Arabesque Sandpaper Shirt {Tutorial}

ACraftyArab Arabesque Sandpaper Shirt

My girls love coming up with their own unique style of dress and it’s hard to find something different in a store that sells the same 50 shirts.  We find it’s just easier to buy a plain shirt and decorate it at home.


Today we learned how to decorate an original arabesque design with sandpaper and wanted to share the tutorial with you.  My tween did the craft today and felt it was easy.



Arabesque shape (found online)
(Not in photo – iron, cardboard, 12×12 plain paper)
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We started by cutting out the arabesque shape we found online and outlining it in white crayon on the sandpaper.

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Then my daughter created a drawing inside the shape freehand.  She made sure to press super hard with the wax to make sure it gets into the crevasses of the sandpaper.

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I ironed the area the design was going to get ride of wrinkles.

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Then I placed a piece of cardboard between the layers of the shirt, in case the wax bleed through.

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I then placed the sandpaper, design side down, on the shirt.  I also place a piece of paper over the sandpaper.  I placed my iron on cotton setting, checked that there was no water inside and ironed the design on, making sure to press down hard on the wax.

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I gently lifted one corner up to check the design went through and when I was happy it had ironed on, I peeled off the paper and the sandpaper.

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My daughter wanted the design on the side, so the seam caught a lot of the white and made it brighter, giving it a really neat vintage look.

Lay a new sheet of paper on the design and iron it one more time to soak up any wax.  The first time this shirt is washed, it might be a good idea to do it alone.

ACraftyArab Arabesque Sandpaper Shirt

The really neat part is that the sandpaper was still usable, so she redrew the same colors on it again and did the other side.

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Check out our other shirts we made using freezer paper, Palestine is in my Heart T-shirt Tutorial, and Henna Stencil Tshirt DIY Tutorial.


If you decide to make your own sandpaper shirt, show us on Instagram for a chance at a repost by using #CraftyRamadan.

ACraftyArab Arabesque Sandpaper ShirtWP





I am a Libyan American who creates art to promote a positive image of Arab and Islamic culture.