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July 16, 2007 10:22 AM   Subscribe

What can I do with 200 ugly, crappy, collared t-shirts?

I work with a student society that inherited tons of ugly, unused t-shirts white shirts sporting our (really) old logo. We've pretty much written them off, but none of the students even want them for free and we'd rather not have to throw them out. Are there any fun things we could do with them?
posted by patr1ck to Grab Bag (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: maybe make laptop sleeves?
posted by noloveforned at 10:26 AM on July 16, 2007

Some activity that requires t-shirt ninjas?
posted by acro at 10:27 AM on July 16, 2007

Best answer: Make them into pillows (fill 'em with polyester fiberfill and sew 'em up at the sleeves, hem, and neck so it creates a quasi-square shape) and donate them to a local elementary school library. The library at my elementary school had a big pile of these soft t-shirt pillows, and the kids clamored to get to use them when it was reading time.

Instructions for the kind we had here. They're so fast and simple to make!
posted by limeonaire at 10:29 AM on July 16, 2007

Fun? You could shred them up and make paper. You are students, right? I imagine you need paper.

Here's James Burke telling you all about it.
posted by mdonley at 10:44 AM on July 16, 2007

Even if you can't think of anything fun, please don't throw them out. Plenty of charities would love to have them.

Your info says you're in Ontario--quick Googling ('clothing donation ontario') reveals quite a few potential recipients.
posted by box at 10:44 AM on July 16, 2007

Donate to the Salvation Army or charity of your choice. In Toronto at least (and I would suspect other cities too in Ontario) there are often large green bins that say "oasis project" on the side -- they take used clothes and redistribute them to the needy. Just dump them in there, collect your karma points, and be on your way.
posted by modernnomad at 10:47 AM on July 16, 2007

posted by beccaj at 11:08 AM on July 16, 2007

Your profile has you in KW.

There's a thrift store called "Generations" on Bridgeport a little bit east of King street if you want to donate them. I think they sell what they can and donate the rest to charity. Based on the last time I donated clothes, I recall the Salvation army is in Kitchener and has inconveniently restricted hours.
posted by KevCed at 11:09 AM on July 16, 2007

just throw them away or recycle them as rags or something.

but please don't donate them to charity, because it just makes things worse.

there is a glut of thriftstore clothing here in america, the poor people here don't need any more clothes. so goodwill/salvation army/etc send their extra clothing overseas to africa or other impoverished areas.

this creates a market overseas for american clothing. people start taking the jeans/etc we are donating, and they sell them at markets instead of just wearing them.

so now africans are wearing american jeans and sports jerseys and such, and the formerly self-supported african textile industry is in shambles.

also, some of the 'not-for-profit' companies have very shady connections with for-profit companies that sell the clothes youre donating. (see wikipedia)

so yeah. have a bonfire or something. but dont donate them because there are some serious unintended consequences.
posted by kneelconqueso at 11:26 AM on July 16, 2007 [5 favorites]

Does your university have a fine art printmaking class/program? I took five semesters of printmaking and cut-up t-shirts were in high demand for cleaning plexis, wiping down brayers, and cleaning the glass work surfaces at the end of an inky, printy day. Our prof even offered "bonuses" (small but welcome amounts of free paper and supplies) to people who brought in good amounts of old t-shirts. Other art classes (sculpture, painting, fiber arts, etc.) might be able to use them, as well, and if your school doesn't have much of an art program, look into community art centers.
posted by cilantro at 11:47 AM on July 16, 2007

Locally we have a scrap program/company that collects things like this that can be used for craft projects and uses them with school programs, parties, resell, etc. for kids to make stuff. So I guess I'm seconding finding an art program (school district?) that needs them to either cut up, practice on, make paper, etc.
posted by artifarce at 12:37 PM on July 16, 2007

Does your school have an auto shop? T-shirts make decent grease rags. (but old towels are better!)

(I know you asked about "fun". Sorry.)
posted by putril at 1:22 PM on July 16, 2007

Fun? Hmm, how about cutting all the T-shirts into strips, then wrapping a favorite campus statue like a mummy? (Not that I would condone anything illegal.) Cutting into strips and making the biggest rag rug you've ever seen? Cutting into squares and rectangles, dyeing different colors and making T-shirt quilts?
posted by Smalltown Girl at 1:44 PM on July 16, 2007

rag rugs


bedding for animal shelters (I like this one)

tie-dye experiments
posted by amtho at 2:29 PM on July 16, 2007

Shred some of them and stuff the others to make pillows. Then have a pillow fight.

If you can put in some money for polyester fill, you can have a Very Large Pillow Fight.
posted by donpardo at 2:56 PM on July 16, 2007

If you cut them into strips you can then knit with them (using large needles) and make rugs, etc. So you may find some knitters who would like them.
posted by litlnemo at 5:39 PM on July 16, 2007

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