Finding the Right Machine for You – Part 2

Note:  From time to time we like to feature guest posts from people who really know their stuff.   This post is written by Katie Wubben from Trouble Me Knot Embroidery.  Many of you may know Katie from her fabulous seminars at the DAX Shows.  Katie also sells Melco embroidery machines,  and offers training on those machines, so she knows her stuff.  You should definitely contact her if you are looking to purchase an embroidery machine. 

Part 2 of this series deals with the features a machine may offer, and how to decide what you need. 

Every embroidery machine will stitch.  There are many factors that you need to analyze to determine which capabilities you require and which ones you can let go of in light of budget.   Ask what the top running speed of the machine is, then follow that by asking what speed you can expect to fun on average and on caps.  Just because a machine is capable of 1,000 stitches per minute does not mean you can get away with that speed all the time.   If the sales person does not give a variation of speed for certain items (or at least mention one item that requires a lower production speed) they likely are not being realistic.

Next,  you need to identify what the sew area is on the machine and what hoop styles can be used with it.   I personally feel magnetic hoops are the cream of the crop and are a must in any shop stitching on blankets,  jackets or other thick items.  They are also faster and easier to use than traditional hoops you need to set tension on.   Think about what type of fabrics and items you’ll be stitching.  A quilt show will want a larger sew area than a production business hoping to run thousands of left chest polos.   If ever you want to stitch on a jacket or blanket,  you’ll want a fairly large sew area to do so with ease.

How many thread colors can the machine hold at one time?  It doesn’t seem like you’d need many,  but does any mind having more than they need?  To help determine what you will need, take a look at some of the designs you hope to stitch for the market you’ll be serving.  Nature and wildlife designs have an incredible amount of colors to achieve shading.  By identifying your market and looking at designs,  you can easily get an idea of how many colors are involved.

Also keep in mind that just because a machine doesn’t have enough spaces doesn’t mean you can’t sew the design.  You can take the time to rethread during a design; but then you’re simply selling out your sanity unless you have far more time than I do.  If you plan to only stitch left chest logos all day long in the corporate world,  maybe you don’t need a machine with as many needles as the lab at the local hospital.  The ease with which you can change these colors out is an important thing to consider as well.  Some machines require a space behind them to get to while others have you climbing on a ladder to reach them.  Look at the thread path as well.  If the threads are not protected,  they may be more likely to become tangled and cause thread breaks.

Know how the design will be communicated with the machine.  Some machines require you to save the finished file on a flash drive and physically put that in the machine while others will communicate with  a free standing computer connected by a cable.  Keep in mind, every time you need to make a size adjustment or anything of that nature you will likely need to go back to your design software and then save it again to transfer it back to the machine.  Some machines have a stitch count limit per design as their memory cannot handle very high stitch counts.  To work around this,  you would save part of the design as one file and another part as the other.   This would take additional time and that comes additional stress as well.

Another question to ask is if the machine has a computer attached to it or if it will be connected by a cable.   There are pros and cons either way.  Having a computer on a machine comes with the risk of something going wrong with the screen or the hardware in the computer and a technician being required to fix it.  That comes with cost and down time.  Knowing what type of computer requirements are needed from a computer will help you make a good purchase so that the machine runs without glitches.  You will likely need a free standing computer either way to run your design software.

Keep in mind that knowing what type of software comes with the purchase is another critical factor.  Decide what you need, then make sure your purchase includes those things.  Even if you don’t want to do all of your own digitizing,  you may want to be capable of altering the density,  pull compensation and underlay values to stitch the same design very well on multiple garments.  Also understand that auto digitizing features may be o.k. in some cases,  but manual digitizing will, almost always,  yield better, more professional results.

Last, but not least,  make sure you understand the special features and capabilities each machine has to offer.  The ability to trace the design is helpful for placement.  Being able to adjust a pressure foot may yield better results on various fabric thicknesses.  A rounded needle plate will stitch on caps easier than a flat needle plate.   I love being able to advance my design to any point within the design,  which is a feature I would not have received with a used machine,  as it was only added recently.

