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New uses for old sheets

By on October 13, 2010

Lone sheets take up much-needed storage space. You probably have a sheet or two that you rarely use but haven’t thrown away. You know you might need it for something someday, such as a toga party or quick ghost or mummy costume, right? Instead of hanging onto it with the best of intentions, put it to good use now.
Here are a few ideas that will make you look for sheets to use at garage sales or thrift stores, if you don’t have a handy spare at home.

vintage sheets


Use it in a park or at the beach. It’s larger than a beach towel and lighter than a blanket. Makes a great tablecloth on a picnic table, a protective drop cloth in the trunk of your car, a seat cover for after the beach or bedding for camping.


A flat sheet is easy to use as a curtain. Slide a rod through the top hem. This works well for shower curtains, sliding glass doors and closets that have the doors removed. Or make simple valances.
In a child’s room, you can make a curtain and suspend it from a tension rod hung in a doorway (or a swing door closet) to make a puppet theater, too.


Cut sheets into strips and crochet, knit or braid into rag rugs. They make beautiful handmade gifts. Visit RugLady or crochet pattern central for patterns.


Part of your sheet might be worn, but you might be able to salvage a smaller section. Sew a crib sheet for someone you know who can always use a spare. Directions can be found at Along the same lines, if you have spare flat sheets that you seldom use, you can make them into fitted sheets. They work well as quilt squares, batting or backing, too.


Use one of your pillowcases as a pattern and make more from your flat sheets. You can get six standard pillowcases from a large sheet. Add trim for a finishing touch.

quilt block sheets


Use them as backing, batting or in quilt blocks.


If you sew, sheets can be made into aprons. These make great gifts. A little chef would love one.


Use them to make pet beds, or call the Humane Society and see if they need any.


Bring them out for this purpose when kids are over. They love them so much that they’ll want to eat lunch or a snack in their indoor tent. Graciously send them home with one.


Cotton or flannel sheets work well for handmade cloth baby wipes. Cut 9-inch-by-9-inch squares (or round the corners) and serge or zigzag the edges.


Sew baby doll or Barbie doll clothes for the little girl on your gift list. Visit for patterns or create your own. Can reuse a sheet as a pattern that will hold up longer than a paper pattern, too.


Cut strips and use to stake up plants or to cover plants if there’s a frost.


Give an old dresser a makeover by using decorative sheets and Mod Podge. Cut the sheet material to fit the drawers. Visit for a tutorial. You can use a sheet to line the back of a bookcase, too. Leftover material can be framed and hung as art. Or staple batting and a section of sheet to cover a bulletin board. Criss-cross thin, ribbonlike lattice and use brads or tacks or hot glue buttons at the intersections to make a French memo board.

How have you reused sheets?

photo by Lisa Clarke

and heidielliott


  1. Kat

    10/14/2010 at 12:45 pm

    I always pick up sheets from GoodWill and some get used, others dont. Thanks so much for inspiring me to put them puppies to use!!! 🙂

  2. annis

    10/14/2010 at 3:53 pm

    I have used old sheets to make rag quilts. Batting was an old towel. Easy and fun!

  3. Amber

    10/15/2010 at 3:39 pm

    My husband was thrilled that I had kept our old holey sheets for “some day” when he was doing maintenance on his car. Throwing that on the ground gave him a bit of protection from the pavement and kept a great deal of dirt and oil off the street.

  4. Saule

    10/16/2010 at 2:15 am

    Duvet covers for blankets – sew up three sides, put snaps or buttons at one end. This keeps blankets cleaner, especially helpful with kids. My mother did this, it wasn’t until I went away to college that I learned that there was a different way to make a bed!

  5. Chickadee

    10/20/2010 at 2:42 pm

    Our church quilting group makes quilts to send to overseas missions. We use old sheets for the filling; or for the backing if they’re in good shape. Members of the congrgation donate their used sheets. We use old lightweight blankets, too. It doesn’t matter if they’re shabby or stained. They still make good fillers.

  6. Kelly

    5/2/2012 at 11:23 pm

    I use them as quilt squares for rag quilts – I use them on front and back and add solid flannel in the middle. They look very antique! Two full size sheets make more than enough for a double size quilt and at the thrift shop I found Pottery Barn sheets that are cotton. They were $1 – I love to upcycle!

  7. barb

    6/6/2012 at 12:09 pm

    I was looking for the ironing board cover part and did not find it???

  8. Jeannie

    1/23/2013 at 11:11 am

    I cut about 2″ strips and store them. I use them to tie up paper bundles for recycling.

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