27 Jul Screen Printed T-Shirt Fundraiser
Business during Coronavirus has been slow, and stay-at-home life with bored teenagers, stressful. As a creative person, my self-soothing routine requires an art project to channel all that excess nervous energy. Enter the Provo Craft Yudu home screen printing machine I ambitiously bought 11 years ago and never found time to open. Through a combination of a comically outdated instructional DVD, magnanimous crafters’ more detailed YouTube videos, and sheer force of will, I figured out how to print a pro-social-distancing design on some fabric, hand-sewed an ill-fitting mask, and promptly switched to t-shirts.
After a fun and easy short printing run, I approached a friend who works for the Summit Medical Group Foundation about selling tees to raise money for their COVID-19 Community Relief Fund. To maximize donations, I’d donate the labor and printing supplies, and all profits would be used by the Foundation to purchase personal hygiene and protection products (such as soap, hand sanitizer, and/or masks) for people in need. I bought a bunch of inks and shirts and created an online order form, which invited people to choose their own text and illustration colors to create a custom combination. What could go wrong?
Well, after discovering that very few people ordered the same ink color combinations, I realized I could print about 2 or 3 shirts per day (allowing for screen cleaning and drying time, among other factors). Roughly ten shirts in, I also started to understand why the Yudu was discontinued. The screens started to lose tension, resulting in unpredictable blobs of ink appearing where once I pulled crisp images. The rigid plastic squeegee somehow got dinged; this tiny divot created a blank line in the print. I ordered some more blank tees and searched for replacement Yudu supplies on eBay, but worried about durability. Eventually I discovered that a real-deal screen printing company had created sturdier, compatible screens and squeegees, so I invested. After 6 weeks of two steps forward, one step back progress, all the shirts were printed and, I’m proud to report, $545 was donated.
After taking some time to relax and regroup, I’m sure I’ll look forward to using my upgraded equipment and hard-earned knowledge on another project.