By Elizah Leigh on November 30, 2012

Old textile materials can be recycled into eye-catching bedspreads.

If you clicked on this article in the hope of seeing actual tutorials explaining how easy it is to adorn your bed with purportedly cozy covers made of recycled bicycle chains, woven cardboard packaging, plastic six-pack rings and reclaimed tree trigs, sorry to burst your eco-bubble, but it’s just not going to happen.

You want comfort. You want warmth. You want cool, green style. You want your bed to scream out, “Come on over you crazy little Mother Nature lover… this is what it’s all about.”

There is no way that you’re going to get that snuggly Zen bedspread sensation with recycled soda can tabs, as unique and cool as it may theoretically sound. I am as gung-ho as you are about embracing a green lifestyle, but the last thing that I want hugging my snooze-bound body are a bunch of crunchy, sharp or otherwise heavy recycling bin rescues.

That does not mean that we have to kick spirited eco-design innovation entirely to the curb. There are plenty of soft, plush materials that have excellent repurposing potential. If they are good enough to resurface a handbag or pillow, then they should work wonders on the large-scale surface of a bed.

Enough chitchatting. Let’s dive in.

recycled beadspreads

Silk neck ties

The ever-changing pulse of fashion can easily be seen in men’s ties, which are often sizzling hot one year and thankfully not by the end of the season (particularly when they are emblazoned with questionable Snooki-like pop culture icons, fleeting catch phrases or flat out “what-the-huh?” designs). Where do they end up? At thrift store racks and garage sales.

For a few dollars, score yourself a ginormous bag of them and you will be on your way to creative bedspread heaven, where a silky, Technicolor design punctuated with random images of Sponge Bob Squarepants and Justin Beiber will seem amusing rather than stick-your-head-under-the-sand sad.

You will need some decent sewing skills, but the final result will be a wowzer eco-achievement.


Everybody has piles of dusty old jeans that they hang onto, knowing full well that they will probably never get around to wearing them again. Perhaps the style isn’t quite right, the legs are venturing toward “flood” season or, upon squeezing into them, it is apparent that achieving fighting weight is a still a basic requirement.

While the number on your scale may take a lot longer to budge in the correct direction, your closet can instantly drop some weight. Gather an assortment of jeans that you haven’t worn in at least a year or so and transform that heavy-gauge fabric into a durable bedspread that will look super-stylish long after bell bottoms come back in (and then inevitably out) once again.


You have seen this idea countless times before, and yet it is still undeniably awesome. What better way to put your unique style out on display than with a handcrafted, multipaneled recycled T-shirt quilt? Upgrade the concept by making a reversible bedspread with concert tees on one side and pop culture shirts on the other. Totally excellent! (Attention quilting overachievers: You might want to emulate this seriously unique design.)

Flannel shirts

The ’90s are long over, but guess what relics still remain in your closet? All of those grungy yet toasty flannel shirts. Flannel clothing will certainly do the trick, and once you get the hang of it, you might consider crafting homemade plaid bedspreads for the people on your holiday gift list, too!

Vintage silk scarves

For a lightweight option, modify a basic flat sheet with a colorful array of thrift store-rescued silk scarves anchored together with a basic sewing stitch. Talk about a powerful décor statement — this will really transform your bedroom into a one-of-a-kind relaxation den.

Thrift store fur coats

Whatever your personal opinion on fur garments, there are always countless no-longer-wanted coats languishing away in thrift stores thanks to ever-changing fashion trends. You could snatch them up in order to donate them to the ASPCA in support of their “Coats For Cubs” program, or you could stitch together a 100% bespoke bedspread that will endure fleeting trends and the inevitable passage of time.

Antique saris

Yet another eye-catching repurposed textile idea that will bestow your bed with an exotic, luxe look. As with the majority of the recycled materials mentioned in this article, you will do a whole lot of sewing in order to create your final bedspread, but good things always come to those who do their best to save the planet.

