Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Back Into Printing!

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Well I'm giving myself a pat on the back for getting back into printing. Yeah I finally found the drive to pick up that squeegee again. Facebook Memories has been showing me photos of shirts that I've printed 2 or 3 years ago as if they were poking me. Also I'm beginning to feel guilty about not accepting orders that I get through my blog and my FB page.

    But I'm still not accepting orders just yet. The pending second batch of El Nido shirts are being done and I am also now stocking up on printed shirts for my brand Buhay Bohemio. The shirts above, my Rasta-Britannica, was printed last week and this is the very first set of stocks ever done in the history of my t-shirt retailing business haha!

    Oh wait, I remember my Moto-Industry t-shirt that I made in 2011 where I've printed a stock of nearly 50 shirts as an experiment to see what strategy works best. That was the print-then-sell approach but I resorted to the print-when-ordered approach instead because it seemed practical. I only had to print one shirt and advertise it. Then I kept stocks of blank shirts of varied sizes and colors while my screens are on stand-by waiting for an order. That pretty much worked when people buy 1 to 5 shirts. Then re-sellers started ordering 12 to 30 different shirts. When they began ordering almost a hundred shirts with some designs using 3 ink colors, that's when I realized that the print-when-ordered approach could be quite stressful hehe.

    Perhaps the print-then-sell approach deserves a second chance. Maybe I only did it wrong. The original idea was, I design a shirt then print 50 pieces and that's it. No more re-prints. Then sell them while designing the next shirt. Because it took a while before I was able to sell at least 30 of the Moto-Industry shirts (probably because I didn't market it well enough or the appreciation of the design is limited to motorcycle riders), I became less confident about producing stocks for the second shirt design and the other designs that followed.

    I really don't know why I never though of this before, but with regards to stocks, I realize that I do not need to print 50 pieces of shirts for every design that I have. All I need is to print a complete size set of 12 or 15 pieces per design. Like two pieces of each size (XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL). If I want a design to be available in two colors, then I print 30. I can print an entire set in a day. I can choose to do the printing 2 or 3 times a week to produce more stocks and replace those that got sold. After all, I do screen-print my own designs and that's an advantage that I should take advantage of haha!

    So now that I am ending my 9-month hiatus from printing, I'm gonna do a quick inventory of my blank tees and tank-tops and will start printing on all of them. Because it came to me that printed shirts have a better chance of being sold than blank shirts that are just kept in a big plastic box.

   It has been a year since I produced a new design. The last 3 shirts I designed was release June last year. I said that I will stop producing new designs for a  moment and concentrate on making stocks. But I think I'm gonna try to produce at least 6 new Buhay Bohemio shirts this year. So watch out for those! ^_^

Friday, August 5, 2016

Love Me Tender
A Cover by Yours Truly



    Hello again my dear readers! Here again is another product of my procrastination from work LOL!

    Actually the audio was recorded in 2013 and it's only now that I created a video for it. So yeah I'm lip syncing to my own voice hehe. The audio and video is imperfect. Well I certainly am no recording artist but I'd say this is better than the couple of songs I shared in 2012 which YouTube link I am so not going to share to you out of embarrassment haha! Watching them now made me realize how horrible they were hihi. Anyway, you know the saying that you don't have to be the best. You only need to be better than the person you were yesterday.

   What actually made this recording better was the Avid  Mbox music recording interface that my brother lent me. My younger brother Mark is a guitarista and I learned most of my guitar playing knowledge from him. He probably planned to do recordings too but gotten busy with work and raising a family hehe. Anyway, this awesome recording device, plus the Audacity app, made recording and audio mixing easy and fun. I did everything here. Each instrument was recorded separately - the ukulele, the keyboard (jazz organ, xylophone, and bass drum), the snapping and maracas, also the second and third voices. = P   I really I wish I can make more covers. So many songs, so little  time!

    Love Me Tender is a song by Elvis Presley recorder in 1956. Yup it's a 60 year old song that has been covered by many artists all over the world. One of my favorites is by Norah Jones.

   Well I do hope you enjoyed my version of Love Me Tender. Many thanks to my brother Mark, and my sister Jeth for the ukulele she gave me as a gift. Also my friend Dennis for the Adobe Premiere hehe!  ^ _ ^




Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Few Sewing Projects

   So here I am taking my time on starting a pending shirt-printing project haha! Well it really has no deadline anyway, and I again find myself working on an enjoyable, creative, and non-profitable project. = ))

    Remember the chair that I re-upholstered last year in November? Well the original bottom part (made of nylon) got ripped! Yeah, the material is pretty old. The chair was a gift from my sister 10 years ago. And yeah, I am also heavier than I was 10 years ago. = P



   I've replaced the entire material with denim. Old denim. I made patchwork from my jeans that don't fit me anymore. I think these are from 4 or 5 pairs of jeans. For the back part I bought 1 1/4 yards of new denim that's thick, also a yard of polyester fiber sheet.



