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I have been a fan of macrame wall hangings and yarn wall hangings for a while now. They are great for filling a blank wall and adding a bit of colour and interest to a room.
So when I set myself a challenge to repurpose and upcycle two of my husband’s worn out shirts, I knew one of the projects I would use the fabric for was to make my own take on a macrame wall hanging.
This is my upcycled alternative wall hanging with significantly less knots than the original macrame versions – which makes it an easy DIY project to do in an afternoon.
Here are some of the macrame and yarn wall hangings I took inspiration from:
And here is my version made from upycled men’s shirts:
Mine’s a bit more boho and rough around the edges but I’m still happy with how it turned out. Here is how I made it :
- 2 men’s button down shirts (I didn’t use the whole of the two shirts, there was plenty left over – I used one striped blue & white one and one plain blue one).
- Branch/Twig/Stick to your desired length (Mine was 53cm/21″ long and 2cm/1″ thick).
- Rotary fabric cutter & matt and/or fabric scissors
Step 1: Find a suitable hanging branch
I have a garden that requires a lot of maintenance – we bought it a bit wild (there is even a fox with a den at the end of it!) and we haven’t quite gotten on top of trimming back everything that grows in it.
So I actually had a fair amount of branches and twigs to choose from when I ventured out to look for the right kind of thing.
I wasn’t looking to make a huge wall hanging so I cut off some modest sized sticks and took them into see which one would work. They were all roughly 50-60cm long. In the end I plumped for the one with the funky bend in it.
Step 2: Cut your fabric strips
Next I used my rotary cutter to cut out strips from the two shirts I have been upcycling.
[Just to explain I set myself a challenge to upcycle every last scrap of two of my husband’s shirts – I’ve made a tote bag, a little teddy bear, some embellished collars to dress up a plain outfit, a bow tie style bracelet, a zipper pouch, some corner bookmarks….and this wall hanging…and about 10 other things!! You can see them all here if you are interested.]
So for the strips I wasn’t aiming for a particular length I knew I wanted some longer strips in the middle and shorter ones on either end.
I started by using parts of the shirt that were already dangling from where I had cut it up for other projects. For example I used the button hole strips (I cut these in half) at the front of the shirt and most of the seams on both shirts. For one thing these parts are long and thin already and for another it’s harder to use them for other projects.
To get enough strips I also cut up some parts of the sleeves to a similar width to the seams of the shirt. So each strip is roughly 1-1.5cm (or. 0.5″) wide. For the length they were all roughly 50cm-80cm long.
Better to go longer if you are unsure as you can always trim them later!
In the end I used 29 strips of the plain blue colour and 23 strips of the striped blue and white colour.
Step 3: Loop your strips over the branch
I don’t know how to make complicated macrame knots and patterns but as you can see from my inspiration photos above I was more drawn to the ones that hang straight down – so all I used to attach my strips was a simple loop at the top.
I folded over the end of each strip just long enough so that the end of the shortest side got caught in the loop when I pulled it tight – see the photos for a better explanation!
Step 4: Fiddle and Adjust!
I first started putting the strips on in a bit of a random order but I didn’t love the result.
So I took them off and grouped the strips by colour and length.
I then started with the longest blue ones roughly in the middle and worked outward with sections of striped and blue fabric with the strips getting shorter.
They are torn up bits of shirt that wave and have loose threads so the result is certainly not uniform and neat but I think it looks better than my first attempt.
The other thing I did to kind of fiddle and adjust my wall hanging was to loosen and tighten the knots where the loops were pulled tight so that they were all at the same place along the bottom of the branch.
I also used this loosening and re-tightening process to shimmy the strips across the branch until I was happy they were somewhat centred.
Step 5: Attach Twine & Hang your Upcycled ‘Macrame’ Wall Hanging
Lastly all you have to do is attach a bit of twine to either end of the branch and find somewhere to hang it!
- Men's Shirts x 2
- Rotary Cutter & Matt and/or Fabric Scissors
- 1. Cut 1cm wide strips from two worn out men's shirts.
- 2. Loop strips around the branch to secure
- 3. Space strips with the longest in the centre and shortest at the edges.
- 4. Alternate fabric patterns as desired.
- 5. Attach twine & hang!
If you like this idea, Pin it for later on your Home Decor or Upcycling board!
Want to see what I made with the rest of the shirts? Check out my 18 Upcycled Men’s Shirt Ideas – yes I managed to make 18 different things out of two shirts! I was surprised myself!
If you are looking for more upcycled wall art ideas try these articles: