Get Your Craft On

7 Newbie Seller Mistakes

Starting a handmade business is daunting, exhausting, and confusing. You’re bound to make mistakes (and that’s okay!). But here are 7 common pitfalls you can try to avoid.

1. You listen to the people that say your prices are too high.

There will always be someone that wants it for cheaper… if you price based on how much money someone wants to spend, you might as well give it away for free.

Just as many people made comments about my “high prices” or asked for discounts when my dresses were priced at $25 (good god, what was I thinking?) as they do now that my dresses are priced at $125 and higher. I ignore them because generally, bargain shoppers aren’t my market.

polka dot swing dress by SmarmyClothes

2. You believe that raising your prices would scare away your buyers.

As I mentioned above- when I started out, I really was selling things for $15-25 a piece. I’ve steadily increased prices over the years, as I’ve grown more comfortable with valuing my time and my work. Raising prices has never EVER killed my sales.

I had a friend that was selling handmade corsets for $100. She should have been charging at least double that, considering the amount of work and attention to detail she put in. She was constantly swamped with orders, and one of the ways she was finally convinced to raise prices was that it might slow the orders down a bit. She raised her prices by $25 as an experiment. Her orders actually increased over the next few months, which was a bit of a mixed blessing. But at the very least, she was making a little more money to justify the long hours.

scared comic book girl earrings by SugarPlumRobots

Continue reading…

How To Make a Fabric Gift Bow – DIY Fashion Tutorial

What better way to get #fabulouslyfestive than to festoon yourself (and others) with bows?
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This bow would make a great topper for a gift since it’s the classic gift bow design… but the bonus is that since it’s made from fabric, it can double as a hair bow, brooch, or bracelet!
 
Of course you can use the same procedure for making a bow out of ribbon, fancy paper, or go the upcycled route and use some old magazine or newspaper pages!
gift_bow_tutorial_fabric_02Step 1
Here’s what you need:
  • fabric (or paper or ribbon) cut into 3/4″ strips
    • three strips measuring 8.5″ long
    • three strips measuring 7.5″ long
    • two strips measuring 6.5″ long
    • one strip measuring 2″ long
  • 2″ square piece of felt
  • high temp glue gun
  • scissors
  • (optional) brooch clip, head band, hair clip, or bobby pin
When it comes to choosing fabric, you can use woven or knits. Woven fabrics will tend to fray, so keep that in mind. Lighter weight fabrics may need a layer of fusible interfacing so they don’t wind up too floppy- this may also help prevent fraying.
I’m using a scrap of holographic foil printed spandex for mine.
 
If you have a rotary cutter, it will make cutting the strips much easier than scissors. Continue reading…

How to Make Paper Feathers – Home Decor Tutorial

I went on a little bit of a decorating frenzy for Halloween, and now I can’t stop!

I couldn’t get the idea of making some feather decorations for Thanksgiving out of my head, and I realized a gaggle of paper feathers would be the perfect #turkeytablescapes project!

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These are super easy, and they look so pretty in a group.

I put a cluster in a floral arrangement, but there really are unlimited ways to use your feathers. Use them as gift tags or place holders at the dinner table. Hot glue a bunch around a wreath. Glue them around a mason jar and add a tealight inside. Thread them on some yarn and hang from a chandlier or make a garland! Continue reading…

Indie Designer Spotlight: On Cupcake Moon

The handmade gods must be happy with me lately, because I won TWO handmade giveaways in the past month!

A few weeks ago, I won this super cute skull n cupcakes apron from Deb of On Cupcake Moon.

Doesn’t that just make you want to go bake some tasty cupcakes? I hope so, because I really want a cupcake right now. If you could get on that baking, that’d be great. Let me know when they’re ready.

P.S. I like sprinkles.

Getting awesomeness like this in the mail reminded me that it’s been a while since I did an Indie Designer Spotlight. It’s the perfect opportunity to spread a little handmade love!

Deb also makes the cutest damn holiday cards on the planet:

I love the idea of sending out Krampus cards!

But I’m also quite smitten with this cute little Yeti!

She’s also got cake toppers, cupcake wrappers, banners, and more, so you can have the coolest creepy cute decorations on the block!

Check out On Cupcake Moon:
www.OnCupcakeMoon.com
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Happy Halloween!

Here’s my jackolantern for this year! I initially had a much more elaborate design planned with a bat and a spider “hidden” in the vines along with the skull, but it just wasn’t happening.

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CREEPing vines jackolantern

 

Gotta carve the back, too!

Gotta carve the back, too!

 

Unlit

Unlit

Continue reading…

How to Make a Halloween Tree – Home Decor Tutorial

Tree decorating doesn’t just have to be for Christmas! Here’s how you can make a creepy Halloween tree of your own.

halloween_tree_tutorial_how_toCostumed cat ornaments by KilkennycatArt.
Pumpkin teapot by baumanstoneware.

Step 1
Gather your supplies!

You’ll need:

  • A bucket or vase
  • Twigs and sticks
  • Floral foam (for straight sided vessels) or styrofoam packing peanuts (for a bucket like mine, where the hole on top is smaller than the width of the bucket)
  • Craft foam sheet (you can skip this if you have  a straight sided vessel)
  • Optional: spraypaint

When choosing sticks, think about where you’re going to put your tree and how much room you have. If you have a large area, you could do one big branch. I went with 6 smaller branches. I gauged the right size by putting a few in my bucket. Continue reading…

How To Make Halloween Hoop Art – Hand Embroidery and Applique Tutorial

I have a hard time sitting still, so even during my “relaxation” time in front of the TV in the evenings, I like to have something to do. Sewing is kind of hard to do if your machine isn’t already in front of the TV, so one of my favorite Idiot Box crafts is hand embroidery.

