17 Laid-Back Ways to Upcycle Jeans & Denim

Don't toss your favorite old jeans just yet. We've got you covered with a bunch of fun projects.

Published March 21, 2024
We may earn commission from links on this page, but we only recommend products we love. See our review process here.


You've made a lot of memories in those comfy old jeans, and you don't have to toss them out when they're beyond repair. Give them a new life instead. Upcycled denim projects range from home decor to creative clothing and accessories. All you need are your old Levis or your worn-out jean jacket, plus a few simple supplies.

Make an Upcycled Denim Rug

More Details

Denim is one of the most durable fabrics out there (just ask that pair of jeans that lasted forever). That means it's great for making a casual and fun rug for your bedroom or anywhere else you want that laid-back vibe.

To make the rug, cut jeans into same-sized squares and sew them together like a quilt. Sew the patchwork to a rag rug in the same size to make it even sturdier.

Turn Jean Overalls Into a Work Apron

More Details

Nothing is quite as hard-working and hard-wearing as a pair of overalls. Once they've got holes in the knees or too many stains, turn them into an apron for cooking or crafting.

Cut up the inside of the legs and open the overalls flat. Then trim them to the length you want the apron to be and use the excess fabric that you trimmed off to patch the pants into an apron skirt.

Customize an Upcycled Denim Jacket

More Details

If your old jean jacket is stained or just needs a little more pizazz, look no further than your scarf bin. Sew on patches or cover whole panels of the jacket with a pretty scarf. You can leave the edges raw for a boho look or turn them under to make it more finished.

Quick Tip

If you're sewing a silk scarf to your jacket, use sharp pins and a new sewing machine needle to avoid snagging the silk. It's also a good idea to put a product like Fray Check on the raw edges of the silk to keep it from unraveling.

Make a Pair of Jeans Into a Comfy Pillow

More Details

Your favorite jeans have a super soft, lived-in feel that's hard to let go of when they wear out. Luckily, you can just turn them into a comfy throw pillow.

Measure the width of your jeans when you lay them flat and buy a pillow form in the same size. Cut off the legs at the length of the pillow form, leaving about half an inch for the seam. Sew the bottom seam (where the legs were) and put the pillow form inside. Sew up the waistband to close the pillow.

Quick Tip

Add even more flair by embroidering the jeans before you sew them into the pillow. We love the idea of adding some flowers or a colorful pattern.

Upcycle Jeans Into a Boho Wall Hanging

More Details

Want to create a gorgeous Boho statement for any room? Cut strips of old denim and tie them to a stick or pole. Leave them at different lengths and add some denim flowers or other decorations. Hang it on the wall for a pretty decoration.

Transform Your Worn-Out Jeans Into a Pretty Skirt

More Details

When the knees of your jeans wear out, cut the jeans off at the hips and use them as the yoke of an upcycled denim skirt. You can sew gathered ruffles of a pretty floral fabric for a super sweet prairie-style look.

Make a Denim Patchwork Quilt

More Details

Denim in different shades is perfect for a quilt. Cut any size of square you like and sew the patches together. We love using a soft minky fabric as the backing because it makes it really cozy.

Create Coasters From Old Jeans

More Details

One of the best features of denim is that it's really easy to wash, and that makes it perfect for coasters. When they get stained from coffee or wine, you can toss them right in the laundry.

To make a set of coasters, just cut your old jeans into squares or circles of the same size. You'll need two squares or circles per coaster. We love adding a contrasting fabric (like a bright print) to the other side. Sew the layers together and enjoy.

Upholster an Old Chair in Your Worn-Out Jeans

More Details

Give new life to an old chair by replacing the cushions or upholstery with a patchwork of denim. Sew the denim into a patchwork first and then attach it to the chair.

Quick Tip

It's best to choose a simple chair for this project — one with just a back or seat cushion. More elaborate upholstery takes a pro touch (or a ton of experience).

Related: Antique Chairs Value Guide

Sew Yourself Some Upcycled Denim Scrunchies

More Details

Nothing beats a good scrunchie when you need to toss your hair into a ponytail or up-do. One of our favorite, super simple upcycled denim projects is using the fabric from your old jeans to make a scrunchie.

A scrunchie is just a tube of fabric, so cut a rectangle about 12 inches long and four inches wide. Fold it so the two long raw edges are together and sew up the long side about a half inch from the edge. Turn it right side out and put a piece of elastic inside (tie the ends together). Then sew up the ends of the tube.

Turn Jean Pockets Into an Organizer

More Details

Jeans have pockets, and pockets are great for organizing. If you have a bunch of old pairs of jeans, cut the pockets off. Sew them together to make a wall organizer.

Make Awesome Denim Placemats for Your Table

More Details

Because it's so durable and easy to wash, denim is also perfect for placemats. If they get dirty, toss them in the washer.

To make a placemat, cut a pair of jeans into a rectangle that's about 12 by 18 inches. Then cut another the same size. Sew them together with a straight stitch, leaving the raw edges out for that cut-off look.

Quick Tip

You can also make a table runner for the center of your table. Just make the runner about 18 inches wide and as long as your table is (or a little bit longer).

Create Custom Denim Earrings

More Details

Those little belt loops on your old jeans make the most adorable earrings. You can buy jewelry findings that clamp on to fabric, or you can sew them on to earring hooks. Either way, add some beads or a little colorful thread to customize the look.

Give Your Pooch an Upcycled Denim Dog Toy

More Details

Did we mention that denim is durable and washable? That's not just useful for placemats and coasters; it's ideal for making your own dog toy. Just make a little stuffed pillow (bonus if it's a cute shape like a bone or a heart) and stuff it with leftover denim scraps. Add a squeaker if you want to make it even more fun.

Make an Awesome Bunting Banner

More Details

Cut denim into pennant triangle shapes and sew it to a ribbon or strip of seam binding to make a casual and cute banner. You can embellish each triangle with appliquéd designs, embroidery, or even your favorite patches from places you've been.

Related: 15 Super Creative Ways to Upcycle Old T-Shirts

Sew Some Sweet Denim Ornaments

More Details

Make Christmas ornaments or gift toppers by upcycling denim fabric from jeans. Use a cookie cutter to trace two of the same shape onto the old jeans. Cut the shapes out and sew them together, adding a little stuffing and a loop for hanging.

Create a Funky Purse From Old Jeans

More Details

The top part of a pair of old jeans is all you need to start a simple tote bag. Cut off the legs and sew a straight line along the bottom where the legs were. Purchase a fun strap and attach it to the belt loops. Instant upcycled bag!

Try All the Awesome Upcycled Denim Projects


It's hard to find a material more durable and useful than a pair of old blue jeans. Luckily, if you wear your jeans as hard as we wear ours, you have no shortage of material for awesome upcycled denim projects. Try them all to give your home and your look the ultimate laid-back vibe.

17 Laid-Back Ways to Upcycle Jeans & Denim