – this piece will be the front of your cushion

How to make a cushion case

  1. Create an ‘envelope’ opening for the back of the cushion by using fabric from the back of the t-shirt.

 

  1. Use the hemmed bottom edge as the top envelope flap and cut a piece that’s half he width of the front piece.
  1. Use the rest of the fabric to cut a piece that’s 2/3rds of the front piece.

 

  1. Layer the fabric pieces with the design facing up, then the smaller hemmed piece (with hem across the centre of the design), with the 2/3rds piece on top.

 

  1. Pin around all the edges then straight-stitch around the edges with matching thread. You could use a sewing machine or hand-stitch the three layers together.

 

  1. Turn the cushion cover right-side out and stuff with the cushion pad.

 


You can make a few cushions in a variety of colours and designs to create a soft-yet-scary corner on your sofa, or throw one onto your guest bed to scare visitors when they come to stay over Halloween!

Have a go and share your creations with us @OxfamFashion #foundinoxfam

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How to make your own Upcycled Vintage D&G Style Dress

Everybody loves a little black dress! But I’m sure you girls out there have one hanging in your wardrobe that could do with a whole new revamp! In just 3 quick steps!

 

I have started with a plain black tight strapless dress and some old vintage buttons. If you do not own a dress to work with you can pick one up at your local Oxfam or Oxfam Online Shop.  And
I’m sure a relative will have a box of old buttons you can use! If not, these are easily found in many charity or antique shops!

 

 

1. Firstly, I gave my dress a quick press to make sure there wasn’t any creases before I pointed out the central line

 

2. Secondly, I started by marking a straight line down the middle of the dress where my buttons will be sewn with tailors chalk. Which will rub straight off with a wet wipe

 

3. Finally, I finished by sewing all my buttons down my line, to reveal a classic plain black dress turned into a Victorian D&G style dress!

 

 

Easy, right? Give it a go and you will see how everyone will be impressed about your Victorian D&G style dress!

Post written by Leah Topham, volunteer at Oxfam Batley where she helps upcycle the clothes. She’s written this series called Rags to Riches where she lets us in on her DIY secrets, keep your eye out for her next post! You can also check out her last one How
to make your own Upcycled Vintage 20′ Cloche Cap

 

Shop With Oxfam Online

How to Make a DIY Rug From Old T-Shirts

Blog By Upcycling Volunteer Sophie Burton

As a volunteer at Oxfam Online Batley Hub I was challenged to upcycle something from the rejected products that gets donated to us. As this is such a great way to recycle t-shirt fabric and make something new I decided to share it with you all.

My Idea: To make a rug. But not a regular rug, more of a quirky style rug that is different and unique. So my idea was to get lots of different jerseys and cotton blended fabric, cut them up into 1-2 inch strands and plait to make a continuous yarn. Once done I wound it together on top of an anti slip material to form the shape of a mat. My idea was to make something that would have been rejected or thrown away into a ready to use item. I have written down the steps below if you want to make a one-of-a-kind rug of your own!

My Rug

What You Need:

  •           Old T-shirts (To create a door-mat sized rug like mine I suggest 6-10 T-shirts, for a smaller table mat you should only need 3 T-shirts)
  •           Non-slip floor matting in a large enough size to create the base of your mat.
  •           Needle and thread
  •           Hot Glue Gun

Step 1: Find a variety of jersey fabric materials that include T-shirts, both long sleeve and short sleeve. Look for bright colours and stripes but avoid complex patterns and these do not work as well. Find a mid-stretch fabric, not too stretchy but not tight that it has no give. Try asking your local Oxfam if you could buy some of the damaged clothing that gets donated to them.

Step 2: Cut the shirts!!! To get the most out of one T-shirt I suggest that you cut across the t-shirt but leave a 1 inch space and don’t cut through. Do this to the whole shirt and carry on cutting to the end once below the sleeves. When you’ve done this, open the shirt up to the part that is all still attached and cut across diagonally. I found this tutorial by My Poppet really helpful in creating my yarn.

Make Your Own T-Shirt Yarn

Step 3: Once you have a length of yarn, start to roll it up into balls. This makes the next step easier as you can see what you’re working with and it makes sure that everything isn’t getting knotted. It is also good to make up some cool colour ways.

Step 4: Once you have all your yarn balls you can then start to plait them together using a normal three strand plait. Sew the 3 pieces of yarn together across the top keeping it as flat as possible – this makes the next few steps less fiddly and gives you more yarn to work with.

