Monday, March 21, 2011

Altered Altoid Tins

I finally got around to using those old Altoid tins that I've been saving for years! I've seen lots of recycled tins on the web that are just covered with scrapbook paper and ribbon, and I wanted to do something more. The first step was to paint or ink the top of the tin with an appropriate color for the theme I wanted. A gold paint pen also worked well. The most difficult thing with this project was creating the proper sized template for covering the top. Once I had the template made, cutting the cardstock was easy. This was a necessary step for the more recent tins which have embossed covers that I wanted smooth. I embellished with vintage images, some of which are sealed in a protective glaze, fabric ribbon, buttons and bottle caps.

I had to make another template to line the insides. I used fabric or cardstock for the lid and bottom, then lined the edges with fabric ribbon. I think they came out perfect, and are nice little trinket boxes to hold tiny treasures, candy, buttons, etc.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Easy to Use Resin

For the last couple of years I've been experimenting with various sealers and glazes for my bottle cap pendants. Until now, the most promising products were UTEE and Diamond Glaze. I did a previous post on them in 2009 that you might want to refer to. I was never completely satisfied with either of these products for my purpose, but they were the best I tried. I wanted to use resin, but the toxicity of the product was not something I wanted to deal with. I've just discovered a very promising product that has been around at least a year called Magic-Glos by Lisa Pavelka. It's a one part liquid resin that is UV light cured. That means it will cure in minutes in direct sunlight! I tried the product on a few of my pendants and I'm very happy with the results. The final product cures crystal clear and looks like glass. It takes a little while to learn to use it properly, but there are directions and videos by Lisa on her site and on UTube.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Too Expensive? I Think Not!

It's funny how some individuals have no clue about the work and effort that goes into handmade items. I was selling my altered art pieces at a show this past week, and among my things I had a few bottle cap magnets and pendants. I was taken by complete surprise when an older woman remarked to me "You're selling these for $3? You get the bottle caps for free!" I quickly responded that: The caps are not free. I have to purchase them new and it takes time and hard work to create a piece of art! Maybe it was her age, maybe she didn't like my work, or maybe she just thought I was taking advantage of people. She said nothing and left.

That started me thinking about just how much time and effort go into any handmade item. I've broken the creative process down into four categories: Development, Implementation, Assessment and Marketing.

Development: the planning stage.

  • What am I going to do? Is there a theme? What is the design?
  • What supplies do I need? Where can I buy them? How much will they cost?
  • What will I do with the finished product? Do I keep it, sell it, or give it away?
  • How long will it take me to complete?

Implementation: getting to work

  • Purchase all necessary supplies.
  • Gather together the specific items needed.
  • Experiment with various techniques to find the right one for your project.
  • Assemble your creation.
  • Re-assemble your creation when the first one isn't to your liking!
  • Fine tune and clean up your finished piece.
  • and sometimes - Start all over again because it's all wrong!!

Assessment: analyzing your handiwork

  • Did your work come out as expected?
  • Did it take too long?
  • Are you happy with it? Would you make it again?
  • Is it good enough to sell or give away? If yes, then proceed to Marketing. If no, keep it for yourself!

Marketing: selling your handiwork

  • Will I sell online, in a store, or at a show?
  • How much can I sell it for? How much would I pay for a similar item?
  • When calculating pricing, don't forget the cost of supplies, cost of marketing, and payment for your time.

Okay - back to my bottle cap artwork. Now that I've thought about this whole thing, I think I better raise my prices! $3.00 seems like a bargain to me!