50 Shades of Grey Costume




Introduction: 50 Shades of Grey Costume

About: I'm a Renaissance woman. I love to create things with a fantasy, medieval, or geeky edge. I'm also a math/science nerd. I have a passion for all things Halloween. I like to build props, create costume elements…

Please note: this costume is "50 Shades of Grey," not "Fifty Shades of Grey."
My husband wanted a simple costume for Halloween. This is what we came up with. Neither of us has read the book "Fifty Shades of Grey." While this makes it difficult to build a costume around the characters, we decided to interpret the title more literally and made a "50 Shades of Grey" costume.

Step 1: Supplies

This will produce one t-shirt with roughly painted blocks of color in fifty different shades of grey.

You need:
One T-shirt (preferably grey)
Wide Masking Tape (1.5 - 2 inches wide)
Paint Brush
Acrylic Craft Paints in white, black, red, yellow, and blue. 
Textile Medium (designed to be used with acrylic craft paints)
Permanent Marker or Fabric Marker
5 cups or bowls (for mixing paint)
5 plastic plates (for mixing paint)
Names for 50 types of grey (find my list in Step 6)

Step 2: Prep

If your shirt is new, wash and dry it.

Cut your wide making tape into 50 relatively equal lengths. I did this by laying the tape in strips onto a cutting mat and then using a paper cutting wheel and acrylic grid ruler. For a large man's shirt, I cut 2" wide tape into 3" strips. It really filled the front of the shirt well. For smaller shirts, us narrower tape and cut into smaller lengths.

Lay the shirt, front side up, on a flat surface. Slide a piece of flat cardboard, plastic, or other material into the shirt to prevent bleeding paint from transferring to the back of the shirt.

Lay your pieces of tape out in whatever pattern you'd like, with the edges of the pieces just touching their neighbors (no gaps). For this large man's shirt, 5 columns of 10 was ideal.

Finally, apply a tape border around the entire grid of tape.

Step 3: Mixing Paint

I used Tablespoons to measure each "part" in the ratios.

This required 3-2oz bottles of black paint, 3-2oz bottles of white paint, 2-2oz bottles textile medium, and less than a bottle each of yellow, red, and blue paints. However, you can use smaller amounts.

I used too much paint. You could easily cut the amount of paint in half and still get enough for a single finished shirt.

You'll want 5 containers (disposable cups, bowls, etc.)

Label the containers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Add 3 parts Textile (fabric painting) medium to each container.
Add black and white paint to each container in the following amounts:
Container 1 - 5 parts white, 1 part black 
Container 2 - 4 parts white, 2 parts black
Container 3 - 3 parts white, 3 parts black
Container 4 - 2 parts white, 4 parts black
Container 5 - 1 part white, 5 parts black

Step 4: Painting the Shirt; the First 20 Shades

Either remove 5 random pieces of tape from the grid (not touching--you want the edges to be as neat as possible) or follow a pattern.  Carefully set aside the pieces of tape. You may need them later. 

Using a disposable brush apply paint colors 1-5 on these squares. (Total: 5 shades)

Divide each container of paint into three parts onto individual plastic plates.

On every plate, add a squirt of yellow paint to one pool of paint; add a squirt of red paint to one pool of paint; add blue paint to the last pool of paint. One at a time, mix the color into the grey paint, then remove a piece of tape from the grid and paint the new color. Clean the brush between colors (or not, it's up to you). (Total: 5+15=20 shades)

Cover the plates of paint with plastic wrap and allow the paint on the shirt to dry. It shouldn't take more than an hour or so.

Step 5: Painting the Shirt; the Final 30 Shades

Once the paint is dry, you may apply the tape over the painted squares (you might want to mark them with an X or something to identify the painted squares. If you want to free-hand the squares between the borders of paint, don't reapply the tape.

Consider leaving one square unpainted, to be the shade of grey of the shirt (if you used a grey shirt).

In each pool of red-grey paint on each plate, add a squirt of blue paint. Mix this in and apply to a fresh square. (Total: 20+5=25)

In each pool of blue-grey paint on each plate, add a squirt of yellow paint. Mix this in and apply to a fresh square. (Total: 25+5=30)

In each pool of yellow-grey paint on each plate, add a squirt of red paint. Mix this in and apply to a fresh square. (Total: 30+5=35)

In each plate, mix together all of the colors of paint thoroughly, Apply to a fresh square. (Total: 35+5=40)

In each plate, add a squirt of yellow paint. Mix this in and apply to a fresh square. (Total: 40+4=45)

In each plate, add a squirt of blue or red paint. Mix this in and apply to a fresh square.  (Total: 45+5=50)

At this point, you should have 50 squares of paint on the front of your shirt!

