upcycle projects for scrap fabric

17 Brilliant Ideas for Upcycling your Scrap Fabric

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If you are an avid Upcycler or a craft addict of any sort, chances are you have a bag, bucket or suitcase filled with scrap fabric from other projects. If you need a little inspiration for what to do with all those scraps you’ve come to the right place. This is our bumper list of projects for fabric remnants and scraps be they large or small. We’d love to hear your ideas too so leave us a comment or join us on Facebook for a chat.

Fabric Letters from Scrap Fabric

We love this idea of using your scraps for alphabet letters.  And there are so many ways to do it.  Big scraps? Spell out your nephew, granddaughter or son’s name in cushy huggable letters.  Don’t want to fork out on the soft toy filling? Stuff them with the rest of your scrap fabric…unless of course you want to save them for the projects below.  

If you’ve only got smaller scraps this idea still works, you can cut out and hem your letters and add a magnet to the back or make portable learning aids like the third picture above. Add left over quilt batting or another layer of scrap fabric inside if you have enough.  Great gift for a teacher! We found this tutorial here.

Fabric Scrap Shoe Laces

fabric remnant shoe laces
Photo: Prima

This super simple idea can jazz up a pair of trainers or boots. It basically involves measuring the current length of your laces and hemming your fabric to the appropriate width and length. You could even join together different pattens of fabric if you don’t have one piece long enough. Here is the short and sweet tutorial from Prima.

Pen/Pencil Holder from Scrap Fabric

This is a gorgeous idea if you truly do have scraps from every colour in the rainbow. Measure the width you need for your chosen pen, crayon, pencil or marker, cut your scraps with a bit fo seam allowance and sew together with a backing or top fabric to create the individual pen pouches. The whole thing can then be rolled up and tied together with a tie that could also be made of fabric remnants.

Luggage Tags from pieces of Scrap Fabric

This one is a great upcycle to gift and sell at craft fairs. Luggage tags are those sorts of things you don’t remember you need until you are heading to the airport and so it’s a great ‘they probably don’t have one already’ impulse gift. Delicious Reads have a great tutorial for how to make them. And because they are so small you can use one type of fabric or several so you really can use every last scrap!

Scrap Fabric Baby Bibs

Do you have any babies in your life? You can use your scraps to make them a sweet baby bib, it might end up looking too good to get food all over, but even if it gets kept for best, it will no doubt be passed down from generation to generation as a keepsake. We found a great tutorial for the quilted patchwork version at Our Cozy Nest.

Precious Patterns did the fox one above and she sells the pattern for it here.

Scrap Fabric Bunting

Bunting is great for all manner of occasions from birthdays and celebrations to decorating a nursery or store front. You can go completely random with your choice of scrap fabric like the third photo or pick a colour story like A Little Frayed or Bewley’s Bunting Emporium. We have two tutorials to point you towards to make your own scrap fabric bunting. One is from Bewley’s Bunting Emporium for their no sew festival scrap fabric bunting and the other is from E How all about how to make the pointed flag version.

Key Rings from Scrap Fabric

If there is a classic upcycle for scrap fabric this has to be the keyring. You don’t need much fabric at all to make something unique and practical so you can use every last bit of fabric from your craft room floor. We especially love the last photo from Labores de Tania of sweet little house shaped keyring that use teeny tiny bits of fabric for the doors and the roof. You could do one for home, one for office and adapt it to a car shaped one for your car keys. A version of this is very likely to feature in this year’s list of upcycled Christmas gift ideas!

We found a great tutorial for making fabric scrap keyrings from Craftiness is not optional. You could adapt this method to all sorts of shapes and add these house or other type of appliqués as well.

Quilted Scrap Fabric Coasters

If you still have some mini scraps left after all your keychain creations why not try some cute quilted coasters. These are another one that would make an excellent gift. Especially if you can find some meaningful fabric scraps that the recipient might recognise.

We found two useful tutorials for these. One from Elise Blaha (the hexagon version above) and the other from Crafty Foxes for the four quarter circle design.

Wrapped Clothes Hangers

Want to improve the look and grip of your plain plastic hangers? Try wrapping them in scrap fabric strips. You can tie on the ends, use hot glue or stitch the ends in. Go colour coordinated or mix it up. We found a short and sweet tutorial here.

