Monday, December 9, 2013

EASY MODE: Totoro Tees!

I wanted Chloe's first movie in a theater to be really special.  As it happens, we lived in one of the greatest cities in the world, as far as niche culture goes - New York

My Neighbor Totoro was one of Chloe's first videos at home and by far our favorite to watch as a family.  Miraculously, right around the time I wanted to take her, there happened to be a week long festival of Miyazaki's work happening at the BAM Theater in Brooklyn.

The theater itself is fantastic and old-timey with balcony seats, red curtains, marble and the ornate architecture of theaters gone by.  I didn't get a good shot of the inside of the theater but it's amazing.  

Another pleasing coincidence - two of my Miyazaki-loving girlfriends are also in Brooklyn and one of them has a son the same age as Chloe. 

I decided to make some Totoro T-shirts for myself and the kiddos.  I also thought some soot sprite accessories and perhaps a bag were in order.

The Stuffs You Will Need:

T-shirts - grey, light blue, white - the choice is yours (they didn't have grey in kids so I opted for blue)
Fabric Puff Paint - white and black (glow-in-the-dark is optional)
Black pom-poms
Googly eyes -  small
White tote bag - any size
Glue gun
Barret's, Headband or other hair accessory - even a plain hairband will work as long as it's thick enough to glue a pom-pom to 

The shapes are really simple: eyes, nose, whiskers and mouth.

I prefer to freehand but you could just as easily use a white fabric pencil to trace the shapes before you paint and that may be preferable but I prefer to fly by the seat of my pants with most of these projects - and in life.

 I used the Glow-in-the-dark for the kids shirts because what kid doesn't like a shirt that glows?

I recommend doing the outline of the shapes first and then filling in with a back and forth motion to make a solid shape.

Use constant pressure and even strokes to keep it smooth.

You should let the white of the mouth and eyes dry before adding the black lines and details on top.  Otherwise the layers will combine and distort.

Once the white (or glow-in-the-dark) is dry you can add the pupils and the lines for the teeth.

When you make the lines for the teeth do the horizontal line first.  Then for the teeth work in the rule of halves to keep them equal - center line first, then quarter the rest.

Pro-tip:  You can use a toothpick to smooth out the paint and get rid of bubbles.

A few mistakes I made which you need not are:
  • I used too much paint - this made the designs overly thick and stiff.  
  • I didn't wait until the first layer was COMPLETELY dry before adding another layer on top - this made the pupils and teeth run and become wonky.
  • I let my daughter wear her shirt before the movie and she got it dirty - hence, she wore the adult size tee to the movie as a "dress"!  


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