Thursday, January 1, 2015

DIY T-Shirt Yarn Bracelet- Homemade Sensory Chew Toy

 photo 20150101_183126_zps780c0b0c.jpgDo you have a kid that likes to chew on things?
Some kids are sensory seeking, some kids just have this excess need to chew. It is just who they are...

I recently discovered that one of my kids (who I shall not be naming) likes to chew on things. Specifically his shirt sleeves.
His shirt sleeves are in tatters...

Fortunately, as soon as he outgrew these clothes, I was going to get rid of them (no use in storing clothes that, at the very least, won't be used for another 6 or 7 years, if ever), so I'm not too disappointed in the shirts being ruined.

However, I would like to prevent more ruined shirts...

I'd been offering this kid to chew on something else instead of his shirt sleeves, maybe something like a carrot, and many times he was excited to chew on a carrot instead...

But then, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I don't want to be teaching my kid to eat if he isn't hungry, but is just seeking oral stimulation...

So I was looking for other ideas to offer him to chew on, that won't ruin his clothes, but will offer him the same satisfaction.

They sell various chewable items for sensory purposes- chewable necklaces, toys, bracelets, etc... and because of my kid's desire to chew his sleeves, I decided to make my own chewable bracelet, out of the very fabric he loves to chew- T-shirt material.

It came out cute enough that I say that this doesn't just have to be for sensory seeking kids for chewing purposes- it can also be a fun accessory to wear, just as is.

I could have made the bracelet more complex and elaborate, but in the end decided to keep it simple...

What I did was take an old t-shirt of mine that was stained, and turn it into t-shirt yarn. I was sure I had a post on doing that on my blog already so I didn't take pics of that process- but turns out I don't...

So what you do is take a shirt and start cutting along the seam along the side. Cut straight up until you almost get to the top, then cut below the collar- cut all the way around until you get back to the bottom where you started it. Then continue cutting it, in a spiral, all the way until you reach the center.

Since I realized while writing that that what I wrote wasn't so clear, I hope this graphic will help. See the shirt? That's the blue. The white is where you'll be making the cuts- see- almost to the edges and the sides of the shirt, but not quite? And then in a squarish spiral going inward?
 photo shirt_zpsc98f58f6.png

As you turn corners with your spiral, you'll notice that the corners end up with wider pieces than the straight sides- so just trim the excess material in the corners.

You want the width of the cut t-shirt in the spiral to be about a centimeter. Doing this, you should end up with one, long continuous piece of t-shirt yarn. If you yank it, the edges will curl in, making it more yarn like than flat.
Do the same with the other side of the shirt.

I just doubled over the string, and made a braid, using two strips of yarn in each of the three strands of the braid. I ended up with a really long braid, which I tied at both ends, then wrapped around his hands four times, then tied together.

 photo 20150101_183126_zps780c0b0c.jpg

The other side ended up with a really big knot, which is also good for chewing...

 photo 20150101_183132_zps43933dda.jpg

Once it was tied, it could be taken on and off and wrapped around as desired, can be played with as a toy, wrapping it around whatever suits your fancy...

And to remind your kid to chew that instead of the sleeve, you can wrap the braid around the end of the sleeves, so the sleeve ends aren't accessible but the chew toy is.

My kid likes this chew toy, and it's already been put to use.

Hopefully, hopefully, his sleeves will be spared?

If I would do this again (and I probably will, for me), I would probably do a whole bunch more pieces of t-shirt yarn per strand, and I'd do a 4 or 6 stranded braid.

Do you have kids who like to chew things, or know any kids who do? What do you do about their sleeves (or collars, if that's what your kids like to chew)? Do chew toys actually help prevent damage to clothing? Do you use homemade chew toys or store bought?

Have you ever made anything with t-shirt yarn? What was it?


  1. Penny, this is awesome! I have two little guys who chew on things and yes, their shirt sleeves (and YUCK, the toes on their socks!!!) are tattered. The younger one mostly likes to chew on plastic, but I had never thought of making a bracelet like that. :) Thank you.

    1. Chewing socks... now thats a new one! They must be pretty flexible!
      There are plastic ideas of homemade chew toys as well...

  2. Excellent idea! My older son chewed his shirt collar, this same idea could easily be made into a necklace for kids like youngest has an action figure hanging out of his mouth most times, are so different!

    1. Yup, you can definitely make a necklace like this as well...

  3. My son was chewing his shirts until recently too. Sometimes he really was hungry. Other times it was out of habit. He likes gum now, and he seems to have stopped destroying shirts, thankfully. If I had seen this idea earlier, I would have tried it! Clever!

  4. My daughter was a chewer too - I wish I would have thought of this back then!

  5. Thank you very much for the inspiration... my son loves chewing on his shirts and socks.

  6. My 5 year old daughter sucks her thumb when tired but also has chewed her clothes for a few years. One of her teachers made a cloth chew bracelet and it is working. No more school uniform being chewed or her normal clothes. We are making more for home and car.


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