How to Prepare For A Craft Show

These are a series of helpful hints on how to do something art + growth related. Come over and take a peek!

This is a series of helpful hints I want to share with you that I’ve learned along the way in my art journey.  For more How To’s click here.

Wondering how to get yourself ready for a craft show? Click through for a simple outline that will have you ready to sell your items successfully at your first craft show!

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I recently participated in another craft show and I feel like I turned a corner with being prepared for it.  Yeay! I learned a lot through watching how others presented their items + took note of what worked for me, so I wanted to give you a break down of it in case you were thinking of trying a show out soon.  It’s pretty simple once you see the whole picture.

And if you’re on the fence about doing one, I would totally encourage you to go for it.  It’s a great way to get exposure as well as get feedback from the public on how they like your work!  It gave me a serious boost of confidence when I kept hearing how much people enjoyed my art.  What could be better than that?

So let’s get started, shall we?

At least 2 weeks before the craft show:

  • Start thinking about how you want your customers to feel when they see your booth.  How do you want it to look?  Some artists are fine with a simple table, others prefer an elaborate set up.  It’s all a matter of preference.  Start working out in your mind how you want people to feel when they interact with your products.
  • Sketch out your setup.  If you can visualize how everything will look, you’re less likely to forget something important to bring + it will also save time because you already know how you want it to look when you’re setting it up.  And to take it further, the best thing you could do is actually set up your booth before the show to see how it all works together.  That visual trial run can give you ideas on how to change it if you’re not happy with it.
  • Keep a running list of what you’re bringing to the show and start collecting those in a box.  Start with your set up and then move on to your inventory.  (I created a list below that you can print for future reference.)
  • Figure out what inventory you need + start stockpiling!  I made sure I had multiple copies of each print, card and postcard I offered–I almost sold out of the cards so I’m glad I over-printed!  If it’s your first show, you’re going to have to guess and then work from there next time.  It’s a learning process, so don’t stress too much about it.  You can always take orders and offer free shipping to them to make up for lack of inventory.
  • Plan out your break person/help situation.  Can you ask someone to join you on that day?  It will be a lot easier to set up, break down your booth + take a bathroom break if you have a helper.  Worst case, you can help out the person in the booth next to you when you need a break + vice versa.
  • Think about your food/drink/snack situation.  The last show I went to didn’t have any food vendors so I was psyched I had brought serious amounts of water + some things to much on, but next time I’ll be bringing a full lunch.  There’s nothing worse than dealing with the public when you’re cranky from hunger.
  • Prepare for the weather. Is it outside?  Is the show rain or shine?  Do you need a sweatshirt for cool breezes?  Do you need sunscreen?  Being prepared for all of these situations can make or break the day so check out the forecast before the show for any surprises.

Get your very own craft show prep list here!

Wondering how to get yourself ready for a craft show? Click through for a simple outline that will have you ready to sell your items successfully at your first craft show!

The day before the show:

  • Figure out what time you have to leave to get there so you can set up without rushing.  There’s nothing worse than being harried at the beginning of the day so give yourself ample time to get there, park, unload + set up your booth.
  • Go over your ‘to bring’ list one last time to make sure you have collected what you need.
  • Print out the Vendor FAQ/Instructions from the craft show organizers so you have the information you need if a question pops up.
  • Pack up your car so you can have an easy morning before heading out.  You’re less likely to forget things if you pack the day before at a relaxed pace.
  • Confirm the timing/expectations of your help person.  

After the show:

  • Go over your inventory list and notice what items were the top sellers.  Did you have enough of what the buyers wanted?  What was a popular item?  Can you expand on that and offer more options?  Make a note of these things for the next show.
  • Evaluate the attendees.  Was this a good show for you?  Was it full of ‘your people’? (ones who tend to buy your product.)  This will help you figure out if you want to try it again next time the show comes around.
  • Add items you forgot to your ‘to bring’ list.  This includes ideas you got from seeing other booths.
  • Congratulate yourself on all of your hard work!

Wondering how to get yourself ready for a craft show? Click through for a simple outline that will have you ready to sell your items successfully at your first craft show!Selling at a craft show for the first time can be a little stressful + scary, but once you go through the trial run, it’s just a matter of following the same steps next time.  Good luck with your show!

Click on the image to get access to the supply list PDF

Love, Steph

 

 

 

How to Prepare For A Craft Show2018-10-08T21:24:51-04:00

How I Organize My Day Off To Get Things Done. (Free Printable PDF!)

How I Organize My Day Off

I don’t know about you, but when I have a free day/day off/unscheduled time, I more often than not, totally waste it.  I’m much better when I have a structure, even if that means scheduling in time to relax!  Sounds ridiculous I know, but knowing this about myself has saved me many hours of frustration over lost opportunities to get stuff done.