Make Your Own Upcycled Fabric Rug

Step 5:  You can now start to lay out your yarn to get a feel for what style and shape you want! I chose an oval style square shape that would make a door mat. I started off by laying my plaited yarn onto non slip material which can be sourced cheap off line or at a general shop.

Wound Rug

Step 6: Gluing. For this I used a hot glue, I cut out a rectangle of the non slip and started in the middle in a circular pattern. Once my circle reached the edges then I laid to pieces of straight yarn above and below the circle, I then went round the circle and created semi circles shapes to fit into the lines above.

There you have it – all finished! You can now enjoy your new mat. Hope you liked this tutorial and please share if you make it! Tweet @OxfamFashion #foundinoxfam

DIY T-shirt Rug

Shop With Oxfam Online

8 Fun No Sew DIY Crafts to Do With Your Kids In The Holidays

As Oxfam’s shops are currently focusing on all things child friendly I decided to have a hunt of Oxfam’s archives to see what DIY ideas my fellow bloggers have created that can help you entertain your children this holiday.

Shop Quality Kids Clothing With the Oxfam Online Shop

Pom-Pom Critters

DIY Pom pom animals

Image Credit: Pom-pom tutorial Kelly O’Conor, pom-pom creatures & animals from Pinterest

 

Help your little ones follow fashion blogger Kelly’s easy guide to make a bunch of different pom-poms. From there grab some glue and a collection of googly eyes, pipe cleaners, scraps of card and felt or anything else you can think of and let them get creative! I’ve created a Pinterest board full of ideas from these very on-trend emojis to little critters with feet and googly eyes from bugs to bunnies and monsters to
minions! There are endless possibilities.

Friendship Bracelets

Make Yarn and Thread Bracelets

Whether your kids make these as gifts or keep them for themselves they will love filling their arm with all these coloured strands. We have two tutorials on the blog, Boatemaa’s plaited one with beading or Emma’s tutorial for knotted or wrapped braids.

Personalised Top

DIY Customised Personalised Top

This can be a great way to get kids loving the clothes they wear – let them design them themselves! First of all they need to create a design so let them get to work cutting and sticking, drawing, painting, whatever they like to do best. Then just photograph or scan their design to get a digital version which you can crop and edit to get it looking its best. From there Cassiefairy’s tutorial will give you all the instructions you need to transform their design into a top. Just make sure you
takeover for the ironing stage!

Summer Wreath

Make a Summer or Winter Wreath

Ok I know, I know wreaths are supposed to be Christmassy! But I think this simple design by Cassiefairy can be adapted to any season. Choose bright sunshiney colours to create the perfect decoration to add so cute colour to a barbeque party. You could even knock up some matching bunting to pull the décor together. Cut triangles of fabric with pinking shears and fold bias binding along the top edge, sewing or sticking it down, and voila you’re done!

Make a Stock of Homemade Gift Tags and Cards

Card Making Ideas

Not only can card making be a fun way to fill your little ones time but it will come in handy once your back in term time and need to send that last minute birthday or thank you card without out loosing that personal touch. You can busy pre-folded blank cards from craft shops or just DIY your own by halving sheets of card. Then let the kids get to work! Our bloggers have come up with all sorts of ideas to get their creative juices flowing from Liz’s cut and stick collage technique to SJP’s cross-stitch idea or Emily’s cut out designs  they’re sure to find something. You can even recycle old cards into gift tags too as Liz shows you here.

Finger Knitting

Finger Knitting How To

If your little ones are more on the patient side then Liz’s guide to finger knitting might be a great way for them to get a new skill and a new scarf without need to buy any new equipment! If your kids love loom-bands then this is one they could really enjoy, with the added bonus that you won’t be using lots of non-biodegradable plastics to make this.

Clip In Hair Braid

DIY Feathered Hair Braid

As a 90s child these were all the rage in my primary school days! These clip in hair braids are a fab way to add a pop of removable colour to your kids hair letting them explore the wild side of their style! Made using reclaimed fabric and thread they’re really easy to make and are perfect if you’re heading to any family festivals this summer. Alternatively you can use one of the friendship bracelet ideas to make a thread one instead.

Junk Toy Challenge

Make Recycled Toys

Photos by: John Ferguson, Eleanor Farmer & Annie Bungeroth.

