Mug Makes! T-Shirt Braided Plant Mats/Trivets/Coasters*

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

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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.

Here, you’ll 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’…

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

Our next step 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.

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

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3.clip

I used a 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.

4.clipped

How to braid:

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

braiding-steps

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.

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

Taking a standard 8×10 piece of felt from the craft store, fold it diagonally and trim the excess to create a square.

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Fold that square in half, and half again to create a smaller square.

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Cut the corners on a curve to create a circle.

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Now we’re ready to glue. Find the center of your circle (you can do this easily by folding into quarters like you did when you cut your corners off – the middle is where your folds cross) and glue the unknotted edge of your braid. Be conscious which side your gluing up. 

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Wrapping the braid over your lose end, keep gluing and winding the braid around.

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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.

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And you’re mat is complete.

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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. Larger backing, canvas or a sturdier fabric, could allow you to even make a small rug. It’s up to you!

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