AIM DIY: Tiny Marker Stamps

From 2014-2016 I chronicled my crafty endeavors on the site Adventures-in-Making. I’ve selected a few of those DIY’s, Recipes, and other posts to share on the site.

I was invited to join the local gallery at an Art Outside event this summer, and put together a mini-version of my paper flower class for kiddos who were attending. I brought a bunch of pre-dyed flower petals so that they could form a little flower on a bobby-pin, to use anywhere.

I thought it would be fun to let them hide some bugs in their buds, so I carved a few mini-stamps of beetles, spiders, and bees to stamp amongst the petals. In order to make the tiny stamps easier to use, I came up with a way of sticking them in the end of Crayola Broad Line Markers. I thought I’d share!

First I cut out a circle to fit the end of the marker by coloring the cap of the marker with a Sharpie
then immediately stamped it onto a piece of Speedy Carve Rubber Stamp Block.

I cut the tiny circle out with a craft knife and then

drew a tiny spider to carve out.

Then I pushed and shoved and slowly worked the pieces of rubber into the end of the marker. It’s good to have a tight fit so it won’t work itself out as you use it.

I used Speedball Linoleum Cutter to carve the extra pieces out of the rubber. Because the stamp is so small, it’s important to work slowly on small sections. Actually, the marker makes it a lot easier to carve, and kept my other hand away from the sharp tools.

I tested the stamp repeatedly, by using the marker it was attached to to color the stamp. I ran the marker over the design, stamped, and used that information to remove more of the rubber. The more stamps I made, the simpler they got. It is really difficult to keep a lot of detail on such a small surface.

Finally I had a sweet little bug stamp to add to the flowers. Bwahahaha.

I have all sorts of stamps I want to make using this method. Some of them might even be un-creepy!

If you’d like to try this project yourself, check out the supplies at the Adventures in Making Amazon Store . If you buy through our store you’ll pay the usual Amazon price, but we’ll get a small percentage to help us power our creative adventures. You’re great!

AIM DIY: Hand-Dyed Paper Flowers

Paper Flowers
From 2014-2016 I chronicled my crafty endeavors on the site Adventures-in-Making. I’ve selected a few of those DIY’s, Recipes, and other posts to share on the site.


We’re not happy unless we’re making things- which means we have a whole slew of projects from the time before A-i-M. We thought we take time now-and-again to share some of these projects from the DIY vault. We’ve touched them up a little, so they should still be new to you, even if you’ve been following us forever.

A couple of years ago, after taking the Crafting for Kittens class (where the lovely Laurie taught us to make crepe paper flowers), I decided I wanted to put together my own paper flower project using easy-to-find materials, and  a little inspiration from tie-dyeing tissue. Since then I’ve been teaching them as a class at the store, and I thought I would share them with those of you who aren’t close enough to join us for a class or party.

flowers_3They are made with a bunch of inexpensive supplies- I’ve linked to some of my favorites below*
• A package of white coffee filters
• Scissors
• Liquid Water Colors – I now use Blick Liquid Watercolor
• A few bowls to dip into (they won’t get ruined, no worries.)
Floral Wire like this.
• Wire cutters
• Floral Tape – Floratape is the best.

Take a few coffee filters (1-6) and fold them in half over and over again, till you have a triangle.

flowers_5Then trim the outside part of the triangle in curves, points, or anything you’d like. (The fun is in the ‘sperimenting.)

Pour the liquid watercolors into small dishes. Add water if you would like (not too much though, if you want rich colors.)

Dip one end into one color and let it slowly wick up the dye, then flip the folded filter and repeat in another color. I would recommend doing the lighter color first. You can also squeeze extra moisture out gently.

Unfold the stack or leave the pieces folded up, and allow to dry overnight. Make sure to leave airspace between your petal sets- they will transfer color if you aren’t careful.

After dried, and opened, it should look something like this. Play with the number of filters you use- this one has 6, but I have even done a tiny single filter flower.

flowers_8Measure out a double length of floral wire, folded at the end.

I have done some of these with button centers, and some without. If you are using a button, feed the wire through two of the holes, and leave the button at the doubled end.

Piece by piece, feed the filters onto the wires and bunch them up at the end.

After all your pieces are wired and bunched, start wrapping floral tape at the top. I usually do a couple of runs of tape directly under the petals, pushing them up as I go, then continue to wrap the stem all the way down. (Remember to stretch the tape to activate the adhesive.) Often you’ll find you need to tighten up the petals by adding more tape near the top.