   
     The tattered look that I was going for made this easy to put together. I didn't have to worry about neatly sewn hems. But  I did make sure that this would be more durable than the original. You know, I'm really glad that I went through the trouble of fixing this chair because It looks more boho than the first re-upholstery that I did.

   I also made a new throw pillow case from a bandana. I just love the geisha print! I thought of having it framed instead but I'm running out of wall space.



   Just recently, I bought this beautiful blue paisley fabric and made a new bed sheet. It's 92" wide and costs Php 340 per yard at the Fabric Warehouse. Two yards is just perfect for my antique twin-sized bed. Php 680 is still a lot cheaper compared to buying a boring flat sheet from a department store. They usually come with a matching pair of pillow cases and I really don't like having different items using the same exact materials. = P

   So now that the sewing tasks are done, am I ready to print shirts? Ummm... LOL

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Printing With Aquasoft Inks
For The First Time

    Aqusoftt is Tulco's slow-drying ink series that is water-based. They say it's a good alternative for plastisol inks which are is not water-soluble. I have been using Tulco products since day one of my screen-printing experience in 2011 and for 5 years I have gotten used to their Classic, Rubberized, and Athletic inks. But the prevailing weather here has become un-ideal for the opaque inks that I have been using. It gets really warm in the garage that I work in, even on a rainy day and my stencils end up clogged with dried ink and srubbing them off is hard on the fingers and absolutely time consuming.


     But I have Aquasoft inks now. I bought some a couple of weeks ago and from the store I learned there's another added effort if you use this type ink - you can only make your own opaque colors. Yup. The emerald green, golden yellow,  royal blue, and the other colors that are available on the Rubberized and Athletic series are not available in Aquasoft. So you will need to get Aquasol Matte (a flat opaque white base), and mix some Tulco pigments to achieve the colors you need. Good thing I have some pigments here at home. Mixing for your own colors is not that much of a fuss anyway. Actually it's fun hehe. I made khaki and turquoise for my first try on two shirts (for a friend who ordered them 6 months ago haha!)

    When I opened the container of the Aquasol Matt, I noticed that it has a thick consistency and it actually made me a bit nervous. Because with the previous inks that I use, a consistency like that is a sure clogger. When I added the pigments and stirred vigorously, the consistency became a bit workable but is still thick. I'm worried about adding diluted Binder to thin the ink a bit because it might affect its slow-drying properties.

    Surprisingly, when I slid the squeegee the ink went through the screen smoothly. The big design was printed completely without skips or blots. And the best part is that the screen was not clogged. I remember  that I get a clogged screen right after the first coat with previous inks.

    The screen of the dreamcatcher design is actually a fresh screen. (The old one was completely damaged by dried ink.) When I washed the new screen I was relieved to find no clogged areas where I have to scrub like hell. No ink stains either!

    The next day after printing I get to try my new heat-press machine. I think it took 4 minutes for the machine to get to the temperature of 140 degrees C. Then just 40 seconds to cure both shirts. Pretty quick huh? But I need to get used to the heat radiating from the top press while replacing shirts.

    Because my friend will not be able to pick up the shirts yet, I decided wash-test the prints. I was told that if the print is not properly cured, the color of the print will fade or worse, the print will wash off. Well I'm happy to announce that I hung a couple of shirts to dry with quality prints. ^_^

   So, I guess I'm ready to start with the second batch of El Nido shirts.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Finally, a Heat-Press Machine


    So this new machine heralds the beginning of my use of slow-drying inks that will prevent the screens from clogging, thus reducing the washing time. It also heralds the end of my use of a household flat iron for curing  prints and that will also save me a lot of time. This machine also is a step toward using metallic foil prints. Also vinyl prints if I get a cutter-plotter, and sublimation prints too if I get a digital printer for sublimation inks. But of course these other uses that requires more expensive machines are for the not-so-near future hehe.

    Actually I have not taken my new heat-press out of its box since the day it was brought here. It has been over 3 weeks now haha! Well obviously I'm taking my time with my break from printing and also trying to enjoy Summer. I have not been accepting orders of shirts since November last year. Because with the prevailing El NiƱo, printing shirts with my old fast-drying water-based inks will only damage my screens.

    So lately, I have only been doing digital graphic work. Mostly, the monogram orders for Madam Yssa of Customized Chic who actually gave me the money to buy this heat-press as a Christmas gift. She actually tricked me into telling her that I need this machine haha and then she had the money deposited in my bank. Amazing, isn't it? For someone to help you with your business like that. Just like my former employer Boss Vic who provided the wheels to bring this bulky 24kg machine from Makati to our house here in Alabang.

    Well summer is almost over and June is just hours away. I better buy aquasol inks soon because orders are waiting. Remember the El Nido shirts for Sea Cocoon Hotel I made last year? Well Boss Vic ordered for a second batch and I think they're over 70 or 80 pieces. He bought the blank shirts already, the same day when I bought the heat-press.

     Looks like I'll be back to being busy again. Yeah, that is a good thing.