I don't know if my Yudu is a boy or a girl. Will decide on that later... Anyhow, this little wondrous piece of crafting hardware showed up last week and I think I might be in love. I saw this machine at Blogher-- Gabby of DesignMom fame was demonstrating one. I'm a little bit of a silkscreen freak anyway (remember, I tried to silkscreen fabric yardage?), so I came home and ordered one.
So, let me tell you I have only burned one screen and only screened 3 pieces of linen. And they all came out good enough to use. I turned this one into a pillow.
You want to see that a little closer? Okay.
If you've ever screen-printed, I think the crispness of the image is pretty impressive. My understanding is the quality is mostly determined by the screen mesh, how well it is burned, and the ink consistency. I give the Yudu a big thumbs-up on all.
So what makes the Yudu so different from traditional screen printing? That fact that it is a self-contained unit and all the supplies are specifically made for the Yudu. No more ordering screens from one place, an exposure lamp somewhere else, inks somewhere else, and hoping that the screens you bought fit the frames you are using, blah, blah, blah. The Yudu also has alignment "pegs" that allow you to keep the screens and platen (the piece your item to silkscreen goes on, like a T-shirt) aligned from burning to screening.
So yes, you still have to go through the steps of silk-screening, but Yudu makes it much more streamlined and neater. If you've never screen-printed before, here are the basic steps you follow:
- Apply emulsion (which they sell in sheets) to your screen and let dry. (REALLY let it dry-- learned that the hard way.)
- Create a design on a transparency, either free-hand or by printing on your computer.
- Burn the design onto the screen using the Yudu in 8 minutes.
- Wash out the "unburned" portion of the emulsion with water. Let dry again.
- Place the screen on the pegs on the Yudu. Place your fabric onto the self-adhesive platen under the screen.
- "Flood" the screen by pulling ink across the design with the squeegee, without touching the fabric.
- Pull the ink across the design with the screen against the fabric.
- Let design dry thoroughly. Then iron for 3 minutes to make it wash-fast.
- Return unused ink to container. Wash ink from screen and squeegee.
- The machine had no ink on it whatsoever (just the screen), so I did not need to clean up the machine.
So, silkscreening isn't INSTANT. (I'd say with screen drying time, the above design took 3 hours, but only 20 minutes of actual "hands on" time). However, silk screening gives you a great way to create an image that you can consistently recreate in different colors on different materials to your heart's content! And with the Yudu, you can do it without a room full of equipment and a huge mess.
ProvoCraft, the maker of Yudu, really promotes this as a tool to screen your own T-shirts (and don't think I won't make some of questionable taste!). But I think it's real potential is to create mini-fabrics. The screen will handle an image up to 11" x 14" and by using multiple screens, you can create a multi-colored design. So if you want to make your own custom "fabric" for a pillow or the front of a tote or hand-bag- you can do it with the Yudu.
The Yudu is available at your local Michaels and online at Amazon right now. And jcaroline creative! will carry the supplies: the ink, screens, emulsions and platens. (We should have them in about a week. I'll be sure to let you know!)