A Bunch of Stuff and a New Tin…


What can I say? I’m completely uncreative when it comes to writing titles.

I should be posting about the Craft Fair I did earlier in the month.  Truth is, it was a little uneventful. And I mean that in the most positive way.

Everything went smoothly from set up to tear down. Aside from our group of 10, we had a lot of help from a few husbands which made set up all the easier. A few ladies in our group are veterans at this craft fair business, so they walked  us rookies through it. We also had a great project manager who  wrote up a plan of action for each of us, so we all knew what our roles were from the get go.  I was a little nervous about the whole thing because well, you know how it can be to work with a group of highly creative women, each with fabulous ideas —- things can get a little tense. As a newbie to the group, this was a chance for me to get to know everyone on a more personal level. What a fantastic group of talented, intelligent, fun and funny women! We laughed, We cried! It was great. My personal sales were better than I expected and the overall experience was a positive one. I did learn I wouldn’t do that particular venue again, but I would do another event  in a minute with this group. And I am. Next moth. But that is another post…..

WHEW – now that was a wordy paragraph.

Anyway, if you have specific questions about how to pull off a craft fair – ask away and I will be happy to share. (My first tip though, is to do it with a large group of awesome, motivated, experienced friends.)

I’ve been a little lazy since the fair and took some time to focus on non creative tasks. My brain needed a rest. But I’m ready to get back to work! I’ve been asked to create a couple of custom tins which I am really excited about.

My first job was to design a business card holder for a friend.  She had mentioned she liked mine and asked if I would make her one. I was happy to do it, but she didn’t give me much of a hint about what style she wanted. When I asked her, she said “Oh anything.” Perhaps she was only being nice, but she’s gonna get one now, like it or not.  After cyber stalking her for a couple of days, poking around Facebook and her Etsy Store, My Jealous Heart, I didn’t come up with much, so I just went way out on a limb and did my own thing.

The Reveal

Remember how cool it was for rock stars to start their sets with their backs turned to the audience? The crowd would wait in anticipation as the lead singer tapped his foot, or snapped his fingers through the song intro then, on cue, he’d turn around to belt out the first line of lyrics, the crowd would go wild?  That is sort of what I am going for here:

buscardback
Back of Altered Altoids Tin;
Cue  music…

I’ve been a little obsessed with old school American tattoos lately. Not getting one, but the images and how I’ve been seeing them used on everything from pot holders to diaper bags.  As I kicked around a few ideas in my head about this card holder, I though, why not design one in the spirit of an old school tattoo?

I had so much fun with this because I had no idea how I would do it, so there was a lot of experimental play happening. I wanted a banner, I knew that, but it had to be durable and it had to have the name of my friends shop on it, which meant I’d have to custom make one.

I remembered a package of Polyshrink I had purchased about 20 years ago ( I did mention before that I am a hoarder right?) I had used a corner of only one sheet to make a charm once and never used it again. I retrieved it from my stash and began experimenting. Mostly I was concerned the banner would not shrink down to the desired size.  My lettering skills are terrible, so I had to use stamps and stamp each letter on the Polyshrink (before baking). I was worried the lettering would be too small once the banner shrunk, but it turned out pretty good.

banner bef
hand colored and hand stamped Polyshrink, before baking.
banner aft
After baking at 300° for about 9 minutes.

Stays On ink pads were perfect for stamping the letters and I used Sharpies to color and add detail to the design – all before baking.

But of course, I needed something to hold the banner up. I drew a swallow, traced two of them onto the Polyshrink with carbon paper, colored the swallows with a Sharpie, cut them out,  PUNCHED THE HOLES (don’t forget to do that step) and baked it. The little birds took only about 3 minutes to shrink down to size.

bef aft bird
The original sketch and the little baked bird 🙂

Above you can see the original size of the sketch for the bird.  I had forgotten how fun this was!!

I wont get into details about the trials and errors, it really wasn’t too bad, the main thing is to have patience and know, the bigger the piece, the longer it may take to shrink and it will go through some startling stages as it shrinks. Eventually it will flatten out and look normal. There are a lot of instructions online, which are far better than I can offer, but I would be happy to answer you specific questions; that is much easier than me trying to anticipate all the questions anyone MIGHT have.

The paper used in this project is all hand painted then details were added with art pens and acrylic paint, as with the heart. I also added acrylic rhinestones to give a little bling bling. I was tempted to use glitter, but thought the rhinestones were enough. (I’m trying to wean myself off glitter – ohhh the pain of glitter withdrawals….)

Here is the shot of the front along with a few detail shots: (HUGE cheers from the crowd)

jealous heart collage

In my experimenting, I found acrylic paints worked well on the Polyshrink. I attempted to use water based inks, but they smeared, even after baking. This was also true of my printer ink. Initially, I  was going to create the design in a photo editing program and print it onto the Polyshrink, but my ink was not compatible with the Polyshink and it smeared after baking as well. There are other types of shrink film available made for use with inkjet printers but I wanted to use what I already had.

