Upcycle Summer Fun

When life throws you scraps, make a quilt. 

 ~Author Unknown 

Summer is a magical time!

The long hot days with filled less with must do’s and more with precious memories.

Not always can we be vacationing to fabulous destinations, spending all our time at theme parks and spending spending spending left and right.

Really, you can?

Well… let me direct you to the donation button at the bottom of this page. 😉

Most of our “summer activities” take place outdoors but what can we do when the weather isn’t favorable for our activity, someone is ill, or your need a little break from the busy for a quieter day?

Upcycle Crafts!!

I once made memory quilts for each one of our kids using their old clothes. If an emergency occurred and we were forced to flee in the middle of the night you could bet 3 out of 4 kids would have brought their  memory quilt with them. 🙂

Sure it took much time but they each cherish and still talk about each patch on their quilt.

Do you remember when your son would hardly take off that dinosaur t-shirt or how your daughter loved to wear the outfit her Auntie gave her?

That favorite shirt can become a great MANY things!

K had a favorite shirt that she hated to get rid of.

She remembered when we made “sit upons” for our Girl Scout Troop.

“Mom, do you think I could make an Animal Pillow.” She asked

Truthfully my mind went to stuffing a family pet… it’s a weird place in there. 😉 Until she produced her T-shirt and told me her plan.

She simply wanted to stitch up the holes and stuff it to use as a throw pillow on her bed. I had a bag of Fiberfill leftover from another project, some red colored thread that she liked and a needle so I didn’t see the harm in letting her create.

Sewing is a necessary skill that many children are no longer exposed to.

This project isn’t about being perfect. It’s about creating something to be proud of, achieving something new, learning by doing how to keep steady stitches that get better with each attempt, passing long summer hours with a mind working fun and most important… adding additional arsenal for when a pillow fight throw down breaks out.

It happens around here often. 🙂

K sewing away!


We laid the shirt out flat and I helped her to pin the two layers together. She did the rest. 🙂

I cautioned her to keep her stitches close enough so her stuffing doesn’t explode out in between them. I said no more about sewing and left it to her to create as she desired. We chit chatted together. K really is a fun kid. Ever the artist and out of the box thinker it was fun to watch her.

We repeated the pinning on both of the sleeves and she sewed them.

She sewed just under half of the neckline so she had room to stuff it.

Just before making the last few stitches to close her neckline, she did the ‘Squeeze Test’ to make sure that it contained the exact amount of fluffy that she was looking for.

Her stitches were pretty even for a beginner. She did a great job! 🙂

She LOVED her Animal Pillow and raced off to show her siblings before I could snap a finished product picture.

Picture this: the Animal T-shirt… only stuffed. 😉

Since K blazed the T-shirt throw pillow craze around these parts, I’ve made pillows with all the kids.

I would suggest this fun Upcycle Summer Craft for ages 5 or 6 and up!

The younger kids need help and a constant eye on them. While the older kids 9+ seem to do EXTREAMLY well with little help and often it sparks even more fun upcycle craft ideas that you can repurpose with flair and fun together.

The 45 minute project created a neat individual time for me to connect to each one of our kids, just the two of us. The neatest part is we have a lasting memory that they curl up with of a special time. It’s a fluffy I Love You reminder for your bed. 🙂


K went on to sew and stuff an old favorite pair of pink pants.  Every time I wash the Pillow Pants I can’t help but laugh a bit. I love the way K’s mind works sometimes.

Your old clothes can certainly be donated so that others may benefit. Hand me downs to friends, family and charity are AWESOME!

When we have a SPECIAL something we’d like to keep, we’ll try to upcycle it into something we can use today. We’ve found some great ways to reuse older clothes that are too faded or warn to pass along!

We have cut off old jeans like  shorts, sewed them and stuffed them to take with us to sit on camping, when we have to sit on metal bleachers, for picnics or for being comfy while enjoying a concert or movie in the park. Kids think it’s really fun to be able to sew their own seat!

We’ve made them to bring on sleepovers or to school on PJ Day so they had a piece of home that was also cozy.

We’ve made T-shirt scarves, produce bags, pillows, quilts and always have plans to make more! 😉

Pinterest, Etsy, Google, Facebook and Creative Bloggers are AMAZING sources of inspiration!

I am constantly astounded at the incredible things that Bloggers are coming up with and sharing with us!

I’m constantly Googling something, have to be many rooms apart from my pocketbook when scrolling through the pages at Etsy and Pinterest…. it’s like falling down Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole of wonderful! HOURS will be stolen from you if your not careful. OK, so they are blissful, delightful hours passed looking at beautiful things and pinning away until your friends and loved ones are ready to stage an intervention. 🙂

It doesn’t have to cost much or anything at all to create hours of fun and educational projects this summer! It allows the opportunity to feel accomplished but you’ll know that your boys and girls alike possess the necessary basic sewing skills that might be called upon later on in life. Even our little guy at 9 years old, can sew his own projects and will never have any good reason to be missing a button on his shirt, jacket or pants. 🙂

You don’t have to possess any sewing skills at all to do this project! Super simple sewing! There really is no wrong way to create… should you find you’ve taken a wrong turn, it’s just a lesson in how to make it better next time. 😉

You can take your project outdoors or stay inside and enjoy a little A/C relief.

What are you planning to UPCYCLE this summer?

Wishing You Fearless Creativity,


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  1. Great post. Lots of upcycling ideas on my blog if you would like to stop by – I upcycle jeans into bags, purses and pouches which I sell to raise money for charity.

  2. Ha! I love the creativity of pillow pants!! I’m thinking of upcycling my wedding dress… (still just in the thinking stage though.) Great post! 🙂

    • Erica on June 27, 2012 at 5:09 am

    I recently upcycled an old lack coffee table, a small USB fan and an old car sunscreen into a seed starting station (the only thing I purchased was the hanging light). I found the table at the dumpster, and the rest I gathered from family.

    • Kelly on March 13, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    I love upcycling! It is something I am just starting to dabble in but it is such a good idea. Minimizes waste and also allows room for momentos to grow with you.

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