Think Art Loud

Inspiring, Encouraging, and Promoting the Handmade Arts and Artists

Posts Tagged ‘arts and crafts’

Steampunk spider - Handmaden Designs LLC

Love Steampunk but don’t know where to start? I’ve compiled a short list of Steampunk resources that I hope will be helpful! As there are quite a number of Steampunk websites, blogs, and online communities that I could list among Steampunk resources, I, unfortunately, can’t list them all, but here are some to get you started.

Tutorials:

Steampunk Instructables
Designer Daily: 15 useful Steampunk tutorials and resources (for digital art)
Examiner blog post: Roundup Steampunk Craft Tutorials
Webgraphics (for digital art)
The Steampunk Workshop
The Steampunk Lab

Books/Magazines:

The Steampunk Bible by Jeff VanderMeer
Steampunk Your Wardrobe by Calista Taylor
Steampunk Style Jewelry by Jean Campbell
Steampunk Emporium by Jema “Emilly Ladybird” Hewitt
The Art of Steampunk by Art Donovan
Steampunk Magazine by Margaret Killjoy and C. Allegra Hawksmoor

Where to get supplies:

Ebay
Etsy
Yard sales/garage sales/rummage sales
Flea markets
Antique stores
Thrift stores
Dumpster diving
Salvage yards
Craft supply stores
Hardware stores
Auctions

Other Steampunk resources:

Steampunk.com
The Steampunk Empire

In your search for Steampunk DIY, don’t forget that Youtube and Pinterest are your friends! Now that you have some more ides of where to look, go have some fun and make some Steampunk!

Unfinished wood pendants by Banglewood Crafts

Banglewood Crafts is owned by artist and blogger Tiffany Hill and is a handmade craft supply store. She provides the handmade base product so that you can personalize it however you wish! Whether you purchase for your own personal DIY jewelry design or to decorate and then resell, if you are looking for a great source of handmade jewelry supplies, then Banglewood Crafts may be a good fit for you.

Unfinished wood bangels by Banglewood Crafts

Banglwwood Crafts offers unfinished wood forms for pendants, rings, bangles (of many different kinds), and other blank forms for jewelry use. They are great for decorating with paints, funky duct tape, fabric, decoupaging, or, really, any other method of beautifying, blinging, and bedazzling that you can think of! For something simple and elegant, just apply a stain and show off the beauty of the wood itself!

Tiffany Hill has been crafting pretty much all her life, and also has her own line of finished jewelry. She focuses, however, on selling her finished jewelry more at local venues, while her craft supply business is marketed online. In her blog, she often writes about, not just her business, but about other crafters and the benefits of crafting.

Decorated wood bangle by Banglewood Crafts

Here’s where you can learn more about Banglewood Crafts!

Website/Blog
Store
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest

For many crafters/artisans repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) are a very real concern. If you do any motion repeatedly for a long period of time (be it knitting, crocheting, jewelry work, or a myriad of other things) you are at risk of causing serious, long-lasting damage to your body. Carpel tunnel, tendinitis, pinched nerves, these are just a few of the possible injuries, and believe me, you don’t want any of these. I know it’s easy to get caught up in what we are doing that we often forget to take breaks, but it’s something that we need to get into the habit of doing. My sister has severe tendinitis in both her wrists. It’s so severe that on her bad days she has difficulty holding just about anything because of the pain. What caused this? Well, largely, it’s due to the long hours she used to spend crocheting and cross-stitching without taking any breaks. If when crafting, you find that some part of you is hurting (be it your hands, wrists, shoulders, or any other part of you) then you need to take a break. Don’t ignore the signs your body is trying to give you to say that some part of it is being overworked. But you’re in the middle of a project and just trying to finish this one last thing?! Doesn’t matter, your project is not going anywhere, stop and take a 10-15 minute break and then come back and finish it. If you don’t, you risk giving yourself a repetitive strain injury and making it very difficult (if not impossible) to continue your crafting. I love to make chainmaille, it’s one of my favorite metalworking techniques, but chainmaille can be rough on the wrists and elbow joints, if you make your own rings (and I do) so I have to be careful and do what I can to stay-off carpel tunnel and take whatever breaks my arms tell me they need. Is it easy to get into the habit of taking a break when your attention is all-consumed by whatever it is you are working on? No, but it’s certainly easier than dealing with repetitive strain injuries. So do yourself a favour, when you feel yourself starting to hurt, take that break. You project will be waiting for you when you come back, and you may be able to prolong your crafting life.