Shirt plackets, collars and cuffs

Even the scraps remaining from your sewing projects can be refashioned into a rather novel-looking quilt (in this case, the bits and pieces left over from button-up shirts). Time commitment: way up there. Final result: All your friends are undoubtedly going to hound you for a one-on-one DIY tutorial!

About the author

Elizah Leigh is an eco-inspired wordsmith capable of captivating readers in just the right manner to facilitate subliminal greenlightenment. If it hasn’t yet happened to you, dear reader, don’t worry... it soon will. She believes that walking on the green side of life isn’t so much about random actions like recycling household materials and eschewing bottled water as it really should be about committing to long-term lifestyle changes that naturally become effortless the more frequently they are practiced — and believe it or not, if you’re looking at the world through green-colored glasses, it’s never a chore.

Working as an eco-journalist for a number of online venues, including Ecorazzi, WebEcoist, WebUrbanist and Causecast, this self-confessed eager greenie and knowledge hound has become deeply entrenched in the world of green living and makes a conscious effort at all times to practice exactly what she preaches. Elizah feels that no one is an "expert" in this field as long as they continue to keep an open mind by acquiring new eco-feathers in their cap — something that she aspires to do with each new article that she authors.

Extremely passionate about greening perspectives as well as lifestyles one carefully selected word at a time, this eco-writer feels privileged to add the 1-800-RECYCLING audience to her increasingly expanding network of green-minded readers. When she’s not tweeting her ever-lovin’ greenie heart out or adding new eco-themed articles to her portfolio, she can be found frolicking outside or shooting the breeze with her menagerie of impossibly needy geriatric felines.

As for what Elizah hopes to bring to 1-800-RECYCLING? Believe it or not, she is convinced that we are all capable of carving out individual and collective legacies in which caring enough about what we do while we walk this earth ensures that future generations enjoy the same basic privileges that we currently do. Can collections of carefully crafted environmentally themed words help facilitate this lofty plan for eco-friendly ah-ha! inspiration? Stranger things have been done to honor Mother Nature. For now, that’s her eager greenie goal, and she’s definitely sticking to it.

Learn more about Elizah Leigh


There are no comments for this post yet

Articles by Elizah Leigh

Fresh New Ways to Reinvent the Plastic Items in Your Recycling Bin

By Elizah Leigh on December 14, 2012

All kinds of plastic scrap can be repurposed into items for the home.

Eco-Rehash: How to Make Recycled Throw Pillows in a Flash

By Elizah Leigh on December 3, 2012

Any old pillow can benefit from some recycled DIY inspiration.

Bring on the Z’s with These Recycled Bedspread Ideas

By Elizah Leigh on November 30, 2012

Old textile materials can be recycled into eye-catching bedspreads.

Reuse Articles

Eleven Perfect Projects to Repurpose Nail Polish

By Falesha Wojitysiak on August 27, 2014

Eye-catching nails are only the start of your nail polish bottle's capabilities.

Ten Speedy Ways to Upcycle Tires

By Falesha Wojitysiak on August 20, 2014

Tires and inner tubes provide the template for endless upcycling ideas.

Ten Chandeliers Made from Recycled Bottles

By Falesha Wojitysiak on August 13, 2014

Glass bottles of all shapes, sizes and colors offer endless illumination possibilities.

Current News

Recycling Profile: Bowling Green, KY

By 1-800-RECYCLING on August 22, 2014

Touted for its quality of living, Bowling Green recycles curbside on a weekly basis.

Recycling Profile: Erie, PA

By 1-800-RECYCLING on August 15, 2014

Despite instilling single-stream curbside recycling, Erie still uses plastic bags to collect its curbside recyclables.

Recycling Profile: Kelowna, BC, Canada

By 1-800-RECYCLING on August 8, 2014

Kelowna expanded the number of materials it accepts for recycling this year to lessen its dependence on local landfills.