I've done a bit of screen printing recently. Nothing special, on t-shits and paper. But I had to cut out the stencils with plastic (OHP type stuff) by hand. strawberry floating painstaking. A machine like that. Not got room for it in my flat though.
So update, the glasses are all acid etched now and look great!
Unfortunately I've had a series of massive let downs from my suppliers for a number of things, including glass, t shirts and etching supplies, all ordered in good time (same day dispatch etc), I even paid 8.99 for a next day order that never materialised. Last, last Friday (yes almost 2 weeks ago) I mentioned I needed this etch block product. Turns out after being strawberry floated around for over a week this was never shipped out at cost to me, I followed them up over and over again saying I was disappointing my customers and they would lose my business. Well they certainly did, I didn't get a strawberry floating refund until yesterday when I made a claim via PayPal! Abysmal. They told me they had dispatched it not only once but twice (the 2nd time from Ireland for strawberry float knows why, they have 4 mainland warehouses) apparently this was all bullshit.
Now that's really annoying because I have used all these suppliers before so they were tried and tested, and they ALL let me down this last few weeks for some weird reason. I've spent ages being messed around and having to find new suppliers and set up new accounts. I'm backed up on eBay stuff as well.
So now I have done the glasses without this product they have turned out fine anyway because I guess I did a better job than I thought and my technique is sound. I just have to ship them but don't know how I'm going to get 12 medium parcels to the post office when I currently get back from work at 8pm. This is why I did this whole thing well in advance of my current commitments and the supply delay messed everything up.
I never would have thought it would be so bloody difficult to just order a tub of (unfortunately hard to find) stuff from a series of massive warehouses well regarded in the industry and expect it to be delivered in 1-3 days having paid for shipping. Arseholes.
I basically have two options, I package these all up tonight, my other half might be able to get them to the post office Friday afternoon but that's asking a bit much of her, otherwise it's going to be Saturday morning and they should arrive Tuesday I think. So put that day in your diary!
The good news is now I know what kind of hell it is just getting the supplies in, I can avoid using the same people in the future and I can build even more mitigation into my lead times. Believe me it's not ideal because this isn't the only place I etch glass and it's impossible to run a business without reliable suppliers. Unfortunately I'm only just learning this.
Business to business type companies are strawberry floating gooseberry fool at being reliable compared to b2c like Amazon where people want stuff in 1-2 days all the time but 10 working days is a strawberry floating joke. Everything was advertised as in stock and same day dispatch. And in several cases I've ordered via Amazon Marketplace as well with mixed results. I had an order of just 3 shirts that never showed up for 7 working days!
Bottom line is this glass would be totally impossible or ridiculously expensive any other way, I'm just so tired of having massive lead times and not even being able to meet those because I can't afford stock at the moment.
It's the company you keep etc. If anyone does know a really reliable supplier of blank shirts particularly Gildan please do let me know.
It's put me off a lot elsewhere too. I couldn't advertise more stuff for my pressing/etching services knowing that I had supply issues like this (hey I can deliver this in 3-5 days! Nope nope nope). I had so many issues with ordering shirts for eBay alone, I tried 5 different places and all failed except Amazon that took 5 days to "expedite" from Germany and arrived on Sunday... I've just shipped a shirt that was ordered a month ago so it's not just you guys. It's my fault really, being inexperienced finding reliable suppliers, even when all the evidence (thousands of online reviews etc) points to a reliable source for stuff. Increasingly I'm learning this isn't about being fastidious or talented or having high QC or reasonable prices, it's all logistics and relying on the supply chain. And sales. If you can do that you can push pretty much anything.
So my ideas about getting designs out (I speak in this context because GRMerch was my first personal online shop thing I wanted to do) to people that appreciate them and handcrafting things etc, and potentially moving away from websites and graphic design alone, have had a big reality check!
But yes, my list of who to avoid has grown substantially and I'm hoping I can rely on a few personal contacts I've unearthed to make sure I get the stuff I need well ahead of shipping targets. I have everyone to thank here for being willing to buy from me directly and being so patient, I have learnt a lot and still ticking along here rent-wise, I don't do a lot of business so just these small projects make a difference. Maybe only 2 or 3 projects a month with mini-volume things like this plus my casual work (on this occasion everything ran into my day job when it shouldn't have, I was so angry with that vinyl/etch supply company and in the end I just used more skill to overcome having no etch-block. I had to say "screw this!" and do it anyway, fortunately it was fine!).
I should get onto those mugs!! I'm so thankful to you guys for picking up on this crazy idea of mine as it has given me the confidence to grow my little studio even if I have to work around the failings of companies 100x the size of me!
Lol, that was a test turning an iPad photo into a vinyl in a very circuitous but almost labourless way. It worked, but lacks the finesse of finely tuned vector art. Good for experimenting though. Technically it's possible for me to take a photo of any lineart and turn it into a vinyl decal, T-shirt, etched glass etc. should I want to do some mashup or straightup ripoff. I know there is stuff out there like that.