Let the paint dry. For best results, follow the directions on the bottles of textile medium for drying wait times and for setting the paint. Mine says to wait 24-48 hours before ironing to set the paints.

Step 6: Naming

Once the paint is dry and cured according to the directions on your textile medium, you can name your colors. This is optional but adds another element of fun to the shirt. I have developed a list of 50 names. Use your own or pick-and-choose what you like from this list. Be prepared to have people stand in front of you, reading your chest.

Use a permanent marker or fabric marker to write the names. Set according to the instructions on your markers.

Color Names:
  1. Sad Unicorn
  2. Pureed Penguin
  3. Chaotic Neutral
  4. Mithril
  5. Post-Apocalyptic Sunrise
  6. Necrosis
  7. Stormwind Stone
  8. Iron-y
  9. Ashes of a Twilight Fanfic
  10. Zombie Brains
  11. Samael
  12. The Neutral Planet
  13. Slightly-Off Pork
  14. Oliphant
  15. Lair of Shelob
  16. Grungy Remote Control
  17. Ashes to Ashes
  18. Dust to Dust
  19. Roadside Snow
  20. Valyrian Steel
  21. Pickled Herring
  22. The Picture of Dorian
  23. Creepy Crypt
  24. Christina's Steak
  25. Douchebag Sunglasses
  26. Ominous Fog
  27. Necronomicon
  28. Troll Snot
  29. Lead Balloon
  30. Hazy Shade of Winter
  31. Flux Capacitor
  32. Tea, Earl Grey
  33. Gonzo
  34. Politician's Soul
  35. Vampire Victim
  36. Septic Pus
  37. By the Power of Greyskull
  38. Borg Pallor
  39. Urban Pigeon
  40. Weeping Angel
  41. Lydia's Mood
  42. Skeksis
  43. Russian Blue
  44. Plague Rat
  45. Shrunken Head
  46. Mr. Fixit
  47. MFA Prospects
  48. Witch's Whiskers
  49. Co-Ed Sweatpants
  50. Millenium Falcon
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    30 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    You, madam, deserve a medal. I love the ridiculous amount of Sci Fi refrences, as has already been commented on, plus the sheer wit. I bet your husband isn't going to be the only person walking around in that. xD


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This was totally brilliant! I have a friend who is very literal when it comes to costumes. For example, his name is Jim...for a Cocktails themed party he carried a 2 X 4 with Jim's Beam written on it...He would appreciate something like this!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    That's a very creative costume!

    Official Nerd Cred for naming out 50 shades of an achromatic along with Star Wars, vampires, Back To The Future, He-Man, Star Trek, and zombies in the same list!


    6 years ago on Step 6

    The Picture of Dorian! LOL!!!

    Love, love, love your wit and creativity. Best costume of the year!

    lpiñones huerta
    lpiñones huerta

    6 years ago

    this is absolutely brilliant! from the idea of the tee to the names of shades (those names are really creative)... well done! :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Congratulations on being a finalist in the Halloween contest!!! Can’t wait to see if you win! Good luck!

    Yanno... the book is a portrayal of one woman's ideal lover, named Christian Grey.

    Although many people, including myself, can't imagine dreaming of that type of guy, he in no way resembles paint chips on a sweatshirt.

    So although as a teeshirt it's really lovely, and I would wear the hell out of it-- as a Halloween costume it falls a little flat.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I know you are disappointed that it is not a costume out of a book but as I state in my intro, this is not a costume of the book "Fifty Shades of Grey" (or of Christian Grey). It is a "50 Shades of Grey" costume--literally. My husband wore it all day and it was a huge hit. You can't have a shade of the color grey without giving it a name. The names of each color were dreamed up to give it a geeky flair with the hope that this would be the best element. From the comments we've received, it seems to have delivered. I have one happy hubby and he is my dream guy.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I've seen a lot of versions of this idea today, yours is by far the best. I love the color names. I wish it were printable,but I don't think you'd get the subtleties in the various shades!

    I really appreciate all of the positive comments and the official Geek Cred! The references in the colors include: Dungeons and Dragons, Lord of the Rings, World of Warcraft, Hellboy, Futurama, A Game of Thrones, The Picture of Dorian Grey, Mommy Dearest, The Evil Dead, Mythbusters, Simon & Garfunkel, Back to the Future, Star Trek, Muppets, He-Man, Doctor Who, Beetlejuice, The Dark Crystal, The Hulk, and Star Wars as well as some less specific elements of geekdom.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Beautiful!! You are very creative... and fun, too. What a great idea for a costume. (My son's most creative was large lettering saying, "I Don't do Costumes."