The first step was figuring out my style.  I had a hard time admitting I couldn’t be that fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-kind-of-girl planner.  Are you better with structure, too?  Do you need to write out a detailed schedule or do you just need a basic blueprint?  I find the more detailed I get, the easier it is stay on schedule.

Which is kind of funny because being a bit on the artistic side, it seems like I would naturally hate that structure.  But I LOVE IT!  I’m a total list person–I love making them, I love checking off the items and then coming up with more–so I’ve come up with an easy way to become a free-day-ninja-task master of sorts.

Here’s how I structure a day off so that I can get the most out of it:

1) I make a master list of all the dreamy things I’d like to do.  I don’t limit this to ‘practical’ things that best suit my time, but more all of the things that are running around in my brain that need to get done.  It’s basically a brain dump so I can get a big view picture of what’s happening in my life.  It doesn’t mean I’m going to get to them that day, it’s just a way to get organized.

2) I then figure out my must-do’s for the day.  I workout most days, so I want to schedule time for that.  I also like to catch up with a buddy sometimes, so I put aside a little meeting time for that (lunch, anyone?)   I don’t ignore my everyday must-dos just because it’s a free day in front of me.

3) Then I cull out what I think I can actually get done that day by identifying the top 3 non-negotiables from the brain dump.  This to me is great, because I know no matter what, I’m going to get those three things done, so I make them the ones I really want to cross off the list.

4) Next, I set up a time schedule and literally block out my time.  The first items I put in are the top three non-negotiables, then I put in the must dos and last, I figure out what else I have time for.  I sprinkle those extras in throughout the day trying to gauge the realistic amount of time I actually have.  I find that when I put tasks in the time slots, they surprisingly get done!  This is where I know I need a schedule, because I’m pretty good at sticking to it when I have one.

5) Lastly, I always leave a little time in between tasks so that I have some room for flexibility.  I want to have a sense of ease on my free day, not like I’m being held to every. little. thing!  So that extra time gives me a little looseness in my schedule.

Here’s what I use for my list: (Want a free copy?  Click on the image to get access to my free resource library.)

Free Printable PDF on how to better organize your day! Click through to get yours.

 

The running list goes on the right, and I plug as much as I can handle into the slots on the left, depending on time.  It works because I see what I need to do, what I’m actually doing + what might need to get done another day all in one view.

(If this style appeals to you, click on the picture above and it will bring you to a page of it that you can print!  You need to print it in landscape mode, it will be on one half of the page.)

This may seem pretty simple, but man!  It gets me to organize my day.  As a result I feel relaxed and accomplished.  Total score!  And I don’t have an overwhelming schedule book to lug around–it’s just one simple sheet to keep me on track.

At the end of the day, I take a look at my list and see what I crossed off.  I transfer the running list for the next free day (or spare time) and I add the leftovers from the brain dump to my running Google Keep lists.  I use Keep for lists of not-everyday-sorts of things like: work that needs to get done around the house, tasks to move my art biz forward, big item shopping lists etc.

So there it is!  It’s the organization method I’m using that’s working now, but it’s always changing.  Want to try it out?  Sign up and get access to it in my free resource library!

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How I Organize My Day Off To Get Things Done. (Free Printable PDF!)2018-10-08T21:27:40-04:00

Why It’s Important To Use Archival Supplies In Your Artwork

How To

This is a series of helpful hints I want to share with you that I’ve learned along the way.

 For more How to’s click here.

squiggly hot pink line

Use Archival Supplies

I recently entered a window art competition where I displayed about ten of my pieces for a month.  It was exciting to have that mini gallery show so visible to a new audience, for so long!  When I went to go pack the window up at the end of the month, I had a big surprise waiting for me: faded facial features.

Her eye color and mouth are gone!Kindness faded
Her eye color disappeared!very special faded

Just to give you an idea, here’s a picture of the window showing what kind of exposure the art got.  There was an overhang that protected the window from direct sun most of the day:

Artfest window

In the beginning of my art journey,  the learning curve was steep when it came to figuring out what art supplies to use.  Actually it’s an ongoing process that I’m still learning about, but there’s one thing I know for sure: I want to create pieces that are archival quality.

Archival‘ is a non-technical term used to indicate material that will last over long periods of time with minimal deterioration because of its chemical stability and physical durability.  What that means is: if you use the right archival supplies, your work won’t deteriorate or fade over a period of a couple of months or a year.

Unfortunately, I experimented with some materials along the way that were not archival; as a result, those details are fading.  It happens fast when they’re exposed to a little sun or when it’s just poor quality ink.  Yikes!

Lesson learned.

