Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Free necklace display bust template

As the craft fair season approached, I wanted some new ways of displaying my jewellery pieces - and no doubt typical of most of us crafters, I didn’t have what you might call a budget. I was going to have to make do with items I had to hand and a bit of effort.

Luckily I’m a hoarder, so I always have lots of card and papers to hand that I collect over time - you know the sort - too good to throw away and might come in useful some day, so you save it, just in case. I also regularly visit a paper mill shop and cannot resist new materials either. This is why my office is so untidy and appears to be way too small.

I worked out this shape as a quick and easy display bust for necklaces - I initially made it in card by gradually modifying the shape to overcome the various problems - my template is based on an initial scan of my prototype. At the time, one side worked rather better than the other, so I wanted to scan it and mirror the good side and print out my own template - once I'd done that and later made further modifications, I thought I may as well put it into a document and make it available to others. I've seen so many requests for help with this aspect of fair display, that I hope that it will be useful to others too.

You can get 2 busts from an A4 sheet of card (US users may need a slight shape modification to get 2 from letter sized paper) and they’re light and easy to store - they stack cupped inside each other. In fact, if you fix the sides using punched holes and paper fasteners, you could dis-assemble them after use and store them flat for an even greater space saving. They're free, lightweight and easy to store - what more do you need!?

PDF template to download:

The template, with some introduction and instructions is available to download as a .pdf document - it is around 440KB in size and you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open the file. You are free to make as many busts as you like for personal use, but not for sale and the document must not be offered for download anywhere else, or modified in any way. If you want to share it with others, please refer them back here.

Last modified: 10th January 2009 to include a smaller version to take a single pair of earrings.


Friday, 14 November 2008

Why didn't I think of it sooner!?

I do as many craft fairs as is practical and will accept jewellers in the currently saturated climate and one thing I've never sorted out properly was a display banner with my name and web URL.

I have a huge, but lightweight, picture frame lying on my desk with several large photos and my logo, waiting to be mounted in it - and it has been there several weeks now. I think I maybe never bothered with it as it never quite felt like the right solution. I really wanted a flexible banner that I could either hang from the front of my table coverings, or on a wall behind. Something I could roll away and not worry about it getting cracked or creased.

I'd priced up printed banners - and increasing numbers of high street places offer them now - but in my mind's eye I had wanted something full colour and with some of my product photos - and that was taking it into the more expensive versions. So I put it aside, thinking a solution would some day present itself. Or the funds to pay for it.

I do my very best thinking in the shower:

I've found over the years, that hot soapy water is very conducive to good thinking. I don't mind so much if it's in the bath, under a hot shower, or washing the dishes. In fact, sanding polymer clay with wet and dry is equally effective. You can't escape and your mind is free to do its own thing.

And so it was a couple of days ago. I'd been thinking about my banner again a few days previously, with upcoming fairs and put the thoughts aside. My clever little sub-conscious, when left to its own devices without me interfering, had found the solution for me.

So obvious and easy, I can't believe I didn't think of it sooner:

T-shirt transfer paper. I had an open pack somewhere in the back of my printing cupboard, from a long distant project and I knew I had some plain white curtain lining bought cheaply in a sale, for a project I've not got to yet - and probably never will.

So I planned a layout, tinkered with some photos - remembered at the last minute to mirror them all - scaled up my logo to the full size of the paper and printed my web URL over 4 lines for maximum text size.

Luckily, I printed two additional photos that I decided didn't fit as well, so had spares to test it first. Which was fortuitous as it gave me chance to snag the process and the end result was better for it.

You'd think the amount of hours I've spent with my ironing board, I would have noticed before now that it is far from actually flat. There are modest little dips and wrinkles in the underlining plate and this gave rise to areas in the print that didn't make a solid clean transfer. So on the second spare test print, I carefully moved the fabric to different parts of the board between pressings to mitigate any problems from old ironing board undulations. Worked a treat.

Needs sewing together yet, this is the raw fabric with newly transferred banner contents.

I needed to position and order the elements with care, so that I didn't spoil one whilst working on a subsequent section. But it worked rather better than I'd expected. I figured I had nothing to lose, the transfer material was bought for a specific long-past task and I wasn't sure it would even still work, or to what quality, it was only a cheap unbranded one in the first instance. The fabric I have used perhaps cost me a pound and a few hours of my time - and a little more yet, to sew it into something finished. But I now have just what I was after all along.

I needed to add my URL in several sections to get the text a decent size. I'm not sure it's totally level or straight as a result, but a blind man on a galloping horse won't be troubled.

Had I realised it would work as well as it has, I might have prepared it with more care and used higher res photos and taken more care preparing them - but it was only really a test to see if it had potential. Had I taken more care, it perhaps wouldn't have been the same success - often prototypes come out better than the final piece. Many times I've made a jewellery piece in copper as a rehearsal piece before potentially wasting the more expensive silver I intend using and find that I like the copper prototype rather better.

Now when I work in silver, I pretend it's copper and don't think about the additional expense and have found I work better as a result, if nothing else because I loosen up when working and physically relax, which obviously reflects in the piece.

This is the finished banner in place at an indoor Christmas Fayre. I'm really happy with how it worked out in practice. It rolls up and just fits inside the standard boxes I use to store and carry my support materials and I thought it looked pretty good, considering it was done in a hurry and didn't cost me anything other than some time:


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