A Journey with Barrel Maker Printing to Mastering the Art of Screen Printing  | Screenprinting.com

Screen printing is a craft that blends creativity, precision, and a dash of unpredictability. Few understand this as well as Barrel Maker Printing, a shop that has not only embraced the challenges but thrived on them. We caught up with their team to delve into their journey, ink choices, and commitment to both manual and automatic presses.

a white print of a squirrel


In the world of screen printing, where no two print jobs are ever exactly the same, the ability to adapt and thrive in the face of uncertainty is what sets exceptional printers apart. Barrel Maker Printing not only understands this but thrives on it, making it a shining example of the creativity and resilience that define the screen printing community. "Screen printing is one of the only processes I've ever learned where you can put so much time and energy into learning more and more yet still run into some type of random issue consistently. Who wouldn't want to make a living doing that?!" This journey has been defined by their ability to embrace these challenges and turn them into opportunities –“Creating a meaningful, fulfilling workplace is the best part of what we do.”

people printing on a manual press


Barrel Maker Printing once operated a large manual press alongside their automatic ones, but as they've evolved, they made a strategic decision. They chose to retain a 4/4 manual press instead for specific tasks where finesse is crucial, such as printing on construction jackets or handling promo items with special placements. This choice reflects their dedication to delivering top-notch results, even if it means keeping a manual press in the mix. As they put it, "It's nice to have around for certain jobs so that we aren't disrupting the autos if they are all grinding!"

RELATED: Should You Go Auto or Hire Another Printer?

person holding up a printed shirt next to a press


One of the aspects that truly sets Barrel Maker Printing apart in the world of screen printing is its remarkable success in live printing events. These events are the ultimate test of a printer's skill, precision, and ability to handle the unexpected, and they’ve excelled on every front. Their live printing endeavors have not only showcased their mastery of the craft but also their ability to engage and entertain audiences. With their shop dogs and infectious sense of humor, they've managed to turn live printing into a captivating and enjoyable experience, leaving a lasting impression on everyone they've interacted with. "Live printing is where the magic happens; it's a chance to bring the art of screen printing to life before an eager audience." Barrel Maker Printing has, without a doubt, proven itself successful in live printing, proving that their passion for screen printing extends beyond the shop's four walls and into the hearts of those who witness their craft in action.

a crazy colorful t-shirt design


When it comes to ink choices, Barrel Maker Printing doesn't limit itself to just one type. They expertly navigate the world of plastisol, discharge, and water-based inks. As they explain, “Ink types offer varied results and we like to be able to achieve such a wide array of printing styles. For a while, we tried to focus on water-based inks from an eco standpoint but the more you dive in the more you realize the current water-based inks, which are mostly HSA (High Solid Acrylic, read PLASTIC!) aren't really better from an eco standpoint, and overall consume more energy, have more waste and require more labor, so it didn't make sense for our shop to go 100% that direction. I'm really excited to see how inks change over the next decade.” They understand that each project has its unique demands, and this versatility enables them to offer their customers a wide array of printing options to suit their specific needs.

RELATED: Is Water-Based Printing Right For You?

people next to a sewing machine


For aspiring entrepreneurs aiming to establish a thriving screen print shop, Barrel Maker Printing offers invaluable guidance. Their own journey is a testament to the fact that achieving high-quality work while expanding the shop can be accomplished through the implementation of tailored operating procedures and meticulous training processes. As they aptly put it, "Screen printing is anything but mundane. Even with the use of automated presses, it remains a profoundly hands-on craft."

Reflecting on their journey to mastering the art of screen printing, Barrel Maker Printing shares that there are things they wish they could have done differently. They understand that the path to success often comes with its share of challenges and tough decisions. As they wisely put it, "Perfection is the enemy of progress." This quote by Winston Churchill reminds us that growth sometimes means letting go of the need for perfection. Barrel Maker Printing's journey in the world of screen printing is a testament to the artistry, dedication, and continuous learning that define this craft. 

To follow along with their journey – like, share, and follow @barrelmakerprinting

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