Inside: A tutorial for making yarn from old sweaters and turning it into a Valentine’s heart decoration.
After the annual New Years’ purge of my wardrobe, my pile of recycling sweaters has grown. I’ve got a big upcycle project planned for a lot of the sweaters. But this little stripy jumper, unfortunately, didn’t make the cut. However, I did manage to recycle the sweater into a cute heart decoration.
Valentine’s day is actually my birthday, and this year it’s a big one! I thought it would be fun to decorate my home with lots of fabric hearts.
I’ve already had fun making some heart string lights. Now I’ve got the sweater felt heart decoration to add to the decor and there is more on the way!
Recycle Sweaters For Valentine’s Heart Decoration
This is a really simple sweet Valentine’s craft that can be completed in under an hour and costs virtually nothing to make. It’s so simple that you could even do it with the kids.
We’re a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
What You Need
- Old wool sweater – Ideally the sweater should be at least 80% wool
- Wire coat hanger – or wire of a similar thickness
- Hot glue gun
- Wire cutters
- Rotary cutter and mat
- Metal ruler
How to Recycle Sweaters into a Heart Decoration
Step 1: Firstly, I bent the wire coat hanger into a heart shape and used the wire cutters to cut the hook off. If you don’t have a wire coat hanger, use some garden wire to shape your heart.
I’d done this before when making denim heart wreaths.
Step 2: Next, I felted the sweater by putting it in a hotwash, as I did with my sweater mountain cushion. Once felted, I cut off the sleeves and put them to one side for another project.
Top Tip: If you find that your sweater does not felt, maybe because it doesn’t have a higher enough wool content, you still might be able to use it. As long as the sweater doesn’t unravel when you cut it, it can be used for the craft. Also, a t-shirt would work just as well with this heart decoration.
Step 3: For the next stage, I cut the sweater like you would cut a t-shirt to make t-shirt yarn. This is difficult to explain how I did that in words, however, there are some great infographics on Pinterest that show exactly how to do it. Like this one here.Basically, you lay the sweater flat and cut the sweater into strips from one folded edge to the other. But to not cut to the top folded edge, leave a gap of about 1cm.
Step 4: Next, to ensure I cut felted sweater yarn was an even thickness, I used a rotary cutter, board, and metal ruler. I cut the sweater up so that the sweater yarn was just under 1 cm in width.
Step 5: Finally, when you have made the sweater yarn you are ready to make the heart decoration. Start off by gluing one end of the yarn to the wire heart using a hot glue gun.
Then, wrap the yarn around the wireframe. A random crisscross pattern works best. Continue until the heart is totally covered. When you are finished, secure the end of the sweater yarn with hot glue.
All that is left to do is to hang the heart decoration. I was lucky in that I had a striped sweater that was perfect for this heart decoration. I think it would look just as good in red or pink.
Another option is to use sweater yarn made from more than one sweater in two different colours, such as red and white or red and pink. I’ve even made a neon version of this heart decoration using El wire.