How to Turn a T-Shirt into a Tank Top

Finished Tank Top

Megan Graney

If you're getting bored by the current contents of your T-Shirt drawer, give one of your old tees a makeover a la this simple upcycle tutorial. The options are endless when it comes to revamping a T-Shirt, so don't be afraid to get creative with your project. Try using fabric and ribbon to rep your favorite sports team, or re-interpret a design that was originally out of your budget, or even source a thrifted T-shirt and tailor it to your tastes.

If you're a beginning crafter (or a kid crafter), this is a fantastic craft option since it requires very little technical skill. This do-it-yourself utilizes a T-Shirt and a few other household supplies, so it's budget-friendly, and can easily be completed in an afternoon. Glance through the steps below to get started on your own simple T-Shirt-turned-tank top, and the best part of this project -- no sewing required.

  • 01 of 07

    Gather Your Materials

    Gather Supplies
    • Plain-Colored T-Shirt
    • Sharp Fabric Scissors
    • Chalk
    • Variety of Ribbon (10-inch lengths)
    • Hot Glue Gun
  • 02 of 07

    Mark Your T-Shirt

    Mark the Shirt

    Megan Graney

    In order to make sure your cuts are symmetrical and even, use a contrasting colored chalk to mark some guiding lines before snipping away. Plan to cut away the sleeves (including the hem) and the collar of the shirt. Optional: at the bottom hem, mark lines that slant up toward the sides of the shirt and meet in a point at the center front (this will create an upside-down triangle of fabric to make a tie-front top).

  • 03 of 07

    Make Your Cuts

    Make Your Cuts

    Megan Graney

    Using a sharp pair of fabric scissors, carefully cut away the sleeves, collar, and bottom hem of the shirt (kid-crafters should leave all cutting to the adults). If you’re worried about perfect symmetry, you can always fold the T-Shirt in half lengthwise and remove both sleeves at once. Clean up any scraggly edges with your scissors, and stretch the fabric lightly so it rolls upon itself for an easy, no-sew hem.

    Pro Tip: Iron your T-Shirt well before making any cuts. A wrinkle-free fabric will ensure the smoothest edges when it comes time to trim.

  • 04 of 07

    Make the Ribbon-Tied Side Panels

    Ribbon Panel

    Megan Graney

    Again using your sharp scissors, cut open the side seams of the shirt. Snip 6-8 holes in each edge of the side panel, lining them up so that they can be laced through like a shoe. Insert a 10-inch length of ribbon, and lace it through going from top to bottom. Finish with a tight bow, and secure with your glue gun to prevent any wardrobe malfunctions. Not a fan of the feminine look the ribbon gives? Try using shoelaces or leather instead to close the side seams for a less fussy look.

    The wonderful thing about lace-up sides in a top is that they can be fully adjusted. If your tank is not as fitted as you'd like, simply lace the ribbon tighter (or even snip a new set of holes a bit further in from the edge). If your top is too small, loosen the laces for the perfect fit.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Add Flair

    Add Flair

    Megan Graney

    Using leftover ribbon (or any other sewing notion you have on hand), create a bow or two to accent the tank top. Adhere all accessories to the shirt with a little hot glue. Consider trimming the collar of the tank with a braided length of ribbon for a pretty, preppy finish, or add a bit of sparkle with a smattering of glue-on rhinestones to make things much more glam.

  • 06 of 07

    Tie the Front of the Tank Top

    Tie the Front

    Megan Graney

    Make an approximately three-inch cut in the bottom triangle of the tank top, from the point up. Tie the two sections together in a simple knot. Trim any excess fabric from the back hem of the shirt to create an even finish, if needed.

  • 07 of 07

    Style Your Tank Top

    Styled Tank

    Megan Graney

    Pair your ribbon-tied tank with a simple skinny jean to let it speak for itself, or go boho with your DIY by rocking it with a maxi skirt and sandals. Don't forget to adjust the fit by re-tying the side laces or front-knot for that absolutely perfect fit. No matter how you choose to wear your design, be sure to sport it with pride.