Yudu, American style

After getting a Yudu for my birthday this year, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do for my first project.  It made sense to start with a t-shirt, but of what and for whom?  Then, early last month my sister called to tell me that her husband, Dave (originally from South Africa), passed his citizenship test and was officially a U.S. citizen!  I hadn't thought of a good Christmas present for him, so I thought this would be the perfect chance to break out the Yudu and make him a t-shirt to commemorate his new patriotic status.  Here's the design I came up with:

Yes, that's my brother-in-law's face. I Photoshopped a picture of him, along with the pie and glove clip art so they'd all have the same graphic style.

I was a total beginner to screen printing, so the first step for me in using the Yudu was to learn the basic steps of how to screen print. I found screen printing to be far more science than craft, at least until you get to the ink part. But once I "got it," particularly the whole emulsion thing, it was a whole lot easier to learn how to use the Yudu. Sadly even with my newfound understanding, I still screwed up burning my first screen. I didn't get the screen wet enough before applying the emulsion, and since I wasn't totally sure how it was supposed to look, I went ahead and dried it to see how it would turn out. It didn't. Thankfully I knew when to admit defeat, so I drove to Michael's to get some emulsion remover, and started over. (Maybe it's just me, but it seems like this is definitely one of those things you should be prepared to screw up a couple times before getting it right.)

Anyway, once I got the screen successfully burned and dry (fyi, I found it takes multiple cycles with the Yudu dryer to get the screen completely dry) it was time to prep it for printing. Per the instructions, I taped the back of the screen around the edges and used Blockout to fill any holes or imperfections in the emulsion. I also taped the front of the screen just above the text to make sure I didn't get any ink above the emulsion line.

I had zero hope of getting the printing part right on the first try, so I used one of Jared's old white t-shirts as a test shirt. And of course, it turned out great. This would never have happened had I started with the new t-shirt.

So the pressure was on... the test shirt was a success and now it was time to do it for real. Aaaaand... FAIL. The ink on the pie was a bit smeary and while everything else looked okay, that one spot would have bugged me too much to feel good about giving the shirt to Dave as-is. So it was either back to American Apparel for another shirt, or try my luck with washing the ink out of the failed shirt. I had nothing to lose, and since the Yudu ink is water-based, I washed the shirt. To my amazement, it actually worked!

Clearly you couldn't print a totally new design onto the shirt, and it likely only worked so well because the shirt and ink were close in color, but for re-printing the same image on a shirt to try to correct a mistake it definitely works. I washed it twice and let it air dry because I was afraid the heat from the dryer might set the ink.

So after all that, I tried again (making sure to line up the shirt so that I'd print as close as possible to the first, now washed and faded, image) and thankfully the second time was the charm. Here's Dave showing off his new shirt:

Queue Lee Greenwood...