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How to recycle tights at home with Billi London: handmade macrame plant hanger tutorial

How do you recycle tights? This is a question you often ask us. You can bring them to a textile collection point, but have you considered upcycling them at home? It’s a great way to reduce waste while learning new craft activities!

To celebrate Global Recycling Day* on 18th March 2022, we’ll learn how to create a beautiful macrame plant hanger from an old pair of tights, based on our popular upcycling workshop in London…

What you need

  • An old pair of tights (here we’ve got Billi London Coco tights)
  • A pair of scissors 
  • Colourful beads (optional)
  • A  small plant in a pot

Step 1: Create eight long strips of tights

First, cut each leg of your pair of tights into four long strips. That means running the scissors three times all the way from the toe to the waistband: the first time in the middle, as depicted below, and then once in the middle of each half-leg…

If you’re not sure how to do this, try one of the methods our workshop participants did test and approve! You can either press your leg against the table to help you stretch the material and cut in a neat, continuous line:

… or you can ask the help of a friend to hold one end for you, while you’re running the scissors:

You can then cut out the waistband at the top:

… which gives you eight long strips of tights.

You can also cut out the foot reinforcement bit at this stage:

Don’t throw these bits away though, they can be really useful for other crafts and upcycling projects, for instance to create new hairbands!

Step 2: Tie them up together

Tie a knot at one end, securing the eight strips of tights together:

We love that stage, it looks like a tights star, or a tights octopus!

Step 3: Make the first of three rows of knots

Create a star on the table as shown in the picture below, so that the knot is pressed down in the middle, the star facing up, and all eight strips are spreading out in all directions.

You will need to pair these strips up, so that each two strips are knotted up together, a few inches away from your main, central knot. (The bigger the pot, the longer the distance between your main, central knot and this first pairing knot)

Repeat the same process for the three other pairs of strips, keeping the same distance from the main, central knot each time. 

Congratulations, you’ve got your first row!

At any stage you can now choose to include beads to decorate your plant hanger. They will be kept secure by the second row of knots you’re about to create. However, it also looks beautiful without the beads, so don’t worry if you don’t have any.

(Our upcycling workshop table. Please note that the glass of wine is optional too…)

Step 4: Make the second and third rows of knots

For the second row of knots, keep your work spread out on the table as before. You don’t want to tie up each strip to the one you’ve tied them up to before: you want the next one, instead so that it starts creating a net. This can be seen on the picture below:

You’ve created your second row! You can put your plant pot in to check whether the net you’ve created is stable enough to keep it in place, and whether the rows are not too close nor too distant… The great thing is that if you decide that the rows need to be closer, tights’ flexibility means that you can simply untie what you’ve done so far and start again!  For a very small plant pot, for instance, you may want less space between your rows of knots.

Before putting in your plant for good, make sure you create at least a third row of knots (and more if necessary), using the same method of pairing one strip with the adjoining one:

It will then look something like this:

Step 5: Tie the final knot

At the opposite end, your strips are still untied. Tie the final large knot there, including all eight strips. Put it higher up this time to allow enough distance to change the plant pot whenever needed, so it can’t be as close as your rows of knots are. This final one is the knot you’ll use to hang your plant to a hook or piece of furniture:


Et voilà! Add a lovely plant pot, and choose where to hang it up!

Have you created a plant hanger from old pairs of tights? Perhaps using different colours of tights? Please share your creations with us on social media and WhatsApp, we’d love to see them!

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* Learn more about Global Recycling Day by clicking here.