Thursday, January 12, 2012

Taming The T-Shirt Monster: The Hula-Hoop Rug

He lives at our house, does he live at yours? He's very sneaky and can haunt families for years, decades, if you let him. He'll hide in your closet, or neatly folded and packed up in boxes, he even creeps into your dirty clothes pile, if he's feeling gutsy, to be washed and re-washed, again and again. He can disquise himself in many, many forms. Sometimes he's the shirt too small placed in a box until you gather more of his buddies to donate or sell. Sometimes he's disguised as the shirt that won't fit for three more years- but it was so cute you just had to!

I think Stink found The T-Shirt Monster hiding in a pile of dirty clothes!
More often than not he's the shirt that you don't give much thought to, you don't know if it's too big or too small. heck - you can't even remember the last time it was worn! Know exactly the monster I'm talking about now, don't you? The question really isn't 'what is the t-shirt monster?' though, the question is 'How do I defeat the t-shirt monster?'

Glad you asked. I've been wondering the same thing myself for years. Until now. I've been on a mission to find ways to 'up-cycle' those pieces of clothing that never seem to disappear! After all, they've proven their durability! Come with me as I test out fun and creative ways to re-do what's already in your closet!

Last week I found this goodie from the Disney Family Fun site via the amazingly addicting site, Pinterest. I of course immediately pinned it to my "Getting Crafty" board and made the plan to pick up a hula hoop that week. I found one at K-Mart the next day! They had two different sizes. (and only three overall!) I grabbed one of each and when I was checking out I noticed the bigger hoop was dented so I only got the smaller one. I let my boyfriend measure it, it was approximately 27".

The reason I was immediately drawn to this project is multi-layered. To begin with I have three girls, so the mass of clothes at my house is non-stop. Secondly, the project required very little additional tools, supplies that everyone has. (Or can easily get.) Lastly, how COOL is a rug made from t-shirts?

So let's get down to the nitty gritty, shall we?

1.  Find two shirts that are either the same color or look good together. A boys large shirt (or size 6-8) should probably work just fine. I grabbed a dark green shirt and when that ran out I used a yellow shirt. The colors didn't look bad together but there are things I didn't think about (or realize) when I did this. One part is that these colors will be VERY visible as the center of your rug. They will also be 'tails' of your rug. So let me say it again: Pick attractive colors so you don't end up with this ->
Yeah, dark green and yellow, not the best color combo. Anywho, moving on..

Gotta love the green and yellow, right? This is how you start your rug, with a big X!
2. Go around your house and grab every shirt that has a stain on it, a rip, hasn't been worn in this decade, etc etc. You get the point. For some reason it was an easier decision for me to cut a shirt into pieces than to remove it from my house. Odd. Back to the point: shirts. Grab shirts from everyone's room, including your own! I used everything from maternity shirts to boys shirts to girls toddler shirts to yes...even onesies! My youngest is 3, can you tell me why I still have onesies and maternity shirts in my house? Yeah, I can't either. Overall I used approximately thirty shirts. But a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Here are all the shirts I used on this project:
Shirts used in the hula hoop t-shirt rug. As you can see I used anything, and lots of it! So don't worry about graphics, you'll barely see it! And when you do it adds just another punch of color!

3. Cut the hem off the bottom of the shirts. Then start cutting them into one inch strips, so you are ending with loops. Don't worry about being perfect- it's going under your feet!

Stink showing off her work.
4. Being to place your loops around the hula hoop, each time you add a loop divide a section by half, then place it there. If you are using more than one color, I would suggest you use one color first, then use the second color last, so you end up with an abababa pattern. Place 11 loops on the hula hoop, making 22 "spokes" on the hoop. Then pull two of the sections together so you have an odd number of spokes on the hoop. If you have an even amount on the hoop you will always be going 'over' and the 'under' the same spokes, never creating a true weaving pattern.
Step 5, the first loop.

5. Now it's time to start the pattern. Place a loop around the first spoke (you can start anywhere, but it's probably easiest to start from the two you pushed together) and loop it through itself. This will secure it to the spoke. If you've ever looped two rubber bands together, it's the same looping. I forgot to take a picture, but thankful Disney didn't! Here's what I'm talking about:

6. You add loops of your t-shirt material using the same method. Wrap each loop through the existing loop, then through itself, pulling snuggly. Look, all kids can do it, even a 4-year old!