It may take a little trial and error to make a perfect bouquet, but even the work is fun!

If you’re local and want a hands-on class that includes all the supplies you need, make sure to swing by the So, There store in Issaquah.

I’d love to meet ya!

*If you’d like to try this project yourself, check out the supplies at the Adventures in Making Amazon Store . If you buy through our store you’ll pay the usual Amazon price, but we’ll get a small percentage to help us power our creative adventures. You’re great!

AIM DIY: Seed Sling-Shot + Free Template

DIY: Seed Sling-Shot + Free Template
From 2014-2016 I chronicled my crafty endeavors on the site Adventures-in-Making. I’ve selected a few of those DIY’s, Recipes, and other posts to share on the site.

Now, a typical person might throw away the scrappy evidence of a long week of paper making… but no one said I’m typical. My most recent batch of paper contains wildflower seeds, so I decided the scraps would make lovely confetti (and grow, too!)

Using this video tutorial, I made an origami pop-up box perfect for storing a small stash of confetti or flower seeds.

DIY: Seed Sling-Shot + Free Template
I used paper that already had colored pattern on one side, and as an added “bonus”, I printed a corny poem and a thank you message in the box.  So all the people who get one will know to “pull the flaps, fling, and make it bloomy.” I closed each box with a piece of ribbon.

I’m sure you can come up with something less silly- so I’m giving you a pdf template* you can add your own wording to. Click the image below, and go to town!

The template is 8.5×11 inches, and you can resize if you need to. Make sure to use light-weight paper, and fold the printing into the box while you’re working.


*After you save the file to your desktop, you should be able to open and edit the file in Adobe Reader. If you don’t have Reader, it’s available for free here.

AIM BIZ: Tips for Selling the Unique

From 2014-2016 I chronicled my crafty endeavors on the site Adventures-in-Making. I’ve selected a few of those DIY’s, Recipes, and other posts to share on the site.


After posting about “Pricing the Precious” we got emails and comments asking great questions about other aspects of creative business. It’s one of my favorite parts about the blog, because it gives me the opportunity to think about the challenges that other artists face. I can only ever give advice based on what I’ve witnessed, but if we all share our experiences, it can only make us more happy and more successful. So! If you ever have a question or comment after reading one of our posts, please make sure to share with us.

In the day-to-day running of the shop I get to meet all sorts of working artists. Mostly I feature artists who are creating the same, or similar, items over and over- but that’s just the kind of store So, There is. Selling and producing one-of-a-kind goods, art, or goods that require a lot of individual production time definitely has its own challenges. It can seem especially daunting to try to recoup money for your time when the time you spend on your art seems endless. Some artists opt to sell their artwork using online stores like eBay or Amazon because the chances of people seeing the artwork are much greater whereas others have quite a specific niche so tend to sell on their own site or from a store. Amazon is a great way to market artwork if you enjoy working from home because you don’t need to own or rent a physical store if you don’t want to. This nine university review provides plenty of information about how to begin using Amazon as your main point of sale but of course, Amazon doesn’t work for everyone so sometimes a store works better.

Selling art has never been easy, but I hope the tips below give you a chance you look at your business from a different point of view. If you don’t already, right now is the time to…

Outline your goals

I am the most hesitant business planner ever. I hate writing down all the plans that are there in my head already, but I do it anyway. It’s extremely important to be in-tune with your own plans for the future of your business. Take some time to figure out what success for your business would look like. Do you want to be a well-known artisan who makes products from your studio? Do you want to turn your creations into a mega-business with lots of people working under you? You also need to think of ways you can make your business run a little more smoothly. For example, you might consider finding a Neat receipt replacement to help with managing your documents. There are lots of things you can do to save time and it’s helpful to get these set up as soon as you’re open for business!

Take that picture of your perfect future, and work backwards to clarify the steps you need to take to bring your business to that point. You may need to make some compromises to get things started. Always keep that end-goal in mind, especially as you…

Adapt your line

Sometimes it seems to me the difference between “artist” and “artistic business person” is as simple as having the ability to step away from the things you are making and evaluating the success of each item. It’s harder for those of us who are really emotionally involved with our work, but unless you’re experiencing unbridled success, it’s absolutely necessary.

These mugs are offered with custom hand signs, so customers can have their own initials on a mug from the playful potter.
These mugs from the playful potter. are offered with custom hand sign decals.

Think about adding pieces to your selection.

I had some great advice from a gallery owner when I was setting the shop up. She said that I should make sure to include a few expensive pieces in the store, even if I felt I would never sell them. They might encourage the sale of a lower priced piece by the same artists, or they might just sell themselves.

