Happy Holiday Factory!

I am lucky enough to have a massive amount of lovely people in my life. As such, I need to come up with about 30 small holiday gifts to show them that I love them. Along with that, I send out about the same amount of (usually) handmade holiday cards every year. I got the idea early this month to combine the two and screen print my holiday cards onto tea towels to feed two bunnies with one carrot (hate that 'killing birds' metaphor).

For anyone who is a screenprinting pro, this post will highlight how much I do not fall into that category. I taught myself how to do it and somehow that produces something that works, so that’s been awesome! Since I don’t do it too often, though, I did run into a few hiccups where I had forgotten one or two things in the process and only remembered at the moment that they needed to be done. But, it all worked out, and after 2 full days and 5 nights of turning the house into a Season's Greetings factory, I had 60 sweet little tea towels in three colors and gifted them away (it’s finally safe to post since I think most arrived at their homes now).

Here’s what went down, and probably why I’ll scale it back a bit next year and go back to paper cards!

Sketches of animals (what else) for the design 

Sketches of animals (what else) for the design 

Inked in the design, there were a few things that I drew and then combined in photoshop to reverse the colors and get nicer marks and line weight (like the owl's eyes)

Inked in the design, there were a few things that I drew and then combined in photoshop to reverse the colors and get nicer marks and line weight (like the owl's eyes)

So, this is a non-pro thing... the towels that I found were a lot wider than I first thought. I had an 11x14 screen to make these with. So, I decided to split the design into 2 screens (it would have made so much more sense to just go buy a huge screen at that point) splitting made it where I had to screen the right side on all and wait for that to dry before screening the left side. It made a lot more work for me, but also made it where I could just use the screens that I had on hand.

So, this is a non-pro thing... the towels that I found were a lot wider than I first thought. I had an 11x14 screen to make these with. So, I decided to split the design into 2 screens (it would have made so much more sense to just go buy a huge screen at that point) splitting made it where I had to screen the right side on all and wait for that to dry before screening the left side. It made a lot more work for me, but also made it where I could just use the screens that I had on hand.

The anxiety of pulling that first print and seeing if it works is pretty huge.

The anxiety of pulling that first print and seeing if it works is pretty huge.

IT WORKED!!!!

IT WORKED!!!!

I strung up a drying line in my studio room that held a fraction of how many I actually needed to dry (every chair back and bookshelf in the house had one on it).

I strung up a drying line in my studio room that held a fraction of how many I actually needed to dry (every chair back and bookshelf in the house had one on it).

So this is the layout of the 2nd screen. I drew on my work table to approximate where that 2nd screen went and it was a really forgiving design with registration, so there were no problems screening the 2nd half on any of them (though by all rights there really should have been!)

So this is the layout of the 2nd screen. I drew on my work table to approximate where that 2nd screen went and it was a really forgiving design with registration, so there were no problems screening the 2nd half on any of them (though by all rights there really should have been!)

Drying in various states of completion.

Drying in various states of completion.

One thing that ate up SO much more time than expected was the housework part of the project. All 60 towels needed to be fully ironed initially (which took all of White Christmas, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World and some of Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind- i.e. about 4-5 hours). After they were printed, the ink needed to be heat sealed which took another 2 movies to finish, which was kinda zen, but kinda just a pain in the kiester.

One thing that ate up SO much more time than expected was the housework part of the project. All 60 towels needed to be fully ironed initially (which took all of White Christmas, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World and some of Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind- i.e. about 4-5 hours). After they were printed, the ink needed to be heat sealed which took another 2 movies to finish, which was kinda zen, but kinda just a pain in the kiester.

I also washed all 3 colors after to ensure that the recipients wouldn't get ink all over their laundry (cold was the best option). This is one of the finished products!

I also washed all 3 colors after to ensure that the recipients wouldn't get ink all over their laundry (cold was the best option). This is one of the finished products!

Another 2 movies worth of time to fold and package with tags made with care directions, etc. Happy Holidays, y'all! 

Another 2 movies worth of time to fold and package with tags made with care directions, etc. Happy Holidays, y'all!