Back to School! : DIY Notebook Paper Shirt

For most of us, the idea of going back to school already can be a cruel warning, wake up call to reality, a painful realization that soon you’ll be put on a strict schedule and all your free time will magically vanish. Maybe that’s just the way I feel. But for an odd reason, my favorite part of being back in school is having a fresh new notebook, turning to the first clean, crisp page and thinking “What will I fill you with?” To me, a blank notebook page is endless room for doodles, poems, lyrics, and occasional notes on whatever subject I am currently ignoring.

Anyway, I love notebooks. I was ecstatic to discover a tutorial on how to make a notebook paper shirt! I found it on Pinterest which led to the tutorial Maybe Matilda. They were adorable, I had to try! Her tutorial is lovely and easy, but it is used if you only have acrylic paint. To follow her fabulous tutorial click here. If you want to use fabric paint like me, here is a quick tutorial on what I did!

Supplies: White tshirt/tank top/whatever, tape that wont stick to the cloth too much, cardboard/foam board/paper/plastic, fabric paint, foam brushes, water, iron. Optional: white acrylic paint and paper plate.
Results: Awesome shirt to show off for the new school year!

1:. Prep

First thing to do is place your card board/foam board/plastic/paper/whatever between the front and back of your shirt. This is so the paint won’t leak to the back of the shirt. Next grab the tape and start creating rows, make them however thick or thin you want. For smoother lines, be sure the tape doesn’t cause wrinkles in the fabric. If you want to make sure each line is perfectly identical, use a ruler.

2. Lines of Blue

Pour the blue fabric paint onto the plate. I wanted my blue a bit brighter, so I mixed it with a drop of white acrylic paint. Carefully dab a little of the paint onto the foam brush and start painting inbetween the tape lines. I held the brush lightly, slowly painting to ensure the paint was even all the way across. Let it dry before next step. In the meantime wash the foam brush before the paint sits in!

3. Red Stripe

Gently peel the tape off the shirt after the blue paint has dried. Check for big blobs, especially in the are where the red stripe is going to go. When the coast is clear, place two strips of tape horizontal on the left side. Again I lightened my red fabric paint with white acrylic paint. I made this line thinner and bolder than the blue lines.

4. Making it Last

Depending on the fabric of your shirt and how thick you painted, drying could take from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. To be safe, I let mine sit over night and by morning it was fine. I turned the shirt inside out and took an iron to it. This helps the paint set into the fabric. And you’re done!

This was easy right? I had no real problems, and this tank top turned out how I expected, sloppy lines and all! I struggled with the option of writing text on my shirt, to make it seem more like the pages of my past notebooks, but decided against it. If I do another shirt I’d like to try that out, maybe make it look like a love letter or something sweet like that.

1. Blue painter’s tape is way too thick…I used electrical tape, but probably masking tape is ideal since scotch tape is too thin and packaging tape ruins the fabric.
2. I read that fabric paint works best on cotton shirts. Although, my tank top is mainly nylon (or something along those lines) and so far I’ve had no problems.
3. Caution on mixing fabric and acrylic paint— too much acrylic paint can make the paint stiff when it dries.


I hadn’t worn this tank top in over a year, I happily sported it all day today!
Give it a go, I’d love to see your shirts too. 🙂
What are your plans for the upcoming school season? I hope someone else makes this in time for school. Thanks for stoppin’ by! ❤