Even though I have to re-do some parts,  it was a great learning experience and confirmed what I knew: research and buy materials that will produce the best results.

So, how do you find archival quality art materials?

Most of the time the product will state it on the packaging.  Here’s an example of a marker I use:

archival marker

I often look for acid free first, and a lot of times, that means they are archival (although not always, so be sure to double check).

 Here are a few brands I use, that I know to be archival quality:

  • Sakura micron pens.  I love using these to outline objects to make them pop a little more.
  • Copic Markers. These are beautiful markers you can blend together to make your own unique shade of colors.
  • Frederix acid free stretched canvas. Comes stretched, primed and ready to use.
  • Golden Medium.  Soft Gel gloss can double in use as an isolation coat.  Gel mediums use the same archival binder as acrylic paints, so using gel mediums as a glue creates a durable, archival-quality bond.
  • Acrylic paints. The higher grade of the pigment, the better for archiving (although a lot of people say they don’t see a difference over time.)
  • Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper. For reproductions, I use this paper and the colors come out amazing!

You can also extend the life of your work by adding an isolation coat, keeping it out of direct sunlight and in a moderate temperature.  You’ll feel more confident selling your work, knowing the high quality of the materials will uphold over time.

Want access to more helpful information like this? Sign up for my free resource library made for creatives like you!

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Why It’s Important To Use Archival Supplies In Your Artwork2018-10-08T21:28:33-04:00

How to: Add An Isolation Coat To Your Mixed Media Painting

How To

I’ve realized in my journey with art that there’s a lot of need for basic information like this one on how to apply an isolation coat, so I’m adding a new series of posts that I’ll contribute to as I learn new things.  I’m calling it: How To: A Series of Helpful Hints.  We could all use a little a help, right?  It’s my hope in this series to pass along some good information in a way that is easy for everyone to understand.

For example: I didn’t even know what an isolation coat was until I spoke to someone at Golden products!  I wanted to find a way to seal my art work that included painting + collaging materials and it seemed like there were a lot of opinions out there.   I wanted certain steps I can take to ensure that my art won’t look crappy after a few years–I don’t want to sell something and have people come back to me disappointed in the quality.

How to add an isolation coat to your mixed media painting. Use this technique to protect your artwork!

Enter: the isolation coat.  This kind of top coat is used to create a barrier between your work and the final top coat, which is often varnishing. (I’ll get to that in another post)

And there are different materials you can use for an isolation coat, mine focuses on what to use for acrylic paints and collage.  As a basic rule,  any work should always be kept out of direct sunlight.  It only speeds up the natural decomposition of things.

Just a word of caution:  If you scan or take pictures of your pieces for reproduction, it’s best to do that first before adding the isolation coat to avoid the shiny glare in pictures.

Great Graphics Workshop Registration

So here’s my process:

I took a completely dry and finished painting + cleaned it off with a damp cloth to make sure there’s no dust or other goop lurking on the surface, especially on the collage elements.

How to add and isolation coat

I got my supplies ready:

  • Golden soft gel gloss (any other finish will dull the colors)
  • Distilled water
  • Soft, large brush
  • Palette knife used to stir

How to add and isolation coat

In a glass cup, I combined 2 parts soft gel gloss to 1 part distilled water and then mixed with the knife.  Depending on how many pieces you are coating, you can gauge the amount you need.  The tech guy at Golden said to go by how it feels–not too runny, not too thick–it will all be a personal preference type of consistency.

Once I mixed that together, I started applying the mixture evenly and quickly with the soft brush to the entire piece.  An important thing to remember is finish a section and keep moving; do not go back over it, as tempted as you may be!  It will cause the finish to have an uneven “pulled-look”.

Here is a view of what it looks like while applying, it appears a little cloudy, but don’t panic–as long as you use the gloss finish, it will dry clear:

How to add and isolation coat

You can see the strokes, right?  To a certain extent, that will disappear.  If you have a really soft brush, you won’t see many strokes, if at all.  I learned through this process, and seeing some strokes on the finished piece, that I need a new softer brush!

When it dried, this is what it looked like.  The colors are so bright, right?

How to add and isolation coat

And here’s the side view in the sun to show you what I mean about visible brush strokes:

How to add and isolation coat

This was a great learning process for me!  Even though I feel like the brush I used was a little bit of a fail, it still gave me a beautiful finished product– it’s glossy and it really makes the colors pop off the canvas, not to mention it gives the piece a new layer of protection.  And any unused part of the coat mixture can be used again, if you keep it in a sealed container.

Are you looking to connect with other like-minded creatives?  Join my private Facebook Group Here!

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How to: Add An Isolation Coat To Your Mixed Media Painting2018-04-08T20:39:17-04:00