7. Continue this pattern for the entire rug. Instead of pulling on the loops push them towards the center. You CAN and WILL distort the rug by pulling on them.

Mr.E shows what your rug should look like.
Step.8 pt. 2 Knotting the loop to the nearest Spoke.

8. When you get to the end of your rug, snip the end of the loop and tie it to the closest spoke. I always do double knots.

9.Then you can begin to slice the spokes, pulling them through the last loop and double knotting them together. As you can see I didn't have a lot of room to do this.

Step 9. Cutting the spokes.

Step 9, knotting the spokes.

I had noticed towards the end of a little distortion, but when I was finished the hoop was in an odd shape and the rug was "bowling". I took a few pictures to show you:

My "rug" a.k.a. my new basket. Glamourous? No. But we all learn from our mistakes, right?

Disney Family Fun said to treat each spoke as one for the first 8 inches then as two separate spokes for the rest of the rug. I glazed over this, and it might have made a difference. Disney also said to stop 8 inches from the hula hoop. I also didn't do that. I don't know if it made a difference or not.I also let the kids do a lot of the work, so they could have been pulling on it. And on another note, this project took a few days to complete and in the meantime the hula hoop was definitely played with. Would it have ended up different if I had kept it safe? I don't know. I have definitely got enough t-shirts to re-do this project in the future, and I definitely will.

Now, my rug was warped. I was very disappointed. Until I realized it made a neat little basket. And you know what it was just perfect to hold? All the t-shirt scraps!

 Final note: NO hula-hoops were harmed in the making of this project. After cutting the rug of the hula-hoop, it popped back into shape. I only wish I had the elasticity.


  1. What a great project!

    I'd love it if you'd stop by my blog and link up this project. I host a Home and Family Friday linky party each Friday. I hope you'll come link up to the party!


  2. Becca~ I would love to! On my way over now! Thanks for telling me about it!

  3. Found you on Nap Time Crafters. Such a fantastic post! Would you please share this with our readers for Fun Stuff Fridays?

  4. Lindsi,

    Thank you for the compliments and the invite! I headed right over and posted it! I will add that to my party list too!

  5. I like it - may not be what you thought at first but it turned itself into something beautiful anyway.

    1. That is so sweet! One of the concepts of this site was to test and review crafts, so it's kinda neat it didn't come out 100%, so others can learn from it!

  6. What cool ideas! With 3 daughters of my own and all in their 20's-you can imagine the amount of t's we have-Yikes!! Following you from mis mustard seed-stop by for a visit!

    1. Claire,

      Thanks for the visit and the comment!

  7. Hi Sarah, too bad that the rug didn't turn out exactly how you planned, but just like the saying, you made lemonade out of a lemon. Will you try it again? Thanks for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

    1. Chris,
      I plan to try the project again sometime to see how it comes out. thanks for the follow I checked out your blog and followed you back!


  8. i think i prefer it as a basket - i bet if i try to make a basket it won't work! This is definitely on my to do list

  9. Looks like a really fun project. Sorry your rug didn't know it was SUPPOSE to be a rug and not a basket. lol By the way, mistakes are part of what makes us human. ;)

    Thanks for linking to Time Travel Thursday. Hope to see you each week.

    Liz @ The Brambleberry Cottage

    1. Liz,

      Thanks for visiting! I will make it over Thursday whenever I can!

  10. What a fun idea!! Thanks for linking @My Spin on the Pin Linky Party!

    1. Thanks for checking it out! I will be back!

  11. That is just awesome. I actually really like the basket (even more than the rug!) -- it'd be THE coolest laundry basket ever!

    1. Carla- Love your thinking! Thanks for the visit and compliment!

  12. at first I want to say that your presentation is very nice. I saw some comment that made me think.basically I am a designer so I like t-shirt design.
    sell my house

  13. Above all design think is so nice for fabrics. also I can say its awesome for t-shirt.


Popular Posts