T-Shirt Braided Plant Mats/Trivets/Coasters*

4 Materials
2 Hours

* Yes the title is long, but so is the list of uses for this little project.

I don’t know about you, but we have a ton of old t-shirts laying around. Whether they’re promotional ones I acquired from my former job, or old ones that either don’t fit or are to worn out to wear, we have many. I wanted to find a use for them. We also have a number of plants around the house, that shockingly I have been keeping alive. I thought it would be fun to add a little something under some of them to dress them up a bit.

Enter T-shirt ‘yarn’ mats to go under them, or use them as trivets, or coasters. The uses are pretty endless, and the process, requiring no sewing and items you may already have at home, is fairly simple… and fun.

Using a pair of sharp, good-quality fabric scissors will be helpful here.

First, we’ll cut the t-shirt to make the yarn…

Lay your t-shirt out flat and cut straight across right below the sleeves.

Don’t worry if your shirt is wrinkled (as you can see below – no worries here). They won’t show at all once the yarn is finished.

Once you’ve cut the sleeves and neck off, fold the shirt in half, one edge slight shorten than the other, and then make cuts every inch or so, cutting through the first folded edge at top, but not through the second (otherwise you’ll just be cutting loops).

Open the shirt at the fold and start cutting diagonally as show below. This will create once continuous piece of yarn.

After you’ve cut your shirt, you’ll want to stretch the strip. This is what really turns it into ‘yarn’…

Once all your yarn has been pulled, wrap it up into a ball to be ready for the next step, which is braiding.

I’ve included some very simple steps below for those who don’t know how to braid. You can also search online, where there are literally 100’s of how-to videos showing the process in more detail.

Cut 3 strands of your yarn. I found that anything longer than 5 feet or so became unwieldy.

Knot them at one end. This will be cut off when we glue the mat, but its helpful now to keep your yarn together.

I used the binder clip to attach the strands to a blind on the window. It helped having it higher as the yarn is long. Plus, you’ll get a little bit of an arm workout, so win-win.

How to braid:

It is a s easy as “Right becomes center, left becomes center. Right becomes center, left becomes center.”

Be sure you’re aware of what your lose ends are doing – they can tangle easily. 

Continue until you’ve reach the end of your yarn and transfer the clip to that end to keep it from unraveling.

Now we’ll glue the yarn to the felt, trim the excess, and you’ll have a completed mat.

Cut a circle from your felt. Find the center of your circle and glue the unknotted edge of your braid.

Once you gotten to the end of your braid you’ll want to cut the knot off and tuck the lose end under.

Your final step it to trim any extra felt, and your mat is complete.

Like I said, the uses are endless. These could be really festive in red for a Christmas table. You can also use 2 or 3 different colors in your braid to create a multi-colored mat. Size is up to you. A larger backing - canvas or a sturdier fabric - could allow you to even make a small rug. It’s up to you!

Resources for this project:
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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 4 questions
  • Lynne Tharan Lynne Tharan on Feb 08, 2019

    I'm with Julie, here. I've thought it over and tried to understand your directions for cutting the fabric and making one continuous piece. Possibly if I actually tried it, I might be able to figure it out, but in case I'm off, could you offer a video or more photos of each step?

  • Sally Sally on Feb 18, 2019

    Can it be washed without the whole thing coming unglued?

  • Carlene Williams Johnson Carlene Williams Johnson on Feb 24, 2019

    Will this protect the floor if I sit a plant on it that gets watered, and drips some?

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  • Annette Perlman Annette Perlman on Mar 31, 2019

    I don't get it either but that link up above gives a better view. I saved it and I'll try it with paper first. Or any old piece of fabric. Stretching out the the fabric strips is the key to this whole thing. I never thought of that before. Thanks everybody for the link and all the ideas.

  • Sharon Sharon on Apr 26, 2019

    Very cute! I have made one carefully sized to fit within a plastic cottage cheese lid, backed it with felt and popped it in the lid. I thought about gluing it in but then I can't wash it. This way when my iced tea glass sweats, or I slop my coffee, the fabric absorbs it and the plastic protects my wooden table top. The lids are clear, so unobtrusive.