My Blog Journal


Do You Make Everything Yourself?

The short answer is YES!

All of my merchandise ~ from greeting cards and bookmarks, to magnets and keychains ~ are created using my original paintings, which are reproduced in my home studio, using a professional-grade printer that I purchased several years ago.

So while I did not paint every single bookmark by hand ~ Wow! That would be time-consuming! ~ I did paint the original cat artwork featured on each bookmark. I scan each painting into my computer, adjust the size and scale to fit various products (2″x5″ for bookmarks, 5″x7″ for greeting cards, etc.) before printing them on sheets of Epson paper.

I trim everything by hand, using scissors or a paper trimmer. I fold my cards, glue and laminate my bookmarks, and stain and varnish my plaques…. one at a time.

I could probably cut corners, literally and figuratively, but I’m a bit of a control freak and I want to have my hands involved in every step.

Here are a couple of YouTube videos that I filmed while working. (I plan to add more videos soon!)

Full Disclosure: I do purchase materials from retail and wholesale sources ~ including unfinished wooden plaques, acrylic blank keychains and magnets, laminating sheets, and envelopes for my cards. (I tried making my own envelopes, and didn’t like the results of my lickable-glue experiments, LOL).

If you would like information about specific suppliers, please drop me a line and I’d be happy to answer your questions if I can.

Previous Question: “Which Types Of Ink and Papers Do I Use?”
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Tara Fly

About Tara Fly

A Crazy Cat Lady ... who divides her time between painting portraits of cats dressed in period costumes, watching BBC mini-series, growing weeds and wildflowers, and baking pumpkin pies seasoned with cat hair. Would you like some fur-flavoured coffee?

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  •    Reply

    Thank you for sharing your process for printing your delightful artwork!
    I am interested in doing the same but I feel a bit challenged by the process!
    There are so many companies who do this for you now. Is there much of a cost saving doing it yourself?

    •    Reply

      Hi Kathleen,

      Honestly, the cost savings are not significant enough to be a factor in my decision to make my products by hand.

      I chose to create my own products, primarily, because I participate in art shows that require all merchandise be 100% handmade by the artist. I also like having a personal connection to everything I sell. :)

      I can provide quick turn-around for orders, and I can restock easily if something sells out. I do 25+ shows per year, and something *always* sells out on Friday or Saturday (usually an item I wasn’t expecting to be popular!)… and I can go home and make more for Sunday! Haha

      I do have a couple of print-on-demand shops (RedBubble, Zazzle, etc.) that will fulfill orders and ship them directly to customers. They pay me a very tiny percentage in royalties! LOL For things like T-shirts, tote-bags, pillows, etc. I do defer to those companies …..because I simply cannot sew to save my life!

      I find it really disconcerting, though, that strangers are ordering my artwork through 3rd-party companies, and I have absolutely NO contact or follow-up with them. Buying from a licensed reseller removes the artist from the equation. People will say, “See this cool thing? I bought it from [name of store]….” :-/

      I like meeting my customers, and being able to say “Thank you!”, and letting them know how much I appreciate them. I usually add an extra little gift with purchases from my shop. As I mentioned before, the personal connection means something to me!

      But for some people, it might be worth it to let another company handle merchandise and inventory, especially if they don’t want to deal with the retail side of things. They just want to paint! ;)

      Returning to your question:

      If people know that 3rd party companies are creating your products, they will likely expect a bargain price on your items… because most people assume “mass manufacture” is less expensive than individually “handmade”. If you create them yourself, you can price accordingly to compensate for your time and materials. So the cost is relative. ;)

      What matters is that you choose something that works for you.

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