Recycled T-Shirt Journal - with Donkey Kong, Harry Potter, and other Nerdy Things

FeaturedContest Winner
My husband loves to wear witty, ironic, awesome t-shirts, but he tends to go through them pretty quickly. Once the armpits get all weird and crunchy the thrift store won't take the shirts, so the clothing is destined for the trash.

There are hundreds of ways to reuse t-shirts all over the interent, but if you are a never-ending DIY-er like me, you have a vast collection of refashioned t-shirts dresses, t-shirt quilts, and t-shirt shopping bags.

I wanted to figure out another way to reuse the cool graphics of the shirts that could be replicated quickly and would appeal to the masses. 

I also kept seeing Star Wars and Nintendo shirts at the thrift shop that were fifty cents and size XXL, so I grabbed as many nerdy shirts as I could and started selling the finished journals at a local coffee shop. Maybe you can do the same.

We all have piles of shirts that we don't wear anymore, but for sentimental or hoarder reasons we are unable to get rid of a single tee. I'll show you how to use an old shirt to make a cool fabric-covered journal, and BONUS! These make great presents!
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials
- rotary cutter
- foam brush (or regular-type brush)
- cutting mat
- heavy book
- hammer
- four bitty nails
- needle
- ruler

- an incredible t-shirt (I guess it could be a lame boring shirt, but hey, that's on YOU)
- two sheets of 8.5x11 cardstock, preferably in a color complementary to your shirt
- 20-30 sheets 8.5x11 paper. I used recycled printer paper for this instructable. Lately have been making them with paper from graph paper notebooks I found in the trash.
- Mod Podge
- newspaper
- thread. I use waxed linen thread, but any sort of thread or embroidery floss will do.
- scrap wood
- sharpie (optional for prep-step)
- 8.5" x 11" transparency (optional for prep-step)
I wish I had a rotary cutter or a paper Guillotine. This looks like a funload of butts to make.
You don't really need them, craft knives work just as well, that's what I used and it turned out pretty good.
ttunçman10 months ago
I want those T-shirts more than I want those notebooks.
Kjata101310 months ago
Love this! But oh god, I can't get the thought of "crunchy armpits" out of my head...(>_<)
emilygraceking (author)  Kjata101310 months ago
Haha, I just meant they get yellowed or stained with deodorant build-up! It is pretty gross though.
abrown39 Kjata101310 months ago
I know the crunchy armpit comment will haunt me for weeks, but its a really cool idea and your right i do have a bunch of tshirts I for some reason cant throw away, and would make great covers, thankfully my shirts are "crunch free" so i think I will make a few of those and try to donate the rest
lej61910 months ago
What a great idea!! thanks
Shanderson10 months ago
And here I thought it was just a bleached tshirt design - but behold! It is actually a DK shirt that you dice to make a journal.

I can dig it.
emilygraceking (author)  Shanderson10 months ago
Thanks! You could bleach a design, but it would be a lot more work--it's so much easier to upcycle cool old shirts instead.
shaddoty10 months ago
This is brilliant.
BrittLiv10 months ago
oh, these look great, good job!
emilygraceking (author)  BrittLiv10 months ago
Thank you! I love how creative your projects are--as soon as I come across an old Nintendo zapper that Duck Hunt lamp will be mine, muahaha!
twokool10 months ago
Awsome thx

Get More Out of Instructables

Already have an Account?


PDF Downloads
As a Pro member, you will gain access to download any Instructable in the PDF format. You also have the ability to customize your PDF download.

Upgrade to Pro today!