Rebirth of the Mega Man Shirt: Reclaiming a Failure of a Project

Last Christmas, we were pretty broke. Well, I was broke. As a couple we were pretty solid, but since I was only working part time, the money was pretty much just “his.” For his present, then, I decided to make something. So I made him t-shirts! The one I was most excited about that he also liked the most was this super awesome Mega Man shirt.

11615987094_5c4479c7e3_oNow, this shirt from the beginning was a pain in my ass. Nothing went right from the very start, but, after some creative recovery, I ended up being happy with how it came out.

He wore it his first day back at work for the new year.

Then I washed it, and I found out that the dark dye I used did not heat set properly. Mega Man was gone, washed down the drain.

I tried redying a few times. Yeah…no. So it’s been sitting in my craft chest until I could figure it out. Then, with some time to spare one afternoon, I decided it was time to tear through my backlog.


1. I had to figure out what to do. As you can maybe see in the picture above, the dying, washing, and redying had caused a lot of the die to travel to different parts of the shirt. It wasn’t as vibrant a blue as the original shirt. Everything was pretty muddled. So Mega Man needed to be sharp. That’s why, in the end, I decided to just fabric paint him back in.


2. I had to dig the stencil out of my hard drive, and I reprinted it on freezer paper. It is an altered version of a stencil created by deviant artist alerijillo. I just painted in a hand canon over the right hand. After about three David Bowie songs, I had it cut out with my X-Acto knife.


3. When I ironed it on, I decided I wanted to keep the offset look. Really, it’s just because when I originally bleached the shirt, it got so blobby that nothing really matches up properly. When in doubt, “it was a stylistic choice.”


4. As a master of getting by with as little materials as possible, I’m pretty good at mixing my own paints from primary colors. It’s hard to tell here, but a couple dots of metallic give it a sort of sparkly sheen.


5. I initially, tried rolling it on, but my roller was too big, so I switched to a sponge brush. A thin layer blotted on really lightly makes it look like it was screen printed. It just takes practice (which I still need a lot of).


6. Tear the stencil away and voila!

A project that failed is now awesome again!



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