The Great Ecstasy of the Signer Herzog
December 13, 2009 8:50 AM   Subscribe

How do I preserve Werner Herzog's signature on my t-shirt?

I met Werner Herzog the other night at the IFC Center's screening of his excellent new movie, MY SON, MY SON, WHAT HAVE YE DONE. I'd been meaning to buy one of these "Cinemetal" Herzog/Danzig t-shirts for a while, and figured this was the right time to finally do it.

Herzog signed my shirt with a Sharpie, thus rendering a cool shirt even cooler. I'd like to wear the shirt and preserve the signature on it. Can you suggest a product with which I could treat the shirt so that the signature persists, even after laundering the shirt?

I hypothesized that something called "fabric fixative" might exist, and, lo and behold, it does! I found some here, on the site of a company recommended by various MeFites. Will this product do the job? Or might there be some alternative, or some additional product I can use for insurance?

I also looked at the "Sharpie blog," and found that they recommend heat-treating to preserve Sharpie marks on fabric, so I'll do that. But I really want to render this autograph as indelible as I can, so all further tips are welcome.

posted by Dr. Wu to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I can't speak to the effectiveness of the dye fixative you linked to, but I would suggest not washing it all that often, and washing in cold water without things like OxyClean or strong detergents. Drying it in the dryer might also fade the color over time. Maybe it could become a lucky shirt, one that you wear only when you want to feel extra confident.

If it were me, I would embroider over the signature, so that the shape is preserved even if the Sharpie washes away over time. Either way, take lots of pictures.
posted by runningwithscissors at 9:01 AM on December 13, 2009

Hmm. I winder if ironing appropriately trimmed clear t-shit transfer material on and behind the signature might prevent water infiltration and subsequent fading.
posted by biggity at 9:04 AM on December 13, 2009

I don't think I could ever wear that shirt. It will make it fade. Sun, wear, etc. And man, it's HERZOG. How can you wear it? You need to put it inside of six-foot sheets of plexiglass, mount it somewhere, and hire 24/7 armed protection.

I just watched his new Bad Lieutenant. AWESOME. Epically weird.
posted by xmutex at 9:08 AM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Hand "No Way!" Rey signed a 100% cotton T-shirt for me using a Sharpie. I wash it in cold water and don't wear it all of the time. It's still perfectly legible. Wear it sparingly, launder it gently.
posted by fixedgear at 9:11 AM on December 13, 2009

Embroider over it.
posted by smartypantz at 9:26 AM on December 13, 2009

This previously seems extremely apt here. I did not know that Herzog went around signing things this often, and I'm surprised to find two people that actually want to wear the items! Although I like what the previous poster said -- Herzog might appreciate the idea of the signature wearing down over time, as it's essentially an ephemeral thing, right?

I'd say that the method our previous poster went with (stitching over the signature carefully with embroidery thread) might be a good option for you. biggity's idea isn't bad, either. I have to say that I have a few shirts that I just drew on with sharpie and while I don't wear them that often and only wash in cold water, the designs have faded but are definitely not gone. I think it takes a lot for Sharpie to disappear.
posted by k8lin at 9:29 AM on December 13, 2009

I'm not sure, but I suspect the dye fixative you link to won't work very well. Dye is different from Sharpie ink.
posted by doift at 9:38 AM on December 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

I say you film yourself eating the shirt, and keep the film.
posted by umbĂș at 10:00 AM on December 13, 2009 [3 favorites]

k8lin, that's ... bizarre. What are the odds? Thanks for that link - never thought to search using "herzog"!

Good ideas here - please keep 'em coming!
posted by Dr. Wu at 10:01 AM on December 13, 2009

Oh, and I should mention that apparently Herzog doesn't mind signing whatever you put in front of him. One of my students got him to sign his organ donor card!
posted by Dr. Wu at 10:03 AM on December 13, 2009

Buy a black dye and use a little paintbrush to trace over it. That should make it a lot more permanent. Or go to your local fabric store and buy yourself a permanent fabric ink marker.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:57 PM on December 13, 2009

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