If you sell your artwork or are thinking about selling it, pricing is likely something that you have (or will) struggle with (don’t worry, most everyone does!). Knowing how to price your work cam be a major headache. I’ve struggled with pricing for years, and, while I’d like to say I understand it perfectly now I can’t, but I can say that it does get easier and that I understand it a lot better than I used to.

If you’ve ever looked at a book or website for information on how to price your work, then no doubt you’ve seen all the pricing formulas out there. They’re all some form of materials + hourly wage x markup. Sometimes the emphasis may be on marking the materials way up and then adding in the cost of your time (all of which often gets marked up yet again for the wholesale or retail price). And sometimes the emphasis is more on the value of the time put into the piece. There are many, many different pricing methods but they all involve the value of the time put into the piece and the actual material cost.

Something worth noting is that most all the time, we understand that we need to make back our material costs, but we often neglect to properly compensate for our time. This begs the question that I’ve seen asked over and over on various forums: how much should I charge for my time. Well, there’s really no easy answer to that. Some will tell you that you need to make at least minimum wage. And they’re right, you should NOT be making any less than minimum wage, however, if this is to be your living, you need to be making well above minimum wage.

When it comes to determining a wage per hour, a common mistake that is made is to just pick an hourly wage that sounds good to you. This is a huge mistake and will most often just set you up to fail because it does not account for what you need to make an hour to actually make your business work.  Like many, I started off making this mistake. I thought $10 an hour sounded like a great wage to make, and, in an area where most of the jobs are not much above minimum wage ($7.40 an hour here in Michigan), it was more than a lot of jobs around.  But I didn’t understand then what I do know.  It wasn’t until joining Ganoksin (an online gem and jewelry community) and reading about this very issue there that I saw it explained in such a way that it made perfect sense.

The way it was explained was that we often make the mistake of deciding what we would like to make an hour instead of doing the math to find out what we need to make an hour. To find our what your hourly wage needs to be, you have to add up all of what your expenses are.  What is your cost of living? Your cost of doing business? Taxes? Etc. To know how much you need to charge an hour, you need to know you much you spend yearly.  After you’ve found out what you cost of living  and cost of doing business is add them together this is your (estimated) yearly expenditure.  But you’re not done yet, it is often said to estimate at least 30% of your income will go to income tax so need to factor this in also.  This all just gives you your break-even point, you need to make above this so that 1) you have a profit that can be reinvested back into your business, and 2) you have extra left over that can go into your personal savings to cover unexpected expenditures, fun personal expenditures, etc.  So factor in an additional percentage to get what you need to be making in a year.  Now that you know what you need to make in a year, you can start working backwards to figure out what you need to make in an hour.  When you are self-employed as an artist, you likely will not be working the ‘normal’ 40-hour week that most everyone else works.  On average, an artist will only spend between 20-25 hours a week creating their art, the rest of the time is generally spent taking care of other aspects of the business (marking, promoting, advertising, paper-work, photographing, attending shows, etc.) but the only time that actually makes you money is the time you spend creating each piece.  Find out how many hours on average you spend each week creating your artwork and use this to calculate how many hours you spend in a year creating salable product.  When you have that number you are ready to calculate what your target wage per hour should be, all you need to do now is divide the number you got when you determined how much you need to earn in a year by how many hours you spend creating and you will have your target wage per hour.

I know it sounds complicated, but knowing this information is invaluable when it comes to knowing how well your business is actually doing.  It will save you from a lot of needless headache and heartache later on if you understand how much you actually need to be making in order to have a successful business of selling your artwork and not have to always rely on a secondary source of income.

I hope you find this blog post to be helpful (and understandable) to you and I wish you all the best in going forward and putting that price on your art!

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