Category Archives: Waterbased

We’ve been rockin’ on a new project lately… printing on something we’ve not printed on before (we do that around here a lot)….a custom guitar by Moniker.

Custom Screenprinted Guitar by Kong and Moniker

We’re pleased to introduce “If It Ain’t Broke, Make It Better.” Here’s what Moniker’s luthiers had to say about the design, “The combination of the plaid with the text immediately reminded us of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ ska-punk style. We decided to pair it with a black trim around the sides and mix-and-match black and gold hardware. Only one pickup was used, a Moniker humbucker in the bridge, order to keep the design balanced with the text.”

Moniker by Kong

Moniker by Kong

The guitar will be unveiled tonight at Up Collective gallery for the HandPlayed exhibition. Local artists and designers such as Brian Phillips, Bob Schneider, MakeATX, Brian David Johnson and Sophie Roach were asked to design one of a kind guitars. You can read more about the artists here.

The opening tonight kicks off an auctionfor these one of a kind guitars and proceeds benefit the Austin Music Foundation.  The Auction runs through Dec. 15.

See all of the guitars and bid on them HERE.


The Austin Music Foundation (AMF) is a 501c3 nonprofit that provides free business education for Austin’s musicians and the music industry. AMF’s number of clients has increased nearly 300% since opening the Creative Media Center two years ago and needs to expand!

Fortunately, AMF has obtained a 15 year rent free lease at South Shore District, East Austin’s newest luxury apartment and mixed-use complex, located on East Riverside. The new South Shore location will be the new home for AMF’s Creative Media Center (CMC), providing intimate work sessions with experts in the music industry. AMF will also utilize the new space to enhance its Music Industry Collaborative (MIC), Leaders in Austin Music (LIAM) and other programs.

AMF is asking its supporters to invest in Austin Music and help fund the cost of the building/finish out on the new building. This is a huge opportunity for AMF’s growth and ability to continue to serve musicians and enhance Austin’s music-driven economy for years to come!

Over the last two months, Kong has been printing a custom line of apparel for the startup Girls Will Be. Their mission is to create clothes that break free of the stereotypical girly styles dominating retail today. Girls Will Be is committed to providing girls more options to express their individuality with colors and designs that go beyond pink, girly embellishments and gender stereotypes.

highres_113_scKong worked diligently to customize every aspect of the printing of this line of 14 new designs. Girls Will Be founder, Sharon Choksi was onsite in the press room, working  with our team to make sure each color was perfect, each placement exact and that every detail of this Made in the USA (and printed in Texas!) product was high quality and fun. Please visit the Girls Will Be website and store. We’re sure you’ll find something special for that little girl you know who prefers to express her individuality in a color other than pink!

You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

We recently worked up some designs for our client who was celebrating her thirtieth birthday. Her plans for celebration were to drive to Marfa, TX with family and friends to see the sites and the wonderful art that has blossomed in the W. Texas desert. The concept of the shirt was to play off Ed Ruscha‘s use of screenprinting and words while incorporating the feeling of light that the landscape can offer.

Dirty Thirty in West Texas Shirts

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Katie!

Showing off their Kong style in front of the Prada store.

We Print Stuff on Things – it’s not just a catchy slogan, it’s an approach to problem solving in the studio that clearly defines what we do. And Etsy likes our approach and attitude to our craft, because they support and value craftsmanship and creativity.

Kong began printing for Etsy during SxSW when we received an urgent call from Randy J Hunt, Etsy Creative Director. They were in need of  T-shirts for an event that they decided to participate in at the last moment. They wanted to promote a new project, Code as Craft.  We worked with Randy to produce glow in the dark shirts for that first event under a tight deadline. Since that time, we’ve continued to print shirts for Etsy events and programming.



Last month, Elana Dweck, Etsy’s Design Studio Manager, contacted us about a special project she was developing with Nicole Licht – handmade displays which would be used by Etsy partners. She needed 25 total displays to be fabricated and printed by hand. Etsy’s slogan is “Keeping it Real” and they wanted to invest the production of these displays with those values.

Bolts of sweet potato colored canvas began arriving to the Kong studios and we began plotting the best way to handle printing large format work by hand. Our large work tables became templates to streamline cutting all the fabric. New screens that would barely fit in our exposure unit were procured. Our friend Jim Braglia came in to provide some extra muscle and brain power for problem solving. It took a solid week to produce 5 prototypes that served to refine the design. Kong is currently producing the other sets.

Working with Etsy is such a pleasure because they value good communication, hand crafted objects, attention to detail and doing things your own way. That’s something Kong values too.

It takes two!
Ryan (left) and Bruce (right) printing together




Although it sucks to be a burnout, wearing a burnout is hot stuff!

