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Tips for Beginning Crafters

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Whether you are knitting, making jewelry or just creating fun decorations; crafting is a fun hobby for anyone. Get past the basics quickly with these helpful ideas for new crafters. This is a guide about tips for beginning crafters.
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March 20, 2005

This is a tip for all crafters. I find readers are getting confused with the word material! Material is a word for all the stuff you need for your project, like fabric, paper wood, metal, glass, and tin. So when asked where to find cheap material, they mean: fabric, wood, paper, glue, containers, glass, and cans.

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Supplies usually means things you use over and over, like tools, tape, glue, mixing bowl, or measuring spoons. But some directions lump it all under materials, then list all that you need. So material is not just fabric. Thanks, it's easier if everyone is on the right page, hope that helps, clear up the confusion.

Clara from Ephrata, WA

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Eileen Bergen0 found this helpful
September 11, 2004

Even though my site is fairly new, I have been getting letters from crafters looking for advice on how to get started selling their wares. I thought that this letter and my answer would be of interest to anyone beginning a new home business.

This is an example:

I would like to get started selling crafts to make some extra money, but I don't have a lot of it to spend. I can sew a little. What is the best way I can make some money quickly?

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Betsy by e-mail

Dear Betsy,

I have a little bit of bad news for you.  Getting started in any business, crafting or otherwise, is not something that can be done quickly or cheaply.

First let's look at the product you want to make.  You say you know how to sew, but that really does not give me enough information.  But assuming you have good sewing skills, what is it that you plan to make?  Is it a hand appliquéd vest or a hand made hot pad. 

The truth is that the market for each is vastly different and that some things are worth much more than others.  If you are serious about getting a business going, you must start with a quality product that people will pay a nice markup for. Among other things, this means using good quality materials and unique or original ideas.

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You can get many patterns for free on the Internet and in magazines, but I believe they are only starting points.  The best patterns will not be given away for free.   If you are going to start with a free pattern, you have to do something to make it different - to make it your own. You must have something good to sell.

Any business is going to require time and effort to get going.  If you're working at home and are surrounded by distractions, this might be harder than it sounds.  You must act the same as if you were going out to an office or factory to work.  Set aside certain hours that are devoted only to your business.  Set aside space just for your business. Buy the tools you need to do quality work.

You need not buy new equipment.  Check out what's for sale at eBay or at garage sales and flea markets.  Buy your materials when they are on sale or from the clearance bin.  Buy online.  The same products you see in stores can cost 33% to 50% less. The important thing is not to scrimp. Your customers will know it and your sales will be affected.

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You will have to devote some time and expense to advertising of one sort or another. You have to find customers or you are just wasting your time.  Local craft shows are a good place to start, as are online auctions at sites such as eBay or Yahoo.

I really can't tell you what your budget should be.  It need not be enormous.  But this is definitely not something that can be done for free, nor will you get rich quick.

Please go to http://www.theartfulcrafter.com/craft-business.html.  Read the articles I wrote and check out some of the resources I recommend. You will be starting out with a lot more ammunition than most.

Good Luck.  Let me know how things work out.

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Questions

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By 0 found this helpful
March 6, 2009

I am looking for sewing ideas. I need help making purses, pillows, and things for the home. I would also like to make recycled bags for grocery shopping. I am a beginning sewer. I have made rice bags and a few pillows. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Crystal from Zebulon, NC

Answers

March 6, 20090 found this helpful

Go to www.sewmamasew.com and click on the "blog". They have all kinds oftutorials, patterns, tips, etc. for the beginning seamstress as well as the more experienced sewer.

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March 6, 20090 found this helpful

A good site for beginners is www.about.com. They have many different categories, so just search for sewing, etc. You should be able to find instructions there.

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March 7, 20090 found this helpful

There is a wonderful web site with all kinds of tutorials on www.craftster.com. It's free, or you can pay to join to participate in swaps and stuff.

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March 7, 20090 found this helpful

Try Tipnut.com They have easy-to-do sewing patterns. And they have alot of other good things too.

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March 7, 20090 found this helpful

Take a long look at a shopping bag in the store and you'll figure it out.

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March 8, 20090 found this helpful

You could also check with your local library and see if they offer classes. Our library has quilting classes and other "craft" classes.

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March 12, 20090 found this helpful

Since I tried to sew on my new sewing machine I have had so much trouble with the thread clumping on the bottom of the material that I got discouraged in trying to do this.
I have tried adjusting the tension on the top part and still no luck.
I am so happy that you are going to sew.
It's really worth the effort.

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November 15, 20130 found this helpful

I was having the same problem with clumping thread on the bottom of my material as I sewed. It was a new machine. I took it in and paid dearly for servicing. They said they didn't have a problem with it after they serviced it.

I brought it home and it still did. I took it to a different sewing center and the lady told me 90% of these problem. My new machine was doing the same thing - clumping on the back side of the material I was sewing. I have it servms are "a threading problem."

I really doubted her, as I have sewn for a long time, but this was a new machine. I watched her carefully as she demonstrated. I said "I do it right." She told me I wasn't pulling the thread tight enough for it to "click" (before threading the needle.) It has to go into a groove, that you can't see because it is inside the sealed machine head. That is where the tension is applied. Sure enough, I have had no problems since them. She said she sees this all the time. Hope it works for you.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 1, 2010

I am new to beading jewelry and would love any tips and advice you guys can give me. I've been looking for a starter kit, a good place to buy beads and some good sites or books for references. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance!

By Stephanie from NJ

Answers

August 3, 20100 found this helpful

Michael's is a great place to find beads and equipment. Also Fire Mountain gems and Beads will send you a free catalog if you go to their website. I sometimes use beads for scrapbooking.

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August 4, 20100 found this helpful

Fire Mountain Gems is great! I like their site because they have a large variety of things to offer. They also have patterns and project ideas. Another tip would be (if you use Ebay) to search for jewelry lots. I've purchased a few and have gotten some really neat things. What I don't use is donated to a local girls beading club. Places like Jo Ann Fabrics and Michaels have beading supply sales at least once a month. Happy beading! :)

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August 4, 20100 found this helpful

The website for Fire Mountain Gems is http://www.firemountaingems.com/. They have a ton of information and supplies. If you go to The Gallery of Design section there are lots and lots of jewelry designs and instructions on how to make them. They also have instructional videos, etc. Another good site to purchase (cheap) beads is www.dollarbead.com. They sell good quality beads from overstock and clearance stock. I bought some very nice 8mm lampwork beads with a pink rose design. I paid $1.00 per strand of 24 beads. I was quite pleased with my bargain. Good luck.
Margaret from Denton, Texas

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August 4, 20100 found this helpful

You can also find a wealth of information in the library. There you can get valuable information and not spend any money.
Good luck and show us what you make, ok?

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September 13, 20100 found this helpful

I don't do beads but it seems to me that old jewelry from garage sales and thrift stores could be repurposed.

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January 26, 20110 found this helpful

Hi, I just found this web site, and noticed this post is quite old, but hopefully it will get to the right person. I just started beading as well, I watched a ton of Youtube videos to learn the craft. My sister got a beautiful beaded watch (chunky beads) from her Sister in law for Christmas, after examining the watch, I knew I could make them, with a little know how from the experts. I have since made 5 watch bands.

I buy discounted jewelery whenever I see it. I just recently bought a braided bead bracelet from Walmart for $2.00, there is probably $10.00 worth of beads on it. Yes garage sales and second hand stores is another place to find great bargains.

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