I had so much fun making these ornaments. I love get allll my material options out and play with them, placing and swapping, snapping pictures to see how it looks later until it finally feels “right”! I sewed two DIY dinosaur ornaments from a worn out baby shirt and now I’m sharing a tutorial for how to upcycle a tshirt into a DIY Christmas ornament so you can try too!
You should check out these posts while you’re here!
- 25+ upcycled sewing tutorials that would make great gifts
- 20+ free felt ornament patterns
- How to make upcycled furoshiki to wrap gifts
Here is a closeup of 1 method, with a sequined triceratops. You can add hand embroidery, beads, sequins, applique, stamping, confetti, etc. Get creative and dig up all your craft stash to play around and get crafty embellishing!
Here’s a closeup of the T-Rex version! There wasn’t a full dinosaur so I instead cut it off at the waist and put it on to a felt circle instead. I originally had the lights on their original garland and wrapped around its neck but decided it was funnier for it to look like the T-Rex was trying to put up lights!
Here’s another version I stitched up recently!
I already have a few other ideas in my head to use this method and upcycle some old tshirts! This would also be a really sweet sentimental gift if you made it from your baby’s clothes once they’re grown up but I purge clothes way too quickly for that and had to buy this cute little tshirt from the thrift store instead.
Pin this tutorial for how to upcycle a tshirt into a DIY Christmas ornament with this link or collage image:
Ready to make your own?
How to upcycle a tshirt into a DIY Christmas ornament
- Heat n bond lite, sewable
- Wool felt – this is my favorite shop and where my felt is from
- Mini pom pom trim
- Glitter ribbon
- Aleene’s fabric fusion glue
- Forceps make it easier to stuff but aren’t necessary.
- Sharp scissors – with a sharp micro tip & rotary cutter, preferably a small one
- Embroidery floss
- Sequins & seed beads
- Hand sewing needles – the smallest one from this set fits through the seed beads
- If you want to try the miniature Christmas lights
- An old tshirt
- Quilt clips
- Press cloth (plain piece of white cotton)
Step 1- Cut out a piece of heat n bond slightly larger than the image you want to cut out. Apply it to the wrong side, adhere with the iron and cool. Cut around the image and peel the paper backing off. If you are planning on doing the circle be sure to trace that curve or leave overlap and trim it once it is adhered.
Step 2- Press the design wrong side down to the wool felt, cover with the presser cloth (which protects your iron from any ink or decals coming off the tshirt) and press to adhere. Let cool and then stitch around the edges.
Step 3- Time to add embellishments! Sequins with tiny seed beads on top, ribbon, whatever suits your fancy.
I used a couching stitch for the t-rex Christmas light strand, see below for an example, you come up on one side and go down on the other side of the line, making little tiny loops to secure the curve.
Step 4- After stitching is done, add any glueing! Let dry completely before moving on, because its apt to get bumped.
Step 5- Layer your ornament top on the backing felt and trace, cutting out a mirrored image for the back.
Step 6- If you’re adding any trim around the edges, now is the time! I used a glue stick lightly to get it situated and then let it dry before sewing.
Step 7- Glue your ribbon loop for hanging at the top, then pin all the way around, leaving a small gap.
Step 9- Add some stuffing and then sew it shut! Trim any weird overlaps around the edges and hang that pretty ornament up on the tree!