Check out the new versions of our popular Austin, Texas design on neon burnout tees. Available in Neon Green, Neon Orange, and Neon Blue. Neon Pink is Coming Soon! Just in time for back to school, you can show your spirit and love for Austin!

Made especially for Austin Gals in 3 sweet colors – Neon Green, Neon Orange, and Neon Blue. Go ahead and click on those pictures over there to the left to see all the beautiful colors.

Printed on sweet cotton/poly blended neon burn out tees. These beauties are the height of fashion. These are Juniors cut and run small. Check the sizing chart here.

Get one for yourself and two for your friends here!


Winning isn’t nearly as sweet when you’re supposed to win in the first place. Whether it is in sports or everyday life, there is no doubt about it – upset victories rule.

The first in a series based around good lessons for life, there is more great stuff on the way.

Image size 11×17 inches; paper size 12.5×19 inches. Will fit into a standard 11×17 prefab frame ~ easy peasy. 4 color print – light blue ground, chocolate brown dachshund, gold drop shadow on deep blue text. Overprint varnish give the color depth and gloss.  Available in the Kong Shop for $17.

Finished Prints by Alan Defibaugh

Over the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of teaching a one-on-one beginning screenprinting class to Alan Defibaugh, a talented independent designer and illustrator who works here in Austin. Alan approached me with a notebook filled with amazing sketches, as well as an iPad of digital work that transcribed his whimsical doodles into refined compositions of delight. Alan primarily works in the digital world for his clients and, though he paints fine art, the majority of his creative time is spent in front of the computer. His reason for wanting to learn screenprinting: “To get my hands dirty!” I can think of no better reason to learn. 

This five color print developed over a few weeks time, working late into the evening after I was finished with my normal Kong duties. As you may know, I taught screenprinting at the university level for over 10 years before leaving academia to pursue my own business. Working with Alan was a powerful reminder of how much I love sharing the process of screenprinting – especially with someone who wants to get his hands dirty!  

Alan blogged about his experience and posted some really great photos of the print developing- I hope you’ll read it. I look forward to his 2nd print, as well as the ones to come afterward. He has such a good sensibility for color, texture and shape, I just know that screenprinting is going to become one of his favorite media to use.

Thanks Alan for the kind words and the fun we had in the studio! I’m looking forward to the work to come. – Ryan Burkhart

Our friends at Thirsty Planet Brewery will be celebrating their 2nd birthday this Sunday. The brewers at Thirsty Planet (T.P.P) are passionate about their beer and work very hard to make exciting new flavors for the people in Austin to enjoy. Their work also is quite hot to do, something we at Kong can relate to as our studio is not air conditioned either. T.P. wanted to make sure that their new shirts were printed with pliable, soft, eco-friendly waterbased inks on lightweight, breathable cotton poly blends so that the brewers could focus on their work without being overwhelmed with the heat in the brewery. We worked extensively with their team to make sure that new shirts featuring their signature beers would be stylish and functional.

Happy Birthday, Thirsty Planet, and here’s to many, many more!




KONG partner Ryan Burkhart has been printing fine art for over 20 years, and during that time ongoing relationships have been built with some amazing artists. One of the most amazing is Jiha Moon. In April, we printed 2 new editions for Jiha, Snow White – Detourist and Procession – Detourist. Snow White is an edition of 120, printed in four variations of color. The central panel was printed on Korean Hanji paper (white, cream, mustard, and orange) and then mounted to Stonehenge paper. Procession was also printed on handmade Hanji papers, each made unique by a master papermaker who hand tints each and every piece.


For her current exhibition at Saltworks Gallery in Atlanta, April 14 through May 25, 2012, Jiha and Ryan worked to complete a installation showcasing the prints. Elements from the two prints were screenprinted directly on the wall, in effect creating a wallpaper design for viewer to walk through.  For more information on the prints, please visit Saltworks Gallery’s website and Jiha Moon’s Website.




KONG has been working on a great project with the organizer of Charlotte Startup Weekend, Jim Van Fleet. If you’re not familiar, Startup Weekend recruits a highly motivated group of developers, business managers, startup enthusiasts, marketing gurus, graphic artists and more to a 54 hour event that builds communities, companies and projects.

The participants that attend a Startup Weekend decide what they want to tackle over the weekend and come out at the end with several developed companies or projects. Attendees are responsible for bringing the same desire and passion to the project and walk out of the room with the task at hand, in a short 54 hours.

KONG designed promotional posters as well as waterbased, eco friendly t-shirts for participants. We wish Jim and all the Startup Weekend Warriors a productive engaging weekend!