What to Do with Old Military Uniforms: 5 Cool Ideas

Do you have an old military uniform hanging around your home? If yes, there is a high chance that you don’t know what to do with it.  You might even feel like dump it into the trash can or burn it in the yard.

Things You Can Do with Old Military Uniforms

Destroying your old military fatigues won’t be a good idea. After all, you can use this fabric to create useful items for work, school, or play. You might even use them to get some quick cash.

what to do with old military uniforms


Now here are some ideas for dealing with your old military uniforms.

1. Make a Shadowbox

Shadowboxes are display cases for personal or artistic items. If you are looking for a cool idea for your military uniform, you can use the fabric to decorate a shadowbox.

Before you use a uniform for this activity, make sure the fabric is clean. Besides, iron out the uniform and remove all wrinkles.

Here are the steps for decorating a shadowbox with an old military jacket.

  • Get a shadowbox frame that can easily contain several items. You should also ensure that the velvet lining comes in the right colors:- Army ( Black), Marine Corps (Red), Navy /Airforce/ Coast Guard ( Blue).
  • Keep the branch insignia at the upper part of the shadowbox. As you go to the top of the box, try placing the insignia at the center of this position.
  • Fix the uniform jacket to the lining of the display case. To keep the uniform in place, invest in a large number of corrosion-resistant pins.
  • Attach all the badges, ribbons, and ranks onto the jacket. Remember to attach them as if you are placing the decorations on a real person.
  • Head to space above the shoulder and pin the dog tags.
  • Keep a nameplate at the bottom of the shadowbox. On this item, you should include the name, branch, and rank of the uniform’s owner.

2. Make a Tote Bag

Instead of placing your uniform into a cool tote bag. However, this activity is best suited for people with decent sewing skills.

Here are the tools for turning your old military uniform into a tote bag.

  • Lining Fabric
  • Ribbon
  • Thread
  • 2 Old ACU Uniforms

Now the steps for making a tote bag from this piece of clothing:

  • Cut out the pen pocket and two other pockets from the arms. Also, remove another pen pocket from the arm. Then take out the tab from the wrist.
  • Take out two uniforms. From the back of items, cut out a rectangular piece of cloth that measures “20” by “13”.
  • Place medium-weight fusible interlacing to the back of the outer surface.
  • Cut two pieces from the linen fabric. Remember to cut them in the same size.
  • Cut out two pieces of linen fabric for the straps. The pieces should measure 4.5″ wide and 26″ long.
  • Fold the right side of the straps and sew along their length. Pin the straps, then turn them right inside out. Next, press both straps and topstitch them.
  • Place the breast pocket and pen pocket on one of the lining pieces. Then stitch the pockets to the fabric.
  • For the back and bottom of the tote bag, cut out the 2.5″ squares from each corner.
  • Arrange the lining, then leave a hole that allows you to pull out the completed bag.
  • Stitch two pockets to the front of the bag. Then, cut out 2.5″ squares for the bottom and side. Also, sew the outer part of the fabric
  • Use pins to attach the straps to the outer part of the bag.
  • Join the right sides of the bag. Then, place the outer part between the pin and lining.
  • Fix the lining to the bag by sewing around the top. As you sew, aim to catch for more handles.
  • Pull the bag through the hole in the lining. Then seal the hole and topstitch the upper part.
  • Pick up the waste pieces of cloth and make some belt hoops. Allow the belt hoops to be 1.5″ by 2″. After making them, fix them to the front of the bag.
  • Head to the side seams and sew on the ribbons. Then pass the ribbon through the hoops. Try securing the ribbon in place by tying the ribbon at the end.
  • Fix the tab of the sleeve to the front of the bag. Add some velcro on the outside to keep the tab in place.

3. Make a Gun Case

Apart from bags and display cases, you can use an old uniform to make an interesting gun case. If you don’t have a gun, you might use this bag to hold your golf clubs.

Here are the items needed for this item.

  • Old Military Pants
  • Lining
  • Velvet Fabric
  • Fluffy


  • Cut the military pants in half
  • Sew the torn leg at the opening
  • Cover the inner part of the trouser leg with lining and velvet.
  • Sew some handles to the leg. Also, place some fluffy into the pant.
  • Make a drawstring for the case by passing a ribbon through the belt loops.

4. Donate It

Well, this is one of the easiest things to do with old military uniforms. Instead of allowing the fabric to remain in a dusty box, you might donate it to any of the thrift stores for servicemen. You can even send it to the drama department of a local school.

If you want to donate your old military uniform to a charity like Goodwill, you can use the following steps.

  • Gather the old uniforms and send them to the donation program.
  • Specialized partners cut up the uniforms and create patterns.
  • The patterns become raw materials for tote bags.

5. Turn It Into a Nametape Bracelet

If you are in the services, a nametape bracelet is a cool thing to place on your wrist. To make this accessory, you can use the name tag from your military uniform. Instead of placing your name on the bracelet, you could spell out “US ARMY” on the item.

Use the following items to make the bracelet:

  • Paracord
  • Old Uniform
  • ¼ inch eyelet
  • Matches
  • Hammer
  • Plier
  • Pen
  • Thread
  • Exacto knife


  • Remove the nametape from an old military uniform
  • Bend both ends of the tag and press them down with an iron.
  • Head to the front of the nametape and mark out space for eyelets.
  • Make some holes for the eyelets on the marks. You can make them larger by pushing a pen through the punctured holes.
  • Tie the button to the eyelet with a thread.
  • Get a loop of paracord to complete the bracelet.
  • Use pliers to hold both ends of the paracord
  • Twist one end of the paracord into a loop and insert the other end into it. Secure the ends of the paracords by burning them with a lighter
  • Place the bracelet above your wrist and ensure it fits properly.
  • Create a square knot and ensure that the loop goes around the button.
  • Head to the back of the bracelet and hold both ends down with pliers.
  • Burn both ends

Wrapping Up

Military uniforms come as ideal symbols of patriotism and service. For this reason, you might not know what to do with them especially when they become older.

If you don’t know the best things to do to an old military uniform, you can turn it into other items or donate them to charities. Besides, you can place a  uniform jacket in a well-planned display case.

Even if you can work on such projects, you might hand them over to a friend that can sew. Luckily, these sewing tasks do not require high-end skills. If you don’t have a friend that has decent sewing talent, a few Youtube videos might inspire you to work with your old military uniform.