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Candlewick & Chenille Bedspread Upcycle Project

Recycle a 100% Cotton Candlewick or Chenille Bedspread into Handtowels with this easy sewing and upcycle project.

Several years ago, we owned a small, but very charming lake house here in North Carolina.  The purchase of the lake house was a spur of the moment decision, which is truly a little out of character for us.  But, given the last-minute nature of it, we found ourselves scurrying around to outfit it.  

Several of our friends and family members gifted furniture, artwork, dishes, linens and many other items that helped make our little cottage a home.  One of the many items ‘gifted’ by my parents was an old Candlewick bedspread.  I can’t remember ever seeing this bedspread in any of the homes we lived in during my childhood, so I’m not sure where it came from.  

It had clearly seen better days, with several spots that looked like rust sprinkled across it.  In any event, when we sold the lake house, 5 years ago, the bedspread found its way to my attic.  I go through my attic periodically (not frequently-periodically though) and each time I considered the fate of the stained candlewick bedspread, I found I just couldn’t dispose of it.  

While I am using a candlewick bedspread for my handtowels, you could just as easily recycle a Chenille Bedspread, as long as it is 100% cotton.

Candlewicking Fun Facts:  

Candlewicking became popular towards the end of the 18th century, around the time of the invention of the cotton gin.  It’s an embroidery technique done on 100-percent cotton muslin, which has not been preshrunk.

The candlewick fabric is washed after stitching as the shrinking of the muslin will not only hold the knots, but it also will cause the embroidered stitches to pop.  Traditionally, the same material used as wicks of candles is what was used to do the embroidery.  The fringe that finishes Candlewicking bedspreads is another characteristic of traditional candle wicking.

On to this Upcycle Project!

I’m not sure what prompted me to think of this upcycle project, but I’m sure glad my crafting kismet angel suggested it!  I really love these in my guest bathroom and am so happy that I was able to recycle this candlewick bedspread instead of disposing of it.

Remove the fringe to use on your handtowels

The fringe on the bedspread was my favorite thing about the bedspread, so I wanted to use that trim as trim for my hand towels as well. However, I found that the scattered rust spots made it hard to find a piece that had the trim, but without the rust.  So…I did what any crafty gal would do, I removed the fringe and reattached it to pieces from the bedspread that were not stained.

Removing the fringe from your candlewick or chenille bedspread will be the most time-consuming part of this project, but one easily accomplished in front of a good movie.  I did find that the hand towel had more oomph to it when the candlewick fabric was doubled. As such, I sewed two pieces of the candlewick together and then sewed the fringe on the bottom. 

The finished hand towel is 14″ by 29″ with the fringe.  I added 1/2″ to each side when I cut the material, so I cut 2 15″ by 30″ pieces.  

Recycle a candlewick or chenille bedspread into handtowels

This one bedspread made quite a few hand towels, so I was more than happy to gift some of them without diminishing my own stash. Paired with a pretty basket, a bar of soap or pretty soap dish, these hand towels make a perfect gift.

Have a favorite item that you’ve upcycled?  I’m always looking for good ideas, so please share it.

Bookmark this page or pin the following image to refer back to this Upcycle Project! You never know when you’ll want to recycle a chenille bedspread or a candlewick bedspread!

Candlewick Handtowel: a great upcycle project

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  1. What a great idea and what a stylish way to decorate. Guests must feel pampered beyond belief when using these towels as they seem too good to use!!

  2. Very nice! These really add some cottage charm to your bathroom. I love that you used something, even though it was a little damaged, and the history behind it is wonderful!

      1. WHINK removes rust spots like MAGIC!
        Just touch a rust spot with the liquid Whisk and it disappears before your eyes!

        1. Thanks so much for that tip, RoseAnn! I’ve never used WHINK, but will certainly nab some at the grocery store. Seems like a good product to have on hand.

          Have a great day, Lynn

    1. Mary, I also love to repurpose…always looking for new ways to use old things.Thanks for visiting and for taking the time to jot me a note. I truly appreciate it.?

  3. Lynn, this is brilliant! This post brought back memories… My parents had a bedspread like that when I was growing up.. I didn’t remember that until I read this. And come to think of it, I really don’t think I’ve seen it elsewhere either. Love what you did with it! Thanks for linking up with FTAF!!

    1. Thanks Chellie! I am so glad I was able to repurpose this old bedspread. When I was cleaning the attic last month I came across what is left of it after I made a bunch of handtowels. Not sure why i’m still holding on to it…just can’t trash it! Hugs and wishes for a great weekend, Lynn

    1. Thanks! The fringe really makes these something special…I so agree. And its fun to repurpose something! Thanks again for stopping by Hugs, Lynn

  4. Looks like I will be stocking the estate sales for a bed spread. I know I have donated many of these throughout the years. Incredibly beautiful project!!!

