Monday, May 28, 2007

Triumph of imperfection: Juggling Frogs shirts for the kids

Here is my new guerilla marketing team, in their battle garb:

Juggling Frogs t-shirts on the kids

When Hannah saw what I was doing yesterday morning, she called out to the others, "Eema's at it again. She's doing it again!. Eema has a website, so we're getting shirts again...."

I made these shirts yesterday, using the Gocco machine and some spare t-shirts. This was an exercise in Cafepress avoidance. They offer too many tempting and cute items. Consider this was a defensive budget-protection maneuver.

I always tell the kids that "Nobody is perfect, except HaShem, so strive for excellence, not perfection." My father-in-law says, "The Perfect is the enemy of the Good."

Making these home-made t-shirts certainly gave me quite an opporutnity to prove that I practice what I preach. I got to demonstrate making the best of myriad mistakes as "teachable moments."

Okay, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. It sounds so much better than, "I can't believe I'm making the kids wear these patchkied-up t-shirts...."

I started with the idea that everything would fit on one master Gocco screen. This was going to be a quick, monochrome (green stamp ink for cloth), cheap (leftover green ink from a long-ago project, spare t-shirts from our stockpile) project. I was going to outsmart Cafepress and have the kids in shirts in 15 minutes. Ha!

Juggling Frogs: making Gocco t-shirtsJuggling Frogs: making Gocco t-shirts

When I did the first test-print on paper, I realized that only part of the URL for Juggling Frogs made it onto the screen. I didn't want to waste a screen, so I taped up that part with packing tape, to prevent it from partial printing. This worked well, but it was messy.

Juggling Frogs: making Gocco t-shirts

The first two shirts registered well. They did seem a bit too monochromatic, though.

Juggling Frogs: making Gocco t-shirts
This picture shows how the rest of the shirts didn't get a complete impression from the screen print. I think this happened because the ink was old. The cloth ink is much more difficult to work with than the ink for paper. The paper ink never clogs the holes of the screen, and it stays wet/usable for days. When I use cloth ink, I have to move fast, before it dries up, blocking the holes.

Juggling Frogs: making Gocco t-shirts imperfect registrationI touched the mis-registered/missing parts up using a paintbrush dipped in the excess stamp-ink-for-cloth.
Juggling Frogs: making Gocco t-shirts touch-up paint for the missing parts I thought I'd be clever, and make the URL for Juggling Frogs as big as possible, maximizing the screen space by flashing it onto the screen diagonally. I forgot that this would make lining up the words almost impossible.
Juggling Frogs: the url had its own screen when making Gocco t-shirts Instead of trying to line up the words carefully, I decided that a "random angle" URL placement was part of my design. The fact that this angle is different on each shirt is a feature, not a bug. I swear.
Juggling Frogs: slanted url registration when making Gocco t-shirts Here are the completed shirts:
Juggling Frogs: making Gocco t-shirts
I thought the logo looked a bit too monochrome, so I added some color with fabric paints. This adds to the readily apparent subtle lack of quality control uniqueness of each shirt.

Juggling Frogs: making Gocco t-shirts

Here's a picture (taken in 2004) of the kids in their "Warning: If you get too close to me, my Mommy might moblog you" shirts:

Juggling Frogs:  Kids in moblog t-shirts in 2004

And, here they are this morning, in 2007, in their new Juggling Frogs t-shirts:
Juggling Frogs t-shirts on the kids in 2007
Here's Gretta in her moblog onesie, three years ago:Gretta in her textamerica onesie

See also: How to make inexpensive quick t-shirts

Having just discovered Dave's wonderful weblogcartoons, I think the next (personal use, not for profit, etc.) shirt projects will come from using the Gocco machine to make something from his generous site. They'd be great Gocco projects: not too much ink, all meant to be monochrome. The trick will be in narrowing it down and choosing!

This post is an entry in the group writing project at about t-shirts. (With an name like that, how could this duct-tape-loving Mom resist?)

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Anonymous said...

Very Interesting!
Thank You!

If you liked this article, congratulations! You have great taste. Please brew yourself a cup of coffee.
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