Learn How To Up-Cycle Tattered Tights In Surprising Ways

Learn How To Up-Cycle Tattered Tights In Surprising Ways

It's officially tight season - sigh. While they do mean we can rock our mini-skirts right into Winter, they need so much care and attention to keep in one piece that unless you don't move an inch all day, chances are they'll be laddered by tea time.

Movements too quick, chairs too rough, nails too sharp - I'm yet to find a pair that can keep up with my lifestyle without being ripped to shreds. As a result, my hosiery drawer is filled with more tight remnants than actual wearable pairs.

Although maybe this isn't as bad as I first thought. Far from being redundant, the nylon and lycra fabrics they're made of mean they can be used for a wide variety of purposes. Here is a range of truly useful ways to upcycle your tights, holes and all:

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Upcycle your tights to make a great cleaning accessory

1. Lift small items

Upcycle tights to lift hair clip with a hoover
You'll never lose anything again!

Dropped an earring on the floor or another hard-to-find item? Pop a tight leg over your hoover pipe and search around. It will lift the missing object without sucking it up completely.

2. Replace washing-up sponges

If your kitchen sponge has seen better days, try substituting for a pair of tights. The netted texture means they are gentle enough to use on non-stick surfaces, but abrasive enough to lift stuck-on food. You'll never spend money on sponges again!

3. Replace dust cloths with tights

Tights are arguably even better for dusting than cloths themselves, as just like socks, they fit over your hand and make the job quicker and easier - plus you won't misplace them! What's more, the nylon/lycra material means they work like a dream for shining up surfaces.

Upcycled tights will be handy if you're a pet owner

4. Lift pet hair

Does your furry friend leave a trail of pet hair wherever they go? Pull a tight leg over your arm and lightly brush over the offending surface to lift hair and leave your home looking spick and span.

5. Craft them a new toy

While you may no longer like your ripped tights, there's someone who will - your pet! Fill the foot with some catnip, tie in a knot, and watch on as your cat plays happily for hours on end.

6. Play dress up

If you want to have some fun with your pet, this one's for you. Stuffed tights make a hilarious costume for your cat, giving them a comical, uncanny human resemblance that will keep you laughing for hours.

Stuck for inspiration? You won't be after checking out Meowfit on Tumblr, which is dedicated solely to this hilarious art.

Upcycle your tights to save money on your beauty regime

7. Scrub-less beauty scrub

Ripped tights may be far from beautiful, but they'll certainly help you get looking pretty! The soft, slightly abrasive texture is the perfect material to use for polishing skin. Use it with your normal cleanser instead of buying a scrub for buffed, smooth skin.

8. Relax with an eye-mask

If you've got some old wooly tights lying around you no longer wear, now's the time to finally put them to use. Cutting a section of the leg long enough to wrap around your head, stitch the ends together and you'll have a great eye mask to help shut out the World on those early nights.

9. Give yourself a back scrub

Ahh..there's nothing like a good back scrub, probably because it's such a hard-to-reach place that it's rare we get one! Make it a daily treat: place a bar of soap in a tight leg, tie either end then pull the knots from side to side when you're in the shower. The soap will move across your back, massaging your muscles, and the texture of tights will gently scrub away.

10. Remove tatty nail varnish

Removing nail varnish with up-cycled tights
Get nails spick & span with the help of up-cycled tights!

Woolen pads are really not a necessity, especially if you've got old tights lying around. Cut them into squares and use as you would your pads to lift old nail varnish and start over. The net texture will help remove even the stubbornest of paints.

Tights are surprisingly useful in the kitchen, too

11. DIY strainer

If you don't have a colander or sieve lying around, here's a trick to help you strain without getting scalded. Stretch a pair of (clean) tights over the pan and tip the water away. They'll catch even the smallest of grains and you'll have dinner on the table in no time.

12. Hang your onions & garlic

Strings of onions and garlic add a real rustic look to your kitchen - not to mention they're great for space-saving - however, they're pretty fiddly to make. Save yourself some time and pop them inside a pair of high denier, skin coloured tights instead. They'll look just as good and will save you bags of time.

13. Soap holder

Soaps major downfall? How slippy it is. Fix it: place a bar in the foot of an old pair of tights and tie them by the sink. Now you'll be able to wash your hands without it sliding all over the place, perfect!

Upcycle your tights for free craft material

14. Easily decorate this year's pumpkins

This year, we made our own fabulous no-carve pumpkin creation, but if you're not feeling quite that ambitious, your old tights are about to become your new best friend. Just pull a leg over your pumpkin for instant scare appeal - if you have an old lace or net pair lying around, even better.

