How to Make Potholders from Old T-Shirts


After the kitchen was remodeled, I tried to find potholders to match the browns in the marble and cabinets and the all the rich, red accent pieces I used. When I couldn’t find anything I liked, I decided to make my own potholders.

 

Make potholders from old t-shirts! A step-by-step tutorial for making the loops, weaving and finishing off custom colour potholders | www.donnaberlanda.com |

 

Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links, which means that at no cost to you, I may make a tiny commission if you decide to make a purchase. The products I link to are those that I believe in, regardless of any commission I may make from them. My goal is to help you easily find the tools, products, or other items that you will need to complete your project.

 

How to Make Potholders from Old T-Shirts

When you were a kid, did you make potholders on a potholder loom? I did. And I still have two of them! But what I couldn’t find anywhere were loops in the right colours.

I also wanted the durability of cotton, because nylon will sometimes melt and scorch if it gets too close to the flame on the gas stove. Since I couldn’t find what I wanted anywhere, I decided to make my own damn loops!

 

Make potholders from old t-shirts! A step-by-step tutorial for making the loops, weaving and finishing off custom colour potholders | www.donnaberlanda.com |

Finished potholders

 

What you will need:

  • clean, old T-shirts (or tank tops, turtlenecks, or any cotton jersey fabric) in colours to match your kitchen
  • scissors

 

Making potholder loops

Flatten out the first T-shirt on the table, and cut across the shirt right under the sleeves. For making loops, you will only be using the top half of the shirt. (Save the bottom part of the shirt, because I have a great project for using the remaining pieces of the T-shirts!)

Each shirt is going to have a different amount of stretch to it, so there isn’t an exact measurement to use for the next step. What I do, is hold a section of the shirt over the loom, and stretch it to see how much fabric is needed to go from the pin on one side of the loom over to the pin on the other side – with a little bit of “give” for weaving. You don’t want the loops to be so taunt that you can’t weave them! The loops I made are roughly 3 1/2″ long.

 

Steps for cutting the loops

 

Make potholders from old t-shirts! A step-by-step tutorial for making the loops, weaving and finishing off custom colour potholders | www.donnaberlanda.com |

 

  1. Cut 36 rectangles in your choice of colours – (cutting them across the shirts, not from neckline down) that will stretch from one side of the loom to the other
  2. Fold each rectangle in half, and cut down the center, ending about 1/4″ from the end of the rectangle
  3. With your scissors, round off the ends of the rectangles
  4. You now have a finished potholder loop!

Adding loops to the loom

Loops can be added in random colours, or you can make a pattern by grouping colours, or alternating the colours evenly. For this potholder, I put the loops on in random order, but didn’t put two of the same colour next to each other.

 

Make potholders from old t-shirts! A step-by-step tutorial for making the loops, weaving and finishing off custom colour potholders | www.donnaberlanda.com |

The first layer of loops

 

Once you have put on the first layer of loops, add the top layer.

 

Make potholders from old t-shirts! A step-by-step tutorial for making the loops, weaving and finishing off custom colour potholders | www.donnaberlanda.com |

Top layer of loops

 

And now to weave!

Take the first loop on the top layer, and weave it under the RIGHT side of each loop on the lower layer.

 

Make potholders from old t-shirts! A step-by-step tutorial for making the loops, weaving and finishing off custom colour potholders | www.donnaberlanda.com |

Weave the first row of loops, going under the RIGHT side of each loop on the lower layer

 

With the next loop on the top layer, weave it under the LEFT side of each loop on the lower layer. You’ll notice that the side of the loop that you want to pick up and weave under will be a little lower than the side you just wove in the previous row.

 

Make potholders from old t-shirts! A step-by-step tutorial for making the loops, weaving and finishing off custom colour potholders | www.donnaberlanda.com |

Weave the second loop

 

Keep weaving all the rows by alternating going under the right side of the lower loop in the row, then going under the left side of the lower loop in the row.

Occasionally, squish the woven rows together pushing them up in case you are weaving too loosely.

