Monday, December 11, 2006

Packaging your Crafts for Gift Giving

By Christina VanGinkel

When giving one of your handcrafted products as a gift, whether during the holidays or at some other time of the year, it is the presentation that can often make it stand out from the crowd. By taking care with not only the making of the gift, but also how you package and present it, you will show the recipient that you cared enough about what you made to present it as well as you could. Finding products to package your wares in, is not always easy, until now that is, especially if what you want is clear packaging that will showcase your talents instead of some other sort of packaging that is going to cover it up. While this sort of packaging is often seen in stores, finding a retail outlet for it has not always been easy.

I have often relied on clear cellophane and other products with a completely different purpose, that I have altered a bit to fit my crafts for gift giving occasions. For example, I recently wrapped a handcrafted candle in a clear wrap, which was actually a page protector. I cut off the edge where the holes were, set the candle in, flattening the bottom, then twisting the top closed and tying with a decorative ribbon. However, finding a solution such as this is not always easy. In addition, while this looked okay, in truth, I would have preferred to have found a container to set the candle in where nothing would have touched the surface of it, save for the bottom. The candle was embellished with a photograph that held special meaning to the recipient and I wished they could see the picture clearly, right from the start.

Recently though, I came across an outlet, that sells to the average consumer a wide assortment of plastic bags and specialty packaging. If you happen to be a scrap booker or paper crafter, this is the ideal place to shop for all of your packaging needs. The store is named ClearBags and is an online store. I actually found out about it when I read an article in a magazine about making bookmarks with paper craft supplies, and the article referenced the website as an outlet for their clear hanging bookmark sleeves.

From glassine envelopes and vellum envelopes, to hanging bookmark sleeves, to soft fold clear boxes (a perfect solution for my handcrafted candles) and pillow boxes, and a huge assortment of other clear packaging products, you will be able to pack up your creations in the fine design they are worthy of.

ClearBags also carries other packaging items for your crafting products, including a full line of StazOn Ink Pads, Slick writers, ribbon, and page protectors, hang tags, and just about any product you might need to package or protect all of your hard work.

When I first visited their site, my first thought when I saw the wide assortment of items they had available, was that their pricing structure was bound to be of a level that the average consumer was not going to be able to afford to buy from them. Most of the items they have available are set up to be purchased in bulk. Once I started browsing though, I realized that even an individual could afford to shop them. They do have an additional handling cost for orders less than a certain dollar amount, in addition to their regular shipping charges, but even that is minimal and is no more than seven dollars, and often only three dollars.

Many of the products do ship in quantities of 100 or more, so ordering with someone else or as a group, might be wise. If you belong to a woman or church group, or a group related directly to your crafting endeavors, all of these can be great places to find others to order supplies such as these with. Some online groups even post opportunities for ordering from such outlets. For example, one of the items that I was really interested in were their clear bookmark sleeves with a punched hole for running a ribbon or other material through to hang. They are available in quantities of 100, 200, 1000, or 2000. If I ordered 100 the cost would have been 16 cents apiece, and the cost of shipping and a handling fee for ordering less than forty dollars worth. By combining my order with one other person, with each of us ordering 100, the unit price dropped to 12 cents apiece, and the handling charge was half of what it would have been on my individual order.

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