15. Stuff old toys

Putting soap in tights
None slippery soap, here we come!

No need to buy new stuffing to plump up old toys or fill new ones. Your old, holey tights will fit this purpose perfectly. Upcycle them by ripping the fabric into smaller pieces and crunch them up to fill every inch of space.

Make organising easier than ever

16. Keep wrapping paper in good condition

There's really no need to buy new wrapping paper every Christmas, especially if you look after it well enough. The trick is to upcycle your tights! Place a leg over your tightly rolled paper to keep it looking fresh year-in, year-out.

17. Save space with bedding ties

The warmer weather may seem a long way off now, but you'll be glad of this tip when it does. Cut off the waistband from an old pair of tights and use it as a giant elastic band to tie around your chunky Winter bedding to save on space and make it easier to store.

18. Pack your suitcase with the roll-up method

You've probably seen the latest suitcase packing method - the roll-up technique. If you haven't, Anushka has a step-by-step packing tutorial that will get you rolling like a pro.

It's true that wrapping your clothes up like sushi does save on space, however it can also be frustrating, especially when your garments unroll and you have to start over. Prevent this problem by pulling a tight leg over your rolled clothes - they'll stay put and stay cleaner, too.

A new way of wearing tights

19. Stay warmer than ever

If you thought tights were a stand-alone leg accessory, think again. Make use of even the ugliest of pairs by layering them underneath jeans and trousers to stay super warm in Winter. You'll be jolly glad you didn't throw them out when the snow starts!

20. Knock up some arm warmers for your kids

Gloves make lives difficult for little hands, with playtime becoming more cumbersome and grips more slippery. If you can't get your kids to keep the gloves on, consider crafting them a pair of cool arm warmers out of some old woolly tights instead.

There's a great tutorial on Crafting A Green World that shows you how to do just that.

21. Prevent painful blisters

Wearing tights to prevent blisters
Blisters be gone!

It's the friction between socks and our skin that causes blisters. One easy way of preventing this is to cut yourself some DIY slip-on socks from old tights and wear them as an extra layer. The socks will rub on your tights rather than your skin, eliminating the chance of nasty blisters.

With all those tips, my tights ripping will never annoy me again! Do you have any tips to add to my list? Comment below and tell me all about them.

Stephanie C


Lover of all things fashion & foodie...I look to satisfy my tastes without obliterating my budget. Wannabe interior designer, I'm an avid cushion cover maker and charity shop hunter.

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  1. Author Mrs Law on November 4, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Make plant ties from old tights. They are soft and don't damage the plant.

    1. Author Stephanie C on November 7, 2016 at 4:08 pm

      Great idea! Thanks for sharing with us ?

    2. Author Jamie-Leigh leedham on February 26, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      with these ideas I no longer have to waste money on tights when throwing them away. Another idea would be to cut them and then you have thin tights just for extra comfort under trousers or cut the thick ones and the you will have leggings.

    3. Author Stephanie C on February 28, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      Great idea Jamie-Leigh! I actually do this with mine - I wear them with brogues and other flat shoes during winter when it's not quite warm enough for bare ankles!

  2. Author Cathy Bryant on November 4, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Hair ties! Cut off the foot and the waist, and cut each leg into about four pieces. Roll each piece up into itself to make a metal-free hair tie. They stay in, and they come out without bringing any hair with them. I never buy hair elastics now. And as tights are usually skintone or black, they go with pretty much everything.

    1. Author Stephanie C on November 7, 2016 at 4:07 pm

      This tip is sure to come in handy next time my elastic band snaps. Thanks for sharing, Cathy!?

  3. Author Sue Wilkinson on November 4, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Cut across legs of tights in one inch section and use to tie up tomato plants, beans etc to supports.

    1. Author Stephanie C on November 7, 2016 at 4:06 pm

      Great tips for next year's gardening - thanks Sue!?

  4. Author Kathleen Haines on November 4, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    I always cut up old, laddered tights for next year's gardening e.g tying up plants to support sticks especially runner beans which encourages the plants to curl around the canes.

    1. Author Stephanie C on November 7, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      This is a wonderful idea Kathleen - I'll definitely be trying!?

  5. Author Amanda Smith on November 4, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Old tights cut into rings make fab ties for plants indoors or out as they are soft enough not to damage the plant but strong enough to hold large plants in place.

    1. Author Stephanie C on November 7, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      Great tip, thanks for sharing Amanda!?

