Websites like CafePress, HerUniverse, and ThinkGeek offer fangirls like me a ton of different geekynerdy clothing and accessory options. There are t-shirts, sweaters, dresses, and leggings for just about every fandom out there, as well as cellphone cases, coffee mugs, and mouse pads. But while I think many of the designs are quite cute, I’ve had trouble finding one that’s close to what I’m looking for – a female version of the simple emblem t-shirts C always gets at Target.
Since my store searches have been mostly unsuccessful, I decided to take matters into my own hands – literally! This past weekend, when I was home in Pittsburgh, my mother and I worked together on a DIY Captain America t-shirt for Thursday’s premiere of The Avengers: Age of Ultron. We found a still photo online that showed a close-up of Cap’s uniform, and drew the designs from there (most of the drawing was free-hand, though we used a small star cookie cutter as a starting point). Since C said he wanted a shirt as well, we scaled the chest emblems to match our respective sizes.
It has been a long time since I’ve done a DIY project with my mom and I am absolutely thrilled with how the t-shirts came out! Sure, they ended up having a little more of a vintage feel than we were expecting, but C and I cannot wait to wear them on Thursday! To make your own Captain America Age of Ultron tee, just follow the steps below!
What You’ll Need:
One Blue T-Shirt
Red, White, Blue, and Silver Fabric Paint
Several Small Design Sponges
Computer Printer Paper
Cardboard Paper or a Small Board Covered in Aluminum Foil
1. Find a good picture of the Captain America design (or whichever one you want to make) online and print it out. Using that as a guide, take a ruler and/or star cookie cutter – if you have one – and begin sketching out the various pieces of the pattern. For this shirt, there were four main sections: the center white star, the blue star outline, the red side fins, and the gray inner fins.
2. Once you are happy with your patterns, begin to cut everything out. Since this design has a lot of overlapping parts, you will want to keep everything you cut out, so you can use those inner bits to protect the sections you’ve already painted.
3. When you are ready to start painting, place a piece of cardboard in your shirt to prevent the front from sticking to the back. This will also help stretch the shirt and give you a better, flatter painting surface. If you don’t have cardboard (we didn’t), you can simply use a small board, but make sure you cover it with something – we used aluminum foil – to prevent the paint from bleeding through.
4. After you’ve centered the pattern for the blue star on your shirt, tape down the edges to keep the paper in place. You will also want to center and tape down the paper you cut out from the white star pattern to create the outline. Put some of the blue paint onto a separate piece of paper, and dab it with the sponge. Begin painting! Once you’re happy with the look of the outline, remove the paper and let the shirt dry.
5. Once the blue paint is dry to the touch, you’ll want to place the inner portions of the red fin patterns on either side of the blue star and tape them down. To protect the star that you just painted, tape the inner portion of the blue outline pattern over the center of the shirt. On your scrap paper, mix the white and silver fabric paint until you get a slightly gray color. Dab it with your sponge, and fill in the open design. Remove the paper as soon as you like how things look, and let the shirt dry. (Note: We left the paper on way too long after this step and ended up with small bits of it stuck in the paint. While we were able to remove most of them with a damp towel, this was something we could have easily avoided.)
6. Next, you will want to place and tape the pattern for the red side fins. As with the blue star outline, once you’ve gotten everything set, you will want to cover up the gray inner portions that you just painted. Put some red paint onto your scratch paper and begin filling in the fins. Since the shirt is dark and will absorb a lot of the paint, you may want to do a couple of coats of the red, but just go until you’re happy with the color. Carefully remove the patterns, and let the shirt dry.
7. After the fins are dry to the touch, you will want to place your pattern for the center white star over the entire design and tape it down. Dip your sponge into the white paint on your scratch paper and begin to paint! Since this star is the focal point of the shirt, you will want to do multiple coats to make it stand out. (For these shirts, I did one coat of paint that I smoothed out with my sponge and then topped it with one that was a little more textured.) Once you are done, remove the pattern and admire your handiwork!
8. When the center white star is dry to the touch, you can remove the cardboard – or take the shirt off of the board you were using – and wear!