Before distressed and ripped became fashionable, jeans were renowned for their toughness, and the ability to last for ages under serious work conditions. Levi Strauss originally came up with blue jeans (denim pants) to serve California gold rush miners who couldn’t find trousers that lasted.

Strauss’s first version of these pants was made from rough canvas he’d bought to use for tents and wagon covers, but they were too stiff and chaffed. So, the material moved to something that was still tough but also comfortable: twilled cotton cloth or denim. It turns out that was a winning choice, and with an improvement here and there, Levi’s blue jeans were patented in May of 1873.

Nowadays, blue jeans are still used as solid work pants, but they’ve also become so commonplace that we have innumerable styles: skinny, bootcut, bellbottoms, cargo, relaxed fit, low rise, baggy, carpenter, ripped … and on it goes. With all those jeans, with fashion’s seasonal changes, that makes for a lot of old pairs of jeans floating around out there.

That means there is a lot of inexpensive (or free), strong, yet comfy material that an aspiring DIYer can play with it.

Source: Artefacts/Youtube

1. Make a Bag (or Few)

There are tons of different bags that people make using old jeans. The back pockets can be fashioned into wallets. The legs can be quick projects for making a carrying case for a wine bottle or little reusable gift bags. An entire pair of jeans is enough material for constructing a backpack or tote bag.

Source: Megan Nielsen/Youtube

2. Denim Basket

Containers are always useful to have around when keeping things tidy, and baskets are a great container for doing it. Baskets aren’t just wicker or straw. They can be made of lots of different materials. Old jeans, particularly the legs, can be sewn into solid-sided baskets, or a pair of blue jeans can be cut into strips to make a woven or braided denim basket. (The above link uses a sewing machine, here’s a no-sew video that uses glue.)

Source: Simple Made Pretty/Youtube

3. Floor Poof

A floor poof can be super fun and useful to have around. They make great seats in a pinch. They are comfy ottomans to set in front of a sofa or chair and prop a weary pair of feet on. Pets love to hop up on them for an afternoon nap. They can make decent pillows, cushions, and so on. They also have a certain homey look about them. Why not make one and give it a shot?

Source: Dad Sews/Youtube

4. Aprons

While many people think of aprons as something worn in the kitchen, usually by 1950s housewives, that isn’t the case. They are much more versatile. Types of aprons can be used for carpentry, gardening, crafting, cooking, and lots more. They protect clothing from being damaged and provide easy-access pockets. Repurposed denim makes great aprons, and jean pockets become handy pockets on them.

Source: TaLe Germany/Youtube

5. Organizer

Because blue jeans tend to be fashionable and long-lived, we can reuse them for all sorts of stuff, and a wall organizer to hang on the back of a closet door, near the crafting desk, or in the kids’ bedroom can be quite handy. This can make fun use of the different pockets on the jeans

Source: Tamara’s Joy/Youtube

6. Quilts

A well-worn pair of jeans is often considered among a person’s favorite items of clothing. They just feel right. Well, isn’t it nice to think those jeans, as they are retired from the closet, are being repurposed into a blue jean quilt? This is a great project and a great one for using up several old pairs of jeans in a constructive way that’ll be truly appreciated.

Source: DIYMarta/Youtube

7. Denim Rug

It’s important to remember that rugs can come in many shapes (oval, circle, square, runner) and sizes, ranging from covering rooms to something in front of a sink. In other words, it’s possible to take on the denim rug as a small project the first time and move on to something bigger, utilizing material from more old jeans. They can be used to make shag rugs, knotted rugs, and braided rugs.

Source: Nina’s Ideas/Youtube

8. Cushions

As with any material, jeans can be used to make cool cushions. The fun thing about using jeans to do it is that there are so many seams and pockets to play within the design. Sure, jean cushions can be square or rectangle, but they can also easily be cylindrical by using the legs. The pockets can be included to hold remotes or bags of lavender or whatever.

9. Patches

One of the best ways to use old blue jeans is to cut them up into patches for slightly younger blue jeans that may have a hole in the knee or a spot to mend. It’s good form to save the less worn sections of blue jeans from being used as patches later on. They’ll give new life to an old pair of pants. Put on enough patches, and they become a fashion statement.

Ultimately, it’s a great thing to reuse stuff as much as possible, saving the world from having to produce more by using what we’ve got. Jeans/denim are a great material for this because it’s so stout and yet still soft. Plus, it can provide some quirkiness for fun things.

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