Well, that’s it for this week. I must get back to my room redo’s, landscaping, painting and panicking (more on that in a future post) and I still have two other tins to get to, plus a few more for the fair – SOOOOoooooo I’m outta here for now.

Hope you have a fab week,

Cheers!

buscard2

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21 comments

  1. aren’t you awesome! love this adorable business card holder and your funny storytelling too. I’d sure like to know more about your craft fair experience. Did you mean that you shared a booth with a number of other people? I’ve not ever exhibited at a craft fair but was really considering entering a small neighborhood festival this fall. Anything you’d care to share I’d sure appreciate. Thanks so much.

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    • Thank you so much for your nice reply.
      Yes, I did a craft fair with a group of about 10 women. We are part of an art collective of sorts called Tacoma Arts and Craft Group. I found them through Meetups.com It is a group of about 50 members, but not everyone wanted to do the craft show. Some members are professional artists who are willing to teach, others are hobbyist. Many are professionals in non creative fields and come to our group for “therapy”.
      WE did the fair as a group, but I am not sure if this is common practice for all arts and crafts fairs. We bought space for two booths and worked in shifts over a two day time period.
      I was so thankful to have this group because I would not have had any idea of what to do on my own. There were two ladies next to us setting up their booth by themselves and they were struggling a bit. I can’t imagine doing it all by myself.
      I think you should start with a small neighborhood craft show, many of them are probably very eager to have crafters. And there you could probably have a table with an umbrella. But I think you would want a grid wall to display items as well. This particular show was not juried, so I think it was an easy one to start with. A jury’d (sp?) show means you submit your work and wait for a jury board to approve you for the show. See if you can find a group of friends who would be willing to go in together. It is a nice way to ease into the whole experience. 🙂 And it is a little easier on the pocket book too, to split all the supply and booth fees…

      Thanks for reading! Good Luck. let me know how it goes.
      Cheers.

      Like

      • hi Marie,
        thanks for sharing your experience so candidly. I haven’t looked into trying to connect with other crafters via meetup but that is a wonderful idea! The festival I’m thinking of is a neighborhood event sponsored by the chamber of commerce, a local museum and several other community organizations. Not juried. Probably a lot of the vendors will be selling stuff you could find at the dollar store. There is an indoor venue and an outdoor venue and the awnings are provided for the outdoor venue as part of the fee, which is nice. I agree that setting up the awning and displays would be a lot of work for 1 person. Thanks again, you’re the best xo

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  2. Beautiful box!!! Have you tried sanding the polyshrink before putting it through the ink jet printer? We used to do that before they came out with the polshrink for the printer. You sand it in all direction with a very fine sand paper. Then you have to make sure you get ALL the dust off. You can also use your embossing heat gun to shrink the plastic instead of heating up the oven. Just use a skewer to hold it in place while you heat it. Much quicker than the oven and doesn’t heat up the kitchen in the warm weather!!!

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    • Hey Ya! I did sand the Polyshrink in a cross hatch pattern, Still no luck. I thought about using the eat gun to shrink it, but for some reason I thought that would take longer. it has been years since I played with this so I have forgotten all the little tricks to using it. The oven was pretty quick, but my first banner was taking FOREVER, I thought it was done, and pulled it out – to early I guess, because I left the second one in there for a while and it finally shrunk up after a few minutes of doing nothing.
      Thanks for reading! hope you are doing wonderful things!

      Like

  3. It must have been a fantastic, fun and interesting experience this craft fair. I don’t think we have any big fairs in Sweden, perhaps small ones here and there.

    Cheering out loud!! The tin looks absolutely AWESOME so cute! Your friend sure is a lucky girl, she will love this.

    I really enjoyed reading your post, you have a fun and crearive way of telling a story. Thank you for sharing, already lioking forward to your next post :))

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    • Thank you!! LOL – for some reason i thought you were in Australia….

      The down side to this “craft” fair is that it wasnt exactly a craft fair, there were a few crafters there, but many more sellers of dollar store stuff as well as information booths – from search and rescue to animal shelters. But Hey – we learned, and the next one we are doing is really truely a craft fair.
      You should look on line for craft fairs in your area, you might be surprised.
      As always, thanks for reading.

      Like

  4. Marie,
    You are amazing! I love love love your Jealous Heart Card Holder and can see that this could be a nice business for you in the future. I loved hearing about your creative process.
    I am smitten with a tatoo srtist who designed the cover of a book by J.M. Coetze, called THE BARBARIANS. Can’t remember his name but the book jacket is old school tatoo art.

    As organizer of your Meetup Group, I just want to share with all your readers how I admire your talent for design and attention to detail…..also what a great team player you are. You worked so hard at our first craft fair, and were able to anticipate what needed doing before I did.

    Have a great, creative or restful fun in the sun weekend.

    Elisa

    Like

    • Thank you so much for such encouraging and positive feedback. You know, I highly respect and value your opinion. You are a great leader and organizer and I feel so lucky to have found this group of amazing women.

      I am going to go have a look at that book, sounds interesting.

      Thank you, as always, for your support and encouragement.

      Have a FAB weekend. 🙂

      Like

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