How to Make a Baby Sling out of a T-shirt

Breanna | Updated April 16, 2022 |

When you think of making a DIY baby sling, blankets, scarves, and even tablecloths come to mind. However, have you ever considered using one of your t-shirts? It’s not as crazy as it sounds when you consider most soft baby wraps are made from stretchy cotton or bamboo fabric. 

For the lowdown on how to repurpose your old t-shirt piece and make your own baby carrier, read on and have a gander at the basics and some useful tutorials. 

Can you use any type of T-shirt?

Any soft, cotton blend should work when making your own baby wrap. Using woven fabric is a great idea because it lets air passes through and you can conveniently toss it to the washing machine.

With that being said, it’s helpful to avoid overly worn shirts that have been stretched to the max through repeated use and washes. Also, depending on what positions you intend to use the carrier for, you may want to use smaller shirts. If it doesn’t cling to your frame, it won’t be snug enough to hold your baby close in a safe position. 

Other things you’ll need

While you can use one t-shirt to make a sling carrier, you can also use 3 shirts and some string to make knockoff Baby K’tan baby carriers for a whole shoulder and hands-free support, especially for younger babies. Our DIY baby carrier tutorial doesn’t need you to use a sewing machine.

What carry positions are possible with a T-Shirt carrier?

With one shirt, you can do a DIY baby wrap which is best for a hip carry. If you decide to use the 3 t-shirt method, you can comfortably start baby wearing and keep baby safe in a front facing in carry, front facing out, a hip carry, and front facing with your baby’s legs bundled (some call this a kangaroo hold). 

What age is a T-shirt carrier suitable for?

You can wear your baby in a t-shirt carrier from newborn up to about 25lbs. These aren’t concrete rules, but when you are near the 20-25lb range, you’re more likely to stretch out the material which can lead to unsafe carrying. However, hip position carries are more compatible with higher weights if you would still like to use the t-shirt method. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

For a simple sling

  1. Cut your t-shirt from armpit to armpit. 
  2. Once left with a “tube” of fabric, you may twist the fabric to tighten the hold and add tension. You can also tie a slip knot.
  3. Slide your baby into the fabric and adjust into a seat that rests on your hip. Make sure your baby’s knees and neck are supported.

For a Baby K’tan-type carrier

  1. Grab 3 t-shirts and some string (yarn is good because it’s not scratchy). 
  2. Cut all the shirts from armpit to armpit in a straight line. You will have 3 “tubes” of material. 
  3. Tie 2 of the tubes together in one spot. When you’re done, you should have what looks like an “8.” 
  4. Lay the third tube flat. 
  5. Take the top portion of the tube and cut across diagonally. When done, you should have a long strip of fabric with a wider middle and narrow ends. 
  6. Put both tubes around your waist with the tied ends at your back. 
  7. Pull one loop over your shoulder, and then the other. You should have an X across your chest. 
  8. Place your baby in the X, spreading the material over their back and pulling their legs into each loop. 
  9. Once your baby is in the proper position, with legs in the “M,” take the third piece and pull it across their back and under their bottom, tying it behind your back. 
Here’s an exceptional tutorial for the 3 t-shirt method from BabyLeague
Here’s an additional DIY tutorial of the shirt method from MommyCrafts4U

Breanna is a former therapist turned writer. She earned a master’s in psychology in 2015 but ultimately decided she would like to be more present for her family. Currently flexing her writing skills as a stay-at-home mother of two toddlers (with another baby on the way), she enjoys writing in the parenting and home/DIY niches. She also writes fiction and has been published in a handful of literary magazines and a fiction anthology. In her spare time, Breanna enjoys blogging, painting, running, and drinking an absurd amount of coffee.


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