In the end,  the important thing is to identify your situation.   What type of products do you plan to stitch?  What type of order quantities can you expect?   What type of designs will you use?   How much time to have to invest in learning the machine?  Once you’ve answered those questions,  the goal is a decision that leaves you pleased with the outcome rather than filled with regret.

Finding the Right Machine for You – Part 1

Note:  From time to time we like to feature guest posts from people who really know their stuff.   This post is written by Katie Wubben from Trouble Me Knot Embroidery.  Many of you may know Katie from her fabulous seminars at the DAX Shows.  Katie also sells Melco embroidery machines,  and offers training on those machines, so she knows her stuff. You should definitely contact her if you are looking to purchase an embroidery machine. 

Part 1 of this series deals with the intangibles,  price, training etc,  that need to be considered when buying a machine. 

It’s a challenging concept to navigate when deciding, when, what and how you will start or add embroidery to your business.  Let me share some tips and tricks to make sure you get the right machine to fit your needs, style, budget and business.

Money Talks…

We all want to shop by price.   But that’s is not the first place to start the process.  The old saying “you get what you pay for” comes with some truth in most cases.  If you don’t get what you need and have limitations that don’t fit your business,  you’ll find yourself quickly wanting to upgrade.  This would require adding a machine or going through the process of selling the first one to get a second.  Then you have the learning curve of both machines rather than one straight from the gate.

Training…

Whether you’ve been in the embroidery business for decades or are just entering,  knowing if and what training is included with the purchase of your machine is critical.  Will you be on your own to figure things out,  or will you have to travel somewhere to get the training you need not only to run the machines smoothly,  but also to maintain the machine?  Some brands come with on-site training where the trainer comes to you and sets up your machines and trains you on your turf.  Will you need to hire a technician annually to go through the machine or will you have the tools and resources to self-maintain the machine? Beyond the machine, will you learn hooping techniques along with when to use what supplies?

Tech Support/Technicians…

Things will go wrong with any brand of machine.  It’s a mechanical device that has lots of moving parts with a human in control.   Things will happen.  When they do,  having someone that you can understand walk you through the diagnosis along with fixing it is an amazing service!  Be sure you now if tech support will come at an additional cost along with where the tech support is based.  I personally enjoy USA based tech support.   Knowing where technicians are located and what the cost to you will be should need to hire one is a critical piece of knowledge.  Maintaining your embroidery machine is just as important as changing the oil on your vehicle.   I like being able to do this myself,  but some would rather hire it done no matter the cost.   Just think about your situation and make a decision you’re comfortable with.

New vs. Used Machine..

Buying a used machine has advantages,  but be aware of what to look for and consider before making a purchase.   Ask what the stitch count is on the machine and how often it has been maintained.   I personally the best time to buy a used machine is when you have one you’re happy with and you need to add a second.  This allows you to have the background and training to run it well to know it should sound and look like.   This can be handy to avoid taking on a machine that you would otherwise not recognize the issues with.  You also will likely not receive training or tech support with a used machine not to mention the latest and greatest software on the market.   When that’s the case,  one can usually purchase these services at an additional cost.   Sometimes a seller will promise training with a used machine.  In that situation,  I recommend making a partial payment up front, and then pay the machine off once the training has been fulfilled.  Be sure to compare the price of the used machine to the new one you would purchase along with its capabilities.

On Wednesday,  in Part 2 of this series,  we’ll talk about the features an embroidery machine offers and how to decide what you need.

Understanding Sales Tax

Sales tax,  particularly in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in the case of South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc. can be a very confusing subject.   While it may be some time before that decision has an impact, understanding its potential effects could be useful for almost any business owner.  Until the full implications of the new ruling become apparent, a simple understanding of why sales tax is required and how it works can also be very helpful.

What is sales tax?

Sales tax is a retail point of purchase tax imposed by many states and cities and paid by a purchaser when a sale is made.  Some states and cities do not have a sales tax.  Most do.   Business owners,  by law,  are required to collect the sales tax and remit it to the proper organizations within the states and cities in which they are required to collect the tax.

