November 27, 2011

Fabric Message Ring...faq's

There has been an overwhelming {exciting!} response to my Upcycled Fabric Message Rings  tutorial across the web, from crafties and shoppers alike.  I see messages, links, pins, comments and questions pop up everyday about the rings.

Every now and then I do a web search to see if I've missed any of your links and pins, so I can take a peek at your finished rings and sometimes leave some tips and tricks while I'm there.

Just in case I've missed your link or question {or if you've got a question and are too shy to ask} I put together this list of FAQ's.

What is a Fabric Message Ring?
The Fabric Message Ring is an idea I came up with as an alternative to a business card to hand out to my shoppers at craft fairs and events.

I don't have a business to promote...what else can I use this for?
Here are a few other ways you can use the rings, in addition to using them as freebies at shows or goodies for even swag bags:
  • Baby/Bridal Shower Game or Raffle - Print numbers on the inside of the ring instead of a message, and the person wearing the ring with the lucky number on the inside is the winner!
  • Troop or Tween craft project or workshop
  • I Love You Message - Send your loved ones off for the day wearing a cute little message
  • Fundraiser - Add a message on your ring to spread the word about a fundraiser or charity
  • Lapel Awareness Ribbon - Use the ring as an alternative to a traditional lapel awareness ribbon {or just make a lapel ribbon instead of a ring}
Here are some that I recently packaged up for the Detroit Urban Craft Fair {DUCF} swag bags

What type of fabric do you use? 
I use a polyester-ish fabric, with a bit of texture and stretch.  Think leisure-suit type material.  The thickness and texture of the fabric is really easy to work with.  It doesn't fray.  It's thick enough to keep the shape of the ring.  It feel nice on the finger. 

How do your shoppers know the rings are your business card?
I don't necessarily tell them that it's a business card.  I offer the ring to almost all of my shoppers as a "thank you for stopping by" type thing, which just so happens to be a business card.  I am not an in-your-face vendor...I like to let my shoppers look at stuff on their own without cramming information down their throat or trying to explain everything on my table.  Eventually after wearing the ring for awhile, they'll realize that it has a message on the inside and {hopefully} go to a computer and check it out.  I bring regular business cards too, because I always run out of rings.  And because some people just feel really safe and secure with a normal, traditional paper business card, ha.
How do your shoppers know they're free?
signage Signage SIGNAGE.  I always have a sign that says "Steal a Free Ring!" posted right by the bowl or tray that they're displayed in.  The sign itself usually draws their attention {and some giggles} but if not I will give them a nudge with "Be sure to get your free ring before you go!", then direct them to the tray/bowl.  This is usually followed by "Really?  It's free?" and sometimes followed by jumping up and down in sheer giddiness.  
What message do you put on the inside?
They're obviously too small to fit all of the info from your business card.  To keep it simple, use your Etsy or blog address.  
If you want to track feedback on the ring, try an Etsy Coupon Code specific to the event that you passed them out at.  For example, on the batch of rings I added to the DUCF swag bags, I typed "10% Off @" then listed my coupon code.  This way I can track the number of sales that I receive with that coupon code.

I haven't used them for anything aside from craft fairs yet, but I'm dying to use them for a raffle or baby shower game!

Where can I buy June Tailor Fabric Stick or Quick Fuse?
I always buy mine at Joann's with my monthly 40% off's regularly priced at about $8order it online though, or buy an alternative product {see the next question}.  The Michael's and Hobby Lobby stores by my house don't carry it, but yours might!
for three sheets.  You can

Do I have to use June Tailor Fabric Stick or Quick Fuse?
Since my original post, I've found quite a few alternatives, but haven't experimented with them though. Take a look at the printable fabric options at your local craft store.  For example, some t-shirt transfer products now come with a "printable fabric" selection, and there are some printable fabrics in the Quilting section that would probably work too.  Whatever alternative you use, be sure that it's either adhesive-backed, or iron-on.  I am very curious about printing directly on my own fabric, and will be trying this technique soon {stay tuned!}. 
Where do you get your buttons?
I pick up buttons from garage and estate sales, and most recently, from the auction house.  Ask your friends and relatives...they most likely will be willing to unload their button stash if they know it'll be put to good use! 

How do you get the fabric background behind your text?
I use Microsoft Publisher to create my ring template, and simply insert an image behind my text.  I like to scan a piece of fabric from my stash and use that as the background image, so it appears like I've printed directly on my own fabric.   
What size do I make my fabric strip?
The size that has worked the best for me is 2.75" x .375".  I begin the text at .125", and end it at about 2.188" {you'll need that empty space at the end of your text to wrap and glue the ring together}.  If you want to make different sized rings, insert a light guideline at about 2.313" and 2.438" so you know where to put the end while gluing.  
Sound confusing?  Don't fret {please!} the template is now available online!  Download blank .pub or .pdf templates here.
Those are all the questions I could think of, but let me know if I missed anything.  And post those photos!  Comment on this post, email, facebook, twitter...whatever it would make me super happy to see them.

Have you made a batch yet? 

If you're a crafter, what's your favorite event freebie?