  6. Author Maria Mackintosh on December 4, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    I lift the covers on my outside drains, and then put them inside a leg of old tights before putting them back. It then 'catches' smaller stones ect that would have went through the grate. Helps keep the drains clear.

    1. Author Stephanie C on December 4, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      Hi Maria. What a great tip - can't believe we've never thought of this one. Thank you so much for sharing :)

  7. Author Tina on December 4, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    Cut the legs and crotch off to make an excellent hair band, the longer you leave it the more hair it holds, you can even knot it at the end. Very good underneath or instead of a shower cap to keep hair out of the way In the bath (though obviously not waterproof!). My 2 daughters, when they were younger with very long hair, used them for years, known as 'tights on head' in our house!

    1. Author Steph on December 6, 2017 at 3:42 pm

      Hi Tina. This is a great idea! My hair is always getting in the way when doing things like face masks etc, so this tip will definitely come in handy. Thanks a lot for sharing :)

  8. Author Maria Stannard on December 5, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    You can make a easy draught excluder from one leg of a pair of old tights by stuffing it with all your old tights, I think that this should work well.

    1. Author Steph on December 6, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      Hi Maria. This is a new tip for us which will definitely come in handy this Winter! Thanks a lot for sharing with us :)

    2. Author Ken Teasdale on April 10, 2019 at 9:20 am

      This is a great tip, but my Mum filled some material that matched my curtains in each room. It co-ordinates so well. Her friend upcycles old jumpers / cardigans. The arms make a draught excluder, and she makes a cushion with the body ( using the buttons already there). She stuffs both with tights. This really does give a truly great look.

    3. Author Joanne A on April 10, 2019 at 11:52 am

      So many fabulous ideas... Thanks for that, Ken!

  9. Author Elaine Harding on January 15, 2019 at 11:58 am

    when a zip goes in my skirt , i put brass eyelets along both sides of the zip ,then take a pair of my daughter 's Tights ,as they are Black Opaque , cut off the waistband , then thread this waistband through the eyelets like you would with shoe laces on a pair of shoes , now you can tie up the skirt in place of zipping it up.... i do this with all of my skirts , jeans too !!

    1. Author Joanne A on January 15, 2019 at 12:47 pm

      That's a great idea, Elaine!

  10. Author Patricia Cook on April 10, 2019 at 8:32 am

    Cut off the laddered leg and use for something else, as above. Wear two bodies at the same time, one good leg on each leg. Just make sure the colours match. Ideal in an emergency.

    1. Author Joanne A on April 10, 2019 at 8:56 am

      That's a fantastic idea, Patricia! We bet no one would notice.

  11. Author Judith on April 10, 2019 at 9:19 am

    Hold the waistband of a pleasured skirt and Pull a leg of the tights straight down. The skirt stays in the pleats and doesn’t crease

    1. Author Joanne A on April 10, 2019 at 11:51 am

      Thanks for sharing, Judith!

  12. Author Colin on April 10, 2019 at 10:48 am

    Use them for straining paint on a once opened can. They are very handy on cleaning and polishing the spokes on my Virago motorbike, and all those difficult places to polish.

    1. Author Joanne A on April 10, 2019 at 11:52 am

      They do make great polishing cloths, Colin! Thanks for the tips.

  13. Author Amanda on April 10, 2019 at 2:44 pm

    If you are a crafter and use craft Stamps and embossing ink & powders You can make your own "Embossing Buddy" to stop the powder sticking to anywhere than wher you want it to on the card due to static or fingerprints. You can make a talc filled small pad by putting talc into the tights and doubling over a few times and knotting, then "pounce" the card with the talc pad before using your ink and embossing powder. Much much cheaper than buying one and makes your card smell nice

    1. Author Joanne A on April 10, 2019 at 3:05 pm

      Fantastic idea! Thanks so much, Amanda.

  14. Author John Westwood on April 10, 2019 at 9:32 pm

    I have used old tight legs/stockings for blocking a leaking hole in my lean-to garage roof. A drain pipe comes through the roof and leaked when it rained around the cutout. I filled a tight leg with mortar and wrapped it around the pipe above the cutout. Hey presto. When it rains, no leak.

    1. Author Joanne A on April 11, 2019 at 9:23 am

      That's a very resourceful idea, John!

  15. Author Eleanor on June 5, 2021 at 9:27 am

    I cut off the legs and wear them as knickers in the Summer.

    1. Author Joanne A on January 17, 2023 at 2:25 pm

      Interesting idea! Is that comfortable?


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