band shirt upcycle nirvana

10 best ways to upcycle and reuse your old band T-shirts

From throw pillows to underwear, here are some creative and fun ways to give those old band shirts a new life.

March 15, 2020
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There comes a time when everyone’s favorite band shirts have seen a few too many mosh-worthy moments and start looking a little rough. While it’s hard to let go of something that often holds so much sentimental value, there are ways to keep those memories alive while breathing new life into them with a quick upcycle.

From no-sew throw pillows to underwear (yes, underwear), here are 10 creative and fun ways to give those worn-out band shirts a fresh look.

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Need a creative and easy way to add a little flair to your old band shirt? Why not give it a fresh look by doing a DIY bleach treatment? Many bands are going for the bleached look on their merch nowadays, so it’s a good way to jump on the trend without spending any money.

Perfect pocket

Let’s say your shirt has been through a lot. Too many mosh pits have left your tee looking pretty distressed—and not in a good way. If you can only salvage a small portion of your favorite band tee, why not upcycle two shirts at once? Some needle and thread or fabric glue can give your pocket a unique look.


It’s probably not the first idea that comes to mind when you’re thinking about upcycling your old band merch. However, this how-to on Craftster will give you the guidance you need to turn your favorite tops into your new favorite bottoms. 

Fringe dress

This one takes a little more work, but it’s definitely worth it. You can upcycle multiple T-shirts at once with this DIY project, and once again, Craftster has just the how-to you need to make this happen. It’s the perfect amount of fringe to show off your style. 

Lace-up eyelet

If you’re feeling crafty, this DIY lace-up is a creative way to breathe new life into your old merch. This step-by-step guide breaks it down while offering some super-helpful tips and tricks to make the whole process even easier. 


A popular style that’s made its comeback, this DIY choker T-shirt is fun, edgy and overall pretty simple to make. Just follow this guide and you’ll have that old T-shirt being trendy again in no time.

Ripped and torn

If you’re handy with a pair of scissors, then this ripped-and-torn look is the perfect way to go. Not only is it super creative, but it’s a sure-fire way to keep you cool and sweat-free at all those ridiculously hot outdoor festivals and shows. 

Band blanket

While this one may take some work, you’ll definitely feel rewarded as you drift off to sleep and dream about attending your most anticipated shows wrapped in a blanket showcasing your favorite bands. You’ll obviously need quite a few T-shirts for this one, so save this project for your next big upcycle commitment. 

No-Sew pillow

The best part of this upcycle is the fact that it involves no sewing whatsoever. This super-simple throw pillow design will take those comfortable old band shirts and turn them into even more comfortable pillows. Tag team this project with the band blanket for the ultimate bedroom setup.


On a time crunch and need a thrifty upcycle that doesn’t take up half your day? Turn those old tees into trendy totes. This 10-minute how-to guide shows you how to make a no-sew tote bag out of those old band T-shirts. After all, who doesn’t need a bag to put even more merch in?

Written by Whitney Shoemaker

Whitney is your definition of pop punk trash. If she's not jamming to State Champs or Grayscale, then she's probably out enjoying the finer things or working a show for Fearless Records as a Street Team Leader. She's a realist and an optimist, calling the city of Columbus her home. A huge fan of naps, Whitney often falls asleep in a city that doesn't. She's not hard to please, finding joy in discovering new bands or playing Everlong on the late night radio. Working at Alt Press and breaking ground in the music scene have always been a dream of hers, telling herself at an early age she was down for losing it all to make that happen! Now the weekend writer at AP, Whitney is prepared to be noticed and eager to contribute to the scene. If you catch her at a concert feel free to stick around, make small talk, or discuss her overuse of State Champs lyrics and song titles in her bio.