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Free Materials For DIY Projects

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Free Materials For DIY Projects

Despite our best efforts, we sometimes find ourselves with inventory of perfectly usable materials for which we no longer have a use. For example, when we retire a design we may end up with leftover material/inventory of just one or two components (it’s a hot dogs vs. buns kind of thing) of said design. And, though we’ve worked and continue to work to make our fabric and die-cutting processes utilize our materials to the greatest extent possible, the fact remains that some scrap material is produced.

There’s a bunch of stuff we do in an effort to reduce the amount of materials or scraps that go to the landfill:

  • We’re always tinkering with new products that would utilize our leftovers and scraps. For example, we originally made our Organizer Pouches with just that in mind. (Note: the Organizer Pouches have grown so popular that we do sometimes cut them from “virgin” material.)
  • We’ve given perfectly useful fabric or parts that we could no longer use to local fabric retail storefronts to resell.
  • We’ve donated materials to organizations such as Seattle Muses, fashion schools, and others. 
  • We’re working with various companies and recycling operations to figure out new ways to responsibly recycle/upcycle/dispose of scrap materials. This is a work in progress, always.

We’ve also given away rolls of surplus fabric and selvedge (the unusable edges of the fabric rolls) to people who buy our bags and are, like us, makers/crafters/designers/experimentors. This has been one of our favorite ways of giving away material we can’t use because we get to see pictures of the things people make with our scraps or other materials. And then it occurred to us: instead of offering up these materials just here or there or if asked, what if we made an actual product page that listed what we have available at any given time? That way more people could get more materials, and we’ll hopefully toss even less in the dumpster. And now it is so…

Currently Available Materials (updated 07/29/2019)

All materials are as available; it's possible we may have "sold out" of materials, so please call or to ask what we have on hand. Please note that the photos of each material show what was available that day when we took the photo; what colors and varieties are available vary depending on what we're cutting and making.

Fabric Selvedge

Available in 210d ballistic, 525d ballistic, and 200d Halcyon. You can specify material. Colors vary, and you’ll probably get a surprise grab bag of colors. The most plentiful color is always black. 210d ballistic and 525d ballistic are bluesign® certified; 200d Halcyon is Oekotex® certified. Knitters and crocheters may especially appreciate the selvedge; we've seen slippers, tapestries, and other beautiful works of art fabricated with selvedge. Our Sewing Professionals here at the TOM BIHN factory in Seattle always have a supply of selvedge strips to use to tie up cut fabric pieces and various odds-and-ends; you might find them useful for that, too. Other ideas: braid into a headband or hair tie or actually braid the ribbon within your hair, use as a reusable ribbon/bow to wrap a gift, or use as the ribbons on a hand kite.

Fabric Cutting Scraps

Available in 200d Halcyon, 210d ballistic, and 525d ballistic. Beautiful, messy, irregular, and inconsistently shaped scraps of premium fabrics. Use them in an art installation, perhaps as an intense hand-sewing project to make some kind of patchwork artifact, as a reusable confetti within which to wrap/nestle/protect delicate presents, or whatever your imagination dictates. The fabrics and colors of these scraps vary greatly and the pile of scraps you receive will probably also have some loose threads and bits of paper patterns from our cutting process. 

Scrap 3D Spacer Mesh
Our 3D Spacer Mesh is a thick, three dimensional knit fabric that can help transport moisture and heat away from the contact areas on the panel against your back on our backpacks; we use both a polyester/nylon blend and a 100% polyester product and you might get some of both (they are quite similar in appearance and performance). These scraps are mostly small and vary in size and shape. Like our Cache foam scraps, these could be used as soft filler for... whatever you want. Note that our Spacer Mesh isn’t treated with flame retardants; this could mean that using this material to make beds, furniture, pillows, etc. may not be legal in your area. Please check your local regulations before using this material for any such application. 
Scrap Cache foam/fabric laminate
These are the scraps produced from cutting our Cache laptop sleeves. The material used to make the Cache is .25" / 6 mm thick open cell foam, laminated between black, heavy-duty polyester knit and black brushed polyester tricot. Scraps vary in size and shape; most are small scraps.Note that our Cache foam isn’t treated with flame retardants; this could mean that using this material to make beds, furniture, pillows, etc. may not be legal in your area. Please check your local regulations before using this material for any such application. 


Fine print:

  • Yes, we’ll send you these materials for free. 
  • Orders for bags + these scrap materials ship same day. Orders for just scrap materials may take 1-2 days to process.
  • Yes, we can send you a small sample of the material so you can determine if it will work for your project. Reasonable shipping charges apply. 
  • Please send us photos of your creations ( or post to social media #wastenomaterials 
  • Charges for carbon-neutral shipping may apply and will vary based on the material, its weight, and the destination address. 
  • We intend these materials to go to individuals as opposed to other businesses, but exceptions can be made. Ask us. 
  • You’re welcome to list us as the source of the material, but you don’t have to. Quantities of each material vary and change over time. We may choose to limit the per-person quantity of a very rare/cool/pricey material so that more people have a chance to order. 
  • If you have a long-term or ongoing need for a material that you see listed here, ask us about that. 
  • If you’re wondering anything else… ask :) 

Things we don’t expect to happen but that we need to say for the record:

  • Please don’t resell these materials. Use them for your own projects.
  • Like we say above, it’s ok to say you got the materials from us, but we ask that you don’t apply any kind of TOM BIHN logo to projects made with these materials or otherwise imply it’s a TOM BIHN product.
  • We aren’t responsible for what happens after we ship these materials or for what is made with them. Use good judgement and know what you’re working with: for example, Dyneema/Halcyon melts under moderate heat (around 300F / 150C), so don’t make pot holders with it. If you have questions about the properties of a material, ask us: we know lots of stuff, but not everything.