Monday, February 7, 2011
The Yudu and the Yudu Cardshop: Provo Craft Did Not Invent Screenprinting
Sigh...it's been too long and I have lots of crafty to update in the coming weeks. However, first I feel the need to fill in the dots for a lot of people in regards to the Yudu machine that, as some of you know, I purchased last summer.
The Yudu was appealing to me because I wanted to screen print and found the whole process overwhelming. This fun toy offered everything I needed in one nice, shiny, well advertised package. It could burn the screens, it could print the screens, it could dry the screens, it could do everything but go to work for me so I could sit at home and craft.
To say I'm disappointed with my Yudu wouldn't be completely accurate. I have found it difficult to master. I also haven't felt inclined to spend the extra $100 investment to stock up on the supplies needed to practice and master the technique. Also, it's large....way too large and too messy for the sewing room. The screens are too big for a regular sink so I really need to look into adding a utility sink in the basement where I have the thing set up....I can't even fathom what Chad's reaction to that looney tunes plan will be. So I haven't used it much....but I'm still in love with the idea and the possibilities. Le sigh.
Enter the Yudu Cardshop. This little guy is so cute and compact....a mini Yudu perfect for paper products and smaller projects and perhaps a brilliant solution to the dying Gocco. To be honest, this is what I wanted the big Yudu for in the first place. The screens are 5x7, I can make my art prints, do some table linens, screen print a few onesies....again, you can see where I fall in love with this idea and all the possibility!
HSN is the sole seller of the Cardshop at the moment. I order it gleefully but did not get the blank screens in time. Meaning that if I believed a word of what ProvoCraft would have me believe, I am stuck with their designs, preburned on the screens without a hope of making my own. Why in the world would anyone want this product without the ability to make your own screens? And why would ProvoCraft not include at least one blank screen in the set? HSN.com is sold out and no one else has it. So after a not so nice review of this crappo customer service experience, I began to explore my options.
I've read 100s of posts about the Yudu, Provo Craft and the Yudu Cardshop. It's like Provo Craft made this thing, wants to talk about the magical stuff it can do, showcase the products it can produce but not offer any help to people who want to make something other than birdcage ribbon. Annoying. Incredibly, incredibly annoying.
So here is what I know and what I've learned from these two machines. Hopefully it will help some other poor, lost crafty soul who just wants to make cute and ORIGINAL stuff:
1. PROVO CRAFT DID NOT INVENT SCREEN PRINTING. This means that anyone who thinks you need to own a Yudu or Yudu accessories to screen print is high. There are a TON of tutorials on screen printing out there. The benefit of the Yudu (in my opinion) is that it makes it more practical space wise to set up screen printing in your home while dumbing down the process. But if you don't want to shell out the $$, then you don't have to. You can be just as successful (and maybe more?) with a kit from DickBlick.com.
2. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BUY YUDU PRODUCTS to use with your Yudu. Meaning, the emulsion sheets, ink, emulsion remover and transparencies can all be purchased elsewhere for a heck of a lot cheaper. Here are the best deals I've found:
-Emulsion Sheets: DharmaTrading.com (10 pack for $29.99) or Ebay (just search for Emulsion Sheets).
-Ink: DickBlick.com. Use Speedball or Versatex 8oz for around $6
-Emulsion Remover: Diazio at Dick Blick or Dharma
-Transparencies: Staples (100 pack for around $30) You want them for "write on" or "ink jet" printers. Apparently, the laser jet/copier transparencies are not as clear so the image doesn't burn as well.
3. The CardShop CAN MAKE ITS OWN SCREENS. Eventually, when those blank screens come back in stock (I cannot express how ANNOYING it is that they're out), you will be able to burn your own with the same technique as you do with the big Yudu. If you don't have the big Yudu, YOU CAN STILL BURN YOUR OWN SCREENS. Again, ProvoCraft didn't invent screenprinting. Get a light bulb, get an emulsion sheet and watch some YouTube videos. There are also some really great screen printing tutorials on DickBlick.com that are much more thorough than anything ProvoCraft has ever produced.
4. The preprinted screens CAN BE WASHED WITH EMULSION REMOVER and burned again. That's right folks....at least that's what a ProvoCraft employee said when this question was asked by a smart HSN customer. This is not rocket science although the folks at ProvoCraft don't seem to have any idea what they're talking about half the time. So get some emulsion remover, spray it on that cliche birdcage motif and rinse it away.
Okay...generally I don't like to slam companies or complain about customer service. But I find myself writing and getting more irritated at ProvoCraft misleading people into thinking that to use a Yudu or to screenprint you can only use their products. Their products are enormously overpriced and apparently impossible to keep on the shelves due to the low quantities they're producing. I will say the Yudu makes it all more convenient, but not convenient enough to offset the high price and the frustration.
The moral of this story: Be creative. Don't believe that the nice, shiny, well advertised package is better than a less glamorous but time tested method. Don't believe that there is only one solution to a problem. There is ALWAYS more than one way to skin a cat.
And don't let your credit card do the talking :)