Earlier in the spring I started to prepare for my participation in this year's BlogHer16: Experts Among Us Conference that is held in Los Angeles in August. A professional gathering of the who's who of social media and talented new up and comers. It boasts to be the world's largest conference for women online content creators. Over 3,000 attendees and some pretty fantastic key note speakers such as Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sheryl Crow, Kim Kardashian, Mayim Biaylik and Aisha Tyler. Through the participation of The Artisan Group (TAG) each attendee will receive a TAG swag bag with a specially created handcrafted item or two from members of TAG. I'm pretty excited and proud that 100 attendees will be receiving sterling silver and aqua chalcedony earrings from Wallis Designs that I made and designed especially for this event.
With this event in mind I knew that I wanted to step up my jewelry packaging for this and future celebrity giftings. Over the years I have been modifying my packaging. So from pretty, but non-descript, coloured chiffon bags I switched over to muslin ones with my company name and website hand stamped on the front. I loved them. They had a nice professional look to them and could be used as a jewelry pouch to keep and store jewelry as well as for travel. For the BlogHer event I felt like I wanted my packaging to stand out a little bit. I still wanted to use the muslin bags because I love the look, they are reusable and are a better slimmer fit than a box so shipping costs are kept down as low as possible.
I really liked the idea of a coloured bag but honestly thought that completely dying each bag would be a little time consuming. Instead, I decided to dip dye the bottom of each. I knew I wanted them in a beautiful turquoise/teal blue and loved the idea of just dipping the bottom and getting this lovely, watery feel.
It's relatively cheap, easy to do and in about a couple of hours (with the help of my daughter) we were able to dye over 100 bags.
1. Set aside some space and protect your workspace and clothing from the dye. I also found latex gloves to be handy.
2. Add hot water to your work bowl and a teaspoon of salt.
I used RIT and Tulip brand dye in Aquamarine and Bright Yellow. These dyes are easily found in your local stores. (I picked mine up at Michael's craft store). I haven't used dye for a while and love the ease of these new ready to use liquid ones. You could probably use food colouring as well but I think you get a better saturation of colour with the RIT dye.
3. Pour in dye and stir. I used about 1 Tbsp. of Aquamarine and 1 tsp. of bright yellow dye. Test with a paper towel dipped into the dye to make adjustments for colour. Add a few drops of colour to adjust until you achieve the colour and saturation you want. Just have fun with mixing colour it's a bit of trial and error.
4. Wet your muslin bag with water. Since I was only dipping the bottom I made sure that a inch or two at the bottom of the bag was wet and soaked through.
5. Dip the bottom of the bag into the dye. I dipped it in and out a few times and rubbed the dye into the material with my gloved hand.
6. Once it is the way you like it you can rest the bags on a large baking cooling tray. Hanging them up outside helps to quicken up the drying process.
7. I stamped my logo on with a custom stamp I had made from a seller on Etsy and used regular stamping ink. Make sure you put a little cardboard inside the bag before you stamp so you don't have any of the ink bleeding to the back side. Ink up your stamp each time and stamp on a flat surface. Apply firm, even pressure so you have the whole image stamped onto your bag and no wasted bags.
So yes, it's a little bit of work and does take some time but after all of the care and love I put into my jewelry designs I needed packaging that matched. I think that's the beauty of buying handmade. From choosing gemstones, to design, to the packaging and shipping labels it really is all about the personal touch.
If you were lucky enough to receive my Wallis Design earrings in your BlogHER16 goody bag (or even if you didn't) please feel free to contact me. I'd love to hear what you think and would be happy to collaborate and work with you!
*I purchased these muslin bags from Paper Mart out of California. These ones are good quality and have nice, thick cords. They shipped quickly as well.