waste not gift box

You may remember the fabric collages (created using recycled fabrics) I started making last spring and how I decided to reproduce them as greeting cards.  This is a great option for those of you who produce 2D or even 3D work that is time-consuming because it is a way to make multiples of your work that are quick and affordable to both you and your customers.

In my case, I used a flat-bed scanner to import my collages into a digital format, but you could easily just photograph your pieces instead (especially when dealing with work that is more 3D in nature.)  What I really enjoy about my scans however, is the detail of the fabric textures that I was able to retain.

Making the collages; fun.
Importing them into Adobe Illustrator and formatting them into cards; tedious.
Getting them printed; a chore.

Usually.  It’s really getting better though.  One of these days we’ll get it right.

I say that because every time I’ve gotten them printed something goes wrong and several pages come out that are unusable (as cards).  Now I’ve never had to pay for these misprints, which I am very thankful for, but at the same time I feel bad because I really don’t like to be wasteful.  And though an unknown percentage of the paper used in my cards is recycled, they are overall my least eco-friendly product that I carry in my line.  (Though I have sourced a local print shop which I love, so as to make it more “green” in terms of transportation to and from the printer since I ride my bike, plus it helps support another local business).

The issue with this last print run was that it wasn’t printed on the correct weight paper.  Luckily it was a very small run (only about 12 letter sized sheets of paper worth).  I didn’t even realize the mistake until I was home and about to fold them into the cards.  I felt really bad because this was really my fault that I hadn’t reminded the printer to use his heaviest weight paper.  Now we’ve devised a system so that hopefully these types of misprints wont happen in the future.

But in the mean time I had about 24 cards worth of cover stock paper printed with my card imagery that I wasn’t able to make cards with (plus a bunch more from other runs).  Sure I could have just thrown them in the recycling or used the backs for something else, but that’s not really my style.

So I decided to make origami gift boxes with them instead.  In the past I have made these out of junk mail and have put bows on them, but I like these particular boxes bow-less better.

AND they are the perfect size for my little fabric scrap flower brooches too!

Do you have a story about how you turned a mistake into something usable?  I’d love to hear it!  Please leave me a comment below!

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