Scrap Fabric Wrapped Bracelets

Here is another scrap fabric wrapping project. If you have old bangles sitting around in your jewellery box that you don’t wear anymore or have become discoloured, etc, you can try wrapping them in scrap fabric for a funky boho look. This is one we really like so we’ve added our own tutorial here for you to try it out. If you don’t have an actual bangle to try it with but you have some old leather cord then Thriftanista in the City has another way to do a very similar thing, also using scrap fabric but without the bangle base.

Scrap Fabric Bookmarks

This is actually a great project for anyone learning how to sew. Lots of straight lines and not much risk factor! All you need is some scrap fabric, some interfacing or quilt batting and a sewing machine (or needle and thread). You can embellish with ribbons and buttons or do a fun shape like the feather version by Bag Me Frankfurt above. A lovely one to gift to all the book lovers in your life.

Covered Beaded Necklaces

These fabric covered beaded necklace are popular again lately. They make great bold statement necklaces. We’ve seen methods using cotton balls, wooden beads and faux pearls as the ‘bead’ bit underneath. We’re not sure about the cotton ball method as these necklaces are best when they are big and chunky and bold and somehow we think that means they out to have the weight to them of the beads themselves. The basic method is to sew a tube of fabric, pop in your beads one at a time, knotting in between. This gets more complicated of course if you are using different bits of fabric in which case you might use another method. We found this tutorial here from Sew Mama Sew that uses wooden beads and clear elastic bands. We also found this one from So Sew Easy that shows you how to wrap a bead in an individual piece of fabric so you can use different patterns for each bead.

Scrap Fabric Decorated Cushion Covers

Unsurprisingly we were spoilt for choice in looking for examples of great uses of scrap fabric in cushion covers. Using your scrap fabric this way is like an invitation to be creative. Consider your cushion as your canvas and your scrap pieces as your paint and get artistic with it! You can create a scene, apply initials or an inspirational quote or work with the shape of your scraps and let them guide you.

If you would rather follow a pattern but let the mixing and matching of fabric be your artistry we love, love, love the example above by Theresa Thread and her blog has a tutorial and pattern for how to make the gorgeous cushion above.

Scrap Fabric Lavender Pouches

This is a sweet little project that is both therapeutic to make and to receive as a gift. You can create lovely lavender pouches and even scent them with other essential oils. They make a great Christmas stocking stuffer or wedding favour. In fact the tutorial we found for you to try is from the Intimate Weddings blog. These examples are all for squares, but you could easily adapt this to make pouches in whatever shape your recipient would appreciate, a heart, a fish, or even their initial. These are great for using up lavender from your garden at the end of the season, but if you don’t have your own lavender patch you can easily purchase dried lavender for this project.

Scrap Fabric Pot Holders

As with any other scrap fabric project there is lots of room for creativity in these scrap fabric pot holder ideas. We love the leave shaped ones and also the fabric strips one by Blooming Poppies. What if you combined the two ideas? You can find a tutorial for the Purl Soho pocket pot holders above here. And you can find the tutorial for the fabric strips version at Blooming Poppies here.

Scrap Fabric Brooches

A scrap fabric brooch would make a lovely gift or you could make one for yourself to add a pop of colour to a tweed or wool blazer. There are multiple ways to do it and the examples above demonstrate just how creative you can get with this. If you like the wrapped flower look similar to The Swifties rose brooch above we found this tutorial from Miss Cherry Dolls. If you like the teal coloured brooch, the amazing Vicky Myers has the tutorial on her blog here.

Baby Busy Book from Scrap Fabric

A busy book is sometimes called a quiet book or even a fidget blanket or fidget book. They are great for babies as well as people with dementia, or children with conditions that benefit from sensory toys such as ADHD and Autism.

These books are all about giving the user something to fiddle with and get engaged so you can use old shoe laces to make a shoe they can tie, or use different shapes and sizes of buttons to feel or cut out shapes and colours to follow a theme for each page.

There are lots of ideas for a busy or quiet book on the Quiet Book Blog. Most of these use felt but it makes sense to us to use scrap fabric instead for the upcycle factor and as the patterns and colours are likely be prettier and possibly more engaging! A brilliant gift for a new baby or a thoughtful and practical gift for an elderly relative.

We hope you have found some great ideas to upcycle your scrap fabrics from this list. We found so many ideas we are already planning a part two of this article so no doubt there will be more to come. Have you tried any of the ideas here? We’d love to see what you made. Leave us a comment below or join us on facebook for a chat and to share your upcycling projects.

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DIY scrap fabric upcycle projects

Looking for more upcycling inspiration? Try our list of Upcycle Projects A-Z.

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