 

Make potholders from old t-shirts! A step-by-step tutorial for making the loops, weaving and finishing off custom colour potholders | www.donnaberlanda.com |

Keep weaving until all 18 rows are done

 

Make potholders from old t-shirts! A step-by-step tutorial for making the loops, weaving and finishing off custom colour potholders | www.donnaberlanda.com |

A closer look at the weaving

 

Finishing the edges and removing the potholder from the loom

First, sit back and admire your work! Doesn’t that look great? Now let’s finish the potholder and take it off the loom.

If you are familiar with crochet, finishing is basically a chain stitch. Starting from one corner, take the second loop, and push it through the center of the first loop. Continue by pushing the third loop through the loop you are holding.  Keep going all around the loom.

 

Make potholders from old t-shirts! A step-by-step tutorial for making the loops, weaving and finishing off custom colour potholders | www.donnaberlanda.com |

Push the second loop through the center of the first loop

 

Make potholders from old t-shirts! A step-by-step tutorial for making the loops, weaving and finishing off custom colour potholders | www.donnaberlanda.com |

Push the third loop through the center of the second loop

 

As you go around the loom chaining the loops the remaining loops may try to slip off the frame. To keep your weaving stabilized, grab a finished corner and hook it onto the pins of the loom. Once you are done finishing off the loops, you can pull the potholder back into shape if it looks a little warped.

 

Make potholders from old t-shirts! A step-by-step tutorial for making the loops, weaving and finishing off custom colour potholders | www.donnaberlanda.com |

Hook a finished corner onto the pins of the loom to stabilize the weaving

 

All done finishing, and the potholder is off the loom!

Add a curtain ring to the last loop

To finish off the potholder, you may want to add a curtain ring so you can hang your potholder on a hook above the stove. Sometimes rings are hard to find, so that’s why I’ve provided this link to Amazon.

 

Make potholders from old t-shirts! A step-by-step tutorial for making the loops, weaving and finishing off custom colour potholders | www.donnaberlanda.com |

Slip the curtain ring over the last loop

 

Make potholders from old t-shirts! A step-by-step tutorial for making the loops, weaving and finishing off custom colour potholders | www.donnaberlanda.com |

Slip the loop over the ring and pull so it’s snug

 

Finishing up and some trimming

You are almost done!

 

Make potholders from old t-shirts! A step-by-step tutorial for making the loops, weaving and finishing off custom colour potholders | www.donnaberlanda.com |

Trim off any ragged ends of the loops

 

Some of the loops may have extra fabric that needs a little trimming. With your scissors, carefully cut off the ragged ends.

Admire your handiwork!

 

Make potholders from old t-shirts! A step-by-step tutorial for making the loops, weaving and finishing off custom colour potholders | www.donnaberlanda.com |

Four finished potholders to match my knit T-shirt yarn rug (which is what I will show you how to make with the remaining T-shirts)

 

In reading through the above tutorial, this may sound like a complicated project – but it’s not! I started making potholder when I was about 7 years old, and this is a great project for kids to do!

What do I love about handwoven potholders?

  • They wear like iron! I still have some that I made for my mom when I was a little kid. The colours don’t match the kitchen, but the potholders themselves are still in perfect condition.
  • These potholders go into the washer and dryer with the rest of the clothes. Since we made them from old T-shirts, there is no shrinkage and the colours won’t run
  • The weaving makes them dense, so you won’t burn your fingers when handling hot cookware.
  • Custom. Colours.
  • great for gift-giving too!

 

 

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “How to Make Potholders from Old T-Shirts

  • Dorothy

    keep an eye out for a metal loom. So much easier to work with, and durable. Thrift store, rummage sale—thrill of the hunt! I cut up orphan socks for loops. Sometimes the brother sock is found later—too bad for him! Chop chop….

  • melanie. cantway

    Thanks for this idea and tutorial. I. Already have a round rug from t-shirts, and a small basket, but now I know what to do with the left over shirt top and sleeves(I am one of those”don’t throw any thing you may use later” kind of people) you cannot even begin to imagine the plastic bags I have saved(these are also good for plastic canvas needlework). So, thanks,again. And. CRO-ON!!!!!!!!

    • Donna Post author

      Good for you for saving the shirt tops & sleeves! I would love to see the basket and rug that you made.

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