    1. Hi Monica…estate sales would be a great place to find some old bedspreads! I might actually look for another one to make more for gifts. Thanks for swinging by today, Hugs, Lynn

  5. Love candlewicking!! I have done some of it in the past. Love doing it and love the way it looks. So glad you recycled it!! Lots of work goes into it

    1. Hi Susan, I have never done the actual candlewicking…I’m quite impressed that you have done it yourself! And I am glad to have upcycled this bedspread as opposed to trashing it.
      So appreciate you stopping by today.
      Hugs, Lynn

    1. Thanks Shirley! These towels are used daily in our bathroom and really are a unique twist on a normal hand towel. I so appreciate you swinging by today. Wishing you a great weekend.
      Hugs, Lynn

  6. What an excellent idea!!!! Loved hearing about the making of candle wicking. I bet they are great, absorbent towels. Thank you for the idea.

    1. Hi Libby…Thanks for the compliment! The towels are very absorbent and perfectly unique! I love it when I’m able to translate an idea into reality and have it turn out as well as I had hoped.
      So appreciate you swinging by today and wishing you a lovely weekend.
      Hugs, Lynn

  7. Great job, Lynn. How enterprising of you.
    I love the artwork in the bathroom. Whats that oil looking liquid with the sticks in it?
    Much love from India. Perhaps I’ll get to visit your pretty lake house in another life.

    1. Hi Natasha…Thanks for you kind compliments. The jar with the oil and sticks in it is a reed diffuser…for aromatherapy! And sadly we don’t have our lake house anymore! 🙁

  8. Great idea – I love the clean, yet soft feel/look of these towels. I love chenille bedspreads as well – must date back to childhood or something. Keep up the ideas! Regards, Cheryl

    1. Hi Cheryl…thanks for the compliment. I do love the towels and how unique they are. You might be able to use chenille the same way. And I agree that there is some definite nostalgia associate with bedspreads like these. So appreciate you swinging by today! Hope you have a wonderful weekend.
      Hugs, Lynn

  9. I have two of these old bedspreads and was looking for a craft I could make with them that I would actually use in my home. These towels are perfect, Thank you for sharing your idea.

    1. Hey Donna…

      I’m a little jealous that you have some old bedspreads! Have you also considered pillows? And I’ve seen some adorable pumpkins made from Candlewick bedspreads too.

      Happy Crafting my friend.

  10. What a great idea. I need to look around & see if I can find one of those spreads. I could make the towels & gift them to my girls.Shirley

    1. Hi Shirley,

      I have to tell you, that is one of my favorite projects. Five years later and we are still using those handtowels in our guest bathroom…I love using them and get so many compliments on them as well.

      I do think you should have luck finding them in thrift stores…just need to keep your eyes open.

      Thanks for writing in my friend.

      Have a fantastic day,


  11. Omgosh, I’ve got one of those bedspreads, too!! Mine has a few repaired rips and a rust stain, too. At present, it’s hidden beneath another blanket up at the cottage. I do believe that this bedspread will see the same transformation. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Oh Erin, pull that sweet bedspread out and have fun! I still have some bits of mine left too…think I may make a few pillows. Have fun upcycling my friend!

      Hugs, Lynn

  12. I love your idea and have a candlewick bedspread with rust too. Did you sew the fringe on both sides of the towel or sandwich it in between?

    1. Hi Margaret…so imagine that I just cut a square piece of the bedspread, with fringe at one of the edges. Then I folded it in half, such that the fringe was still at the bottom and sewed it closed. I then ran a seam along the fringe end, just above the fringe, so basically it is fringed on both sides. Does that make sense?

    1. What a great idea! I am sure it looks lovely. I still have some of that bedspread left and you’ve given me another project idea.

      Have a great day, Kelly.



  13. I know this was several years ago, but it fit exactly what I was looking for. I have a chenille bedspread that belonged to my grandma. It is very old but decent condition – a couple tears but enough to not use as bedspread but mostly still in good condition. So I used the chenille bedspread to make bathroom curtains. And I have a shelf over bathroom door I used the chenille there to have the wonderful trim and still had plenty for a couple of hand towels. My mom died a few years ago and she had a spoon collection and had a lot of jewelry – not expensive stuff but lots of fun things. I made butterflies using the spoon for body and the jewelry made the wings and antennas. Enough to make a “border” all the way around the room. (Very small bathroom. 🙂

    1. Oh Carol, that sounds lovely. I can see it in my mind’s eye! I love that you used items that belonged to both your grandma and your mom to decorate! We have a great deal in common. I have a box of lace that my grandma purchased that I have ideas for, but haven’t done anything with yet.

      Thanks for sharing your creative brilliance.

      Hugs, Lynn

  14. Hi there,

    Cute project. I always buy old bedspreads. I have made many pillows and pillow shams from them.
    However, I can’t “pin” from your site. Any thoughts?

  15. I adore these towels you’ve made. I remember I had a favorite sheet that felt like silk but was ultracale polyester cotton blend. They don’t make them like that anymore. The corners were worn. So rather than ditching it I repurposed. I made 4 king sized pillowcases out of a double sized fitted sheet.
    Now I still get to sleep on this remarkable fabric. Cool, smooth, comfortable. Pretty fabric too.

    1. Thanks for the compliment, Rita.

      And what a great upcycle. I’ll have to remember that, I do enjoy upcycling and repurposing items.

      Thanks for the suggestion!

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