How do you know if you’re required to collect sales tax in a particular state?

Currently, businesses are required to collect sales tax on all orders coming from states where they have a physical presence,  an office,  a factory etc.  For EnMart, for instance, that means we are currently required to charge sales tax in Michigan, Georgia, Nevada, California, Illinois and New Jersey.  With the advent of South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc. this requirement may change or expand.

What do you do with the tax once it’s collected?

Those requirements will vary by state.   Some states require submission of sales tax payments every month.   Others may require a quarterly submission.   Check with your state and local tax collection authorities to find the schedules and forms for the states in which you have to pay tax.

Is there any way to be made exempt from paying sales tax?

The methods of sales tax exemption will vary by state. Many states offer the option of a sales tax exemption form or certificate which must be completed by the purchaser and submitted to each company from which they purchase.  Companies must have the completed form for each customer who is not being charged sales tax on file in order for the exemption to be legal. Links to the sales tax exemption forms for the six states in which EnMart charges sales tax are on our Policies page.

What if I send resale certificate or other tax paperwork? 

In order to make a purchaser exempt,  the seller must have the completed sales tax exemption form designated by the collecting state on file.  In the event of an audit,  those specific forms would need to be produced,  so no other forms will do.

So,  once the completed form is on file,  I’m exempt?

Most e-commerce software programs now have an option to set customer account status to exempt them from sales tax.   So,  in general, yes,  once the completed form is on file,  your account should then be set to exempt status and no sales tax will be charged.

5 Tips for Better Communication With Customers

I tend to do a lot of my communicating via e-mail.  Yes,  part of that is because I’m not overly fond of talking on the phone,  but a bigger part of the reason why I resort to e-mail is because I want to have a record of what was said.  E-mail is something that can be referred back to later when I’m told,  once again,  that I never said what I actually did say.

If I had to make a guess,  I’d estimate that at least 75% of issues that occur with customers occur because someone in the conversation wasn’t listening.  Maybe the person who took the order was in a hurry.  Maybe the customer was in a bad mood and just wanted to place their order and be done with it.  Perhaps the customer wants what they want,  and what they don’t want is to take no for an answer.   There are a lot of reasons why communications can fail,  but part of your job as a decorator is to make sure they don’t.  Here are some tips to help you achieve that goal.

Tip #1: Listen – A recommendation to listen sounds basic,  and it is,  but it’s also something a lot of us don’t do well.   People tend to equate listening with being silent and not talking,  but that’s not always true.   Real listening means giving your attention to the person speaking, and not being distracted by your phone or the paperwork on your desk or the employee you can see goofing off in the next room.   Real listening requires focus,  which isn’t always an easy thing to accomplish.

Tip #2: Get It In Writing – Verbal communication is often vital in forming relationships,  but it can also be detrimental when it comes to a business collaboration.  When you’re discussing an order,  there’s often a lot of boxes that need to be checked to be sure both sides understand what’s expected. Putting things in writing,  either by using an order form, or by sending an e-mail summing up what was discussed,  helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding what was agreed.

Tip 3: Question – Often times customers won’t know exactly what they want and it will be your job to help them figure that out.   One of the best ways to do that is by asking questions.   Make sure your questions are specific and build on the answers you’ve gotten previously.   The goal behind your questions is to help your customer refine their request and hopefully eventually arrive at an understanding of what it is they want and what it is you can do for them.

Tip 4: Educate – While customers often don’t know exactly what they want,  they’re equally unlikely to understand exactly what it is you can do.   Part of your job is to teach them what is and isn’t possible when it comes to the decoration techniques you offer.   Some businesses do this by having a sample book or a sample wall.   Others will simply explain,  on a case by case basis,  why what the customer wants is or isn’t possible.  Some companies create Pinterest boards to showcase work they’ve done in the past and to help potential customers generate ideas.   The method used isn’t really important,  the goal is simply to help the customer understand what can and can’t be done.

