Reduced Ink!


Woohoo!  I just printed shirts with reduced plastisol and they turned out great!  My daughter started designing shirts for her school and I wanted to make the already soft shirts keep the soft feel.  So I used the tips that I learned from Lon Winters of Graphic Elephants and the Specialty Printing seminar at the NBM show.  I have been very anxious to try out some of these specialty tips that Lon taught in the seminars.  Included in the Ryonet Blog Contest package that we won was curable reducer.  I didn’t even really realize how to use the curable reducer.  But now…I love it!

I used black and red Ryonet plastisol ink and reduced both 30%.  I printed a test shirt and it came out great.  I then moved on to the Bella scoop neck pink shirts.  Wow!  The shirts came out great!  I rushed in to show everyone the soft feel of the shirt.  I was really pleased!

But then I wasn’t completely done.  I decided to use my new purchase as well.  The Digital Knight DK20S.  Yes, the king of the heat presses.  I thought that silver foil would look great as the finishing touch.  I was hopeful that even though I had reduced the ink, that the foil would stick anyway. I know from the Ryonet Training Academy Class that foil will adhere to the plastisol.   So I thought that adding foil to this design would be just that extra something special.  So I fired up the heat press, tried the sample shirt with some silver foil, and it was beautiful!  I put foil on the already printed shirts and I am so pleased!  The reduced plastisol doesn’t make the foil stick fully onto the design, but picks up flakes of the foil that really give it that extra touch.  I can’t wait to experiment some more!

Scout Job: Sales Pitch

I am very excited to write this entry as this design evolution came about from the things I have learned over the past two months, but more specifically what I learned at the NBM show seminars.  I took three days of seminars and several that included t-shirt designs, specialty inks, and how to market our business.  I took lots of notes, met a lot of people, and had a lot of information just waiting to be used!  Today we got to put a lot of that information to use. 

The local Boy Scout Troop 555 needed a new shirt design for the Venture Crew t-shirt.  The theme of the Venture Crew is rifles, archery, muzzleloading, and shotguns. For the back,  we came up with the traditional design of the four diamonds and the text around the outside of the design.  The  front design is the traditional fleur-de-lis with the crew number around the design.  We had a similar design that we came up with as well.

But, before we left to pitch the design, I wanted to try something new.  At the NBM show I had taken several classes from Lon Winters of Graphic Elephants and Lon had talked about just trying new things.  Making designs more modern.  In the classes, Lon showed us a ton of shirts with specialty inks or just original applications.  He kept saying to just try something new.  I have been thinking about that a lot, and I just had an idea that I wanted to pitch to the scouts.  So Kyle and I quickly sat down with our graphic editing program that we got from Revolt Graphics.  We put a modern style design together in 20 minutes!  It was great!  We decided we would pitch the design using a reduced plastisol ink so the design would have a softer hand when it was printed.  We also pitched a softer cotton shirt so the shirt overall would be more comfortable.  Of the two basic designs and the modern design, it was an easy sell.  The scouts want the modern style shirt! 

I am very excited because I want to try the reduced plastisol to make the softer style shirt.   I need to find the color and style of shirt too!

Burning Man Job: Part 3

We finished the Burning Man Job and delivered the final product to our customer. This video shows us burning the image into the screen using our new Aluminum UV Screen Exposure Unit 20″x24″ as well as printing the design on a t-shirt. This job was the best job that we have done. The new equipment is really a joy to use and we had a good time printing. We’ve noticed on the few t-shirts that we’ve printed on the new Burning Man Job - Deliverypress that the equipment really does make a different. If you use a lot of substandard parts or just throw together things it’s actually a lot harder to get a decent print. Of course it can work but is it really worth the frustration?

Our customer was extremely happy with the final result and even asked us if we could put the image on bandanas. Of course we told him YES!

NBM Show, Long Beach-August 2010

This is the first of a couple of videos I will have up from the NBM show in Long Beach, CA.  I spent four days at the show and gained a tremendous amount of knowledge.  I highly recommend attending a show and signing up for any classes or seminars that are available.   Although this video just shows the highlights from the exhibition, I have a video in the works from the seminars.  If I didn’t feel like we were really moving along with our business already, I certainly do now!

