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Upcycled Denim Placemats

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Upcycled Denim Placemats | DIY Denim Placemats | Tips Recycle Old Jeans | Handmade Denim PlacematsI think I have probably been on a quest for the perfect pair of jeans for my entire adult life. Can anyone else relate to this?Until recently, my closet shelves were filled with jeans that didn’t quite fit just right. I didn’t want to give them up because over the years I had spent a lot of money on this quest. But since none of them fit well–and some didn’t fit at all–I never really wore them either.

But with all the de-cluttering we’ve been doing this year, I finally did an absolutely ruthless purge to my closet (more on that later) and decided, once and for all, it was time to let those old jeans go. Besides, after writing about these fun Earth Day Party Ideas for Home Made Simple, I was excited to repurpose them into placemats!

This project was SO easy. While it did require a very small amount of sewing, it was literally just a few straight lines, which even the most novice sewer should be able to do. However, if you really don’t know how to sew and don’t care about having a pretty back to your placemats, you could just do step one, then skip to step four. The edges are left raw, then frayed in the washing machine.

Upcycled Denim Placemats

Here is what you need:

old jeans
pre-washed fabric
sewing machine
straight pins


DIY Denim Placemats

Step One:  Cut the seat of your jeans into a rectangle shape. Trim until the edges are relatively straight and corners are square(ish), but don’t stress about making them perfect–they won’t be.

 Tips Recycle Old Jeans

Step Two:  Place fabric face down on table, then place denim rectangle on top so that wrong sides are facing each other. Pin in place, then cut fabric around denim.

Handmade Denim Placemats

Step Three:  Stitch around all 4 sides of placemat, leaving a 1/2 inch margin.

DIY Upcycled Denim Placemats

Step Four:  Wash & dry placemats in washing machine & dryer to fray the edges. It will fray better if you wash it along with other items!

DIY Homemade Denim Placemats

Step Five:  Trim any stray threads and even out the fray.

Tips to Recycle Old Jeans

Bonus Step:  To make very simple matching napkins you can cut cloth napkin-sized squares from your extra fabric using a pinking shears. Fold them into triangles, then fold them into back pocket of denim. The pocket can also be used to hold silverware!

Handmade Denim Placemats

Upcycled Denim Placemats--super cute way to repurpose old jeans!

Upcycled Denim Placemats | DIY Denim Placemats | Tips Recycle Old Jeans | Handmade Denim Placemats

Other than my husband joking that they were probably the most expensive placemats on the planet (ouch!), I love pretty much everything about them. They are fun, casual, & perfectly practical–exactly the kind of decorating I love!

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Have you ever found yourself with too many old pairs of jeans? What did you do with them?


  1. Aimilee
    April 15 at 08:38AM

    I love these! I have SO many jeans that I never wear….I am totally making these today! Where did you get the cute fabric?

  2. Kristi
    April 15 at 09:24AM

    Sorry, but personally, I don’t think I’d want to eat my dinner – or lunch – or breakfast – off of someone’s rear end (so to speak 🙂 ) There is just an eww factor there for me! Nope, just wouldn’t be appetizing…. My old jeans will be going off to Goodwill! Have a good one!

    • Ruth Soukup
      April 17 at 08:46AM

      LOL Kristi, that is funny…..since they are MY jeans, that is exactly why my husband likes it! 😉

  3. April 15 at 09:52AM

    This is an interesting idea. I know I have a couple pairs of pants in the sewing closet to repurpose into something. We’ll see what becomes of them.

  4. April 15 at 11:13AM

    Practical, cute, and definitely a conversation starter! How creative!

  5. April 15 at 11:40AM

    Oh my goodness! This is ridiculously cute! I love using the pocket to store the cutlery!

    Wishing you a lovely week!

  6. Shaidy
    April 15 at 12:30PM

    My daughters have purses made out of jeans…Except they used the front and back of jeans.
    Added a couple of cheap plastic handles and they are very cute.
    this is a cute idea!

  7. April 15 at 02:57PM

    Oh my gosh. These are so cute. Love them. FB them.

    Consider yourself hugged,

  8. April 16 at 09:22AM

    I love projects using old jeans. I have collected many jeans as well. Check out my collection of pillows here
    Plus i did an extensive blog series on great ideas for denim here:
    Love your placemats and might try some myself.

  9. April 20 at 07:55AM

    Cute idea! I make crafts to enter in our local county fair, then give them as gifts, so I have to make things in many different catagories than I might otherwise. One that always challenges me is “recyled item”. I think this would work very well, and be a cute gift afterword. Plus, really would not cost anything, as I can get jeans from a local clothes closet, and have a stash of fabric.

  10. Ellen Johnson
    April 23 at 10:43AM

    I love this idea! Especially the napkins and silverware in the pocket. Too cute! It’s going on my to do list.

  11. December 30 at 06:36AM

    Our local women’s shelter shop has a 50% off on clothing day (Wed), so I could get six pairs (or eight to really finish my table) of jeans for $3-4.

    That’s a LOT cheaper than buying a set, let me tell you!
    Love this idea. Think I’ll use bandana’s as napkins in the pockets, and go with a western or picnic themed centerpiece.

    Thank you for this!

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