Thursday, January 12, 2012

All Wrapped Up

I love getting packages and letters in the mail. I know I'm not alone in this, and I think Etsy sellers in particular know how important packaging is to the overall essence of their product and shop. In business terms, packaging is added value. A beautifully wrapped item is a joy to behold and unwrap. The seller who goes the distance with packaging is showing how much value she places on the contents within.

Since I began selling my wool animals about two years ago, I have gone through many permutations of packaging. Since they're light and small, I have a wide range of options available to me. It was important that the packaging be safe, beautiful, whimsical, and that it reflects the product and the overall image of my shop. I have slowly transitioned from boxes, to tissue paper tied with ribbon and stickers, to brown kraft bags tied with jute string.  For the last year or so, I've been content with the kraft bags and string and little crochet flowers as adornment. It was easy, pretty, and it worked!

I've been thinking lately, however, that I put a lot of effort into wrapping up my art - so why not make the gift wrap itself a little more permanent and special? I've also been wanting to experiment with carving my own stamps. One day it hit me! Muslin bags with stamped designs, an official "logo," all made by hand!

So, I got crafting...

First, I bought some blank 4 x 6 muslin bags from another Etsy seller (

Then, I bought a block of carving material called Mastercarve by Staedtler:
This really is essentially like carving butter. It's so smooth and creamy and cuts like a dream.  I used speedball tips and carved my first-ever stamp, a bunny: 

It wasn't easy!!! I started small and detailed, which is kind of silly for my first stamp. Here's how it looks printed:

Not bad, but I had some work to do. I was just messing around with my next few stamps, and carving words was REALLY HARD!!! Did you know you have to carve words in the mirror image? I learned that the hard way. Duh! But I'm very happy with the stamps. I carved a feather, the phrase "Be Joyful," and my official Woolnimals logo:

I started to really get the hang of it. I bought a bunch of really pretty stamp pads and got to work:

The finished bags make me absolutely giddy. I can't wait to ship out my Woolnimals in them and hear the reaction from my customers. The bags can be reused as storage or for snacks or your collection of shells from the beach. There's nothing to throw away, it's all made by hand, and it's beautiful.

As I make more stamps and get better at carving, I may try to actually carve the animals that will go in the bags, but for now I thought I'd keep it simple and keep myself sane.

Lastly, my favorite part is washing the stamps at the end of the project. They retain some of the color and it all layers together and looks lovely:

I'm so happy that I finally have packaging as thoughtful as the product. I really wanted to follow the handmade theme all the way from beginning to end. Now, I'm working on handmade thank you tags. As soon as I figure out cardboard boxes, I'll be a one-woman show!


  1. Yes packaging adds beauty to the overall essence of the product. The idea that you have shared to add a creative stamp to the bag is awesome. I would love to see some more of your creations. Keep posting I will visit soon.
    wrapping machine