If you don’t know what a YUDU is already, you may want to skip this post and instead check out some of our travel-related content either here, here or here. I’ve warned you because I’m about to make you want something expensive that is a huge pain in the a$$. I am not going to apologize for this, because if there is already a tiny part of your brain that wants expensive craft toys that will drive you insane, there is probably little I can do to help you.
A YUDU is a personal screenprinting machine that is manufactured by a company named Provo Craft, which also happens to contain the same name of a city that is home to the largest Missionary Training Center for Mormons. This is not relevant at all, except I have a sneaking suspicion it was created by Mormons, for other Mormons to craft matching shirts for their entire Ward. I’m pretty sure they did not intend for it to be used for rockstar crafting projects like concert posters and CD covers, which is it’s current role in the WPP household.
The YUDU is marketed as “the easiest, cleanest way to let everyone know who you are and how you see the world”. I’m not sure who would be convinced to buy a $200 screenprinting machine that is marketed as “easy” and “clean”, but I’m going to guess its
Mormons Moms. The Stepford wives in the YUDU training videos do look like they prefer cleanliness over creativity so let’s skip that tutorial all together.
Basically the YUDU is a big, plastic behemoth that has a built in light, internal fan and timer. You print out your design on a transparency, burn it onto a screen, coat the screen in light sensitive photo emulsion, expose the screen to light and the image is then burned into the screen You then rinse out the screen and the photo emulsion will dissolve where the black lines of your design were on the transparency. Now when you pull ink through the screen, it will only seep in where the lines are clean of the emulsion. If this totally doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry. I can attest that knowing the theory behind the screenprinting process doesn’t really affect the finished product.
At first glance, the YUDU process doesn’t seem that difficult, but you can tell from a preliminary google search that many an accomplished crafter has been defeated by it. Bloggers everywhere lament its clunky design, blurry images and less than perfect prints. Your experience will not be that different. You will seriously question why the H$LL you ever thought you needed your own screenprinter but we both know you don’t and that’s the whole point. Follow this guide and I promise you will be using this superfluous machine to its fullest potential.
Many users will warn you to NEVER purchase a YUDU in an effort to finish a
project with a deadline (ahem, wedding invitations). After reading these warnings I concluded they were probably right and proceeded to purchase mine to make CD covers for Roem’s SXSW release, three days before he left for Austin. Let’s face it, no one buys these things ahead of time to craft t-shirts 6 months down the road. Most of us are subject to a late night search for creative wedding invitations and end up charging our credit card $200 plus rush shipping to screenprint our own, in an effort to save money, right before they need to go out.
Editor’s Note: In the interest of full disclosure, I resisted the urge to YUDU wedding invitations and instead created an elaborate LP album jacket with a real record inside and a concert ticket RSVP card. Clearly, I chose the simple route on that one. A post will be coming next week if you really want to have a bridal breakdown and attempt that project.
Coming back to the YUDU, the one thing I couldn’t find anywhere on the internet was whether this thing was really that difficult to use, or if it just took some practice. Most people would blog in excitement about ordering the YUDU, print a design with fine lines, attempt it on the original 110 mesh screen, get horrible results, curse the YUDU in a string of expletives and then it was never discussed again.
I am here to make the bold statement that the YUDU screenprinting machine just takes practice and with a few extra tools, you can get really amazing results. That is not to say you will not cry and try to repackage the machine already splattered in paint into the torn open box about an hour after you ripped into with unabated anticipation. You will. Just take a deep breath, pour yourself a glass of wine and send me your questions.
So go order your YUDU and head to your nearest art supply store to get the following: a speedball 9 inch squeegee, a 220 YUDU mesh screen, the Diazo Photo Emulsion kit, a spray bottle, a squirt bottle, a sponge, and some water-based speedball ink in your desired color. I know this seems like a lot of extra items for a product that *says* it comes with “everything you need to start your first project” but I promise you, they are telling a lie. You will end up trying to repackage your YUDU (see above), while simultaneously ordering this same list of supplies from three different stores with rush shipping to finish your time sensitive project (see above) to save money (see above). So just throw it in your virtual cart and trust me. These supplies will last much longer than anything the YUDU comes with and will also ensure you get stellar results.
If you’ve read this entire blog entry and are still ready to order your YUDU, welcome to the crazy. Join us back here Friday to start your first project.