Monday, September 17, 2018

Screen Printed Tee's and Fall Cleaning

So this weekend the sun was shining and it wasn't ridiculously hot and humid which put me in a pretty good mood to get things done.  Even with an annoying head cold that keeps hanging around I was still feeling like tackling some projects.  I never got the cleaning/redoing bug that spring usually brings me.  I guess it was waiting for fall this year.  I painted the door and trim in my bathroom.  After 11 years of us living here I finally had enough of the primer coat.  I would love to paint the whole bathroom but it's not in terrible shape and the new coat of paint on just the trim freshened things up a bit.  Plus I feel like I can't tackle bigger painting projects until I get an apartment painted that I have been procrastinating all summer.  I also cleaned all of the outsides of my kitchen cabinets with TSP.  I even brought out the sharp end of a knife to get all the gunk in tiny corners.  Then I brought a cabinet door to Home Depot and had them do a color matched quart so I could touch up dings, scratches and worn off paint.  It looks so much cleaner.  Of course that is probably only noticeable to me but it makes me feel good so it was totally worth it.

My husband needed some new work shirts because his old ones were finally getting stained and ripped enough that it was embarrassing to be seen in them.  We've always ordered them from a local company and they are not all that expensive but there are minimums and taking the time to go there and pick out shirts and so on.



I was given a screen printing frame a few years back by a friend of my mother's who thought I might like it.  Last year I sat down to loads of YouTube videos to find out just how to use it because I wanted to make some tee's for my daughter's slime business.  I did get a finished product (even though I struggled with making the screens) and printed a shirt for myself and both my girls to wear when we were selling at craft fairs but it took me a couple tries and the finished product was just ok.  So back to my husband's work shirts... I thought I was ready to give it another try.  I told him "Hey! I can make you some!"  My enthusiasm when I say "I can make that!" is not always matched or loved by those in my family but I was going to show them that I really can do it.


I had to make the screen 2 times only because the photo emulsion left over from last time went bad.  I should have known as soon as I applied it to the screen because it wasn't the florescent green that it should have been.  Luckily I had thought ahead and ordered another container of it last year.  I used Jacouard Photo Emulsion and Diazo Sensitizer from Dharma.  Last year I applied the photo emulsion too thick on the screen and it dripped as it dried creating bumps (and a mess under the screen).  I also over exposed it the first time because I thought it had to take more than 2-3 minutes in the sun.  So this time I made 2 copies of the design on the clear sheets and taped them together so it was super dark plus only exposed it for 2 1/2 mins.  I let my shower sprayer do the work of getting the design washed away.  It worked perfectly!  The best screen I've made.


My husband wanted some light weight darker colored shirts with printing in grey.  I found a pack of undershirts at Walmart to use.  It contained several different colors but I thought that was a better option anyways because then he won't have to wear the same color shirt everyday.


Although a couple shirts were light so the grey wouldn't show up.  For those I used black screen printing ink.  For ink I used Speedball brand.  So far the shirts I've washed with this ink still holds onto it's color very well.  The slime tees I made last year I used Versatex brand and I've washed our shirts many times and they still look as good as the day I made them.


It took a couple times to get a nice solid print.  I found the trick was to just keep squeegeeing over it really well in all directions.  My daughter found a shirt she wanted printed and her's printed with the best quality.

I loved how they all came out and my husband was happy with them too.  Five new work shirts and and the screen to print more whenever they are needed next.  This project was a good one and I enjoyed the process once I worked out the kinks.  I can't wait to try some printing on bags soon.    

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