Friday, December 11, 2009

Bag "Bliss" - Step One

One minute I'm completely in love, beaming from ear-to-ear, practically glowing with excitement. The next, I'm mad as can be, utterly disgusted, and ready to physically tear to pieces that which I adored only a moment before.

Don't worry, my unsteady relationship issues are not with any particular fiance, but rather with our favor-bag-chair-covers. They have quickly made my shortlist for "worst-wedding-decision-ever-made", but know I say that simply because I have only 12 days to finish all 120 of them. During that time, I'll be rolling out a three-part series on the subject, in which you'll realize why making one's own chair covers is not a popular wedding trend.

(For catch-up on how this project has evolved with time, read my prior posts here and here and here and here and finally, here.)

Taking a focus on the first stage of mass production, we have the silkscreening. Though I've shown the YUDU process before, here's a quick and dirty video of Sak and I highlighting the repetitive process:

Screen-printing with the YUDU from penga on Vimeo.

Half of the pile we started with -
...Have now literally flooded our home in the form of drying bags.

On the living room floor...

On the back of the couch...

On the dining room floor...(don't worry, we swiffered beforehand!)

"Oh, the big waterfall of bags!"

We printed in several shifts - first the mon design on the front, then the "label" on the inside. Some days I wonder why we didn't just go with a smaller monogram or catchy saying, but oh well, too late now.

We printed straight through three jars of white Speedball ink (superior to YUDU ink in my opinion due to it being thinner and less likely to clog up the screen).

We printed so much our original burned screen's emulsion faded out (after about 80 or so prints). A new image had to be etched.

And the list of "crap-I-screwed-up" pile grew large. Good thing we bought the extra yardage!

But they are all printed now.


You have no idea how good it feels to say that.

Some small tips I have for the process:

-Don't be stingy with washing the screen out. We were on a roll printing 20, 30, 40, 50 bags...and then the paint started drying into the screen! This can permenantly ruin an expensive $20 screen, so don't get greedy. Take a break, wash the screen out, and always use fresh paint.

-After washing your screen out, let it dry completely. Don't rush with a wet screen, that's how you get the emulsion to wear off even faster. Take a hair dryer to it if you must, but let it dry COMPLETELY.

-Invest in some screen blocker. If part of your emulsion does fall off, you can use the blockout to plug up any holes, without having to re-expose a whole new design.

-Check the underside of your screen between each print. We noticed that sometimes bits of fabric would stick to the back of the screen during a print, therefore creating spots on the next print. You have to pick the lint off if your fabric is prone to shedding.

-If your image isn't coming out cleanly, sometimes it's better to flood the screen more rather than press down harder. Too much pressure can cause the ink to bleed.

-To print on dark fabrics, make sure you use opaque ink. Anything else just seems to fade away.

*Phew!* To anyone considering a YUDU, don't let my frustrations sway you - it really is an amazing machine. Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time and test fabric to get the hang of it!

And though my journey through screenprinting (for this project) is over, we still have a long road to travel before we make it out of the tunnel. Next, we'll cover the sewing process!

What's been the biggest bane of your DIY existance? How did you prevail?


  1. Wow! What a huge project! It looks amazing from the pics! I have very little DIY talent, which turns out, might be a good thing! I think I would have quit before the project even took off!

  2. Those look amazing!

  3. That is impressive, we are doing a stencil, because we were afraid of trying out a Yudu/Gooco (sp?) they seem like formidable opponents. Good job- they look beautiful!

  4. wow penga--your home is blanketed in your awesome seat covers! great job, and those are very helpful tips for yudu-users out there.

  5. Thanks for the love you guys! I can't wait to be finished with this project T_T"