Make an Awesome Water-Resistant Picnic Blanket From Old Jeans

$5
4 Hours
Easy

If you are anything like me, your family goes through lots of jeans. We love wearing our jeans and then when they are worn out or no longer fitting us we need new ones. But I didn't want to just toss out those worn out jeans, it was time to upcycle them into something awesome.
make an awesome water resistant picnic blanket from old jeans, outdoor living, repurposing upcycling, reupholster
Since denim is such a sturdy fabric I knew it would be perfect for a picnic blanket that could stand up to some use by the kids. And it has. We've had this blanket for 3 years and we take it everywhere. Now I'm making another one so I can keep one in the car at all times.
make an awesome water resistant picnic blanket from old jeans, outdoor living, repurposing upcycling, reupholster
To really make this the best picnic blanket ever, I used a shower curtain liner as the back of the quilt. Now we don't have to worry about our blanket getting wet from damp grass.
make an awesome water resistant picnic blanket from old jeans, outdoor living, repurposing upcycling, reupholster
To make this totally awesome picnic blanket you are going to need some old jeans. My picnic blanket is 5 1/2 feet by 5 1/2 feet and it's worked well for us. You will need about 8-12 pair of adult sized jeans to make this (depending on size and style).
make an awesome water resistant picnic blanket from old jeans, outdoor living, repurposing upcycling, reupholster
You'll need to cut 121 squares of denim that are 6 1/2 inch square. For some tips for cutting these, check out my blog post.
make an awesome water resistant picnic blanket from old jeans, outdoor living, repurposing upcycling, reupholster
Next start sewing. You will need to sew up 11 rows of 11 squares. I used a 1/4 inch seam allowance and it's all easy straight seams. After you have 11 rows you will need to sew the rows together.
make an awesome water resistant picnic blanket from old jeans, outdoor living, repurposing upcycling, reupholster
To add the shower curtain to the back, you will lay out your quilt on the floor with the top facing up. Make sure you ironed all the seams nice and flat. Then lay the shower curtain liner on top of that, with the right side facing down. Pin all around the outside then sew with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Make sure to leave a 2-3 foot section unsewn to turn it.
make an awesome water resistant picnic blanket from old jeans, outdoor living, repurposing upcycling, reupholster
Pull the right sides of the quilt out through the opening until the entire quilt is now right side out. To close up the seam, I topstitched 1/8" from the outside all around the picnic blanket. Then I topstitched 1/8" from the seam on each row to hold everything in place.
make an awesome water resistant picnic blanket from old jeans, outdoor living, repurposing upcycling, reupholster
And now I have the perfect picnic blanket for spring. We love that it is water-resistant and super durable. We also use the pockets from the jeans to hold our napkins or empty wrappers so they don't blow away.
make an awesome water resistant picnic blanket from old jeans, outdoor living, repurposing upcycling, reupholster
For more easy picnic ideas: check out my easy picnic placemats. They also use upcycled jeans!
And you can see my easy hack to make to go smoothie cups from plain cups so I can easily take my favorite drink when we are out and about.
I hope you'll visit my blog to find lots more projects to keep you enjoying the warm weather and to see more pictures and my sewing and cutting tips for the picnic blanket.
Kati @ Houseful of Handmade

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 20 questions
  • Kay Hendrick
    on Aug 2, 2017

    Can I ask do you need to machine sew the squares or can you sew them by hand.

    • Cathleen
      on May 16, 2018

      I have made many denim quilts. I started with squares but switched to strips so I didn't have to match corners. Much easier. I tied a backing on with embroidery thread. I used an old cribbage board for a template.

  • JoAnn
    on Jan 28, 2018

    What brand shower curtain do you use? I am assuming a heavy duty curtain is needed.

  • Cindy Walker
    on Aug 31, 2018

    Thank you for this inspiration.

    I have saved old jeans to make some tote-bags, but this family has so many tote-bags already it has never gotten done. I will make a picnic blanket for our travels.

    is there any certain kind of shower curtain that works best or will just any cheap shower curtain do?

    Thanks again, Cindy

Join the conversation

3 of 235 comments
  • Jo Perry
    on May 17, 2018

    I made mine double sided with washable "pee pads" so there's 3 layers. I have a serger instead of a sewing machine. The hardest part was putting the squares together. Mine is 8ft X 8ft! The thick pads in the Middle with double denim is extremely heavy! We anticipated that! Fortunately I have a friend who owns a commercial cleaning business! He has to put that thing in a vat that has hydraulic lift to remove it from the washing that over to a huge commercial dryer. We use it all summer wash it and put it away for next year. I'm 55 years old and my grandmother and I made it when I was five! The denim we used was from everybody in the families jeans! There's pockets and belt loops. Unfortunately I'm disabled now and I can't get it down out of the closet by myself! Or I'd be posting a photograph! Next time somebody has time to take it down and get a picture for me I'll try to remember to post one. I've been offered $5,000 for it! It has a billion memories and is definitely priceless! I turn that money down!

    • Jeri
      on Sep 8, 2018

      I love this IDEA ! I have an indoor one made from clothes my mom made for my sister and I as we grew up. My brothers and Dad's PJ's. I will give it a try with jeans next.

  • Jeri
    on Sep 8, 2018

    YES I am going to try this. I Love my indoor one made from pj's and ol left over fabric

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