Collaborating with other makers on projects that I also get to participate in is always an exciting opportunity. So when Jared (aka Cutting OutBack) and Jared (aka Hungry Beaver Woodworking) reached out that they were looking to crowdsource the creation of the attendee and volunteer shirts for the Maker Alliance event this summer, it was one I gladly contributed to helping make happen.

The staff shirts continued a theme of ‘I am [person name]’ of one of the core team to reinforce the idea that anyone who had one of those shirts on was equally able to help. The attendee shirts design went through a couple iterations but the combination of UV-reactive colours on black shirts really popped on the final prints.

Some observations / lessons learned from the first at-scale screenprint project that for me that may help you if you are exploring down that path yourself:

  • The design is where you will spend most of your time.
    The front concept was visually close to complete at the outset but took a fair amount of time (on both my part and Jared’s) to get it cleaned up into a set of layers suitable to print with. I did a set of test set halfway through that clean-up to confirm problems we were seeing in digital scale actually were ones that would show up in the physical result.
  • Buy extra stock of the same material as your final designs.
    Both in case you need to print extras or alignment casualties
  • Go slow early so that you can go faster after
    If you don’t have extra screens, or emulsion, an error when exposing the design will cost you more time than you think. Once everything is dialed in and shirts are coming out flawless, then turn up the tunes and enjoy the flow state.
  • The right tools/trays can make all the difference
    My workshop table has a quasi-pollack pattern on it from the emulsion and inks from this project and trying to reclaim with smaller-than-optimal scoop and metal scrapers. These silicone spatulas work with a scoop coater to make reclaiming so much of it a snap.

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