‘Tis the season for marketing events and all the great things that come along with them, including (you guessed it)... SWAG!
The benefits of swag are pretty much endless — it’s an excellent branding opportunity, a great customer success device, and, of course, a surefire way to stand out at trade shows and increase booth traffic. I’m definitely guilty of booth hopping and harvesting a few swag items myself (who doesn’t like free stuff?!). However, as time passes and the novelty of the event fades, we swag collectors are left with a space-invading pile of nick nacks, conference bags, and, most of all, t-shirts.
Flummoxed by our overflowing drawers of old t-shirts we’ve acquired at conferences and events over the years, a few of us Uberflippers recently enjoyed a lunchtime discussion about what we could do with them (aside from the obvious choices of workout gear and pajamas).
So, in preparation for Earth Day, we came up with a few upcycling ideas for old conference t-shirts and bags. Have any ideas of your own? Tell us in the comments!
1. Make a donation
This one’s obvious — if your old t-shirts are in good shape and you don’t want them anymore, donate them!
A simple Google search will help you discover local clothing banks where you can drop-off your donatable clothing. Or, in some areas, there are services that will pick up bags of donatable clothing right from your doorstep.
Conference bags are also a highly donatable item. If you’re running an upcoming conference and plan on providing conference bags, there’s a great initiative called Bags to Riches that allows event attendees to donate unwanted and extra conference bags on-site. The bags are then provided to underprivileged youth.
2. Display old t-shirts via wall art
Problem: You know you’re never going to wear your t-shirt again, but you want to remember the event or company who gave it to you. Maybe you just like the t-shirt, or maybe it represents a professional milestone for you or your company.
Solution: Turn it into wall art! By framing your shirts, you could create a nice display showcasing events over the years, or the evolution of a company logo.
Get t-shirt framing instructions here.
3. Sew together a t-shirt quilt
Spice up your home (or your office, if you have couches) by creating a t-shirt quilt!
Not great with a needle and thread? No worries — there are services available (like Quilti) that can sew them together for you.
4. Make a simple t-shirt throw pillow
These throw pillows are super easy to create and (again) are great for those office couches. I'm no interior designer, but I'd imagine they'd also pair nicely with the aforementioned t-shirt quilt.
5. Make a no-sew t-shirt dog bed
A t-shirt dog bed is another option that’s great for both your home and your office (if it’s dog-friendly).
The best thing about this project? There’s no sewing involved, so it couldn’t be easier! Get instructions here.
6. Make a cat cave
Not a dog person? Use an old t-shirt to make a cat cave.
This is another super easy no-sew project. Get the instructions here.
7. Make a baby hat
These knotted baby hats are so adorable and perfect for the future marketers in your life.
Get instructions on how to make these cute baby hats here.
T-shirts are a great marketing device and can help people feel like they’re part of a community. However, jobs change, styles change, and everyone has to clean out their desk/dresser/closet eventually.
Next time you do, don’t toss your old shirts — turn them into something cool!