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The Best Ideas For Upcycling Sweaters For Christmas

I’m a big fan of repurposing fabrics. One of my favourite things is upcycling sweaters for Christmas.

Woolen sweaters can be felted, which makes it an easy fabric to craft with, as it doesn’t fray or unravel.

This makes upcycling sweaters into Christmas ornaments and decorations easy as the fabric can be cut, stitched, or glued as normal craft felt.

When upcycling sweaters for Christmas, it’s good to look for sweaters in festive colors, of white/cream, green and red. Patterned sweaters/jumpers also work very well.

Other woolen clothing, such as socks and scarves, can also be upcycled into Christmas crafts.

By the way, in the UK, depending on where you come from, we call sweaters different names. The most popular term to use is a jumper, but they also get called pullovers and jerseys.

the best ideas for upcycling sweaters for Christmas

What Sweaters To Upcycle

When felting and crafting, I used to just look for sweaters to upcycle that had a high natural wool count (over 70%). However, I have found that other sweaters that don’t felt, can still be upcycled.

Sweaters made from synthetic fibers won’t felt. But they still don’t unravel when cut, if they were made on a knitting machine. This means that they can still be also upcycled into Christmas crafts.

How To Felt Sweaters For Upcycling

I think everyone has accidentally felted a sweater at some point. You know that time your favorite sweater somehow got caught up with the normal washing. When you pulled it out of the machine, it had shrunk so much that it would now only fit a toddler.

It’s happened to me more than once! Now instead of crying over spoilt wool, I put those sweaters aside for upcycling and crafting.

The basic formula for upcycling sweaters is to use garments with a high natural wool content (70% and above). The higher the wool content, the easier the sweaters are to felt, so 100% wool garments are the best.

The basic formula for felting sweaters is detergent, agitation, and heat. I felt my sweaters in a pillowcase in the washing machine like I did with my mountain sweater pillows.

The pillowcase is to catch all the loose wool fibers. To prevent them from clogging up the washing machine. Agitation is provided by the washing machine but can be increased by adding heavy jeans or spiky washing balls to your wash. Choose a hot water cycle on the machine to shrink the fibers.

Putting the washed sweaters in a tumble dries will also help shrink the fibers. There are more in-depth felting instructions here.

upcycling sweaters for christmas

The Best Ideas For Upcycling Sweaters For Christmas

I have curated a collection of repurposed sweater crafts for Christmas. Some require felted wool sweaters, others don’t. There are projects that use whole sweaters and others that just use the smallest of sweater scraps.

Hopefully there will be a repurposed sweater craft here to inspire you!

If you liked this post, don’t forget to check out these upcycled denim Christmas ideas and wonderful Scandinavian Christmas crafts. You might also enjoy these cool adult crafting ideas, many of which are made from repurposed materials, such as small fabric scraps.


Wednesday 16th of December 2020

So many fabulous ideas and DIY instructions too! I have made pumpkins out of sweaters and socks, but never felted them or turned them in Christmas decor. Pinned!

Claire Armstrong

Thursday 17th of December 2020

Thank you, I'm glad you liked the ideas. Maybe next year you can make something for Christmas.

Marie Taylor

Sunday 13th of December 2020

I love all of these ideas! I recently donated some sweater/jumpers and wish I had saved one or two to try the ornaments or trees! Congrats on your feature for the Happiness is Homemade party!

Claire Armstrong

Monday 14th of December 2020

Thank you so much, and the feature is great.

Cherryl Ehlenburg

Wednesday 9th of December 2020

I love recycling old sweaters, and have several saved up. Thank you for all of the new ideas!

Claire Armstrong

Thursday 10th of December 2020

Thank you, I'm glad you have seen something new and hopefully have been inspired.

Cherelle | The Inspired Prairie

Monday 7th of December 2020

What cute ideas for upcycling old sweaters! I always love homemade gifts the best :)

Thanks for linking up and sharing this post with us on our Embracing Home and Family-link up!


Claire Armstrong

Tuesday 8th of December 2020

Thank you, sweaters are fun to upcycle they come in so many lovely colours.


Friday 4th of December 2020

I've never thought of upcycling sweaters like this. You've shared so many cute ideas. I love the crossed heart garland. Also, genius to put the sweater in a pillow case for the washing! Have a great weekend!

Claire Armstrong

Saturday 19th of December 2020

Thank you so much Michelle, I think they will be staying up all year round. I have a few decorations that have stayed up after Christmas like my Marimekko table.

Claire Armstrong

Saturday 5th of December 2020

Thank you, the sweater heart garlands are a favourite of mine too, they very Scandinavian and can be left up all year.