There is one big problem: Dave hates shopping but always needs new awesome t-shirts to replace old worn-out t-shirts (after all, it is his signature style). Without Dave to try on the shirts, I end up just buying anything that looks cool (or ironic) (or hilarious) (or nerdy) no matter the shirt size--hey, at fifty cents each, why not?
Every time I go, this shopping adventure results in about four new shirts for Dave and two new shirts for Emily's Pile o' Craftin Cloth. Soon the pile became enormous.
At the time my craftin' shirt collection reached its most-gargantuan state (Late October), Felicitous Coffee & Tea was preparing to sell loads of handmade gifts for Christmas time. I wanted to reuse the shirts in a way that was massively sellable for the holidays, but that was also easy to reproduce in quantity. I came up with making fabric-covered, single-signature sketch journals. They sold very well (and still do) at the coffee shop, and Dave and I gave out quite a few for Christmas ourselves.
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 cardstock, preferably in a color complementary to your shirt
- 20-30 sheets white printer paper
- 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)
Optional Prep-Step: Make a Template
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.
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.
Once dry, fold the cover in half. Marvel at how cool your journal looks so far.
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.
Pull out all the nails. 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.
Using a needle, pull the thread down through hole number one until your big knot is pulled tight inside the pages of the journal.
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.
Your journal is done! Go write down some secrets!