Make an Awesome Water-Resistant Picnic Blanket From Old Jeans

7 Materials
4 Hours
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 27 questions
  • Maria Maria on Oct 17, 2019

    Can I glue on instead of sewing?

  • Talia Talia on Jun 18, 2021

    Did you know that just one pair of jeans consumes more than 2500 gallons of water!? I love this incredible DIY idea. It helps us stay sustainable and creative! I can’t wait to try this awesome upcycle project out for my next picnic.

  • Chrystie N Shane Develey Chrystie N Shane Develey on May 19, 2022

    Top stitching along each seam, does this make it not waterproof? How do you wash spills with a shower curtain liner on back?

Join the conversation
2 of 264 comments
  • Judi Miller Judi Miller on Sep 10, 2022

    Great idea

  • Barbara Bullard Barbara Bullard on Oct 09, 2022

    Not a question.

    I glued hook and loop every 10 inches to the shower curtain and blanket or quilt Instead of sewing.

    I experienced some Poke Weed Berries; quickly discovered I needed the same protection the shower curtain provided but more easily replaced in the long run.

    I have replaced the shower curtain a couple of times now.

    It may be a bit more time consuming up front but it is worth it in the long run, for my family.