Thursday, June 13, 2013

The reason why people don't do DIY craft projects!

With art camp this week, I have been working on screen printing tshirts with the kids. My issue is different than a normal/typical DIYer. I have screen printing stuff.. the real stuff.. but in order to use the water based screen film that I would normally use, I would then have to use smelly not-child-friendly paint. So, I looked to another format. And it was a LOT of trial and error. But I was determined!

I have used my Pazzle in the past to cut vinyl and use it to make a temporary stencil on my screen. This works great for a simple image with little to no text and very few small lines. The reason is that the vinyl just doesn't last on a screen for more than a handful of prints. This is a GREAT way to make screen prints for a small project, but not when I need to screen something 60+ times.

So, I have looked at the Tulip Screen It machine a number of times over the last year and really wanted one, but I didn't want to spend the money on one. ($150 normal price)

But, last week at Michaels they were on clearance! So, I invested $50 in the machine and bought 2 extra films also on clearance.  I figured with 4 films, I could do a lot of fun things.

I took it up to school and read all of the directions. I thought, cool I can do this. My gosh, I am a seasoned traditional screen printer. This should be easy.

WRONG!!!!!!! And if I hadn't been determined to find a way to print with water based inks I would have given up!

Take a look at the process... side note: all of the films have ink stains as I tried in vain to see if they would work...

This is the graphic that I wanted to burn into the film. The real copy didn't have the green background. It was a really nice black and white super clean print.

Film 1. Done EXACTLY to the second based on the written directions IN THE BOX.

You can see that it is a partial burn. I scrubbed and scrubbed and all it did was nothing...

Film 2: Once again done exactly as directed. I thought, maybe I just didn't do something right.

Results? Better... but still not a full burn.

Film 3: I let this one burn a little longer thinking that maybe the machine needed to warm up.

Results? Its a beautiful UNUSABLE film. The image is burned on completely, but the pink stuff didn't release fully. At this point I am soo frustrated.

But I have one more shot.

Film 4:
An almost full burn, but the Out burned through.

So at this point, I am beyond frustrated and I have figured out that the problem is that the machine burns too hot where the lamps are hitting and not hot enough elsewhere.

I'm ready to throw in the towel, but I can see that this would work, if only I could figure out how to make the burn right.

So I go online. And guess what? THEY HAVE REVISED INSTRUCTIONS!!! You have GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!! I just burned FOUR FILMS at a total waste of money and effort because they did not put a message on the packaging that the directions were WRONG!

So I go to Walmart where I remember them having the film and bought ONE MORE film. At full price ($18) no less. I follow the new instructions EXACTLY and look.

Film 5 is perfect.

This picture is AFTER over 60 prints. Amazing. This is what I was hoping for!!

And here is one of the shirts.

The kids had such A-HA moments when they made their shirts.

But sometimes, you get bad bleedouts. Like this one. I hate to waste shirts. ugh.

So what do you do? You paint a black square and print in another color!

 Here is the stack of shirts that the kids help to print. Every child pulled his or her own shirt. I am so proud of that. It is soo worth the effort in my book.

And what kind of ink did we use?
It was awesome, no stink and easy clean up.

And truly, this is why people hate DIY projects.

I'm proud that I persevered and got the job done. It is so much more meaningful to the kids to learn the how and why's of something. The junior high students that were too cool for some of the activities got to see in action how to fix a screen, clean a screen and all of the ins and outs of screen printing. These kids will remember this project every time they buy a tshirt.

Hopefully I'll have some pictures of the kids in action to share soon!

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