Tip 5: Be Positive – We’ve all had the day when the phone has been ringing off the hook and everyone seems to be in a bad mood and we just want everyone to go away and leave us alone.  On a day like that,  it’s easy to answer the phone with a snarl,  or to be short with a customer who wants to discuss an order,  but that’s exactly what you need to avoid.  Work to keep every interaction you have with a customer positive,  be attentive and smile,  and give the impression you have all the time in the world for whatever customer interaction needs to occur.   At the bottom of it all,  customers are the people that keep all our businesses going, so they deserve our A game every time they interact with us.

Essential Stock for an Embroidery Shop

Every year,  when we do trade shows,  we always meet some newbies,  people who are just starting out and looking for advice. Often,  they’re swimming in a sea of possible equipment and supplies and mystified about what they need and what could be useful. For those starting out,  or for those who are looking to get their shop equipped with the basics,  we present this embroidery starter kit list.   This list details the items we think a well stocked shop should have.   For the purposes of this list,  I will provide the name of the product and a brief description of the reason we believe it’s an essential item.  The aim of the list is to help those who are stocking their shops get the basic items they need to do almost any embroidery job.

The List

Thread – We sell Iris UltraBrite Polyester Machine Embroidery Thread  and recommend stocking at least your core colors in large cones.   Your core colors are the colors you use regularly,  the ones you replace most often.  For most shops that’s generally between ten to twenty colors.

Stabilizer – Yes,  a shop can get by with just one type of backing,  a lot of shops do that successfully.   We recommend,  however,  taking advantage of the specialty backing options that are available.  Here’s what, in our opinion,  a well stocked shop should have when it comes to stabilizer.

  • Cutaway – A medium weight cutaway will get you through almost any situation when cutaway backing is required.   Medium weight,  when it comes to stabilizer is generally considered to be 2.5 ounces.
  • Tearaway – Two types of tearaway will generally appear in a well stocked shop.  One would be a light weight tearaway suitable for use with shirts.  The other would be heavy weight tearaway that can be used with hats.
  • Poly Mesh – Yes,  this is a lightweight cutaway,  but it’s designed to be used with lighter weight fabrics and to hold a lot of stitches.   It can greatly improve the appearance of embroidery on flimsier fabrics.
  • Adhesive Backing – A must for the times when you want to embroider items that are hard to hoop.  Can also be useful to hold stretchy or slippery fabrics in place.  Adhesive on one side topped with release paper.
  • Water Soluble – This is a topping,  but a must have if you’re embroidering anything with a pile like towels or fleece blankets.   Used to stop stitches from sinking into the fabric.

Bobbins – For commercial embroidery machines bobbins generally come in L or M sizes.  Paper sided and MagnaGlide magnetic bobbins are two popular types.  Some people prefer magnetic bobbins because they say they hold tension better.  When purchasing bobbins,  don’t forget you’ll also need bobbin cases.  Plain works with magnetic bobbins,  a no backlash spring bobbin case is often great with paper sided bobbins.

NeedlesNeedles come in sizes from 65/9 (smallest) to 90/14 (largest).  Many people use a medium size needle,  a 75/11, for most jobs.  Keep in mind that needles also come in sharp and ballpoint options.   Sharps are for thicker fabrics.  Ballpoints are great for fabrics which are more delicate and which have fibers that could tear easily.

Accessories – There are a ton of accessories out there that can be purchased,  but these are the ones that we think every shop should have.

  • Thread Clips – For clipping jump stitches and making things look nice
  • Seam Ripper – Yes,  at some point you will need one. For ripping out stitches gone wrong.
  • Cleaning/Lint Brush – You’re doing your daily machine maintenance, right?
  • Machine oil – Really,  you’re keeping the machine cleaned and lubricated, right?

The main thing to remember,  when stocking your shop,  is that there are a lot of options out there.  Trial and error might be required to find out what options work best for you.   Don’t be afraid to ask for samples or advice.  We’re always happy to help.

