Chuck Thrust made a bunch of skull-stenciled thrift-store tuxedo shirts for us to wear at our show coming up this Saturday night (the Smash at the Ash).
For as long as I have known him (18 years now!), my husband has been a DIY old-school punk-rock spray-painting shirt-making fool. So I thought I would share his process with you. This is totally not the "right" way to do it, but that's what makes it cool, because it works, and it rocks.
Here you can see him wearing a black shirt with a silver spray-painted skull, as he prepares to work on the tux shirts (which he pre-washed):
For this design, he used an old 14" drumhead that Billy's stick must have gone through. He cut out the "membrane" in an imperfect circle until there were just a couple inches of it remaining around the metal rim.
Inside the shirt, he placed a 12" record album cover and then stapled the drumhead onto the record cover straight through the shirt (he likes the way the spray-painted holes look after you remove the staples). This is to "prevent the bleeding"- so that the paint doesn't go through to the back of the shirt. It also helps give it a "rigid endoskeleton for optimum stability," as Chuck explained.
He also added masking tape on the front of the shirt to help prevent overspray.
The skull image was carefully drawn and cut out of a piece of cardboard, and the eyes and nose shapes were cut out. (It was actually the same cardboard that the replacement drumhead came in - way to reuse, Chuck!)
Chuck put masking tape on the back of the skull shape and placed it in the center of the drumhead circle. Next, he shook up some spray paint.
He started out with a layer of flat black and then added a layer of hammered-finish black which gives it a good thick texture. (For the black shirt, he used a shimmering aluminum paint that is designed for metal and plastic, so it holds up in the wash much better than your average metallic silver spray.)
Apparently you have to use several layers of paint to make it work so that it sticks.
He sprayed over everything until all the white parts were covered.
After the spray paint is thoroughly dry, Chuck recommends putting the shirt in the dryer for about 15 minutes, then washing it and drying it. After that you will never have to worry about the image fading, it will last and last.
The skull itself, of course, will be a negative image, so it will be whatever color your shirt is.
Here's how they turned out!
This image was placed in the center of the shirt. Yes, it bled a bit, but who cares? It actually looks cool that way, I think. This one was placed a bit off-center and cock-eyed:
With of course, a few obligatory punk rock safety pins added.
For this one, he just placed the skull image on the shirt and used (my!) carbon black acyrlic paint to brush an outline around the outside edge of the stencil, and to fill in the eyes and nose for a slightly more subtle effect (not that there's really anything subtle about going around with a big, scary skull emblazoned on your shirt front):
Acrylic paint also holds up fantastically well in the wash too.
So there you have it. Easy. Cool.
We'll be wearing some of these shirts on Saturday night when we take over the Ash Street for Chuck's 3rd annual birthday bash! If you are in Portland, you are warmly invited to come to our show.
Four bands will be playing, and we will have cupcakes and special CDs that we are making right now, featuring songs both old and new!
And in case you haven't heard, there has been a change in the Vignettes line-up - we are sad to say that Kat is no longer in the band (we love and miss her!). Now we have Emie, the Beauty Dominator! So come check us out this Saturday!
Rock out with:
Dartgun & the Vignettes
The Oblivion Seekers
Saturday, April 11
Ash Street Saloon, 225 SW Ash St., Portland OR
Show starts at 9:30 pm, we (Dartgun) will be playing THIRD.
Here's the flyer! (Yes, I know the people who designed it spelled Oblivion wrong, but that's SO punk rock...well, maybe not, but what can you do.)