This thread will serve as a general How To and other information for making your own custom themes.
First off, from my own personal experience, the most sure fire way for your changes to take effect is to use an update.zip file. This one was provided by theBowers and does in fact work. To use it, use 7zip to open it, and put your files inside it in their respective location. Most of what I will be discussing here will all be contained within framework-res.apk which resides in /system/framework/ on your phone (and thus should be as well in your update.zip when you're done)
First thing I changed was the battery graphics. These, along with 99% of the other graphics for the phone are located in framework-res.apk/res/drawable-hdpi-v4/. They are files stat_sys_battery_0 through stat_sys_battery_100 (unplugged graphics) and files stat_sys_battery_charge_anim0 through stat_sys_battery_charge_anim5. Also there is stat_sys_battery_unknown but the odds of seeing that is slim...
The top status bar is statusbar_background.9.png and is a stretched gradient. whatever you do with this file will stretch the whole way across...so forget about the nice fancy (yet tiny) designs you can do...cause itll get really distorted.
When you open the notification menu, the first line where your carrier's name is located, is also a stretched gradient, filename status_bar_header_background.9. This is even smaller than the above file...so it's stretched even a lot more.
Keep in mind, if you want to make colors dark, you have to change everything else in the top status bar or it will be very hard to see...
All of my modified graphics can be found here: http://s803.photobucket.com/albums/y...eme/?start=all
How to pull, change, and push the framework from/to your phone:
Once you've downloaded and installed the Android SDK and 7zip, create a new folder on your computer for your framework. We're going to pull the framework off the phone, extract the files from it (or using APK Manager you can decompile it), and edit some of the images...
open up a command prompt and navigate to the tools folder in the SDK and run "adb pull /system/framework/framework-res.apk" without quotes. This will pull the framework file off the phone and onto your computer.
Next, move the apk to your new folder, make a copy of it and rename it framework-res.apk.bak (so you have a backup in case anything happens).
Using 7zip, open and extract the archive to your new folder (or use APK Manager to decompile it so you can modify the XML files too).
once extracted, you can play around with the graphics for the framework easily. You can download any of the images I've done so far or make your own. To change the images just overwrite the existing ones in the directory "res/drawable-hdpi". Once you have done that, open the apk again in 7zip and navigate to the folder "res/drawable-hdpi" inside the archive. drag and drop your new images from the extracted folder into the archive to overwrite them. Once done, back out of the archive and open the theme_update.zip archive, go to "system/framework", drag and drop the modified framework-res.apk file into the archive. back out of the archive and close it.
Now you're ready to upload back to your phone again...
you can either turn on USB storage and drop the update file onto your sd card or use the sdk and push it onto your sd card using "adb push theme_update.zip /sdcard/theme_update.zip
Now from there just reboot the phone into recovery, and install the theme_update.zip file. By now you should already be running SPRecovery or Clockworkmod Recovery.
Reboot your phone and enjoy the changes