Why It’s Fun

youth-active-jump-happy-40815Anyone who has had anything to do with running a business knows the pain of the days when nothing about the experience is fun.   Equipment breaks.   Supplies don’t arrive in time or arrive too soon.   The customer doesn’t like the artwork you produced.   The customer has ideas that aren’t really possible unless you had a time machine and an army of shirt decorating robots.  Your price is too high.   You turn time is too long.   Your employees don’t show up.   There’s a lot of reasons why having a business can be tough day to day.   So why do we do it?

There are a lot of reasons, but,  sometimes,  it’s just because of the days when it’s fun.

Because of the days when a blogger tries a string art kit you created and likes it.    Or the day when a crafting guru does a video demo of the new Color Your Own Mug Kit that is just perfect (and positive).   It could be the day when one of your many lovely Facebook friends, unprompted,  speaks up and recommends your company or your products to another who is asking for a recommendation.

Perhaps it’s the day when someone takes some products of yours and does something totally new and awesome with them.    Or you get a note or an e-mail in which you’re told that a product you carry inspired someone to do something they’d never tried before, and the result was better than they’d ever dreamed.   It’s definitely fun the day a you get to solve a problem;  recommending a product that helps someone out of a jam and makes their life easier.

Fun is always in the mix in when new products and possibilities arrive on the dock.   Maybe you come up with a kit that could help quilt shop owners sell remnants of fabric in a fun (and adorable) way.   Or perhaps you add some markers that extend the possibility and creativity of sublimation to a new customer base.    Maybe, one day, some cuddly rag dolls show up on your dock,  and suddenly there’s a whole new range of cute with which to play.    The almost best part,  when something new shows up,  is wondering what your amazing customers will do with these new products.   The best part is finding out.

It’s certainly a good day when you can solve a problem and help someone out.   Maybe you’re at a craft or trade show answering questions for someone who is just starting out.   Perhaps you share your knowledge and expertise in Facebook groups or on Twitter.  Maybe you write a blog, or two,  where you share knowledge and information gained from years of experience.   Some days it’s just taking a minute to encourage someone who is experiencing one of the tougher aspects of being in this industry.

So,  yeah,  running a business can be tough,  and there are days when you’re going to wonder why you’re doing it and if it’s worth it.   Those days aren’t the ones that matter though.   The days that will stick in your memory are those days  when everything goes well and you feel like you’ve done good work and made a difference.  That’s when it’s fun,  and worthwhile.

We’ve told you about some of the days when running EnMart has been fun,  but we’re more interested in hearing about your best days.   What has made running your business the most fun?   Share your answer in the comments.    We look forward to hearing what you have to say.

How To Apply for Wholesale Pricing from EnMart

Like many suppliers,  EnMart offers wholesale pricing to those customers that qualify.   In our case,  wholesale pricing is a percentage off the public price,  the price anyone can see if they came to our homepage and click the start shopping button.  The public prices are freely visible, and can be seen without logging in or creating an account.

Wholesale prices,  on the other hand,  can only be seen once a customer has applied for a wholesale account and been approved.  Once a customer has been approved,  wholesale prices are visible only if the shopper is logged in.  Otherwise all pricing will reflect the public price.   This keeps our wholesale prices private,  so that any of our customers who wish to resell any of our products will not have to worry about their customers seeing the prices at which the goods being sold were purchased.

The application process works as follows:

  1.  Go to the EnMart homepage.   On this page,  you’ll see four buttons.   The one on the far righthand side says, “I need a business log-in”.  Click that button.
  2. Once the button is clicked a form will appear.  There will also be a text box which explains the steps we had to take to get around our $25 minimum order requirement.  The upshot of the explanation in the box is that you will not be charged $25 for applying for a log-in.
  3. After you’ve read the explanation,  go ahead and fill out the form.  MAKE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR TAX I.D. NUMBER.  Applications for wholesale pricing without tax i.d. numbers will not be considered.
  4. Complete the form and click the “Submit Order” button when done.
  5. Once the form has been submitted,  we will review your information. During normal business hours,  most people are notified of approval or denial within an hour or less.   On weekends and after normal business hours,  approval and notification will take longer.
  6. After your account has been approved,  you must remember to log-in before shopping.  This will allow you to see wholesale prices.  If you shop and fill your cart without logging in,  you will not see wholesale pricing until you log-in at checkout.

