Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Around the world and back...

As an Etsy seller I think one of the coolest things I get to do is send mail all over the world. Each time I send a package overseas or to a town I've never heard of I always feel the need to share that information with everyone I know- and although it may sound just plain weird to them, I consider it an accomplishment to sell items to someone in Jerusalem or New York City. It just proves that Etsy is more far-reaching than I ever imagined it to be and I have a sense of pride knowing that right now things I made with my own two hands are literally all over the world!

I've decided that with my office being a "command center" of sorts it is only appropriate to track my progress on a map pinboard right above my desk. I will soon be sticking little red tipped pins in a world map for every sale I make to a location, with the goal to someday have sold to every US state and most major countries! (Tokyo, Seoul, Reno, Sao Paulo, and Hong Kong being towards the top of my wishlist!) Until that gets set up I've made a virtual version on Google Maps. You can check out the full version of it here

Look out world, here I come!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tutorial: DIY Bubble Mailer

One thing I have learned from being an Etsy buyer is that creative business people don't let their creativity stop with the items you buy. Rather, they use their creative potential to it's fullest by carefully packaging your purchases in a way that ties in with their online business persona. (Ok, maybe not everyone does, but I love getting these packages the most!) A great way to customize your packaging is to make your own and if you're using reclaimed materials you're probably saving yourself a pretty penny too.

I wanted to share an easy tutorial for making your own bubble mailers. This works great to tie your packaging in with your online business, or to simply make something cute to ship goodies to your friends. Getting mail (other than bills) is exciting, but it can be even more so when it looks exciting too!

For this project you will need:
- Heavy weight paper-heavy wrapping paper, scrapbook paper, or even recycled cereal boxes
- Bubble wrap -the standard kind, not the stuff with the giant bubbles
- White glue, or a heavy-duty glue stick.
- Clear tape
- Scissors or paper cutter
- Ruler
- Spray adhesive (optional)

Step One:
Take your piece of paper and cut it to be 11 x 9 inches.
Then, fold it following the graph below. (This is for an envelope that is 5x7, for a bigger envelope you need to double the width, add an inch for the "flap" on one side, allow .5 in on the bottom and 1.5 in on the top for flaps also)

Step Two:
Cut off the pieces marked in grey on the diagram

Step Three:
Leave your paper on the table right side down. Cut two pieces of bubble wrap that are approximately 4.5 x 6.5 inches, or 1/2 an inch smaller than your envelope size.
Glue your bubble wrap bubble side down (so the smooth part faces towards you) to the wrong side of the paper inside the two 5x7 inch pieces. Try to leave an equal amount of space around each side.
I usually glue mine with spray adhesive, but white glue will work ok for this. Be patient and let the glue dry and spread white glue thinly so the paper doesn't get wrinkles and warp from being too soggy. For added security, I also recommend using clear tape at the top of the bubble wrap to prevent it from peeling up when you fill the envelope.

Step Four:
Put glue on the bottom two flaps of the paper and fold the envelope together. Press the bottom flaps together firmly and allow to dry. These will be secure if you used good glue, but if you are worried you can tape this seam. Your envelope will be connected on the bottom, but open with a 1 inch flap on the right side, and a 1.5 inch flap on the top like this:

Step Five:
Put glue on the side flap, and fold over, securing it to the back of the envelope. For additional security, tape the flap as well. (This one likes to peel up otherwise!)

Now your envelope is done! Fill it and either glue or tape the top flap shut. If you have a dark color or busy pattern you will want to affix white mailing labels on the front to write your addresses on.
These work great for me when I am in a pinch and need some packaging. Recycle bubble wrap from packages you receive or if you know someone who recently moved you can usually inherit a ton of it for free!

Happy Mailing!