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

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

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)
Darthorso11 months ago

This is really great! :D

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.
ttunçman2 years ago
I want those T-shirts more than I want those notebooks.
Kjata10132 years ago
Love this! But oh god, I can't get the thought of "crunchy armpits" out of my head...(>_<)
emilygraceking (author)  Kjata10132 years ago
Haha, I just meant they get yellowed or stained with deodorant build-up! It is pretty gross though.
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
lej6192 years ago
What a great idea!! thanks
Shanderson2 years 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)  Shanderson2 years 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.
shaddoty2 years ago
This is brilliant.
BrittLiv2 years ago
oh, these look great, good job!
emilygraceking (author)  BrittLiv2 years 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!
twokool2 years ago
Awsome thx