How many of you enjoy dabbling in arts and crafts? Many of my readers that have been with me since the beginning know my adventures in blogging began with creating a site to feature my fashion accessories that I create for my daughter and used to sell on Etsy. I spend quite a bit of time on crafts and have learned a few craft tips and tricks that have made it easier to accomplish my tasks.
I’ve since expanded my “craft” blog and now I like to blog about a large variety of topics, but my roots still go deep into the crafting world. That is why I’ve wanted to share some crafting tips and tricks with you all. I thought with the coming of the new year and many more projects will be started; it is time to refresh my list of craft tips and share them with you. I hope they will help your future crafting to go smoother and be a little bit easier.
Craft tips #1: Make your craft project more sturdy and not fall apart in a week!
I’ve seen this all too often. I get a beautiful hair accessory or a new art craft, only to have it fall apart within a week of owning it. It just can’t stand up to being moved, shipped, jostled about or used.
A trick I found that helps make your craft project more likely to withstand the normal every day wear and tear is using the warm to Hot setting on the glue gun.You want the glue hot, but not so hot that it burns you on contact. I’m not a science wiz, so I can’t tell you WHY it works,only that through my experience, it has worked.
In my experience, the Low temperature glue guns work. But they don’t heat the glue up enough to form a strong bond. Most items I have crafted with a Low Temp Gun did not hold together for more than a month or two. Especially if you lived in an area that gets very warm.
The glue on the craft would warm up just enough that the bond/seal between the fabric or trimming, etc would soften and the craft fell apart. My favorite gun is my 2 temp (Medium and Hot) Glue gun. The low setting is warmer than a Low Temp gun and when items are glued together, it forms a very sturdy bond that is not easy to pull apart. But I then also have the Hot setting for when I need a heavy duty bond. You don’t need a really Expensive Gun, just one that will achieve the needed temperatures. I got mine at Walmart for less than $12
Craft tips #2: Prevent “webbed” strings of glue from overwhelming the craft project.
How often have you seen the cutest hot glued craft from afar, only to come closer and see that it is completely covered in little web-like strings of glue sticking all over the craft? It’s tacky and irritating for both the crafter and the purchaser.
But there is a way to dramatically lessen the existence of these; and it makes it easier for the creator to remove any of the remaining strings of glue. This little trick I found, has been a dream come true! Although it doesn’t eliminate the strings, it has dramatically reduced the amount I have to deal with. First, you want to be sure you are buying the CLEAR glue sticks. They are easy to find at Walmart, Joanns, Hobby Lobby, Michaels, etc. And they don’t cost very much.
Glue Sticks that have a more solid color to them are more likely to leave strings. Second, I always keep a little jar of Vaseline near by. When the strings get noticeably bad, I just dip the tip of the glue gun into the Vaseline, and it dramatically cuts down on the amount of strings I have to deal with afterwards. No joke! It really works! Again, I’m not a scientist. I don’t know why. But I do know the results. Dramatically less glue strings! Plus as long as you don’t engulf the glue gun into the Vaseline, it doesn’t harm the gun at all.
Craft tips #3: Cut and seal ribbon in One step! Prevent Ribbon from Fraying– faster than burning with a candle or lighter.
Do you use ribbon in your crafts? Whether you are making Hair bows, decorative bows, or just trimming another craft; the hardest thing with working with ribbon is that they fray! The most common known way to eliminate this is to “heat seal” the ends of the ribbon after it has been cut. The most common way to do this is with a candle or a lighter, and just quickly and gently brush the edge of the ribbon across the heat and you will see the ends seal themselves.
This method is great when you are doing little projects, but when you are going to be using, cutting and sealing a lot of ribbon it takes quite a while. I found a way to make it go much faster! Believe it or not I use a Wood burner.
They are fairly easy to find, I found mine at Walmart and it was $10. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just so long as it works and it has a narrow tip. You will want a solid working space that will not melt itself when you use the wood burner on it. It does get very hot.
I simply use a bathroom/floor tile that was left over when we remodeled our entry way in our home. It is large and it withstands the heat from the wood burner. You then measure out the ribbon to the length you need, and then gently brush the wood burner across the ribbon where you want it cut. It is so hot it will cut nicely and heat seal the ribbon all in one easy step. This is a huge time saver for me when I have to cut a lot of ribbon. And now I no longer need to heat seal each piece.
Craft tips #4: Easy personalization of each craft project you make!
When I was running my craft business, I can’t tell you how many times I heard people complaining that other boutiques were “stealing” their items, by looking at their pictures and recreating them and selling them as their own. Yes, this is a problem in the online crafting world, and one of the best ways to combat it is by labeling! Label all your products with your business name, and let your customers know, if it doesn’t have your label then it’s not authentically yours.
Plus it also helps your customers remember who made that adorable accessory they just love, and helps bring them back to your boutique more than if you didn’t have a label. Want proof? Go look at all the adorable crafts, hair accessories, etc that you have purchased over the years. Can you tell me where you got each and every one?
This is very important if you are a Boutique that makes and sells items. The likely hood that someone will purchase your item and remember that it came from you is a tremendous factor in whether they will reorder from you in the future. I still see people posting on Facebook “I bought this adorable outfit/hairbow/ flower, etc from a boutique online…does anyone know where I got it from? I love it, but I can’t remember and I want to order more!” I have the same problem. I was just in Jade’s room looking at all her cute artwork, crafts, accessories and thought I haven’t a clue where most of this came from.So, if I can’t remember, how can I expect my fans and customers to remember?
Thus, to solve this problem-label your products with your Boutique/business name so they will know what items came from you, so they know who to go to for future purchases. The easiest way is to attach a cute ribbon to your item that has your boutique’s name on it. I purchased my Ribbon from Ribbonwarehouse.com
I get it personalized with my business name and in the colors I want. It comes neatly rolled onto a ribbon spool and ready for you to use. Then you can cut off each label length and it is ready to use. It can be sewn into fabric crafts or hot glued onto smaller hair accessory crafts. I now attach a label to every hair accessory I create and mail out. I even label all of the accessories I make for Jade just in case someone sees the accessory while Jade is wearing it and want to see the “brand”.
Craft tips #5: Prevent droopy, flattened craft projects! Keep the shape and texture!
Last but not least.. Have you ever made the cutest craft from ribbon or fabric, only to have it get smashed and lose its shape? That is where our last tip comes from. Especially if you are making anything that will be shipped, it is very important that you “stiffen” the bow or fabric. Other wise it will look terrible once it gets where it is going. I use Aleene’s Fabric Stiffener. It has many purposes, but it works wonderfully on hair accessories too. It is rather thick, so I recommend diluting it a little bit with some water, otherwise your ribbon/fabric will be like cement.
You can hand paint it on, but I’ve found the easiest way is to place the fabric stiffener and water into a water spray bottle (you know the kind they use in the salon to Spritz your hair with water?). I then set the sprayer to mist. You will want to mist your project before you add any embellishments and let it dry. Otherwise your embellishments will have a film on them.
Once it is dry if it isn’t as stiff as you would like it, you can add another coat. But it is easier to have too little (as you can just do another coating) than too much and try to wash it off. Once the bow or fabric of your project is set and dry, then you can finish off the embellishments and attach it to whatever craft you are creating.
Now your craft won’t flatten in the mail or disfigure if it happens to get squished or played with by a little kid. Or if it gets lost in a drawer…I”m just thinking of all the crazy things my daughter’s hair accessories have put up with over the last 3 years. And the hair accessories that I’ve used this with, still look new. Where the others, well they are quite a sad sight.
Have you tried any of our craft tips? How did they work?
What craft tips do you have to make crafting easier?