Recycled fabric DIY cushions: A simple makeover for stools

When my desire to manage my waste, clothes included, met my “projects to do” list, I thought that a rag rug project would be the perfect idea for a pile of unusable clothes that I had cleared from my wardrobe.

I committed to this laborious task for the sake of making a promise to myself to be more conscious about consumption and waste management. Luckily, my friend Lucia offered to help. With some nice music in the background we had an amazing, pleasant afternoon: talking, sharing and laughing. As my friend Hind would say, we spent an afternoon in craft meditation. The results were: new cushions for my upcycled stools, a deal to repeat the same again (which we did as I had more scraps) and thoughts on how to do it even better next time.

Take this idea and your unusable clothes or textile scraps and make your rugs, bath mats, seat cushions or sofa throws… Maybe you even have a better idea. Send us pictures! There are many creative suggestions on how to use fabric waste on the internet. I chose some of the options I liked the most and shared them in the DIY IDEAS in this post. I also saved more examples in my clothes recycling ideas album on Pinterest. 

For the base of these cushions, we took bath mat material with holes in it and cut it in the shape of the stool seat. To make the scraps, we cut old clothes in pieces of aprox. 1.5cm x 12-15cm. Then we just pulled the scraps through the holes leaving both ends on the top side. Because the material was quite dense, we didn’t even have to make knots to fix the scraps in place. 

Having chosen a non-slip mat, there was no need to attach the cushion to the stool. It stays put. The disadvantage of using this kind of mats (other than them being made of a sort of plastic) is that you cannot sew it to another piece of fabric in order to add more volume or create a sofa cushion for example. Moreover, I would never suggest buying new material for a project that is supposed to be about recycling unless it’s absolutely necessary. Thus, I immediately started thinking about alternatives and realized that there are other good options: use any kind of available mash or fabric that has gaps or holes throughout.

I used an old sweater as a base for the next project. It was definitely easier to get the scraps through the holes. However, each scrap needed to be secured with a knot. In the end, the time I saved passing the scraps through I lost tying the knots. The advantage of using this as a base (besides it being a 100% recycled project) is that you can sew it to another fabric and also adapt it to different kinds of furniture pieces (and sizes). I will show the full HOW TO in that project post.

Photos by Mili