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!
Step 1: Tools and Materials
- rotary cutter
- foam brush (or regular-type brush)
- cutting mat
- heavy book
- four bitty nails
- 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
- 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)
Step 2: Optional Prep-Step: Make a Template
Lay a sheet of 8.5" x 11" transparency onto a white sheet of paper. Using a ruler and a sharpie, draw a line down the center of the transparency (on the 11" side). Run the sharpie along each edge of the transparency so that two equal rectangles are easily visible when you lay the transparency on a surface.
Step 3: Cut up your shirt!
Depending on the size of the graphic, you may be able to make two journals from one shirt. If you do this, a sparrow will sing a song outside of your window to thank you for reusing your t-shirt twice as effectively as everyone else.
Use a straight-edge and a rotary cutter to cut the shirt about 1/4" away from the transparency.
Step 4: Make your Outside Cover
Lay your t-shirt piece face-down. If it is super wrinkly you may want to iron it, but I never take the time to do that and it turns out just fine. Carefully position your cardstock Podge-side down on the shirt so that there is about a 1/4" border of t-shirt sticking out on all sides of the cardstock. Put a heavy book on top of the cardstock and leave until the Mod Podge dries.
Once the cover is dry, use scissors to nip in the corners of the t-shirt. You want to cut them at an obtuse angle right at the corners of the cardstock. This is so the sides will form a clean overlap when you fold the shirt down over the cardstock.
Apply Mod Podge on an egde of the cardstock and fold the t-shirt border down onto the cardstock. Repeat on all sides, overlapping the t-shirt at the corners. Don't worry about making things super beautiful--all the extra glue and raggedy lines will be covered up with crips, clean cardstock. Put the cover back underneath your heavy book until dry.
Don't worry if the edges of the fabric look kind of messy--they will get covered up in the next step.
Once dry, fold the cover in half. Marvel at how cool your journal looks so far.
Step 5: Inside Cover (also known as "Cover up the Ugly Edges")
Step 6: Add the Pages
Postion the journal so that the binding edge sits on some scrap wood. Open the journal to the middle page.
Pound in your four tiny nails along the center crease to make holes for your binding thread. Make sure to go all the way through the pages and the cover. Be careful to nail straight down through the center of the pages and the cover.
Rather than space the holes evenly apart, stagger the holes so that the nails on the top and on the bottom of the pages are much closer to each other. You can measure if you like--I just eyeball it and hope for the best.
Pull out all the nails. You can use a scrap piece of paper underneath the hammer to protect your journal pages. Snip a foot of thread and tie a big fat knot in one end. Make sure the knot is large enough that it won't pull through your nail holes.
Step 7: Binding
Pull the thread back up through hole number two and pull tight.
Pull the needle down through hole number three and pull tight.
Lastly, pull the needle up through hole number four. Make sure each stitch is pulled tight! Tie a big knot in your thread so that it lays tight against hole four.
Step 8: Trim Pages
Fold the cover back on itself so that the pages are all by their lonesome.
Using your pencil mark as your guide, trim the pages using a straight edge and a rotary cutter.
Step 9: Fill your Journal with Secrets and Sketches
Here are a few more examples of these t-shirt journals--I hope you feel inspired!