I hope you enjoy the overview and thanks again to Ryan, Ashley, Nick, Cobb, Brandon, and everyone else that was at the show from!

A Great day at the NBM Show!

Day 1 at NBM Long Beach

Today was the first day at NBM Long Beach!  The exhibit hall opens tomorrow, but today there were educational seminars all day long.  I went to two seminars today and both were great.  The first one was on effective marketing  techniques and the second one was on screen printing basics.  Both were helpful, although I had learned most of the screen printing already from the Ryonet classes.  It was nice to be the one person in class that knew some of the answers! 

The marketing seminar was taught by Vince DiCecco.  I think I took this class  at a good time in our business.  As of today we don’t have a marketing plan, and I wouldn’t have known how to do one unless I had something like this class to help. I think from what I learned in this class, I will start a section on marketing and what I learned.  For anyone that can’t go to classes like this, it might be helpful to you as much as it was to me!  I will leave you with this last thought on this topic:  Remember that you are not creating something completely new, but you are trying to find your unique place in your field by bringing something to your customers that no one else will. 

Tomorrow I will go to the exhibit hall for the first time and take some more classes.   I am focusing more on the business tips as opposed to learning about other fields.  Until then…

NBM Long Beach, CA

We are leaving tomorrow to head back to California for the NBM Long Beach trade show!  I am really excited about this because I will be able to take more classes and expand my knowledge of the business side of things.  There are several seminars that I am signed up for including  some on marketing, closing sales, and how to price merchandise.  Kyle will be working his “regular” job in LA for a few days so I will be at the show primarily by myself, but Kyle and the kids will be joining me on Saturday to go to the exhibits. 

Saturday night Ryonet is having the Grand Opening of their LA warehouse so we will be attending that as well.  As our business is all about our family, my in-laws who live in Orange County will also be joining us.  It should be a fun way to end the week!

The Reality is Setting In

For the first time since we ever did any screen printing, I have realized over the past few days that this is really a business for us now.  We got into this to make one set of shirts, and now I feel like the door has just opened for us to have a successful business.  I just printed some shirts and cleaned up all within a short amount of time.  Previously I would not have gone out and just printed a few shirts as I felt the task was always a lot of trouble.  Now, I do not feel as overwhelmed. I really see this as working out for us.  I am sure I will write about this more over the next few months, but I am quite pleased with how much I have learned since taking Ryonet’s screen printing class last month.  I understand a lot more about printing now.

A Fun Weekend of Printing!

Last night we actually used the new press!  We printed the back of the Burning Man job, even despite a pretty big setback.  Yes, we blew the breaker in the garage!  We tried resetting the GFCI and that didn’t work.  So we finished up despite not having electricity.  We used electricity from the house to use the flash dryer to finish. 

I am so excited how the Silver Press works.  It is quite the upgrade from the blue press.  The gas shocks, the station for the arm, and the basic design upgrade are wonderful!  I felt like it took hardly any time at all to print 30 shirts.  

We did have a little trouble with the front design.  Apparently our design was too detailed for the size mesh that we chose.  We put a design with thin lines onto 156 mesh.  Although the design burned ok, I wasn’t feeling that great about how it would print.  And after we registered the screen and put the ink on, I knew on the first pull that this wasn’t going to work.  I did try a couple of fixes before I gave up.  I tried using a different squeegee (I like a particular one or two), I tried back filling, pulling the ink, pushing the ink, but all of it was to no avail.  Kyle and I decided to change the image a little to make the lines thicker.  When we burned the image again, I was anxious to use the 230 mesh so we did!  It looks great.

Between the new exposure unit and the new press, I really found more enjoyment in this whole process than I thought I ever would.  The few shirts we made prior to this new equipment seemed like a chore.  This weekend was not like chores at all!  It was fun! 

I will put up pictures soon of the outcome of the shirts.  Kyle has videos to come too!    Oh, and yes, we found the breaker that was tripped.  All is well now.