Homespun Christmas Tree Garland From Old Flannel Shirts

recycled flannel shirts crafts

Homespun Christmas Tree Garland from Old Flannel Shirts

These cute holiday garlands can be made recycling old flannel shirts.  My daughter and I saw a similar garland on a girls weekend away at a Christmas store for $50.00! We loved it, but were sure we could do it ourselves for almost pennies.  We were on a mission to make them as cheap and cute as possible.  
Here is some of the tips that worked for us:
1) ask church friends, neighbors, family, anyone for donations of old flannel and plaid shirts as well as quilt squares or unused material in your desired color choices. (We used one solid and one plaid of each color:  reds, greens, blues, and tans/golds: See last picture on post to see the full look of this color palette)
2) Look for wooden thread spools. You can buy them at craft stores, but look at yard sales and estate sales. we lucked out. A friend was holding a yard sale and had boxes of old spools with the thread still on them. We used razor blades to cut the thread off the spools and got several dozen for less than $2.00 total!
3) collect beads, buttons, anything you'd like to add!

Here's some instructions and pictures of how we  did it:
This is what you'll need: 
Jute ( I used 9 ft. lengths )
Strips of fabric 
Wooden spools
beads, buttons, etc.

1) You'll need to cut your fabrics into the desired length of strips. We used a rotary cutter mostly and cut them to about 4 1/2 inch strips.
Here's how we cut up an old childs plaid shirt:
Here's the original shirt

cut off buttons, cut off collar and cut through the shoulder seams and sleeves

cut off the two front pieces and spit the back down the middle (or 5-6  inch sections  if using an adult shirt)
cut or tear each shirt panel into desired length strips.

Here is all of my strips of fabric ready to go:
2) Cut jute to desired length of garland plus add a few inches extra

3) Start by feeding a bead, then a spool, then a another bead onto one end. Tie that end in knot leaving a loop for hanging:

4) Lay out desired pattern of how you'd like the strips to appear on the garland. Or you can always just do it randomly.  Tie the first strip onto the jute and slide tightly next to the bead:

5) Continue tying remaining strips and pushing them tight against the previous strips. I tied 5 full sets of the strips and then added a bead-spool-bead before repeating the strips:
This is 5 full sets of repeating strips then a bead-spool-bead
6) Complete the entire length of the garland ending with a bead-spool-bead combo and also leaving several inches to tie a loop/knot like the other end.  

Jan's tip: dip the end of the jute in melted candle wax to keep it from fraying while you are feeding the beads and spools on the garland.


  1. This is adorable! Love it!

  2. Anonymous12/07/2011

    Love it, have seen similar but yours is nicer. Have all the items needed. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Anonymous12/07/2011

    A tip: the thread could have been kept for other usage. I would've loved having all the thread off the spools.
    Can't get comments to post any other way.

  4. Anonymous12/07/2011

    Could have tore the strips to make it faster also. For those with carpal tunnel issues might find that helpful also.

  5. Dear Deb, thanks for sharing! I wish we could have saved the thread, except as I said,it was very old. Actually disintegrating as it was kept in a hot, humid, southern attic for many years and was unusable. Great tip though for others who may find some spools with thread still on them! Tearing the fabric is super cute, and we did tear some, but I was teaching my daughter different methods and letting her play around with them. Tearing for us, was NOT faster than stacking the fabric and rotary cutting a bunch at once. But definately tearing would be a better fit for the vintage look. We had fun trying different methods and playing with the project together, so my motivation was more time together, memory making and less true vintage. So I appreciate your tips they add a great alternative that I forgot to post!


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