This DIY bath mat is a fun project that can be colorful and lively, or more muted depending on what fits your mood and décor. I love the raggedy high-pile look and feel of this mat, and I’ll show you how I made it in case you’d like to follow along and make your own.
I used 6 t-shirts to make this bath mat. You probably already have some worn-out t-shirts on hand, or you can stop by the thrift store to get some in whatever colors you like. We will also be using some sturdy woven fabric for the base of our mat.
I cut my t-shirts into 1″ (2.5 cm) strips from one side to the other. I cut around the hems and sleeves, as well as any writing that was on the shirts, so that I just had plain strips of cloth. Then I pulled on the strips of cloth until they rolled into little fabric tubes, and snipped out the side seams.
Every now and then you’ll come across a shirt that doesn’t turn into a tube when you cut it and tug on it. I decided to only use shirts that rolled into tubes, but of course that’s up to you. I also only used cotton shirts, so that the mat would be very absorbent. Some athletic wear is made of synthetic fibers, which I chose to avoid.
I suggest taking a piece of newspaper over to your shower and laying it on the floor to map out exactly how big you want your bath mat to be, and what shape suits you best. Fold the newspaper in half and trim both sides at once so that it stays symmetrical, and lay out different sizes and shapes on your bathroom floor until you find one you’re happy with.
I went with kind of a rectangle with a semicircle stuck onto it. Lol… but that’s what fit in the space and looked good, and the semicircle part will catch any drips of water as the shower door swings open.
Pick out some woven fabric that goes with the colors of your t-shirts, and then lay the newspaper on top of your fabric and use it as a pattern. You want to cut out 2 pieces of base fabric using your newspaper as a guide.
Put the two pieces of base fabric right sides together, and sew around the edges, leaving a space unsewn for turning it right-side out. Clip the excess fabric out of the seam allowances if you have any curved edges. The above picture shows my base fabric after I’ve sewn and clipped it, but before I turned it right-side out.
Now turn the mat right-side out, and fold in the seam allowances on the opening where you just turned it right-side out. Glue the seam allowances with a glue stick, so that it looks like the edge of the mat is sewn all the way around. The glue stick is temporary, but we will be sewing over the seam allowances and closing the opening permanently as we start adding the t-shirts to the mat.
Mark lines on the top of your base fabric to help guide you in sewing down the t-shirt pieces. My lines were 1/2″ apart. Now lay t-shirt tubes on the first line like I have in the pictures, and sew all the way down the mat. I used a walking foot, and I recommend using one if you have it, but if you don’t, no worries. Just use what you’ve got and go slowly.
Once you get the first line sewn, the mat kind of looks like a grass skirt. Now is the time to wrap it around your waist and dance around the house to Bang the Drum All Day. You might be thinking, can’t I skip this step? The answer is no. No, you cannot.
I chose not to trim the t-shirt pieces after I sewed each row, and just make a 2″ loop and go on to the next row. I thought they’d be easier to keep a handle on that way. But if you want to cut the excess off and start each row by laying the t-shirt pieces out, do what works best for you.
I also didn’t want stripes in the finished mat, like I would have if I always sewed a light pink, then a dark green, then a light green, etc. on every row. So I switched it up by crossing some of the strips over each other to randomize the colors a little bit. Take a look at the picture above to see what I mean.
When one strip got too short to use for another row, I just stuck a new one in its place and kept going. Make sure that you sew over the opening in the base fabric (the hole where you turned the large piece of fabric right-side out) as you sew on the lines of t-shirt strips.
When I was all done, I cut through all of the loops at the top so that the bath mat was just covered in shaggy noodles, not loops. You can leave the loops, but loops tend to grab your toes when you step on the mat.
I also added some dots of clear 100% silicone caulk to the back of the mat, as an anti-skid treatment. (I recommend buying a squeeze tube like this, because it’s much easier to control than a caulking gun.) I let it cure completely before putting it on my floor, and it hasn’t harmed my floor in any way. It works very well to keep the mat from sliding around.
And there you have it! A repurposed bath mat that’s comfortable and absorbent, in colors that match your bathroom! Woohoo! It also makes a very interesting wig, in case you want to scare any children.