As a first milestone for my Etsy Shop, I’m building up my inventory to 36 pieces (3 pages worth of listings). Last week, I completed the 21st piece and I ran out of earring cards! (Feels like a mini accomplishment :D) Excited to document the process, I spent a sunny afternoon making the second batch.
In the long run, I want to design business cards that can double task as earrings cards. Meanwhile, I’m DIY-ing earring cards out of watercolor paper, my doodling skills and a stamp of Wild Naiada calligraphy logo.
I realized the need for earring cards when I decided to ship out my products in resealable plastic baggies (as air tight storage slows down the tarnishing of the silver wire). At first, I just placed the earrings on the bottom of the baggie in a heap. Even when I arranged them really carefully, they inevitably got tangled with transport (like, a car ride to a photography session).
Apprehensive of the prospect of my customers being unable to separate the earrings upon receipt, I discovered that hanging the earrings on earrings cards and securing them with rubber stoppers effectively prevented tangling. I’m hoping that even after rolling and shaking during international shipments, they’ll maintain a presentable shape upon arrival.
Having set my heart on the earring cards tactic, I dug through my existing supplies and found two widely available displays: 1″x1″ pad jewelry cards, or 3″x3″ stiff hanging earrings cards. The small pillow cards are great for storing studs; the larger hanging cards are useful due to their durability and their adoptability to different types of ear wire. However, I discarded both these options for a) their impersonal commercial look, and b) their restrictive metal identification of “sterling silver”.
Besides, most designs I craft are an average length of 2 inches, and look kind of silly on small earring cards.
In DYI-ing the cards, I wanted a straightforward and cost effective solution that I could improve upon with every batch without increasing my time commitment. I also wanted it to be as fun as possible – after all, the more I enjoy each aspect of running Wild Naiada, the higher my chances of success. So – watercolor doodles became my look of choice.
And of course, any self respecting earring card needs a logo. What better excuse to get a stamp? I hadn’t used stamps since kindergarden, but they’ve always called out to me from the aisles of arts & crafts stores. And finally, a valid need! To keep things simple, I ordered a 2.24″ x 0.83″ self inking stamp from VistaPrint for $19, cost + shipping. It arrived within 2 weeks and inexplicably, the Wild Naiada calligraphy began appearing on napkins, stray bills and even my forearms.
Armed with my mighty stamping tool, I was ready to figure out the dimensions of the earring cards. They needed to easily fit both into the 3″x4″ plastic baggies and the 3″x3.5″ kraft pillow boxes. They also needed to be wide enough to accommodate the stamped logo. With some trials and quick measurements, I decided on 2.36″x3″ (6cm x 7.6cm).
Have you ever noticed that you can take an average drawing, cut it into pieces, and get at least a couple that are totally pleasing to the eye? This works especially well if the drawing was kind of abstract to begin with. For me, knowing this trick takes the pressure off doodling – I’m no longer aiming to produce ART, just some scrapbook materials. 🙂
So I tried to be zen and free-styled. My very broad goal was to stick to low intensity colors that wouldn’t clash with the palettes I use most often in my designs. For my materials, I selected Strathmore Watercolor paper, coldpress, 12″x18″ for its thickness and sturdiness; old russian watercolors, because that’s all I have; and Copic Sketch markers, because they are plain cool.
Once I had filled in most of white spaces and even gotten a little bored (in that bottom right corner), I used the Logan Compact Elite Mat Cutter to cut my drawing into rectangles. Scissors would have worked just as well, though taken longer.
As a result, a single 12″x18″ watercolor page came out to 28 cards. A couple of these won’t be usable at all – too busy or childish looking; most, however, will look nice when complementing the correct earring pair.
Here are the earring cards all freshly stamped and ready for an extended drying session. This watercolor paper I chose, wile fantastic for watercolor, is far from the best option for water soluble ink. Because the paper expects heavy water usage, it is pretty liquid repellant. This means that the stamp gets absorbed at a remarkably slow rate, and gets easily smudged for hours after application. (Figuring out a paper type that would allow for both good watercolor and ink work is a project for another day).