How to Hack the Robot T-Shirt




About: Retired, doing art work now. Great. Have the time and the money to spend doing what I want to do.

I have several robot t-shirts, obtained thru contests.  I always wanted a black one, and thought they had a store on site, but did not.  Only recently, they have opened a store, and I thought ah ha! Now I can buy a black shirt....but no, they just have one color.  So...the wheels started turning and I just thought "I will have to hack one for myself."  In this instructable, I show two methods to do just that.  Let's go!

Step 1: What You Need

First, is a picture of the robot so we can make our pattern.  It's really a very simple piece of artwork and I could have just drawn it, but chose to copy a picture I downloaded to make it an exact duplicate. Then, obviously a t-shirt or shirts, a light box, and assorted acrylic paints, a sharpie, a piece of cardboard to insert in shirt to prevent the paint from soaking thru, and other, miscellaneous items.

Step 2: Place Pattern on Light Box, and Trace

Here, I place pattern on light box so that I can trace it onto my shirt. This is one of the two methods I used, and the other follows with the black t-shirt. I used a sharpie as shown and made an accurate outline of the robot.

Step 3: Start to Fill in With Paint

I tried to match the paint colors as best I could, although I think minor variations would not detract from the work at all. In fact, time permitting, I would like to make some different colored robots, but then, they wouldn't be quite the same would they?

Step 4: Complete Painting

The t-shirt is quite absorbent, so I used more than one coat to get good coverage.  In between coats, I used a hair dryer to speed the drying process. 

Step 5: Return With Sharpie, Go Over Black Lines

After painting, some of the lines had become obsure or hidden, so I just went back with the Sharpie and refreshed them.

Step 6: Finished Product

This was my first method I used, and I tried it on an older t-shirt that was destined for the trash bin.  I wanted to see if my method would work, how difficult it would be, etc., and if indeed, I could make a decent project.  I think it turned out fine.

Step 7: Method Two: First, Trace Pattern Onto Cardstock

Since it would be impossible to trace through the black material, I took my original pattern, used the light box, again, and traced out the robot onto a piece of 90 weight cardstock. This would be the stencil used to create my design.  All I had to do was paint the area in the stencil and then draw over that with the sharpie.

Step 8: Cut Out Stencil With Kraft Knife

To make this stencil, I simply cut out the traced outline.

Step 9: Place Stencil on Shirt

Place stencil where you want it so that it is centered and at the appropriate height.

Step 10: Paint and Finish Robot

A different method than above, but effective,nevertheless. After filling in the painted areas with the same colors as used in method 1, I finished by drawing in the black lines over the dried paint.

Step 11: Completed Project!

Now I have my black robot t-shirt, a teal shirt, and I can add them to my existing supply of t-shirts.



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    9 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea! I've got about three of those gray shirts too! Had a secret goal of some day making a quilt. This is better and a more realistic goal! =)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I love it. I plan to do something similar. Just curious, how did it manage through the wash?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    ok I saw that you put this is the weekly challenge, but I am apparently not seeing the wheels in this instructable.

    2 replies