Posted by on Dec 30, 2013 | 1 comment

This Ellie cosplay tutorial is very long overdue, but better late than never! This is part one of a series of tutorials I’m doing. Hopefully it will help some of you with this specific cosplay, or others in the future! This game has been out for a long while now but if you haven’t played this apocalyptic zombie game yet, I highly recommend it. It stars Joel and Ellie on their journey through a beautifully horrible world in search of the Fireflies.


“A brave, 14 year old girl, Ellie has grown up in this harsh world and it is all she has ever known. She’s an orphan who was raised in a boarding school run by the military within the bounds of the quarantine zone. Naïve and curious about the outside world, she is wise beyond her years and highly capable of taking care of herself and those around her. Obsessed with comic books, CDs, and other pop culture, her knowledge base is filled by the remnants of a world that no longer exists.”

Naughty Dog-The Last of Us Official

Ellie from The Last of Us us is such a cool chick. She’s tough and she knows exactly how to handle herself. She may seem a bit too abrasive sometimes but deep down she has a kind heart. These are the things about Ellie that made me want to become her character. To make her shirt is really quite simple and very inexpensive. I bought all of my supplies for under $20, and had a few of these items at home already!


  • Red Tshirt
  • Flat fabric paint in black, blue, and yellow
  • Butcher/Freezer Paper
  • Tape
  • Exacto knife
  • Scissors
  • Cutting board (so you don’t damage any surface you might cut on)
  • An iron
  • Paper towels (just in case you make a mess!)
  • A pattern to make your stencils!

Luckily, I know a super nice guy who is amazing with Adobe Illustrator. I got him to make a clean template of her shirt image! Here it is! Just click to view it full size. Ellie from The Last of Us Shirt Pattern and Tutorial Since you now know what we’ll be using, let’s get into the details. Print out three copies of the shirt pattern you want and make sure they’ll be the right size for you. You may need to resize them for your own needs! Cut some butcher paper down to the size of your patterns. You’ll need three sheets of that as well. Tape your patterns onto the butcher paper, and then you can begin cutting them out with your exacto knife.


Cutting out the stencils


Label each of them according to their color. For each page, you will be cutting out the shapes that are all the same colors. So you should have a stencil with all of the yellow shapes cut out, one with the black shapes cut out, and one with the blue shapes cut out. They’re like layered puzzle pieces; you’ll be using one at a time to paint the corresponding colors with. Once you have all three of your stencils ready it’s time to start painting. Make sure you put your T-shirt over some cardboard to help stretch it out, and to keep the paint from seeping through to the other side of the shirt. I used an old box lid I had lying around.


Tape down the yellow stencil first. Then use your iron to stick it to the shirt. Butcher paper has a papery side and a shiny side–you’ll want to use the shiny side against the shirt. When the butcher paper is heated, it temporarily adheres the paper to the fabric. (Note that this will not work as well if you have washed the shirt and used fabric softener in the load. The oil will make it resistant and could possibly cause the stencil to come undone while you’re painting.)

Use a sponge to blot the paint on. You don’t want to rub the sponge all over the fabric. This will make the fibers in the shirt look messy and it might pull up your stencil. Just dab paint all over until it’s fully covered. This may take two to three layers. (I usually do at least two layers.) Always make sure you wait until one layer is dry before starting on the next. When all of one color of paint is completely dry, carefully pull the butcher paper off of the shirt. If you are a perfectionist like I am, you can use a paintbrush to touch up any mistakes you might make. Once everything is dry, you can tape down the next stencil and iron it on. Repeat the same steps until it’s all painted. (I worked in this order: yellow, black, then blue.)


TL;DR: I made a video. (: Here’s the visual tutorial for those of you who don’t feel like reading through all of that, or for those of you who would just like to see it being done.

Her shirt is kind of rough and faded. I do plan on making a distressing tutorial sometime in the near future. But as for now I’ll just describe the process I used to achieve the look. To fade the paint and the shirt, I washed the shirt in a cycle with a bit of bleach a few times. After it was completely dry, I used a coarse sand paper all over the area that was painted, and also on some smaller cuts on the shirt. She has small cuts on her shirt here and there. I made my cuts by using a steak knife so it would be rough-looking and then sanded everything again so it would look aged.

Thats about all there is for her shirt! It’s really simple! If you make a shirt, you should post the links to your pictures of it in the comments section. I would love to see how you did! :3 I really hope this helped you along with your cosplay! If you enjoyed this tutorial and want more, keep an eye out for my Ellie makeup tutorial that will be coming soon! <3 Kitty