This is a condensed version of my years long journey towards e-commerce. Back when I first set up my craft room intending to make cards as displays for my cross stitching, I had no idea of the wonderful world of paper crafting. Since that day I’ve learned how to make cards, boxes, mini albums, scrapbooks, marbled paper, iris folding, handmade paper, a little origami & designing my own fabric via a company named Spoonflower.
As I started to use tools and technology I depended on my straight ruler and hand rotary cutter. Chipboard (a cardboard material much thicker & sturdier than cereal box material) and I became soulmates so then I had to learn about binding machines and electronic cutting machines. I’ve now graduated to a professional model, the “Silver Bullet” cutter.
Early on I decided to make things to sell to recoup some of my crafting expenses. That was over five years ago! I realized I needed inventory. Since I am a perfectionist, I set out to learn to make things using the best quality materials and means. It took hundreds and hundreds of hours of online research, mainly You Tube, to master my craft. The online community is my teacher! Here I am today ready and in the process of making merchandise. I have the will, motivation and tools to start a home craft business. This is what I’ve learned along the way: ($ – denotes things which will cost money)
- E-commerce is competitive. Make your product unique.
- Don’t be afraid to try new ideas. Some you will keep, some you won’t.
- Find a passion. You should love what you make.
- Look to successful online shops. Have a business plan. Do quality work. Learn to price your merchandise – Materials cost + Hours worked + Packaging + Shipping. Learn Google SEO’s. Use relevant tags. Use quality, crisp pictures.
- Branding $: Use color, graphics, logo, business cards, stamps or stickers for labels and packaging.
- Register your business name with your city or state $.
- You may purchase a web domain even if you don’t have an e-commerce website yet $.
- Get a Paypal business account if necessary. $
- Get a P.O. box if needed. $ (Good to maintain personal privacy)
- Learn your tax obligations.
- If you have employees you will need a tax ID# with the IRS.
- Prepare a crafting business spreadsheet. Check Etsy sellers $. (May have pricing of merchandise calculator).
- Etsy may be a good e-commerce start to get your feet wet $. (A shop “domain” is assigned but is not independent of Etsy)
- Choose an e-commerce site when you grow more $.
- Get on social media but don’t be a “seller” be a participant. Facebook business, forums, Pinterest, Instagram, You Tube.
- Craft show tips: Many videos and blogs to explain.
- Packaging: You may have display packaging and/or mailing packaging. Dispaly packaging should be appealing, functional, easy to read and see the product. Sources: Make it yourself, Ali express, Clearbags.com, Dollar stores, Discount stores, Etsy.com. [Follow up with an email after you receive payment for an order].
- Mail Packaging can be boxes, bubble mailers or mail priority boxes. Inside can be tissue paper, bubble wrap or smaller boxes. You should include a business card, invoice receipt, and a thank you note.
I hope that was helpful. I’m off to create!
I’ve perfected my paper thickness consistency and determined that a silkscreen frame is perfect for papermaking.
1. Crushed leaves. 2. Pressed flower petals. 3. Crushed stems and pressed petals. 4. Dried lavender. 5. Plain paper. 6. Blue paper pulp then green poured on top and mixed for marbling effect.
I was able to use the same batch of water but got these vibrant color changes just by adjusting how much colored cardstock scraps added. Small seeds or dried items are best mixed in with the paper pulp. For thicker paper, pressed flowers were added on top.
A few years ago when I got my paper die cut machine I realized early on that I had a lot of paper waste from the cut outs. I also had not used the best quality paper for paper die cutting. I wondered if the scraps would make good handmade paper. I stashed it all in a drawer and then in two boxes. I soon started watching videos on handmade paper making and came across “Paper Alice”. Watching this paper artist’s easy going manner took all of the fear out of my wanting to do this.
Next it was off to Goodwill for a used blender! Fast forward two years ….
A happenstance meeting, while attending a local library “Art in the Garden” with a local watercolor artist, set me off on my papermaking journey. My age in papermaking is a few days.
While finally organizing my scraps by size then color. Yes, I said “organizing my scraps”. Who does that? Well I did. I separated my scraps by those for word books, card making, and handmade papermaking. Next, I found a frame which I thought might make a good “deckle”. (They are usually two identical wooden frames with screening in between.) Since my frame did have a recessed perimeter all around on both sides I decided to make an aperture in a rectangular shape for the recessed area. Instead of screening I found non-sew interfacing cut to size works great.
- The used blender started leaking. The rubber gasket was too old and cracked. I used mine & bought a new one for home use.
- All of that hand tearing of paper scraps tired out my fingers. I took all the scraps to the shredder. Ahh. That was much better!
- I started out with a plastic canvas backing for support. Since it was taped on, after several dunkings it fell off.
I found in the end that since I could not find “stretcher bars”, a silkscreening frame worked great!
Finished handmade paper on silkscreen. A finished envelope.
Framed canvases work great too. I had to use a butter knife to pull out the staples.
Lately I’ve been on this spinner card kick. I’m tickled over this one.
*CONTINUOUSLY CLICK ON THE RIGHT ARROW TO SPEED IT UP.
I saw some great tutorials on paper bead making and thought I would give it a try. I used vintage print paper and typed words. I’m also experimenting with bracelet designs.
I made my own paper beading tool out of a bamboo skewer. I split it on one end then used vintage print paper to wrap the holding end. I then applied two coats of Modge Podge. The final coat will be varnished.
Next I rolled hundreds of tube paper beads. I thought it would be relaxing.
I really loved the colors. I used distress inks.
I made cards for my in laws who both fell and were hurt and bruised. I thought I’d try my hand at a “wiper” card. I really enjoyed making these.