Wednesday, 6 June 2012


The long weekend looked like being a great one with lots of mug printing and fishing. Unfortunately, the fishing was cancelled due to the weather though I don't see why - it doesn't bother the fish!

My mother arrived at Gelert Design Towers for an impromptu visit, which was great.

I was very busy with the mug printing with Zingy mugs proving especially popular

Luckily, Mrs Gelert Design helped out by entertaining mum while I was busy, and in just two days I had too many packages for a single trip to the post office!

One of the Etsy teams I'm part of, CraftyFolk, democratically decided on a new logo and a few of the team members chose to have their own CraftyFolk mug made. I love this idea - obviously - and enjoy putting other people's designs on mugs. After all, that was the idea initially!

But then, as invariably happens, disaster struck. The mug press decided it had had enough and downed tools. Completely. Cheap Chinese imports notwithstanding, you do expect your machinery to last more than a week!
So, while the orders kept coming in, I was left twiddling my fingers waiting for the bank holiday to finish so I could send a very stern letter to the supplier of the press and order a new, better, and unfortunately more expensive model today.
With priority delivery, the new press should arrive tomorrow morning and I should be able to catch up. Only a day lost and with a 3 working day posting deadline, I won't be late sending out the mugs.

Hopefully the original press will be fixed/replaced and then I'll have 2 mug presses which will aid me in busy times and means I'll always have a standby so that if anything goes wrong again, I won't miss a beat.

Well, you have to think positively don't you?

Friday, 1 June 2012

Mugs and more

Mug sales going very well! Though so far no one has take up the dropshipping option, which is a surprise. Not complaining, as a few people have shown an interest in ordering mugs by the box (36!!!), just that dropshipping is an affordable, easy, and risk free option that I honestly though would have people biting my hand off!

But I digress. Having got the hang of the mug printing, I've been trying various other substrates. First was iphone covers. These are amazing! They look great and of course, today's yoof like to be unique, so hopefully when the word spreads these will be a big hit.

As a first experiment I used an image of Fat Kitty from The Nosuch Disco

Next I tried a fabric, and with Father's Day just round the corner, thought of wallets:

Next up will be coasters and polo shirts, as soon as the postman arrives! Remember any of these items can be customised with your own images - great gifts!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Keep Calm And Carry On and on and on and on

Just type "Keep calm and carry on" into Google images and see how many hits you get! Originally printed up as posters in Britain by the Ministry of Information on the outbreak of World War 2, the handmade community has got hold of it and now it is absolutely everywhere and crafters the world over have wrung almost every last drop of life from it.

Ever the pragmatist, I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon before it was too late.

Think Star Wars. Think Yoda. What would the little green Jedi Master say to you if the Dark Side of the Force was stressing you out and getting you down? Calm you must keep and carry on you will, hmmm?

(it really does help if you read that in a Yoda voice. Can't do Yoda? Try Grover from Sesame Street - it's the same thing!)

So here's my take on the Keep Calm phenomenon:

Oh, and I also made some of these:

I'm not sure where the idea came from, it's certainly not mine. I think it was probably something someone shared on Facebook at some point and I filed it away in my mind for future exploitation.

Available from my usual outlets (Etsy and Folksy)

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Merchandise for Crafters


Now that I've got my dye sublimation kit up and running, I'm able to start offering a service.
I'll only be talking about mugs in this blog post for the sake of simplicity and clarity, but the range of substrates is huge.

Firstly, make sure you've caught up on these previous posts:

  1. Making Your Art Work For You
  2. Make Your Art Work Harder
  3. Making My Art Work For Me
  4. Under Pressure
  5. Zingy Rocks My World
Now then, there a million things I could suggest to you here, but try this:

If you're a crafter, have a look at your range. Would any of your designs look good printed on say a mug? If you're a painter it might be a good alternative (or sideline) to prints and cards.

Maybe you're a jeweller or a knitter. Would a photo of your work look good on a mug maybe just as a way of showing off what you do when having a coffee with friends, or as a promotional tool.

Or maybe you're thinking of a birthday coming up? Your friend is a dog lover and a mug featuring a photo of your friend's pet would be the perfect affordable gift! Perhaps you took a photo on holiday that you'd like on a mug? Personalised father's/mother's day gift? Put your thinking caps on and you'll come up with a ton of uses.

