before and afterDIY

Recycled Jeans Become a Comfy Lounge

by Grace Bonney

Most of the before & afters we share here on the site start out with the same materials: paint, wood and metal. But every now and then we see something fun and outside of the box. Or should I say bag?

Today’s makeover comes from KT Doyle in Australia, who turns old jeans into comfy, bean bag-style chairs. The process involves collecting old denim (KT gets hers from the Endeavour Foundation, which supports people with disabilities, and the RSPCA, whose mission is to protect and care for animals through advocacy and shelter), washing and cutting it and turning it into patchwork lounge chairs that people can use in their homes. I love when any group can tie their source materials into supporting a charity in some way, so this project was right up my alley. KT shares her full process and sourcing details after the jump! xo, grace





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  • I was wondering the same thing myself! I guess one could use (an eff ton) of plastic shopping bags in keeping with the idea if recycling…

  • Hi JJ and Amber, You can fill a JEANBAG with all sorts of materials. Besides polystyrene beads (which don’t fit the bill for recycling), you could use foam peanut packing, shredded recycled foam or pistachio nut shells, although these types of fillings won’t be as comfortable as polystyrene beads. We hope to bring you an eco-option for your bead filling in the future…

  • Hi Kristy M, You’ll have to give it a crack… They are time consuming, but I look at it as slow craft… Like slow food and slow fashion…

  • KT, what about shredded pieces of tire tread, like what they use on playgrounds. If you secure it inside another bag (perhaps made from recycled plastic bottles!), that would contain the smell.

  • Interesting idea Sarah Delisle… We haven’t come across that one before. I would imagine the tyres would have to be shredded nice and small with rounded edges… Might make it a bit heavy and a bit stinky, by we like where your brain is going in terms of recycled fill!

  • I save all leftover scraps of fleece and use them for stuffing dog beds. Might work. Fleece I buy is made from recycled plastic bottles.

  • I’m going to make this jeanbag chair today, fill it with old stuffed animals that my daughter can’t part with and give it to her as a gift! :)

    • I did that (old stuffed animals) for my daughter when I made her throw pillows for her first apartment out of old denims. I even made her pillows stuffed with her old baby blankets.

  • I really love this! I was going to suggest fleece for stuffing too. A lot of old blankets could be shredded and turned into stuffing.

    I was wondering if pressing the pieces with a cat was necessary? Would a dog work as well? I jest, I loved that photo and having owned many cats over the years and had to try and sew around them it made me smile.

  • I save the stuffing out of old pillows and animals that everyone in the family is going to throw a way. I wash it real good and dry it. Then sit, pull and separate it till it is like new. Then store it till need for a new pillow or project. This looks like a good one. Perfect for my all grandsons and they could even sleep on it. I have plenty of jeans and even flannel shirts, too. Thanks!

  • This is so clever idea! My girls will totally love this lounge and I’m sure I’ll have to make two of these for both of them. It’s a great recycling lesson and project for the girls. We have a box full of old jeans and instead of throwing them, we will recycle them this way. Thank you for the good suggestion!

  • Love this. I rescued the leather covering from a sofa that had to be dismantled . I’m now going to recycle it into one of these each for my teenage boys. Great idea, thanks!!!

    • im forever recycling i am lucky to have a endless supply of old jeans i get from the local sally army gonna give this one ago i normally make giant whales cushions from the jeans thanks for sharing