How To Reuse Your Old Dance Tights (and Other Upcycling Ideas)

IMAGE Upcycle - a man balances a unicycle on his chin. IMAGE


I love the idea of recycling and repurposing items, not just because it’s Earth Day, but because giving new life to things that are otherwise just thrown away is fun and appeals to my slightly thrifty nature. But I’m not crafty. I don’t sew more than an errant button and tend to shy away from any craft project that has more than 5 steps. Too “fussy”.

But I’ll bet you’re crafty. And some projects are just too cute to pass up! So below you’ll find some fabulous ways to upcycle old tights, reuse dead pointe shoes, and repurpose t-shirts, sweaters, and even CDs.

Trash to treasure ideas for your old dance tights:

IMAGE Ruffle Trim Tank from old tights IMAGEIMAGE Fairy Wings from old tightsIMAGE Lace Trim Socks from old tights IMAGEIMAGE Rosette Necklace from old tights IMAGEIMAGE Bow Headband from old tights IMAGEIMAGE Laddered Necklace from old tights IMAGEIMAGE Fashion Flowers from old tights IMAGEIMAGE Bow Embellishment from old tights IMAGE

Old clothes are new again:

There are lots of tutorials and books online for performing redux surgery on old or boring tees. But these ideas can actually be used to add to your dance wardrobe.

IMAGE T-shirt re-style into a pretty shrug IMAGETurn a Tee into a Pretty Shrug:

Wear your new shrug for class or for fashion. Embellish it with the pretty ‘old tights’ recipes above!

Repurpose Old Recital T-shirts For Pajama Warmup Pants:

IMAGE Turn old t-shirts into pajama-style pants IMAGEThis tutorial explains the process well even though the project is for toddler-sized pants. For a more adult-sized version, you just need more and/or larger scraps to make a larger base of patchwork fabric.

IMAGE Leotard with skirt recycled for a new dance tote bag IMAGERecycle a Child’s Leotard for a New Dance Tote:

A sweet dance bag for a little girl, I’m sure a similar tote could be fashioned from a non-skirted leo or other pieces of clothing. Use your imagination!

IMAGE Upcycled sweater becomes colorful legwarmers IMAGE

Sweater Sleeves become Legwarmers:

This mom shrunk a sweater to fit her daughter with colorful legwarmers. If you don’t have a suitable sweater in your closet, your local thrift store is sure to.

Feeling Frugal

If you are a dancer on a budget (are there dancers who aren’t?) there are plenty of other ways to save money on dance wear. Henrik over at Tights and Tiaras recently offered Five Ways to Beat the High Cost on Dancewear which includes raiding the Lost and Found box at your studio. If you don’t feel like ragpicking on the sly…  organize a freecyling exchange for gently used dance shoes or other items.

Reuse or Pass Along Old Costumes

If the costume still fits you can still work it. Reuse (or revamp) it for your next Halloween costume.

What to do with that costume stash? Donate it to a day care, local theatre, or your favorite preschooler for dress up.

IMAGE Turn old pointe shoes into works of art IMAGE

This Etsy art is sold but may provide some inspiration for your own pointe shoe project.

What to do with old pointe shoes:

I know it’s hard for some of you to part with your old shoes. You’ve been stockpiling them in your closet but let’s face it, there are very few practical uses for tattered toe shoes. The following posts offer some artistic ways to save or savor your old, dead pointe shoes.

IMAGE Lamp made from a tower of old CDs IMAGE

Not one, but 22 Ways to Make Old CDs Awesome Again

If you’ve gone totally digital in the last few years, you may have plenty of CDs lying around. In the past, I’ve suggested sending them to a special CD retirement home (check that out in 12 Steps to a More Eco-Friendly Dance Studio). However, this post lists 22 Ways to Make Old CDs Awesome Again. Some of them are artsy and some a little silly. If you (or your dad, or a friend) is handy with all things electrical, you can make some pretty cool lamps from a tower of old CDs.

More? Why Sure!

Not only can you find a list of ways to Go Green at Recital Time via Dance Studio Life, we have each other too!

If you’re crafty or know of a project you just love, be sure to tell us about it in the comments.

Happy Earth Day!!

Nichelle (owner/editor)
Nichelle Suzanne is a writer specializing in dance and online content. She is also a dance instructor with over 20 years experience teaching in dance studios, community programs, and colleges. She began Dance Advantage in 2008, equipped with a passion for movement education and an intuitive sense that a blog could bring dancers together. As a Houston-based dance writer, Nichelle covers dance performance for Dance Source Houston, Arts+Culture Texas, and other publications. She is a leader in social media within the dance community and has presented on blogging for dance organizations, including Dance/USA. Nichelle provides web consulting and writing services for dancers, dance schools and studios, and those beyond the dance world.
Nichelle (owner/editor)
Nichelle (owner/editor)
Nichelle (owner/editor)
Nichelle (owner/editor)

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  1. We uses old leotards for creating a beautiful memory.
    It´s quite easy to do.
    You only need:
    – a frame
    – a leotard
    – a sharp scissor
    – some glue
    – maybe – a little bit of imagination…
    For example look at our photostream:
    Want to recycle your old leotards? Send us a photo – maybe we can help you with an idea.