Well, you could go to Vistaprint or Funky Pidgeon, or you could keep it personal and spread the love by using a fellow crafter - me:-)

How it Would Work

You contact me with your idea and possibly your jpegs and I print your mug. Simple! What you do with it is will affect the price. A mug for your own use or gift is one price. A mug you want to sell online, from a shop, or at a craft fair will have a slightly different price. The amount of mug coverage and colour/b&w will affect the price too, but we're talking pennies. Conatct me for a quote - you'll be amazed when I undercut the big boys.

When you buy mugs from me, you have to add postage. This makes your selling price a little higher than you might like, but I have a solution. Oh yes! Once you've bought a couple of mugs to examine, keep, sell, give away, photograph for your own promotion, we can talk about a dropshipping arrangement.


Dropshipping is a great way of saving you money. You think a mug featuring your image would be popular but you don't know how popular. So how many do you order? Oh dear, you can't afford that, and look at the postage! 
You photograph and promote the mug you buy from me just as you would for any of your items. When you get an order, you send it to me along with a paypal payment for whatever split we decide on. I print and ship the mug for you. 
You 're not paying for anything upfront. You're not paying postage twice. You're not holding a ton of stock. You can afford to take a risk with a mug you're not sure would be popular because you're not paying for it upfront. Theoretically, you could have an online shop with hundreds of different mug designs and not spend a penny on stock! 

So there you go. Get in touch if you need more information or would like to discuss a design

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Zingy Rocks My World!

A tricky choice of viewing in tv tonight - Eurovision or Norway v England. Luckily The Hump was first to perform on Eurovision so I watched that then turned over. Great song but it's a grower and not an instant tune. Then it's a ballad and there are 25 more songs to come, so poor Englebert will be forgotten by voting time.

Now it's half time in the football so time to get down with the coolest advertising character since Flat Eric (remember him?) - EDF Energy's loveable Zingy the dancing flame . If you're in the UK you can't fail to have seen him. Here's a reminder though:

Crazily, EDF haven't tried to cash in on all the Zingy love with a range of merchandise yet - they'd make a fortune! Just look for Zingy on Ebay and you'll see the craft world hasn't been slow to grasp the opportunity!
Mrs Gelert Design adores him, so as a surprise I made her a Zingy mug - an opportunity to win brownie points with her indoors and gain more experience with my new dye sublimation printing setup.

Of course, always one to try and exploit a marketing opportunity, and until EDF Energy realise what they're missing, I printed a few more mugs and put them up for sale to see if I couldn't begin to recoup some of the money I've invested in my new printing venture.

So far so good!

He's available on Ebay, and in both my Etsy and Folksy shops. Here's a photo:
Isn't he just the best?

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Under Pressure

Here at Gelert Design Towers I'm getting closer to achieving the goal of having a whole range of merchandise available!

The sublimation printer hasn't arrived yet, but the heat press has!

This is a 5 in 1 combination heat press. Ideally you'd want to buy different presses for different applications. With the combi press, if one things breaks, it all breaks, and it's quite fiddly changing over from one application to another. But with that risk and nuisance factor aside, this is a good way to start off.

The 5 different presses included are for 11oz mugs, baseball caps, 2 sizes of plate, and lastly the main platen for everything big and/or flat, like t-shirts, mouse mats, iphone covers, and even flip-flops!

It's still in the box right now as some careful negotiation with Mrs Gelert Design is required as to where I'm allowed to set up. She's already lost the entire kitchen:)

Monday, 21 May 2012

Making my art work for me!

So I wrote a couple of posts recently about how you can find various applications for your design/painting to make it keep working for you rather than being a OOAK piece that you sell and forget. Whether this be as a mug, t-shirt or mousemat, it's a whole new earning opportunity.

Having spent quite some time looking at the companies who offer this service, it occured to me that I could actually just invest in Gelert Design and learn to do it myself. Couldn't I?

It's far from cheap, but as well as creating ranges of my own designs I could surely offer a service to other crafters such as... well, you, maybe! By concentrating on small runs and one-offs at rates that compete with the big boys, this service could even become my main source of income with my existing Gelert Design work becoming something of a side project.

Early days, but I've started my investment in the future by purchasing this rather nifty Ricoh sublimation printer:

Not cheap for an A4 machine and the cost of the sublimation inks is horrendous, but it's too late now - I'm speculating to accumulate. Onwards and upwards!