NOTE:  You can also reach the wholesale account application form from any page by clicking the “Wholesale” button on the top menu.

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The Benefits of Crafting

We all know that crafting it trendy right now.   Whether it’s turning something that would be trash into something new and usable,  making wearables instead of buying them,  creating items to express your personality,  or just finding a fun activity for a rainy day,  creative arts involving quilting, embroidering and other sorts of thread or yarn crafts have never been more popular.    The great thing for those who do those activities, whether it’s for business or fun or a combination of the two,  is that crafting has been shown to have a lot of benefits beyond resulting in a beautiful finished project.

One big benefit of crafting is reducing stress.   The repetitive motions required by some crafting projects induce a state that’s almost like meditation.    Activities like knitting have been shown to help people with anxiety disorders cope with their anxiety issues.  Just taking the time to focus on a project and relax can have huge benefits when it comes to lessening stress levels.  Reduced stress leads to lower blood pressure,  better sleep,  a reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes and a greater quality of life.

Creating things,  whether it’s through using a craft kit or making your own design from scratch has also been shown to improve mental function and head off age-related mental decline.  Studies have shown that people who do activities, crafting among them,  that keep their minds active have a much better chance of avoiding problems like dementia, loss of memory or cerebral atrophy.  Crafting provides challenges to the brain and keeps the neural pathways stimulated.  One clinical trial showed that the benefits of activities like crafting can last up to 10 years.

Working on a crafting project also has mood elevating benefits,  and can help those who are dealing with depression.   Crafting stimulates the reward center in the human brain,  causing it to release dopamine,  a natural mood elevator.  There is pleasure in the process of creating and then pleasure in seeing the finished project displayed or worn.  Obviously,  crafting is not a substitute for therapy or medication if the problem is on-going,  but it can be a part of a concentrated program of treatment.   For those who are simply having a blue mood or a bad day,  crafting can help brighten things and provide focus and a sense of accomplishment.

Crafting also has a wide variety of social benefits.  People who quilt or knit or hand embroider often meeting in circles or guilds to share their work and offer tips and help to each other.  There are Facebook groups for things like quilting,  knitting and embroidery.  Local quilt shops or yarn shops often offer classes where crafters can meet others who enjoy the same activities.   Crafting also offer a way to be social to those who might be more introverted or uncomfortable in a social setting.   Doing a craft offers a point of commonality and an easy way to interact with others.

If you’re interested in gaining some of the benefits of crafting for yourself,  we can help.   Check out our Pinterest boards for craft tutorials and ideas for crafting projects.  For those who want a project they can complete in a few hours,  our Pretty Twisted Craft Kits are a great option.  Finally,  if you’re looking for supplies for machine embroideryhand embroidery or crochet,  you can find those on our site as well.

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How to: Order from EnMart

order-onlineIt occurred to me the other day that we put tools in place to make it easier for our customers to order and to take advantage of pricing levels and other incentives,  but what we think is easier might not appear the same way to those who are buying from us.   So,  I started looking at the site through the eyes of a customer,  and trying to figure out,  if I were new to the site,  what I could grasp easily and what might be harder to figure out.  Once I had my list,  I decided to put a blog post together,  to help those of you who buy from us get the most of your EnMart experience.

Wholesale Pricing:  Wholesale pricing is available to those businesses that have a tax i.d. number and who apply for a wholesale account.   If you do not apply and your account is not set up for wholesale pricing,  you will not see those prices nor receive them at checkout.  To apply for a business log-in,  you can click the “I Need A Business Log-in” button on the home page,  or click the “Wholesale” button in the top menu on any other page of the site.   You must submit your tax i.d. number to be considered for wholesale pricing.  Once your application is received,  it generally is approved quickly.   You will be notified by e-mail when your wholesale account is activated.   To see wholesale pricing,  make sure you log-in before you shop.

