Saturday, May 25, 2019

CRAFTING: Glycerine Pour Soapmaking Tips Pt 1

You can create some lovely, fragrant soaps with health and beauty benefits through quick and easy glycerine pouring. The field is wide open when it comes to combining ingredients, designing scents and mixing colors. As with all crafting products, there are various qualities of products at various price points. It is relatively inexpensive and affordable to pour your first batch of glycerine soap.

Skin tightening lemon verbena and rose glycerine soap by Artsy Craftery Studio

You need a glycerine soap base, which comes in clear, white (with coconut oil added), avocado, olive oil, shea butter and others. Everything but clear is translucent or opaque and the ingredients affect the color of the soaps. If you want to play with color-mixing, start with a clear glycerine base. I like the bright, jewel-tone look of the colors that I add to my clear batches.
Glycerine Pour Soapmaking Tips at The Creative Seller

Glycerine bases are pure vegetable soaps that contain aloe vera and vitamin E, as you can see in the ingredients list in the image below. The standard and widely available 2 lb brick is usually molded into 32 cubes cutting guidelines. It feels hard but glycerine bricks are easy to cut through with a knife or thin cutting blade.
Easy to cut glycerin soap base blocks can come pre-scored.

Glycerine soap bases also come in solid blocks that you would score before cutting. Hobby Lobby's Something Fabulous brand glycerine base comes in cubes. I enjoy cutting the 2 lb bricks and the flat container is easier to stack and store than a bag of cubes.

Glycerine soap base ingredients at The Creative Seller

This brand of glycerine base even has quick instructions on the lid.
How to start making glycerine soaps by Artsy Craftery Studio
It's not necessary, but start with a 2 lb brick of glycerine soap base if you can, because the soap base melts down to less than you would think. The melted soap also empties quickly into the molds, sometimes leaving barely enough soap to finish the batch. With the 2 lb brick, you know that you will usually have enough for standard molds. You can cut off extra cubes if needed.

Store your glycerine base supply in a cool, dry place. If necessary, it can even be kept in the refrigerator.

Now you can decide what you want to use for your soap molds. In Part 2, I'll share mold ideas and what I used when I started out making glycerine pour soaps.

Catch up with my other quick soap making tutorials:



Liz at The Cape Coop gives some great points on the pros of making glycerine soaps versus the traditional cold-process soaps.

To help you get started finding your soap base online, see these searches:

Google Comparison Shopping for Life of the Party clear glycerin soap base 2 lb:

Yahoo search for Life of the Party clear glycerin soap base 2 lb brick:

DuckDuckGo search for Life of the Party clear glycerin soap base 2 lb brick: 

Information Sources:

Soothing Soaps & Scrubs, Delores Frantz, Deborah Rodgers, ©2001 Design Originals by Suzanne McNeill

Thursday, May 9, 2019

MARKETING: Mark Your Products For More Sales

If you like to add variety and jazziness to your packaging like I do, merchandise tags can be made out of any old thing. Within the junk mail and household packaging that you get everyday are potential creative tags. Though there is a lot to be said about ordering coordinated business tags, labels and seals, I am an eclectic type of person. I like showing a different tag on each of my items. I make them from greeting cards, scrap paper, recycled artwork and other salvaged items. Here are the fronts and backs of some of my one-off tags:
Handmade product tag by Artsy Craftery Studio: made from tissue box design cut out.

Artsy Craftery Studio merchandise tag made from a salvaged drawing.

Handmade product tag by Artsy Craftery Studio: a salvaged paper star.

Artsy Craftery Studio handmade merchandise tag made from a greeting card cut out.

While tags are a fun identifying addition to your work, they are made to be discarded. As a result, we have to ensure that potential customers can find us by applying identifying/contact info, if possible, onto every piece of work that we produce. 

I committed to this idea long ago when I was disappointed to find myself at home with a favorite item that I had bought long ago. I wanted to find more of the work and had no idea who created it. Though I searched, there was no identifying info on it anywhere. I had wanted to learn more about the person and order more products, but the opportunity was forever lost to me.

One-off tags made by Artsy Craftery Studio
How do you add non-removable business or personal names, acrynyms, email addresses, etc., to your work? Some ways that I do are:
  • adding my name, logo and/or email to the back of paintings, mixed media, etc.,
  • adding cloth tags with business name and/or email to sewing and needlecrafts,
  • if the craft work is very small, print some type of identifying info on it with an ultra-fine permanent marker,
  • incorporate identifying info into digital designs,
  • add tiny, pre-made, customized ID charms to jewelry designs and other accessories, or use an initial charm to jog your customer's memory, or metal-stamp your own charm tags with a custom metal stamp or one that you create. 
For some items, of course, I simply can't find a way to do it. With an ultrafine marker though, there are few times when I can't. Always try to place it in an inconspicuous place, a corner, at the bottom or along the side. If a customer loves your work they will search every inch to find you.

