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January 4, 2011

DIY: The Rorschach Inkblot Jacket

Home for the holidays and then some, I was leafing through clothes I had left in Manila in search of something salvageable. When I found this plain white denim jacket that I had not once worn, I set out to make something beautiful out of it.
white denim jacket by Topman
When the photos from the Dries Van Noten Spring 2011 show came out, I knew those Rorschach-esque ink-blotchy shirts dear old Dries sent down the runway were fairly feasibly DIY-able.
Dries Van Noten Spring 2011 (via GQ.com)
But for this project, I wanted a more literal interpretation of this inkblot test psychologists use to detect underlying thought disorders, so I pulled up photos of Rorschach’s original tests for inspiration.
card no. 2 from “Rorschach Test – Psychodiagnostic Plates” (via Wikipedia)
I wanted to do something symmetrical like Rorschach’s cards, but not quite. As for the color palette, I was subliminally inspired by the Rajo Laurel dress my mother wore on New Year’s Eve, which featured mixed black-and-white prints contrasted with color blocks of bright green:
color inspiration: mixed-print jersey dress by top Filipino designer Rajo Laurel
Here’s how I did it:
I drew up a rough sketch of where I wanted to plant the blotches.
I then lined the entire jacket, torso and sleeves, thick with newspaper to prevent the ink from blotting through to the back.
I took a couple of shades of marker refill ink, the strongest ink available in the office supplies store,
and went to town with the ink in a medicine dropper: dropping ink-bombs from about two feet above, and painting graceful ink-blobs on contact. I then heat-set the stains with a hair dryer (not pictured).
But the blots were not as sharp as I had hoped for them to be, and the green ink was a little on the lifeless side, so I decided to accentuate the print with dabs of zesty grass green acrylic.
I squeezed a bit on a paper plate, and added a few highlights with the best paint applicator: my fingers.
The paint dried a deeper, richer color and here’s what came out of the jacket:
DIY Rorschach inkblot jacket. (Look closely and tell me what you see.)
And here it is worn:
DIY inkblot jacket, Gap shirt, gray pearl necklace, Louis Vuitton belt, tailor-made trousers, Number (N)ine shoes
The necklace is a long strand of gray Philippine pearls, the belt is my brother’s, now bestowed upon me, and the watch is a Cartier Roadster on navy alligator.
Though they took many a painful and frigid weekend in New York to break in, these Number (N)ine monk-strap flat creepers have become my current favorites. The pair in ever-versatile beige suede seem to bring that much-needed dark Japanese-ness to every outfit.
my wearable psych-test-cum-painting up close
When our family chauffeur saw the jacket and remarked that the pattern seemed to have a meaning he couldn’t figure out, I knew my job was done.


  • Brandon Acton-Bond
    January 4th, 2011 at 11:48 am

    SUBlime (get it! [shoots self in foot]). Great Job Izzy! I see… An angry clown face. Ok Clowns are super scary please don't wear that around me I may run:/

  • Isabel
    January 4th, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Another fantastic DIY, Izzy!

  • Giancinephile
    January 4th, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Very FRESH! LOL

    And I really, really, really envy your Number (9)ine pieces!!!!!! haha

  • melissa**C
    January 4th, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    come and check our new blog MARLOW35 for him


  • Wax
    January 5th, 2011 at 1:51 am

    Can't wait to see it IRL! I LOVE IT!!!

  • Giancinephile
    January 5th, 2011 at 11:04 am

    And it looks nicer in day time because you can see the intensity of the colours!!!!! haha

  • Junhee
    January 6th, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    I love that cartier roadster

    I usually love your DIY's and all of em are things I know I would love to wear, but this is the first one I wasn't too crazy about.

    The green blotches look almost black, and reminds me of a cowhide print against the white.

  • Russell
    January 6th, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    I questioned your generally unquestionable taste based on the "finished" photo, but I think it was the lighting–when worn, all the doubts fled my mind. So intriguing! Brilliant!

  • Cezary Ck Koralewski
    January 10th, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Amazing, I'm a great fan of your DIY tutorials.


  • David Toms
    January 12th, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Think I will have to send you a jacket to do! I would not be as methodical as you and if I did it, I am sure it would look a hot mess

  • Anonymous
    February 21st, 2011 at 2:32 am

    you totally nabbed that rorschach plate from fallout new vegas, just sayin.

  • Izzy
    February 21st, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Anonymous: Did I? I really just got it from the Wikipedia site for Rorschach tests, as cited, but thanks for the heads up.

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