How to Recycle Trash Into Clothing or Costumes

Written by pat smith
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How to Recycle Trash Into Clothing or Costumes
Items you currently throw away can be reused in clothing or jewellery. (Wire Dustbin image by Julie F from

Turn your trash into treasure by repurposing reusable items into costumes or even clothes for everyday use. Creativity is key in clothing, and you will make both a fashion statement and help the environment when you make your own clothes. Also, you'll keep trash out of landfills and decrease your carbon footprint. After a while you may even change your purchases as you start looking for "trash" to become your treasure.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Paper bag
  • Scissors
  • Sink
  • Antibacterial spray
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Staples
  • Needle and thread

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  1. 1

    Sort your trash into the garbage can for trash you know you won't use, and a paper bag for trash you're interested in reusing. Don't start digging through your current dustbin, as it can be very unsanitary. Start collecting "new" trash today. Rinse items off in the sink before dropping them in the paper bag to sort later. Some items to keep could include: paper and plastic bags, mesh or cloth items, items that could potentially work as beads or decorations, magazines, cardboard and other smooth materials.

  2. 2

    Examine all the trash you've collected, rinse anything that looks dirty or dusty, and spray items that contained food with an antibacterial spray. Spread the items out so you can look at them as a whole and get a sense of where to start.

  3. 3

    Estimate sizing by using an item of your own clothing. For example, if you're making a shirt, stretch a shirt of yours out and overlay the trash items on it to figure out how much you need.

  4. 4

    Glue, tape, staple, or sew items together depending on the materials. Staples will be very effective with plastic bags and cardboard, whereas layers of glue or even sewing will be more effective for magazine paper. If you're making a more permanent item of clothing, sewing will last longer. For costumes, go with whatever will hold the costume together best temporarily.

  5. 5

    Look at examples of clothing and costumes you want to emulate, and figure out what kinds of trash could replace them. There have even been fashion shows of items made completely out of trash (see Resources). Plastic bags, cardboard and magazines make good bases, and you can layer other trash on top of them. Experiment and don't worry if you break something -- you can always collect more trash.

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