9 Charming And Creative Products That Repurpose An Old Flannel Shirt

A whole new look (and tons of practical uses) for vintage flannel shirts.

December 6, 2017
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flannel wearing couple
Dave and Les Jacobs/getty

Flannel is a funny thing. It’s one of the most traditional materials around, first making its appearance in 15th-century Wales and eventually marked by plaid Scottish tartan patterns and buffalo checks. And yet, among the masses, flannel seems to drift in and out of our consciousness and wardrobes, cycling as a “trend” among those who aren’t wearing it for its practical value. After all, farmers and loggers were among the first Americans to sport the material.

The last time flannel had its time in the spotlight was during the 1990’s—grunge, Seattle, and Kurt Cobain kept it alive and well. Fast-forward to today, and it’s experiencing a resurgence yet again. J.Crew catalogs are practically lined with it, Pinterest feeds are overflowing with it, and those of the crafty sort have even taken to using recycled flannel to make reimagined creations.

And creative they most certainly are, with products ranging from drink koozies to accessories to flannel shirts that have taken a clear departure from their original look. And the bonus? Recycled flannel is oh-so eco-friendly. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that 13 million tons of textiles reach their final destination in a landfill each year.

(Brag your love of gardening with the Organic Life 2018 Wall Calendar, featuring gorgeous photographs, cooking tips and recipes, plus how to eat more—and waste less—of what's in season.)

In this spirit, sustainable crafters are breathing new life into old, vintage flannel shirts, upcycling them into pieces people are sure to love for years to come. Here are 10 of our favorites.

flannel cup sleeve
Photograph courtesy of Etsy
A shirt cuff turned cup sleeve

Flannel shirt sleeves are given a new lease on life by turning them into cup sleeves, perfect for keeping hot drinks toasty and cold hands warm. Plus, all the proceeds from these cup sleeves go straight to St. Vincent de Paul charity of Lane County, Oregon.

Buy now: $5.40 at Etsy.com

Related: 23 Buzz-Worthy Gifts For People Who Are Obsessed With Coffee

modern flannel shirt
Photograph courtesy of Etsy
A flannel shirt goes modern

There are so many amazing options when it comes to upcycled flannel shirts on Etsy, but this one has it all—dip-dying to give it that ombre appearance and a lace patch to make it look truly one-of-a-kind.

Buy now: $45 at Etsy.com

Use an old flannel shirt to make festive holiday decorations:

We hope you enjoy the products we're recommending as much as we do! Just so you know, Organic Life may get a share of sales from the links on this page.
flannel flower pins
Photograph courtesy of Etsy
A trio of flannel flower pins

Twisted, upcycled flannel is used to craft this set of three adorable flower pins—charming and classic, with just a hint of non-conforming grunge.

Buy now: $5 at Etsy.com

Related: 23 Gifts To Buy Someone Who Lives For Flannel Season

flannel wine tote
Photograph courtesy of Etsy
A rustic, reusable wine tote

How many times have you carried a bottle of wine to a gathering in a plastic bag, and then promptly threw it away? This buffalo-plaid wine tote, made from vintage flannel, is a waste-free choice, and it gets extra points for being seamlessly on-trend.

Buy now: $28 at Etsy.com

flannel bracelet
Photograph courtesy of Etsy
An inspiring flannel bracelet

A stirring phrase meets vintage flannel in this sweet, plaid cuff. The fraying gives it that just-enough touch of imperfection, and it’s one-size-fits-all. If you prefer another favorite quote, this cuff can be customized.

Buy now: $12 at Etsy.com

Related: The 5 Best Flannel Sheets To Keep You Warm In Cool Temps

flannel handwarmers
Photograph courtesy of Etsy
A set of cozy handwarmers

Who doesn’t love hand warmers, especially as the temperatures really start to dip? These two hand warmers were created using an old flannel shirt and dry rice, and can be repeatedly heated in a microwave. The delicate embroidery and traditional plaid give them that extra-snug feel.

Buy now: $8.95 at Etsy.com

flannel pillow
Photograph courtesy of Etsy
A pillow cover made from a worn-in shirt

Thanks to some ingenuity, a men’s button-down flannel shirt now serves a new purpose as a throw pillow cover, complete with a pocket and buttons. It’s a home decor win even a lumberjack could love.

Buy now: $28.80 at Etsy.com

Related: 13 Best Natural Candles You’ll Actually Be Proud To Gift This Year

storage basket
Photograph courtesy of Etsy
A storage basket trimmed in buffalo plaid

A piece of vintage red and black-checked flannel makes this canvas storage basket pop, and the black leather handles with antique brass hardware complete the winter cabin styling.

Buy now: $42 at Etsy.com

Related: 12 Plastic-Free, Zero-Waste Holiday Decor Ideas We Love

flannel shirt
Photograph courtesy of Etsy
An assemblage of vintage flannel shirts for group pictures

Bridesmaids’ pictures are going a bit more classic these days, thanks to sets of vintage, upcycled flannel shirts, all in a similar color palette. These throwback shirts can either be purchased as singles, or as sets for everyone in a bridal party or group.

Buy now: $48 per shirt at Etsy.com