By Sandi Gohn

For military and civilian kids around the world, the end of May means one thing – the start of summer vacation and, inevitably, summer boredom.

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So, to help kids find positive, productive and cheap ways to stay busy during the warm summer months, we put together a list of nine fun crafts that anyone can do at home. All you need is an old T-shirt (or two). Take a look:

1. No-Sew T-Shirt Capes

T-shirt capes are a great way to upcycle an oversized T-shirt into an afternoon of fun.

To make the cape, gather an oversized T-shirt, fabric paint, paint brushes, an Exacto knife, stencils and some Glad Press N’ Seal wrap. Then, follow these simple instructions to transform your shirt into the iconic superhero accessory.

2. No-Sew T-Shirt Coasters

For a practical craft outcome, try transforming worn-out shirts into these beautiful, braided coasters. This is a great craft to do with old T-shirts that have ugly logos on them, since the fabric gets braided.

With a T-shirt, tape, super glue and some patience, even the youngest of crafters (with supervision!) can create a colorful new addition to the family coaster collection.

3. No-Sew T-Shirt Pillow

A t-shirt pillow is a great way to show off a favorite old shirt in a creative new way.

To make this project, pick up a standard square pillow insert and a pair of scissors. Then, follow these easy instructions to transform the shirt into a new favorite throw pillow in under an hour.

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4. No-Sew T-Shirt Tote Bag

This no-sew project is a fast and easy way to upcycle a favorite old T-shirt into an eco-friendly shopping bag.

Start by gathering a washable marker, an old T-shirt and a pair of scissors. Then, follow this simple tutorial to turn that old T-shirt into a brand-new bag in a matter of minutes.

5. T-Shirt Bracelet

This project is a must-do for anyone familiar with 550 cord bracelets.

To begin, grab an old T-shirt, scissors and a needle and thread. Then, following these directions, cut and braid the old T-shirt into a brand new bracelet.

6. No-Sew T-Shirt Pom Pom Ball

This project is a great way to add a bit of decorative flair to a living space.

To start, grab a few prices of cardboard, 2-3 old T-shirts and a pair of scissors. Then, follow these directions to cut, wrap and tie the shirt into a soft and colorful room decoration. Younger crafters can even turn these DIY pom pom balls into animals by adding items like google eyes, felt mouths or other fun accessories!

Photo credit USO Photo by Sandi Moynihan

USO staffers in Arlington post in the 2019 t-shirt campaign shirt.

7. T-Shirt Shoe Laces

To spice up a pair of sneakers, try using an old colorful shirt to make these easy DIY laces.

Begin by grabbing an old shirt, some scissors and a needle and thread. Then, follow these easy instructions to make custom, colorful laces sure to make any pair of shoes stand out from the crowd.

8. T-Shirt Dream Catchers

These no-sew dream catchers are a perfect rainy afternoon project for crafters of all ages.

To start, collect an old T-shirt, an embroidery hoop, scissors, large decorative beads and a large needle. Next, construct the dreamcatcher following these steps. Decorate the finished dreamcatcher using beads, paint, glitter or other accessories.

9. T-Shirt String Backpack

Both practical and easy, this T-shirt string backpack is a great up-cycle project for young or novice sewers. This also a particularly great project for anyone looking to show off an old T-shirt that has become to worn to wear.

Begin by gathering a T-shirt, scissors, a needle and thread and a safety pin. Then, carefully follow these instructions to transform the T-shirt into a new string backpack.

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

This story was first published on in 2018. It has been updated in 2020.