Finally. And we apologize for the delay. The whole at-home screen printing thing has been a little more difficult than we thought. But we have finally mastered it. And we’re rolling out our new shirts so that everyone can enjoy them as much as we do. Dain’s been wanting to try his hand at screen-printing for awhile now because he loves graphic tees and figured he could make ones that are just as cool as the ones he buys. So when he found an at-home setup for sale on Craigslist this spring, he pulled the trigger and started the learning process. And now we can say that we make our own t-shirts (not the actual shirt….but you know what I mean).
And when I say it was more difficult than we thought, let’s just say we have a whole pile of duds that are casualties of the learning curve. We have shirts that bled after being washed (thanks to us not curing them properly) and shirts with holes burned into them (thanks to too much of the heat gun). But luckily all of our test ones were done on old t-shirts that we had laying around. And we also had some challenges “burning” the screen (getting our image on a screen) so we finally just had a graphic supply company do that step for us to simplify the process since we don’t own a pressure washer and the thought of driving to the car wash every time we messed up was unappealing. But now we seem to have perfected it (knock on wood) and this is how we do it (feel free to sing the Montel Jordan song now…).
It starts with an image, in our case Dain’s “Up North” design that he thought of way back in January for one of his daily creative things. Then the image gets burned onto a screen, and as I mentioned, we had Northwest Graphic Supply help us out with that step. Then we need fabric ink, which we have in quite a few colors, a squeegee, a tool to spread the ink on the screen, a screen clamping device, and a t-shirt to work with.
To start, Dain clamps the screen to his little device, which also has a board that the t-shirt slides on to in order to produce a smooth surface. Dain centers the t-shirt on the board so that the image is centered on the t-shirt.
Then the screen gets flipped down onto the t-shirt, and Dain squeegees the ink onto the screen.
And when the screen is lifted, we are left with the image inked onto the shirt. Next, Dain uses his heat gun to flash cure the ink to make it dry to the touch. And then we lay the shirts out flat to dry.
And after they have air-dried for awhile, we iron each side of the imprint (with a piece of fabric as a buffer in between) to make sure that the ink is completely cured and will not run off in the wash.
And after each “run” of a few shirts or in between different color inks, we have to wash out the screen and wait for it to dry.
So it is quite the process, but we are pretty excited about our little screen-printing shop in our basement. So far we’ve made shirts for ourselves and for a few friends and family members.
And let’s just say, everyone looks great in them, but the kids look ADORABLE.
Yes, they are too cute. We do plan to offer kids and baby sizes in the future, but for now, we are sticking to the adult sizes. Thanks to the help of Dain’s mom, we were able to find shirts to order in bulk, and we’re starting with charcoal gray with a white imprint. And this is officially our first t-shirt for sale.
And we’re a little biased, but we think they are really fun, perfect for wearing at the lake or for gifts. We’ve already sold a few for Father’s Day gifts to people we know. And don’t worry ladies, we will be rolling out another color combination this weekend so stay tuned for that. But for now, you can check out our shop by clicking Heart Shop at the top of our page, where we have all the details about this shirt. And we’ll be adding more merch in the future so if “Up North” is not your thing hopefully one of our other designs will be. Thanks to all those who are already rocking our design (especially the little people), and keep your eyes peeled for people flaunting their tees around town.