I have a toy…something my hubby got me for Mother’s Day last year. It was something that I had demoed at Michael’s (I had a brief job for Provocraft, demonstrating their products at a Michael’s store). When I demoed it, I thought it was very cool. It’s called a Yudu machine. It is a personal screen printing machine. You can take any design that you can come up with and turn it into a t-shirt or whatever you get your hands on to screen print.
My original thought was to use it to make gifts for grandparents. I had dreams of having Brayden draw a picture and then turn that artwork into a t-shirt, or one of those canvas bags.
So far, I have made t-shirts for our Celebrate Recovery group (at the church), a group called Hands & Feet (a group of our members who help with disaster relief after tornadoes or other natural disasters) and my latest project, our Ladies Day t-shirts.
I think it’s funny that what started out to be a personal item, has turned out to be so useful in church work. But, you gotta use your talents however you can!!
So, I prepared the screen last night and test printed a shirt today. I thought I would share with you the process. I didn’t take pics of myself preparing the screen. It’s a pretty tricky, but boring process. Basically, you take your design and put it on a transparency. The you use something that Yudu sells called “emulsion sheets”. Think negatives for those old fashioned cameras. You expose the design to the emulsion (there’s a special light box for it) and it burns the image in the emulsion. The design washes away & that’s how the ink passes through the screen.
After the screen dries, you’re ready to print! Here are my supplies:
A test shirt, the ink, a squeegee, some tape (to tape the sides of the screen that didn’t get covered by the emulsion sheet. This blocks the ink from going through the screen), a platen and the Yudu box.
Next, you do what they call “loading the screen”. Basically, you squirt some of the ink at the top of your design, hold the screen up at an angle, away from your shirt and use the squeegee to spread the ink across the design.
Sorry again for the fuzziness…I was doing this part one handed (kind of ironic that the shirt is talking about “finding our focus” and yet my phone couldn’t find mine!!). After you load the screen, place the screen down on your shirt and run the squeegee down the design again, putting even pressure over the entire area.
Tada!!! You are now the proud owner of your very own screen printed shirt 🙂 All that’s left to do is let the ink dry (which doesn’t take that long) and then heat set the ink. If you do everything properly, the design will last for a very long time. I have a shirt I did a couple of years ago. I have washed & dried it many times & the ink hasn’t cracked, peeled or faded.
There you have it. Started the process (minus preparing the screen) at 8ish this morning. By 9ish, I’m wearing my newly screen printed shirt!! I love instant gratification 🙂 The nice thing about the screen is I can leave this design on the screen and print unlimited numbers of shirts. Once I’m finished with the design, I can remove it and go on to the next project!
The Yudu does have some upfront costs. The whole machine can be pricey, but we got it when it was deeply discounted. The supplies seem pricey too, but the ink really stretches and the small bottle I have will be plenty to screen print the shirts I will need to make for this project.
I have been very happy with the quality of shirts this method produces. I have been most impressed with the ink quality. Like I said earlier, I’ve had one shirt for a couple of years and it still looks like it did the day I first screen printed it.
It is also pretty easy to use. When I was demoing it, I had not used it until I was in the store…demoing it!! The company had sent me the screens already prepared. I watched a tutorial video they sent me (the same one that comes with the Yudu machine) and went into it blindly. However, it’s a simple process and that’s really the only info I needed!
The one drawback is that the Yudu machine is huge!!! It takes up pretty much my whole dining room table. That does not make it really easy to store, so if you get one, make sure you have a big shelf or an area large enough to house it.
I hope everyone has a happy Friday!!!! Gotta love the weekends 🙂