My dearest blog readers,
Please pardon this post and all the annoying superfluous pictures of equipment and piles of wood. etsy has ‘requested’ that I provide them with PROOF that “I” hand make the signs that I sell in my etsy shop. I sent them links to the several posts in my blog where I show and tell how I make my signs, but that was not good enough for etsy. Nope. I am required to take CURRENT step by step pictures; and those pictures MUST include a piece of paper with the date on it.
***EDITED TO ADD: Oh my word!! I just ‘double checked’ the incredibly ANAL list of etsy’s requirements to prove all this, and I see that I overlooked that I was supposed to also put my etsy username on that dated piece of paper that I had to show in every picture! (so that they can be SURE that it really was me who took the pictures) Hopefully posting it here on my blog will satisfactorily fulfil that requirement. Afterall I DO continually promote my etsy shop here in my blog. ***
I really couldn’t think of an easier way to ‘show and explain’ to etsy my sign making process from start to finnish other than posting it here in my blog. I wonder HOW other etsy sellers do it when they are questioned about their hand mades??? Far too many photos and details to be able to just attach pictures to an email!!
HERE YOU GO ETSY! THIS IS HOW I DO WHAT I DO AND WHAT I DO IT WITH:
Paint brushes used to paint sign surfaces.
MORE paint brushes and paints.
Yep! I buy my much of my paint by the gallon. And mix some of my own colors in smaller containers.
Stacks of wood for sign making.
MORE wood for signs.
And still MORE wood. The wood I use is ‘reclaimed’ (stuff that other people were going to throw away!) So I get as much as I can, whenever it’s available. When I get into ‘sign production mode’, I can easily use up two big stacks of wood in a weeks time.
This is my scroll saw that I cut sign boards to length with.
And this is how I position the wood for cutting. Sorry, I don’t have enough arms and hands to be able to take a picture of me doing the actual cutting AND take a picture at the same time.
This is my 4″ belt sander that I use to sand the edges and surfaces of the sign boards before I paint them.
After I cut and sand the sign boards I ‘base coat’ them with black paint. Then I let that paint dry. (Sorry I forgot to take a picture of the paint drying!)
After the black base coat is dry, I paint the top coat color and let it dry.
After the color top coat dries I use this orbital hand sander to ‘distress’ the sign; by sanding off some of the topcoat and allowing areas of the black base coat to show through.
Then I go to my file of stencils and select the file that contains the stencil that I need for that particular sign.
I probalby have 50 or 60 stencils in my current sign making repertoire. I keep them in file folderds of 2-4 stencils each; grouping similar themes together for easy identification. This is the file that contains the “Paris” stencil used to make the specific sign you inquired about. I also have other PARIS stencils in different fonts.
I position the stencil on the painted and dsitressed sign board, applying some blue painters tape to the egdes to hold it in place.
Using acrylic paint and a small sponge applicator, the paint is gently and carefully ‘dabbed’ over the cut out parts of the stencil.
I carefully remove the stencil, then remove the blue painters tape that held it in place; and take the used stencil to the kitchen and put it in a pan of soapy water to soak for a bit before I wash off the paint residue (which never actaully comes ALL the way off, as you can see in the picture of the stencil). During this time the stenciled on paint dries. (sorry again, no picture of the paint drying!)
After the stenciled on lettering dries, I use a very fine paint brush to touch up any details that need it. Let that dry, then I apply a coat of matte varnsih and let it dry. (no picture of varnish drying either!) And yes I DO buy my varnish by the gallon too.
(undated stock photo) After I apply the varnish I put the paint brush I used to apply the varnish in a jar of water to soak. Then I use a hammer to attach a ‘nailless sawtooth hanger’ to the back of the sign.
But in reality, I NEVER make just ‘one sign’ at any given time. To maximize my productivity I work in a modified assembly line manner.
Some days I’ll do nothing but sand a couple of piles of sign boards.
Then the next day I’ll paint them all with the black basecoat, and leave them out to dry.
Then the next day I’ll paint them all with the topcoat color, and leave them out to dry.
Then the next day, I’ll hand sand and distress that same batch.
Then after all that is done, I store those stacks of ‘ready to stencil’ boards in my craft room.
Sorry ! I forgot my ‘date card’ on this picture! Having a lot of boards prepped and ready to stencil really streamlines the whole process for me, and cuts down on the actual amount of time I ultimately spend on each sign. Predominately set up and clean up time.
And by having a multitude of boards ‘prepped and ready to paint’ when I get a request for a custom color of a certain sign; I am able to go ahead and make a whole BATCH of that particular sign, in several colors; and stock up my etsy shop.
It doesn’t take any more TIME and effort to clean a stencil that was used to make six signs that it does to clean it after making just one sign; so why not MAKE MORE and WASTE LESS TIME ON CLEAN UP. Same goes for paint brushes.
Finished signs are stacked and stored on a shelf. (Heaven forbid!!! I forgot my date card again!)
So, etsy, does THAT clear up any suspicions you may have had that I am not hand crafting my signs myself??
It sure would be nice if etsy would give sellers ‘some kind of recognition’ for having gone through this tedious process of proving they hand make their items. Perhaps even a simple notation of some kind that this particular item has been individually vetted by etsy would be nice.
4.26.13 **Edited AGAIN to add:
So, now that etsy has seen waht they need to see, I can explain why all this REALLY ‘gets my goat’! And it’s not that I minded having to PROVE that my items are hand made by me. What is so annoying is the sales of ILLEGAL licensed designs is absolutely rampant on etsy, and they DO NOTHING about it.
The ONLY time they will question a seller of such items is IF the holder of the license of that design (Disney, Sports Teams, Barbie, Hello Kitty, spongeBob . . .there are THOUSANDS of them) complains. Because that is ‘all the law requires.
BUT, if one person, ANY one person, contacts to etsy and says “I don’t think that person hand-made that item.” A full-blown investigation is launched. And they require you to show every single step in the process and every single tool and piece of equipment used. (as you can tell from my post!) It’s a LOT of work, let me tell you.
And ALL it would take for them to validate someone selling licensed designs is to have them show their ‘credentials’. And it HIGHLY unlikely that ANY of those sellers actually DO have permission. It costs a LOT of money to ‘buy’ that permission. If they could afford to legally acquire permission to sell a licensed design, they wouldn’t NEED to sell on etsy!
It’s the ‘turning a blind eye’ to illegally sold items on etsy that really annoys me about this whole situation! It’s perfectly okay to sell ILLEGAL products, but don’t you dare sell a hand-made item that bares any resemblance to something that is manufactured!
Stepping off my soapbox !