Anything that you provide on your product may one day convert to several sales. If you could have seen me feverishly searching and examining products that I've had over the years for some minute scrap of identifying info, you would understand how important this is. These products have been anything from paper-crafted pieces to sculpture.

I've bought them at department stores, discount stores and thrift stores. Some of my fav items are from thrift stores, flea markets and bazaars, out-of-the way places to where some creative person's artwork or crafted items ended up. They were someone's discards, but they were new treasures to me.

So, don't forget your identifying info, if you can at all add it. It does take extra time, but it's worth it , because wherever your handmades end up you'll be with them. Don't rely on customers to hold on to packing and shipping info. If your product should end up at a church bring-and-buy, that info would not follow it anyway. Be more proactive in marketing yourself and find creative ways to mark your products.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

NEWS:Shopify Absorbs Tictail

The selling venue, Tictail, was acquired by Shopify in November, 2018.  The platform closed in April this year and the acquisition also closed the b-and-m store in Manhattan. This undated statement, at the website address, makes it sound like the site will return with a new metamorphosis:

  • We are looking forward to the amazing things we will now be able to accomplish as a part of Shopify - we’re really just getting started. We want to thank everyone involved in the journey so far; our team, our brands, our customers and our investors - and welcome you on to this next chapter, we can’t wait to continue our journey with you. See you at Shopify!
Founded in Stockholm in 2011 by Carl Waldekranz, Kaj Drobin, Siavash Ghorbani and Birk Nilsson, the platform was popular with creatives in Sweden, Germany and the UK. The marketplace exclusively featured a curated gallery of independent global brands, though anyone could open a shop. The site was billed as a DIY e-commerce platform empowering emerging designers to set up a virtual store in minutes.


Friday, May 3, 2019

MARKETING: Roberto Blake On Marketing Yourself

"You should be spending your time on what are called revenue-generating opportunities, and marketing and promoting yourself are a big part of that."

Though Roberto's videos focus on the design industry, his business advice is pertinent across many industries. Listen to what he says in this video about,
  • showing up to promote yourself -vs- giving your competitor free reign,
  • why others are getting the business and sales,
  • the opposite of complaining about not getting results,
  • speaking for your work -vs- letting your work speak for itself,
  • how to close the deal,
  • the secret to his success,
  • and his valuable tips for promoting yourself. 
Learn how to become a more dedicated, savvy, smart and ambitious businessperson by listening to Roberto Blake's videos. Allow his experience, confidence and no-nonsense delivery influence you to higher heights of success in your creative disciplines.

Roberto Blake is a professional graphic designer, creative entrepreneur, public speaker and business coach. He always makes the most perfect points as he delivers his marketing wisdom and business knowledge. 

Roberto creates interesting business videos and none of his words are wasted. Just about every phrase that he speaks is a profound and valuable morsel to squirrel away for smart-business sustenance. His videos are usually of a shorter, non-exhausting length, so it is easy to make time for them.  Listen to Roberto and learn.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

CRAFTING: Weave On A Cardboard Loom

A friend explained to me how to hand weave a simple image. We talked about the warp and the weft and tying off for color change.
Willowbrook Art

EtsyOffsAndEnds at Tumblr
She explained about choosing light colored (neutral) threads for the warp (lengthwise threads), which will cause them to almost disappear when the weft (crosswise threads) are woven in.

Art For Housewives

Sjaneloomba at flickr

She talked about cutting off the tied off threads or weaving them in behind.  I discussed keeping them and incorporating them into the design.

Historic Weaving Website
As a mixed media artist, I rarely remove and throw away anything, unless that is essential to the design. I use virtually everything and I would simply creatively weave it in.  I said I would tie beads or found objects onto the fiber ends. 

Isn't this a lovely circular weave by BeesyBeeFiber?

Thinking more about the tied-off threads, I thought that I could even glue them up onto the background in an interesting, textural design.
Saved By Love Creations
I really like the mug rug, because it is something that can be made quickly. 

This is a very simple, quick and easy to understand video on hand weaving, from taylli at YouTube.

I really enjoyed the quick discussion lesson from my weaving friend.  I don't think I would have ever figured out on my own the information that she gave me. I have known for some time that I wanted to get into art weaving, but hadn't researched it in depth.


As usual, I can hardly wait until I begin my first one.  I plan to keep mine very simple, but we'll see.

Bags To Riches at CraftyStylish

Taylli also shares how to use a hand weaving loom made of cardboard. She features the hands of some of her students. They also show how to make the cardboard loom.

Wouldn't it be exciting to design and make a simple wall hanging?  I'd make an easy landscape to start.  I love nature at lot, including leaves and trees.

Try it and share your experience with pics.

Kato Charles Folk Art
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