The children that Oxfam works with often don’t have the luxury of having toys to play with so they reclaim materials from around them to make their own. This summer Oxfam is challenging kids to do just that and share the end result on Twitter with the #junktoychallenge. Find materials that would otherwise be thrown away, empty milk cartoons or cardboard boxes and let them make their own toy to play with. If you share their finished creation before midday on Friday 28th July then they could be in with a chance to win some chocolate and see their toy featured in Oxfam’s new
newspaper. Find out more information here.

Shop Quality Kids Clothing With the Oxfam Online Shop

 

Do the Trend On the Cheap: Make Your Own Personalised T-Shirt

I’m always on the look out for ways to re-create the clothes displayed so beautifully in the fashion magazines using a little charity shop fashion DIY. Lately I have been noticing that slogan t-shirt’s are filling the glossy pages. I love the big ol’ bold quotes on a colourful t-shirt. I love a small embroidered understated slogan in the corner. I love a funny or tongue in cheek slogan. After lusting over these t-shirts for a hell’uva long time, I thought it was about time I got cutting and ironing. The wonderful thing about creating your own slogan t-shirt is that you
can choose your own slogan. You can be hilarious. You can be witty. You can be Political. I went with being a little French and choosing the slogan ‘JE M’EN FOUS’ which translates to ‘I Do Not Care’. Or it does according to Google Translate which I blooming hope it right! I got this idea from another t-shirt. I thought it was a nicer way to remind myself to be a little carefree from time-to-time. And I decided to go with the French version because everything sounds better in French, right?

So, here it is. A little ‘no sew’ fashion DIY.

Choosing your design

Ingredients

  • T-Shirt (Use a plain one you already have or hunt for one in your local Oxfam or on Oxfam’s Online Shop)
  • Scissors
  • Iron on Letters (I used the ones from here)
  • Iron
  • Pins
  • Tape Measure

Method

1. Start by cutting roughly around the letters needed for your slogan.

JE M'EN FOUS Top

3. Lay the letters with the wrong side (white paper) facing up starting with the middle letter just below the pins and lay out to check how many lines you want the slogan to spread across.

Ironing the letters on

4. Once you are happy with the positioning of letters, remove all but the middle letter. With the wrong side (white side) still facing up. Follow the instructions supplied with the letters – I pressed the iron on the letter and held for 15-20 seconds.

Carefully remove the backing paper. Check as you start peeling the backing paper off that the letter has transferred onto the t-shirt. If not, hold the iron on the letter for a little longer.

Add the remaining letters from the middle outwards.

The finished look

And that’s it. An easy and quick way to adapt a plain charity shop t-shirt into something personal and unique! Let me know if you have a go at this fashion DIY as I would love to see your finished slogan t-shirt!  

Shop With Oxfam Online

Do the Trend On the Cheap: Make Your Own Personalised Jacket

One of the biggest trends of both 2016 and 2017 has been slogan clothing, especially DIY style jackets. Seen on both the catwalk from the likes of Gucci and Ashish to high-street stores like Topshop and ASOS all coming out with their own DIY/ Up-cycle feel clothes from patch jackets to painted leather. We have done a blog post in the past on how to make your own slogan t-shirt and now we will show you how we have been up-cycling our plain leather jackets to be sold at our Glastonbury Park
shop and how you can make your own!

You will need:

  • A Leather Jacket
  • Acrylic Paint Pens
  • Water and a cloth
  • Chalk (Optional)
  • Stencil (Optional)

Leather Jacket Upcycle Inspiration

1)       The ​first step of creating your own leather jacket is to first think of a design, I suggest looking on Pinterest for ideas or creating a mood board like the one above.

2)       On a hard surface like a table or the floor, lay your jacket down as flat as possible. Then take your chalk and mark out the design that you want. The chalk is good to use if you are not confident in creating a design free hand because it simply wipes away.


Personalised Jacket How to Instructions

3)       The next step is to take your acrylic paint pen and start drawing your design over the chalk. If you make a mistake you can scrub away the paint with a damp tissue or cloth.
4)       Once the outline is done you can fill it in or leave it as it is, it’s totally up to you what you do!  I chose to add some detail to this lettering with a vibrant pink design.


The Completed DIY Leather Slogan Jacket Look

This is a fun, easy and fashionable way to upcycle old leather jackets to give them a new lease of life. We will be taking lots of custom jackets made by our volunteers to our Glastonbury Park shop, so if you are heading over to Worthy Farm at the end of June check them out!

Here is a sneak peek at some of the designs available…

DIY Slogan Jacket



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