The same is true for your line. If you take some time to make quicker, lower priced goods to fill our your selection, you will appeal to an audience who doesn’t feel they have as much money to spend. You get a sale that contributes to your company, and you are establishing a fan base. Those people will share your goods with their friends- and eventually someone will find your great work of art a necessity in their life.

There are lots of benefits from having a wide range of prices in your line. You’ll appeal to more customers, and you’ll be able to customize your line when applying to art shows and sales. Think about adding prints of your pieces to your line, selling patterns and kits, or smaller accessories.

Look for ways to reduce your costs.

Try to think of ways you can reduce your personal costs in time, supply, and overhead. Can you order supplies in bulk? Can you go to a wholesale B2B site like DHgate to get access to cheaper prices? Then you can use Get Your Coupon Codes ( to get even more off your purchase. Take a production line approach so that you can get pieces made more quickly and efficiently? (That is, do the same small task over and over again before moving to the next task. You’ll save time by not having to change you tools/setup/attention as frequently.) Sometimes the steps you take to reduce your costs will make you feel like you’re more a production person, and less of an artist– but might be necessary nonetheless.

Make your items even more special to your audience.

Sometimes all it takes is a quirk to get your line the attention it deserves. Take some time to think about if there is something you could change to make your goods so special that no one will want to walk away from them. (Or as I say to customers at the store “When you dream about it, give me a call so I can put it on hold for you.”) Think about popular trends, and other things that will catch some eyes. Can you use repurposed materials to appeal to the environmentally conscious? Can you up your packaging game? Can you offer a custom monogram or other custom motif that customers will love?

Reevaluate less popular and more expensive designs.

Over the years I’ve had to drop items from my selection that were too time-consuming and not popular enough. I don’t consider any of these things failures- because for me it’s the inventing and making that I enjoy. I try to take some time to figure out what the make-or-break details are, absorb the knowledge, and move on to my next big idea. I know artists who have decided to turn their whole business in a different direction because their line wasn’t as successful as they wanted it to be. Sometimes you have to stop embroidering hand sewn bags, and focus on your popular illustration style.

Try not to be discouraged by decisions like this. There’s a lot of luck involved in businesses like ours, and sometimes it’s just that you haven’t found the right audience (are you ahead of your time?)

Find the right Audience

Advertising, sales, and networking are extremely important in selling your work. As much as we want to, we can’t sit back on our haunches and wait for people to discover our online shop. We all know this– so we do everything we can think of to get a new group of customers to find us, and fall in love. Social media and the various associated platforms can be great business tools if used correctly. YouTube, for example, is ideal for pushing video content out to a potential audience. Building that audience, however, is often difficult. Many trying to establish themselves on the platform may turn to a service like Get Fans ( in order to grow their viewing figures, audience, and boost their rankings organically.


Go to your niche customer.

Sometimes your most successful sales spot is not the easiest. Take some time to think about your product, who loves your product, and where those people are. Are they at the weekly farmers market? Are they at conventions? In tourist spots? Do they go to stores? Shop online? This is a great time to talk to your friends and get their honest opinions about where you should go. (Be wary of suggestions that are self-serving; like school craft sales and the like.) Go where your ideal customer is. Try out as many things as you can stand to- and give yourself permission to have a couple of misses before you get a hit.

Teach what you love!

Sometimes the best way to prove the value of your products is to show people everything that goes into them. Think about teaching a class, or demonstrating your work. You give your well-crafted items more value by demonstrating the skill it takes to get them right, and customers connect with them because they “saw it being made.”

Donate to raffles and auctions when you can.

You can reach a whole other audience by donating to charities and fund-raising auctions. You get the double value of reaching a new audience, and showing that you care about _____. This is a great way to move an item you love, but hasn’t sold for what it should- or a chance to advertise that class you’re going to teach (above.) You can also write-off most charitable contributions, and you know that your piece is going to someone who will love it, and supporting a good cause.

Set Emotion Aside (for a minute)

Sometimes it just isn’t working, even though we’re amazing at what we do. We’re in pricing battles the big-box stores. We’re the only ones doing the work. And we’re also expected to find our audience and sell to it?

Try to look at your line and history and think of what you would tell a stranger. Maybe it’s time to shift your focus. Maybe it’s not worth selling at wholesale to stores. Maybe it’s time to open your own store! But don’t ever give up…

If you love what you do, usually it’s worth doing for the joy- even if it’s not going to make you a millionaire.