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Made by hand from start to finish

Rubber duck reusable makeup remover pads being made by hand

At Drawn by Rhiannon everything is done by hand from start to finish.

Every item begins with an image drawn by hand by me which I scan in to the computer to make a digital fabric design. I then make all the items myself on my industrial sewing machine. I also make all the packaging myself, photograph the items and edit them to make them as clear as possible. Finally I list them on my website and write up a description for every item. It really is all done by hand!

To show you what I mean here’s a rundown on how the new rubber duck reusable makeup remover pads were made by hand, step by step. (You can take a look at the finished product on my website here.)

Step 1: Drawings

I love that every fabric I design begins with one of my drawings. I use all sorts of materials to draw with but for the rubber ducks I decided to use promarkers. These pens are brilliant for creating bold graphic designs which was exactly the look I wanted for the ducks. I chose a selection of rubber ducks from my collection (I have almost 100 now!) and started to draw. I initially sketched the ducks in pencil to get a rough outline to work with. Then I went over the lines I was happy with with a black marker and coloured in the shapes. These are the pages from my sketchbook that I scanned in.

Step 2: Digital print design

Once I’m happy with the drawings it’s time to make the digital print design. The drawings always need a bit of cleaning up so I go around the edge of the drawings erasing any fuzzy edges from the scanner. Thanks to the bold line work and colours, the duck drawings scanned in really well and were fairly simple to convert in to digital images. Next I make sure the colours are where I want them to be. For example, some of the ducks had scanned in with bolder colours so I wanted to make sure that the colour depth was even across all the ducks. I never want to over-edit on the computer otherwise the drawings will lose their hand-drawn character. 

I had a good idea in my head about how I wanted the duck print to look which made it easier to arrange the design. Sometimes I’m not sure how I want the finished design to look so it can take a long time to work out a composition that I’m happy with. For the rubber ducks I simply wanted them in lines with a half drop repeat.

Step 3: Making

When I’ve finished the design, I send it to a fabric printing company in London. They print my designs on to the fabrics then send it back to me to be made in to all sorts of different items. 

With the reusable makeup remover pads there are quite a few steps required to make them. First of all I have to cut out the printed fabric and the backing fabric. For the back of the pads I use a soft cotton towelling that I source locally.

 

Once the fabrics are all cut out it’s time to start pinning. About 70% of making anything seems to be pinning!

 

After pinning everything in place I sew the two sides together on the industrial sewing machine. I then topstitch around the whole pad to make sure it’s really secure.

Rubber duck reusable makeup remover pads being made by hand

Then I repeat the whole thing four more times to have a total of five makeup pads per pack. The final stage in the making process is to make the little wash bag that the pads are stored in. I make these with tulle that I buy locally so that you can see which design pads are inside each bag. It’s also a handy little bag to keep for washing the makeup pads in so that they don’t escape and get lost in the wash.

Step 4: Packaging

I include an information tag with the reusable makeup remover pads which also gets made by me. I designed the tag on my computer to include how to use the pads and the cleaning instructions. These tags are then printed on to card and cutout using my cricut machine. The cricut machine saves me a lot of time and cuts a lot more accurately than I would!

Step 5: Photography

Once the makeup pads are made, in their little bags and tied with a tag, they’re ready to be photographed. I do all my product photography myself in my studio. Luckily my studio has nice big windows that let in lots of natural light so as long as the British weather is being kind, I can usually snap some pretty good product shots.

Then it’s just a case of editing the photos to fix the lighting and make sure the colours are true to life. Finally they’re ready to list on the website!

I always write a small section about the inspiration behind the print design for a personal touch and make sure important details such as size and fabric type are listed.

You can see the finished listing here – https://www.drawnbyrhiannon.co.uk/product/reusable-rubber-duck-makeup-remover-pads/

 

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Packaging design – pretty and easy on the environment

Drawn by Rhiannon packaging

Being kind to the environment is very important to me. Because of this I have recently overhauled my packaging to make it more eco-friendly.

If you’re treating yourself to something, it’s even nicer if it arrives in pretty packaging. This is something that I was really focused on when I started the business. I wanted packaging that was pretty and matched my branding too. I chose to wrap orders in blue tissue paper and then layer over the top with polka dot cellophane.

Tissue paper and cellophane packaging
The polka dot cellophane helped orders to match my branding but it can’t be recycled

I loved the effect this created as it felt like you were unwrapping a present when it arrived. So many customers commented on how much they loved it which was great, but the use of cellophane bugged me as it just ends up in the bin.

Blue polka dot packaging mailing bags
I was really excited when I found mailing bags that matched my branding

I also chose to use blue polka dot mailing bags. They’re so much more exciting to receive than a brown jiffy bag and they can be recycled with plastic carrier bags at supermarkets.
However, I discovered that many customers didn’t have easy access to plastic bag recycling points so the mailing bags were also ending up in the bin.

That is a lot of plastic being wasted!

Time for a change

As lovely as the order looked, I wasn’t happy with the environmental impact of the packaging. The first thing that had to go was the cellophane. I wanted to keep the polka dot effect this gave but in a more eco-friendly way.

Blue polka dot paper bags for packaging
The blue polka dot paper bags are spot on!

When I found these blue polka dot paper bags I was so chuffed! They fit the bill perfectly as they match my branding and they’re still pretty to feel like a treat. Unfortunately they only make these in small sizes so the makeup bags, aprons and beeswax wraps still need something to be wrapped in.

Blue polka dot paper packaging
Lovely blue polka dot paper

After a lot of searching, I finally managed to find some blue polka dot wrapping paper that was recyclable. It looks so lovely but due to costs, it’s not feasible to use as every day packaging.

Wrap it up

Gift wrap option
Choose the gift wrap option at checkout for a special treat!

It is however perfect for using for gift wrap! Check out the video below to see how your order will arrive if you select the gift wrap option at checkout.

This may change slightly throughout the year due to availability, and in December your gift wrap order will be wrapped in Christmas paper!

Christmas gift wrap option
In December you can choose to have your order wrapped in Christmas paper

After a lot of research and consideration, I decided to simply wrap the larger items in tissue paper. Tissue paper is made from 100% recycled paper. There is some discussion over whether it can be recycled again, but it can definitely be reused to wrap your own gifts, or it can be composted.

Tissue paper packaging
Simple tissue paper seems to be the best option for larger items

I’ve also swapped the mailing bags for cardboard mailing boxes which can be recycled at home.

I’m always on the look out for more ways to be eco-friendly so if you have any further suggestions on how to improve my packaging, please let me know by commenting below.