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Blue jeans are the type of clothing that pretty much everyone around the world wears. If I had a dollar for everyone wearing a pair right now I’d be a billionaire. Of course, all of those jeans eventually wear out and get thrown away. Instead of dumping them in the trash, why not try making something creative with them, like these cute decorations in this recycled denim fish tutorial.
Denim lends itself well to crafting. It’s durable and heavyweight, and it comes in just about every shade of blue imaginable. Be honest, it’s kind of fun to see your old pants repurposed into something entirely different.
These fish are definitely a fun way to transform your denim. They are whimsical little trinkets that can be made in a few minutes, and can be used so many ways. Throw them in a bowl on a table for a decorative accent. String them up like a garland or turn them into a mobile.
They are one of those easy hand stitching projects that are perfect to work on in front of the television, or someplace where you will be sitting for a while. Long sporting events or practices are one of my favorite places to sew.
You probably have all the supplies you need for these, so here is how to make them.
Supplies You Will Need For a Fish About 3” Long
- Denim Scraps – No smaller than 4” square
- Fiber Fill – Each fish needs very little, a handful about the size of walnut
- Embroidery Floss
- Embroidery Needle
- Scissors – Strong enough to cut through denim
- Fish Template (optional) – I have provided one, but you can draw your own.
- Template Plastic (optional) – Tracing around a template is much easier than freehand drawing and they are easy to make.
Denim Fish Pattern
Step 1 – Make A Template (optional)
- On template plastic or cardboard, use a permanent marker to trace around the fish pattern. You can use the one provided, or draw your own.
- Cut out the shape and set aside.
If you need more instruction on how to make your own templates, this video can help.
Step 2 – Cut Out Fish
- First, take two pieces of denim and layer them, wrong sides together. The legs of the jeans are ideal for this.
- Then, using a marker that will show on the fabric, trace around the template onto the denim.
- Lastly, cut out the shape. Cut inside the line so you you don’t see the marks on the finished item.
- Pin the layers together.
Step 3 – Sew
- Take a piece of embroidery floss (don’t separate it, use all six strands) and thread an embroidery needle.
- Then tie a knot in one end.
- Insert the needle between the two denim layers, about 1/8” from the edge and pull the thread through. That way the knot is hidden.
- Using a running stitch, sew around the fish shape. I like to use a longer stitch, about 1/8” to 1/4” long so I can see the colors of the embroidery floss. Tip: Use a thimble when sewing. Denim can tough to get the needle through.
- When there is about 1” left to sew, fill the fish with stuffing. I use the eraser end of a pencil to gently push the stuffing into the tail.
- Finally, continue sewing until the fish is completed. On the last stitch, bring the needle between the two layers and make a knot as close as possible to the point where the needle comes through. That will ensure that the knot is hidden in the layers.
- Carefully snip the floss.
- You now have a recycled denim fish.
It Is As Easy As That
With this recycled denim fish tutorial you can make these easy ornaments in no time. I like to make a batch of them at once so I have enough to use in other projects. They are great for things like:
- Table décor
- Christmas ornament
- Gift package decoration
- Toys (for older children that won’t put them in their mouths)
How much fun would it be to decorate a cabin with a string of these fish? Maybe a mobile in a playroom is more your style.
Whichever way you decide to use these fish, they are sure to put a smile one everyone’s face, and you will be doing a little something to help the planet.