I often return to my favorite tried and true patterns when I’m making gifts. I know how the end result will look, I know how long it takes, and I don’t have to think too hard about what I’m doing. But it gets boring to give the same gifts over and over again! Sure, you can change up the yarn or the hook size, but it’s still the same hat you’ve made 20 times before! Well, here’s a really easy solution–crochet a flower to spruce up that old hat! It takes me less than an hour to crochet a flower, and it’s a good way to use up yarn scraps that aren’t long enough for much else. It’s really difficult to explain with words or through a pattern, so I put a video on YouTube. It’s much easier to show how to crochet a flower than it is to tell someone how! Use it to add some style to a tablet sleeve!
Want to learn how to crochet a tablet sleeve? Check out this premium video I put on YouTube! It’s a really easy craft to do, and doesn’t take too long to complete. It’s a great Christmas gift idea for that stylish tech savvy girl on your shopping list!
So it’s the day everyone is going out for Halloween, and you’ve procrastinated making your costume…what do you go as? An M&M of course! This is a really great group costume. Everybody picks a different color!
M&M colored T-shirt (green, red, brown, blue, yellow, orange) – $3.99, White felt – $0.25
Step 1 – Make a Stencil
Step 2 – Cut Out the Felt
It might be a good idea to turn your stencil backwards when you trace it on the felt. That way, your tracing lines will only be on the back of white felt when you turn it around the right way.
Step 3 – Attach the M
I used hot glue. I always get a low temperature glue gun because I have a tendency to stick my fingers in the glue when I’m not looking. But remember, low temperature is still hot! I started out by laying my ‘m’ out where I wanted it. Then I glued down each leg of the ‘m’ without lifting the whole thing off the shirt. That way, I could keep it exactly where I placed it. Once you get a few points glued down, move on to the larger areas.
Remember to put something inside the shirt (like a sheet of paper) so you don’t accidentally glue the shirt shut. Also, place your glue gun on a sheet of paper or something while it’s heating up. Sometimes glue oozes out, and you don’t want to ruin your kitchen counter!
Step 4 – Get Dressed!
If you want to be a rounder M&M, you could use the elastic hem technique from my Pumpkin Costume.
More cheap and easy Halloween costumes you can make yourself:
I’ll have a few more posts coming today as I finish up my challenge to make Halloween costumes for under $10! Now it’s time for Batman!
Black T-shirt – $3.99, Black and Yellow felt – $0.25 per sheet, Black fabric – $2.99 per yard (you can pretty much work with whatever is on sale).
Step 1 – Create the Stencils
Create a stencil for each color–black and yellow. I looked up the Batman symbol online and traced it. Then use the stencils to cut out your felt pieces. It was hard to find something that would show up on the black felt when I traced the stencil. I ended up using a purple eyeliner. It worked surprisingly well! White would have been better though.
Step 2 – Attach the Felt
You could really use everything from needle and thread to safety pins, but I decided to use hot glue. Put a sheet of paper or something inside the shirt so you don’t accidentally glue the shirt shut, and make sure you place the glue gun on something so you won’t ruin your table if glue oozes out. Again, I just used a sheet of paper.
Step 3 – Ears, Mask, and Cape
I started with the mask. I cut about 2 1/2 or 3 inches off the end of the fabric for the cape, tied it around my face, and used my eyeliner to mark where the eye holes should be. Then I just cut holes…I didn’t use any sort of pattern or stencil. Just make the holes big enough to see out of.
Then I moved on to the ears. I cut two triangles of leftover black felt, and folded them over and hot glued them for added stability. Then I taped them into the inside of the mask. You could hot glue or safety pin them as well. I placed the ears while the mask was tied to my face so I would be sure to get them in the right spot.
Step 4 – Accessorize and Get Dressed!
Other cheap and easy Halloween costumes you can make yourself:
Next up in my challenge to create Halloween costumes for less than $10–Superman!
Blue t-shirt – $3.99, Red and Yellow felt -$0.25 per sheet, One yard of red fabric (get whatever is on sale…I got mine for $2.99) or one white button-down shirt.
The easiest way to do make the stencil for this costume is to look up the Superman symbol online, print it, and trace your stencil. I cut out one stencil for the yellow felt and one for the red.
Step 2 – Attach the Felt
I used hot glue, because it’s fast and easy. Make sure to put something inside the shirt so you don’t accidentally hot glue it shut. Also, set your hot glue gun on a sheet of paper or something so it doesn’t ooze glue onto your table!
