Introduction: 8-bit Felt Applique' - Ms PacMan and Ghost

About: I teach computer science and I do graphic design for printed bags, clothing, housewares, and much more. (, and…

In the beginning, video games had only 16 colors and the graphics were chunky. And we were happy.

Revisit those happier, simpler times with these fun felt applique's of your favorite video game characters. Once you have all of the materials, this is an easy fifteen minute project.

I like to decorate cheap walmart t-shirts with these, but they could just as easily adorn your book bag or any other fabric surface.

Step 1: Surround Yourself With

Start by picking out the character that you want to make. I provide two designs here: Ms. Pacman and Ghost.

You need to get felt sheets for all of the colors in the character. One sheet per color is plenty. You'll use a lot of black with these, so you may want to pick up a few extra. (MsPacman uses black, yellow, red/pink, and blue/black)

You also need to get some fusible interfacing. I got the kind with a sticky side. You'll need at least two sheets.

You'll also need some nice sharp scissors. There a lot of corners to cut, so you may want to use very pointy ones.

Finally, you need access to a good iron and pressing mat or ironing board.

Oh! and of course, you should have something to iron the applique to -- like a t-shirt or book bag.

Step 2: Transfer Your Design to a Grid

All of the old video game characters were drawn, and then transferred to grids. Originally the grids were 8x8 (like the aliens in Space Invaders), but later cheap memory allowed designers to expand to grids of 16x16.

I give you two grids here, one for Ms PacMan and one for a Ghost. I based the grids on images that I found online at (props to pixelparty!) Do a google image search for 8-bit art to see lots of other characters.

Once you have developed the grid, print it out on a couple sheets of paper, at your desired size. I put this on a t-shirt, so I printed them at about 8"x8". You don't have to print it in color. Gray-scale is just fine (and cheaper!).

Step 3: Cut Out the Pieces

Using the printout as a guide, transfer the grid to the felt and cut it out.

Lay the cut felt on the fusible webbing and cut to match.

Do this once for the black, which will become the bottom layer, and again for all of the colored pieces in the design.

Step 4: Assemble the Layers

Arrange the layers, thus, bottom to top

0: Fusible interfacing
1: Black felt
2: Fusible interfacing
3: All of the colors

If you use sticky interfacing, all of the layers should be pretty easy to arrange and line up.

Step 5: Iron On!

Follow the instructions on the interfacing package to iron-on the applique to your t-shirt or other fabric surface.

Prepare for compliments!


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