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How to Recycle Sweaters into a Heart Decoration

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.

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What You Need

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.

shaping a wire hanger into a heart shape

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.

Felted sweater with cut sleeves

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.

Cutting up old sweaters.
sweater felt yarn

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.

Gluing yarn to coat hanger
Recycled sweater felt heart up close

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.

Felted yarn created from recycling sweaters to make a cute Valentine's heart decoration
Recycle sweaters into a cute heart decoration for your wall for Valentine's.  A simple, cheap upcycling craft. #recyclesweaters #sweaterfelt #heartdecoration #valentinescraft  #valentinedecoarion

Other Sweater Felt Ideas

Don’t throw away the unused recycled sweater sleeves, you can use them to make an upcycled sweater felt garland or use them for an upcycled knot pillow.

Even the smallest of sweater scraps from this project can be used to make a felted heart brooch for Valentine’s. Or perhaps you will like these felt embroidered hearts.

Sweaters are just one of the many fabrics I love to upcycle, as well as Valentine’s day I also have many upcycled sweater craft Christmas ideas.

Check out these other Valentine’s crafts for adults and other sustainable ideas for old clothes.


Tuesday 18th of February 2020

What a creAnnative way to recycle a sweater. Thank you for sharing at Party In Your PJ's!

Claire Armstrong

Tuesday 18th of February 2020

Thank you so much.

Julie Briones

Friday 7th of February 2020

This is so smart, Claire! Looks like the small yarn hearts that have been making the rounds this year. Love this recycle sweater heart wreath! Pinned!

Claire Armstrong

Friday 7th of February 2020

Thank you Julie. It was a great way to use an old sweater.

Jo (A Rose Tinted World)

Friday 7th of February 2020

Such a clever idea! And it looks so effective. Who would have thought it was an old sweater?

Claire Armstrong

Friday 7th of February 2020

Thank you, it was fun to make.

Linda at Mixed Kreations

Sunday 27th of January 2019

Clever idea, and a cute heart. Love the sweater garland!

Claire Armstrong

Monday 28th of January 2019

Thank you so much. I love repurposing old sweaters.

Rosie (@greenrosielife)

Thursday 1st of March 2018

Oh such pretty things to make from something too many people would just throw away - love them! Thank you for once again joining in with #GoingGreen and I hope you can link up again when the next one opens on March 5th

Claire Armstrong

Thursday 1st of March 2018

Thank you, Rosie. Look forward to linking up again.