Here are a couple of Halloween themed pieces I’ve been working on::

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I think I mentioned in a previous post that I’ve been obsessed with vintage Halloween decorations lately, so that’s where the inspiration for these came from. Continue reading…

Duck Tape #StickOrTreat Pumpkin

This post brought to you by Duck Brand provided by ShurTech Brands, LLC. All opinions are 100% mine.

Duck Tape® is hosting its annual Stick or Treat Contest! All you have to do to enter is submit an image of a Halloween pumpkin (real or fake) decorated with Duck Tape® at the Stick or Treat Contest™ website.

A Halloween contest? Any excuse to make more Halloween decorations, and I’m in!

The contest is already running and wraps up on October 31st. The winners will be announced on November 11th.

Here are the prizes up for grabs:
First Place: $1,000 and a Cricut Mini® Personal Electronic Cutter
Second Place: $500
Third Place: $300

Here’s my entry:

halloween_duck copy

I’ve been kind of obsessed with vintage Halloween decorations lately, so this is my retro Halloween cat.

This is such an easy way to decorate a pumpkin, it would be great for kids that aren’t old enough to wield a knife on their own. Continue reading…

Boring closet door no more

This post brought to you by FrogTape brand painter’s tape. All opinions are 100% mine.

Behold! The closet door in my studio. Perfectly functional (though knobless), it is boring, boring, boring. Believe it or not, this boring whiteness is an improvement on what it looked like when we moved in, but boring is boring.

My plan all along had been to go a little crazy with the closet door. (Because the lime green on the walls wasn't crazy enough, I guess.) I thought maybe stripes or zebra or chevron.

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Finishing the door got put on the back burner, but then something serendipitous happened. I got to try out some samples of the new Shape Tape. And guess what? THEY HAVE CHEVRON.

So now something that would have taken a weekend of prep and measuring and stencilling and painting only took me about an hour and a half!

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The taping and prep took the longest (and I've learned that putting in the time for prepping is often the difference between a good paint job and a bad paint job). But the time I spent taping made the painting part a breeze!

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Done! The turquoise (or Smurf blue, as Mr. Smarmy calls it) was leftover from a hallway we painted upstairs.

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After all the painting we did when we moved into this house, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the subject, so here are my tips!

  1. No matter how small the job, always always always change into old clothes. I didn't follow this advice and wound up with a glop of paint on my NEW shirt and BEST jeans 30 seconds into this project. Dumb!
  2. Invest in a few quality brushes- they make a huge difference, and if you take care of them (i.e. wash them well when you're done), they will last forever! For water based (latex and acrylic) paints, make sure you buy brushes with synthetic bristles. Natural bristles will absorb the water in water based paints, and you don't want that.
  3. Do your paint research! Buy the right paint for the right application (interior or exterior? flat or eggshell or gloss? water based or oil based?), and find a brand with good reviews before buying! In my first painting projects, I had drips like crazy! I thought I was a bad painter, but it turns out, I was using crappy paint.
  4. As I mentioned briefly above: proper prep can make or break your paint job. Make sure your surface is clean and dust free. Fill and sand any holes and allow the proper drying/curing time for the filler. Apply quality primer if necessary. Put down drop cloths to protect your furniture and the floor (YOU WILL DRIP AND SPLATTER. Trust me.). Apply tape as needed and press all tape edges with a flat edge to make sure you've got maximum adhesion.

Check out FrogTape® on Twitter.

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

This post brought to you by Dollar General. All opinions are 100% mine.

Halloweeeeeen!

In addition to being my favorite holiday and time of year, it’s also by far my busiest season. So I often wind up short changing myself on the celebration front.

Not this year! This year I promised myself I would set aside time to decorate and craft. There will be baking! And candy making! And pumpkin carving! And the crafting of spooky things! And most importantly: decorating!

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This is a little vignette I set up in my kitchen, featuring some of my All Hallow’s Eve decoration- some new and some old.

(Mr. Smarmy even said he liked the decorations- totally unsolicited. Usually he’s not one to comment much on such superfluous things, but it just goes to show: NO ONE can resist the temptation of HALLOWEEN! Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, loves Halloween.)

The jackolantern filled with xmas lights was the first faux pumpkin I carved a few years ago- I’ve decided to carve a new one each year, so eventually I’ll have a jackolantern army (which will spend most of it’s time guarding my garage, I suppose).

The owl is a vintage thrift find of my brother’s. He was brown up until a few days ago when I gave him a Halloween makeover (quickie tutorial coming soon!).

And I scored the set of metallic jackolanterns on clearance last year after Halloween.

The new additions to my collection are all decorations I snagged from the Halloween supplies at Dollar General: the glittery orange skull, jackolantern tin that I filled with pinecones, mini pumpkins, and rubber bat ($1 a bat… I seriously wanted to buy the store out and string them up in the trees outside).

Check out your local Dollar General and let me know what favorite Halloween goodies you find!

Don’t forget to check out Dollar General on Facebook and Dollar General on Twitter!

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