Step 3 – Decide if you will be Clark Kent or Superman, and accessorize accordingly!
Other cheap and easy Halloween Costumes you can make yourself:
I went to Hobby Lobby the other day with a mission – can I make 5 Halloween costumes for under $10 each? Well, I bought all the stuff, so let’s see how I do! First up, I’ll tell you how to make a pumpkin costume.
XXL Orange T-shirt – $3.99, 2 sheets yellow felt – $0.25 each, 1/8 inch elastic – about $1 worth, green bandana – $0.99
Make a paper stencil for your pumpkin’s face. There may have to be a seam in the middle of the mouth, depending on the size pumpkin you are making. Lay the stencils out to make sure they are the size you want.
Cut out the stencils, trace them onto the felt, and cut out the felt.
Taking a hint from most sewing projects, I ironed my shirt before putting the face on it.
When you have the felt pieces placed where you want them, attach them to the shirt. I used hot glue, because my sewing machine is at my parents’ house and I didn’t feel like hand sewing. Make sure to put something inside the shirt so you don’t glue your shirt shut. I just used a few sheets of paper. Also, remember to put a piece of paper or something under your glue gun when it is not in use, because sometimes glue oozes out, and you don’t want to ruin your countertop!
I glued mine down in sections to keep the placement where I originally placed it…fold down a corner to glue, and work your way around.
Step 3 – Cinch in the Bottom Hem
To cinch in the bottom, I cut a tiny hole in the inside hem in the back. T-shirts don’t usually unravel too badly, so this shouldn’t be a big deal. Then cut a piece of elastic the right length (I made mine a little long so if I ever loan this costume out it can be fitted to a different person) and put a safety pin through one end. The safety pin will help you feed the elastic through the hem. I also recommend pinning the opposite end of the elastic to the shirt near the hole so you don’t pull it all the way through…you want to meet your ends up at the end!
When I had my elastic through the hem, I just safety pinned the ends together. You could sew them, but like I said, I wanted mine to be customizable.
Now put on the shirt and stuff it with something to make it look more pumpkin-y…I used junk mail. Glad to know it’s good for something! Tie a green bandana around your neck to represent the stem and leaves, and viola…you’re a pumpkin!
Check back again this week for more do-it-yourself costume ideas for under $10!
I was looking over the blogs on one of my favorite craft sites, Interweave, and found a really interesting post about how to start up an online jewelry business. The blog was a jewelry-making blog, but the rules apply to any craft that you might want to sell online. A couple of the tips apply to any business—such as contacting the local chamber of commerce to make sure you have the right license—but the other tips are definitely important to an online business or brand.
Jen VanBenschoten mentions how important it is to have really good photographs of your products. Because your customers do not get to see the products in the store, this is really important. Photos also look interesting on the page. One thing that she doesn’t mention is the importance of labeling your photos. Alt text is the text that is read through accessibility programs, such as those used by people who are blind. This is also what often shows up when you hover the mouse over a picture. Search engines look at this text in addition to the rest of the text on a website, so it’s important to incorporate keywords, and to make sure that the text concisely describes what is in the picture.
I know I’m not the best photographer when it comes to my crafts, but I haven’t really ever tried to sell any of them. I give most of my crafts away as gifts, so photographs typically are just a way for me to document for myself what I’ve made and how it turned out. I have learned, through trial and error, to adjust the settings on my camera for things like “macro” and adjusting the light settings. I don’t pretend to be a professional photographer, so I can’t offer much advice here. But tutorials like this are easy to find online.
Interweave’s blog talks about the importance of writing a good description of each item, including keywords and measurements. This is important, but I also like what I found on a soap-making blog, which talks about naming products. The blogger talks about how when she got too cutesy with her fragrance names, the soap didn’t sell as well. But, if it was cutesy and descriptive, it sold really well.
If you’re running an online craft business, you obviously need some way for customer to contact you with their orders. Some sites simply have an order form, but I think it’s really important to have basic contact information as well. There’s no need to give out your home phone number (unless you’re comfortable with that) but give customers a way to email you or send a message. Give them a comment space to be able to write reviews and connect with other customers. Letting people write reviews about you can be scary because you’re giving up control over the tone of your website, but as long as you also engage in the conversation and address negative comments, you should be able to keep it positive.
Sell Those Crafts!
I hope this helps someone who is thinking about starting an online business. If you’re looking for more information, Interweave has a lot of eBooks (many of them free!) and other resources for lots of different types of crafts. Good luck!