Pricing Levels: There are some products which only have one tier of pricing,  which is wholesale pricing.   Often this is because it is a product which wouldn’t interest the general public,  is one that can’t be seen by the general public,  or is a product that has an industry wide or manufacturer mandated price that we need to meet.  Things like thread,   backingblank patches and bobbins do have both public and wholesale pricing,  so having a wholesale log-in if you’re qualified for one is a good option.

Shipment Times: Our goal is always to ship every order as quickly as we can.  Most orders,  if they contain goods we can simply pull off a shelf will ship same day,  if placed before 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.  Things that need to be made,  like blank patches,  have longer lead times for shipping.  When there is a lead time,  it will be noted on the page for the item.   Order shipment speed may also be impacted by the volume of orders received.

Sales Tax: By law,  EnMart is required to charge sales tax in Michigan,  Illinois,  California,  Nevada,  Georgia and New Jersey.  When someone applies for a business log-in,  if they are in one of those states,  the approval e-mail will also contain an attached form,  which must be completed and submitted back to EnMart for an account to be made tax exempt.   If the form is not completed and on file,  we must charge sales tax.

If you ever have questions about anything pertaining to EnMart,  you can always feel free to contact us. We want your shopping experience with EnMart to be a good one,  so feel free to reach out if you need any assistance.

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How To: Vinyl and Rhinestones on a Cubbie

Please note:  The manufacturer of Cubbies does not recommend that Cubbies be used for anything except embroidery.   This was an experiment that an EnMart customer did that we wanted to share with you.

WeIMG_3897 have long maintained that Cubbies are about a lot more than just birth announcements and can be decorated in a variety of ways,  some of which don’t involve thread.  Today we’re going to prove that to you,  by featuring a Cream Dumble,  decorated by Brandi Womack of MommaWombatCreations.   This adorable little guy is decorated with both rhinestones and vinyl.  Best of all, Brandi provided us with some hints and tips on how you can create your own decorated Dumble or other Cubbie, using these materials.

The infinity heart was a design that Brandi created herself,  because she couldn’t find an existing design that she liked.  At first the heart and the infinity symbol were intended to both be vinyl,  but Brandi decided to add a little bling to the design by creating the infinity symbol from rhinestones instead.   Templates were created using a Silhouette Cameo.   Sticky flock with hotflex tape was used for the rhinestone template.  The vinyl is Siser Easyweed.  The vinyl was pressed to the ear using a heat press set at 310 degrees.  It only needed to be tacked in place, so it was only pressed for a few seconds.  The rhinestones required that the temperature on the heat press be bumped up to 325 degrees and required a press time of 25 seconds.

The other ear has a vinyl monogram featuring the initials of both Brandi and her husband.It was created offset in two layers.  It was pressed at 310 degrees to tack it into place and then pressed for a full 22 seconds to secure it to the Dumble.  Please keep in mind that pressing temperatures will vary based on the type of vinyl used for the project.

Finally,  Brandi added the jaunty bow around Mr. Dumble’s neck as the finishing touch.   The bow was created using ribbon and floral wire.   The first step was to fold the ribbon end over end and then twisting floral wire around the middle of the folded ribbon to hold the bundle together.  Then the ribbon was fluffed until it achieved the desired fullness.  After that,  a longer piece was cut to go around the Dumble’s neck,  using a noose like loop.   Additional floral wire secured the bow to the loop for the neck.  The wire was trimmed as short as it could be to match the length of the ribbons. Once the wire was trimmed,  the bow was slipped over the neck,  and the ends of the ribbon were trimmed to a length that suited the size of the Dumble.

This is a great design for an anniversary or wedding gift,  and would be a treasured memento for any couple.   It also goes to show that vinyl and rhinestones can be an elegant way to decorate a Cubbie.

To see more of Brandi Womack’s work,  visit MommaWombatCreations on Facebook.

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