How can I reuse or recycle silk (and not-silk) scarves?

Leigh sent me an email a few weeks ago and it dropped into the black hole that is my email inbox – I only found it when looking for something else this morning. I *must* get better organised, I *must*.

Anyway, she asked about how to reuse or recycle a number of things so I’ll feature them over the next few days. First up, scarves:

i picked up a bunch for almost nothing at a garage sale, some silk, some not, all different colors and shapes, thinking they would be useful for something, but I’m not sure what!

I’m a sucker for scarves too – they’re one of my favourite things to look out for in charity shops because there is usually a good variety, in as-new condition and often unbelievably cheap (especially compared to buying similar printed fabric new).

One of the easiest things to do with them – particularly square ones – is to make them into cushion/pillow covers. Another no-sew idea for big square ones is to use them to make furoshiki bags.

Any other suggestions?

(Photo by Gerbera)

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14 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle silk (and not-silk) scarves?”


  1. hazel says:

    My main use for head scarves is as an alternative to wrapping paper.

    I either tie a few strategic knots, furoshiki style, or wrap the present in the same way as you would with paper and then secure it by tying ribbon around it.

  2. Condo Blues says:

    You could cut up the silk scarves and use them to dye Easter eggs instead of using old silk ties.

  3. nancy says:

    i love old, worn, stained, cotton, silk, poly scarves – all of them – can be re-made into wonderful new items. In my book “Denim Revolution” there is a project for a jean skirt with a scarfed hem, among other projects where scarves can be used for trims, … i use bits and pieces for scent bags, filled with dried lavender, and trim the edges of others with fancy crochet edging – check out my blog for tutorials. And I adore the above suggestions from hazel and Condo!

  4. Cara says:

    Tie the point of one scarf to the point of another. Continue adding scarves until you have the length you want. Tie the “chains” to a curtain rod to make a colorful curtain. The points can also be tied to their neighbors but I’ve found they hang better in single chains.

  5. nannie mary says:

    Hi I always keep a square head scarf in my handbag. Tie the opposite corners together and you have a handy shopping bag. The first tie can be tied firmly around the contents and the second tie is for the handle.

  6. Sarah says:

    Hi, Ive just bought a silk kaftan style top from a well known high street store which is basically the size and shape of a silk scarf (roughly). To give you some idea Im a size 10/12. I will be looking around in charity shops for similar size scarfs so that I can make more of this style top… but basically it measures 103cm by 64cm. The fabric is folded in half with a v neck hole cut in the long side on one side only, along the fold (do not cut double thickness of fabric unless you want the v neck at both the back and the front of the garment) the raw edges would need to be hemmed. Then measure approx 20cm from the edge of the short side into the centre of the fabric and 36cm down from the long folded edge and make a vertical cut of approx 5cm. This would need to be hemmed similarly to that of a button hole. Do this double thickness of the fabric, as this will then attach the back side and front side together, at the same time creating an armhole. Measure approx 20cm from the other short edge and do the same as before. If your fabric has enough excess then you could possibly make the belt that would thead through both of these holes and ties in a bow at the front. Alternatively a length of wide ribbon would be just as good.

    Alternatively this garment could be made with a silk sarong.

  7. heather says:

    You could use them to line boxes with. My friend made a secret compartment book with padded silk lined interior.

  8. kittykat says:

    I regret not having pictures of this for you. Think window dressing. Now combine that concept with clothes. There is this lattice looking frame thingie you can buy where you put fabric (this is most often bedsheets) behind the lattice and pull bunches of the fabric forward through the openings to make decorative pouffs. Guess what? You can do this with clothes and it’s really neat! Take a solid color sweatshirt and cut holes in the front of it. Put a scarf inside and pull pouffs of it through the holes. Or, use chineese chopsticks to make miniature “curtain rods” and hang a “curtain” (scarf) over the pic or graphic on the front of your T-shirt.
    My friend, did one that is a takeoff of the scene from The Wizard of Oz
    where Dorothy peeks behind that curtain……..I am working on one that is a Jeckle/Hyde sort of thing where my real face is Mr. nice guy, but behind the curtain is my “dark personna”; a really ugly blackmail photo my sister took of me one morning before I had shaved, or even had coffee! Real scary stuff!

  9. kittykat says:

    Many of us have live plants in the house. I have several large pothos plants that are very nice but, well, kinda boring. They never produce flowers, or demonstrate any “change of the seasons” type show. That’s
    when my many scarves come to the rescue. I never keep them in the closet or a drawer. I use them to jazz up my boring houseplants! Bows,
    banners, pennants, whatever…………..

  10. Medeea says:

    Use them to decorate your handbag, use them as belt, shawls, sarong, decorate a hat…
    or as fancy wrapping paper.
    You could also turn one with a nice print into a summer blouse: fold it in half following the diagonal line, then cut. Sew each of the top corner and thread some ribbon through (that will be the part to tie around the neck). Sew the sides and cut the excess.

  11. AAKANKSHA says:

    hellooo…v had plenty of silk pieces at home…rusts,pinks,ferozis, navy blue, yellow, bright green n lot many other colours….wat v did out of them was cutting plenty of coloured triangles 4m them of same size n den sewing them together. finally v had a big bed sheet sort of thing to wish v added a little foam to give a quilt like thing. n it came out to b a bright formal bed cover.

  12. Konallis says:

    You can use them as privacy filters for windows. Take a pretty, translucent scarf, stretch it across the lower half of the window frame and fasten it in place with thumb tacks.

    Another use I’ve read about in books on vintage decorating is as instant curtain tie-backs. Loop a scarf around the curtain and tie the ends to a hook in the window frame or wall.

  13. Furoshiki says:

    Great to hear! You can use Furoshiki in a so many ways and use whatever cloth you want.



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