Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 4,355
# 1 JJVerse Blackshirt Tutorial
05-01-2013, 09:57 AM
One thing I will admit about JJVerse, is the black uniform shirts worn by Kirk and now Khan just look badass Recognizably Starfleet, but with a very subtle twist. If you want one, but don't want to shell out on costume prices, they are also ludicrously easy to recreate... Now, I've known some costumers in my time who get really anal about the minutiae and details, so if you're like that, click the 'back' button now...

Still reading?


What you'll need for this project is pretty simple, and potentially stuff you'll already either have to hand, or be able to acquire easily, with one exception: Iron-on transfer paper. If you already have some, you're laughing. If you have to buy some, that will probably be the most expensive aspect... You will need:

Black shirt (can be T-shirt, Long-sleeved etc)
Translucent Iron-on transfer paper for use on white shirts
Tracing paper
Number 2 Pencil
Double-sided tape
3 sewing needles/tailoring pins
Ironing board
Reference material.

Step One:
You need to decide which version of the Starfleet Arrowhead you wish to use, and determine your source of reference. Personally, I used an original Lincoln Enterprises Voyager-era comm badge (original die cast, not modern resin ) and simply made a reverse impression of the edges on a sheet of drawing paper, which I then drew over. Alternatively, you could hit up google or your image archives and find the version you want, adjust the size in photoshop and trace it.

Step Two:
With the pencil, trace the outline of the arrowhead on the back of the tracing paper. Position the tracing paper on the backing side of the transfer paper (markings may vary by manufacturer, but it will most likely be the matte side of the paper) Holding the two pieces securely together, scribble over the outline of the arrowhead, thus transfering the image to the backing side. Remove the tracing paper, and carefully tidy up the transferred lines so you have a neat outline.

Step Three:
Take a pair of sharp scissors, and carefully cut out the arrowhead. Do this as carefully as possible, as any nicks or over-cuts on the line will be visible on the finished article. Gently round the edges of the arrowhead, as soft edges will be less likely to snag and lift than sharp points...

Step Four:
Cut out the tracing paper version of the arrowhead, and affix a small tag of double-sided tape to the back

Step Five: Stand in front of a mirror and put the shirt on. Reach up and tap your chest as if activating a comm badge (Don't look at me like that, we've all done it and requested beam up at some point or another...) and make a mental note of where your fingers are hitting your chest. Now take the tracing paper arrowhead, remove the backing from the double-sided tape, and very carefully, put it into position, and affix it. Do not be afraid to check the position and orientation a few times before actually affixing it. This is where the arrowhead will be sitting, so it needs to be perfect. If it's tilted, it will be noticeable...

Step Six:
Very carefully, remove your shirt, taking care not to disturb the stuck on arrowhead in any way

Step Seven:
Lay the shirt on your ironing board and very carefully smooth it out, again, making sure not to disturb the arrowhead in any way. Take the three pins, and slide them into the fabric of the shirt at the points of the arrowhead: Directly above the top, and below the bottom points. However you visually reference these markers is your choice, but you must know precisely where each point corresponds to the arrowhead. When you are satisfied with the positioning of the pins, remove the stuck on arrowhead.

Step Eight:
Take the iron-on transfer paper arrowhead and position it according to your pin markers. When you are 100% satisfied, use the fingers of one hand to gently but firmly hold the arrowhead in position, while with the other hand very carefully removing the pins, without in any way moving or disturbing the cloth of the shirt. Keeping your fingers on the arrowhead until the last minute, with your other hand, bring the iron into place and begin to iron over the arrowhead. Move your fingers before burning them...

Step Nine:
Iron the arrowhead for as long as it takes for the process to work. This may vary depending on the heat of your iron, but now you are this far, you are committed. You must keep ironing until the transfer fully sticks to the shirt. Periodically, you may wish to attempt to raise an edge or point of the arrowhead to see when the transfer paper has actually bonded to the shirt. If it is not bonding, just go back to ironing, taking care not to scorch the paper or burn your shirt. Once it does bond, you may carefully lift off the transfer paper. DO NOT pull it off quickly like ripping off a band-aid, but gently lift it away. You do not want to rip the transfer paper. Yet.

Step Ten:
If you have used a shirt with a texture, you will now need to carefully tease the fabric so the transfer paper rips along the lines of the texture. If you have used a shirt with a completely smooth fabric, you can skip this step...

This is the kind of effect you may expect...

While the shirt used will determine the accuracy of your result to the screen-worn versions, the overall effect is pretty satisfactory, and I would think how the costume department prepared the uniforms for filming...

Live long and prosper
Career Officer
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 3,938

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