Sticker Stencils for Ranmaru's Bamboo
During my foray into traditional Japanese clothes, I realized early on that there are LOTS of patterned fabric. The chances of finding extant fabric suited for each costume were slim to none, so I had to learn almost immediately how to reproduce it.
Mori Ranmaru from Honnoji Hotel (2017) started me down the Japanese garden path two summers ago when I saw the film on a plane back from England. While I managed to find the appropriate plum and blue linen blends for the kosode and the kataginu/hakama, recreating the bamboo pattern took some creative thinking. Painting them by hand was out; it would take excruciatingly long. Then I remembered a friend (Skull's Armory) who had a Cricut machine and access to adhesive sheets. Thus the idea of sticker stencils was born.
I began by creating a tracing of the pattern with the pen tool in Adobe Photoshop to create the basic outline. Then I saved it as a JPEG and sent it to James at Skull's Armory. Double-quick, he had the stencils printed up and then it was off to the races.
After a close-run in with sprayable fabric paint (terrible stuff, never use), I opted for a heavy body white acrylic that was daubed on with a medium-sized round brush (pictured above).
Spoiler: One coat wasn't enough. It took two to get a nice, opaque transfer.
Making sure the stencil was securely stuck to the fabric was CRUCIAL for getting a clean transfer, otherwise the paint had a tendency to seep out underneath and blur the edges. Each time, I ran my thumbnail over all the edges of the stencil to ensure they were stuck tightly down.
Doing that, coupled with two paint jobs each time, I spent around twenty hours alone doing the stencil work on this project. But hot dang, it was worth it.
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