October 4, 2012

Custom Packaging Adventure

I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS!

For those of you keeping score, yesterday I tried an adventure in how to make my own custom jewelry packaging. Namely because I had a bunch of beads I'd like to have go to good homes and decorate the ears of lovely people, and in making things, I simply DEMAND they have packaging.

Because secretly, I'm a packaging engineer. I get this weird satisfaction from making boxes, cards, folding things that serve a purpose to make products really pretty. It also came from my irritation at wandering through alleys, and seeing just.... awful packaging. Or none at all. It may seem frivolous, but I know when I put up all my products with my Crash Bang logo plastered all over them, I feel a little bit more... professional, you know?

Well my first try was a little special, but had promise...

Tilt your head to the right a little and squint, you'll be fine.

I liked the curved edges, but it folded funny, and I didn't have it lined up at all, and I thought the holes for the earrings were a little bit too close together. Specially for the larger earrings.

So I started all over again. I booted up Illustrator, and started to go to town on a new design. I realized I should probably have my name on it, as well as realizing that people might not associate Crash Bang Labs with Pretty Jewelry. Taking this in mind, I decided to label all the Crash Bang jewelry as "Crash Bang Laboratory: Boutique". I added a striped background to make it more like a delightful candy shop (and I love stripes).

I have used these plastic sheets for far longer than I probably should...

Printed off a few copies onto nice bristol board, and then broke out my Cricut machine. I happen to have a program called "Sure Cuts A Lot 2" (SCAL2), which is made by Craft Edge. It's a computer program that you can use your own fonts, and if you are adept enough load your own vectors into it and cut out those shapes. (This is how I make my Pokemon badge inserts without destroying my hand anymore)

You can see how something like this would be useful to someone such as myself, who now ADORES Illustrator.

**It is wise to note they no longer have a version of this program that is compatible with Cricut machines, but they work with all sorts of other machines. Everybody be sad now.

After a little bit of tweaking, and one test sheet, I was ready to start cutting out all my shapes. For those curious, Cricut machines use these sticky plastic sheets as a cutting mat. Which is great, until you make 100 Pokemon badge inserts, and the stickiness kinda starts to wear down. I refresh it now and again with some light spray glue, but I find I still need to hold down things like smooth bristol board with blue tape.

In SCAL2, you can tell it how many times you want it to cut and how fast, etc, but I have to set the pressure manually. I have mine set to the maximum so I get all the holes in correctly. I'm also using just a regular blade instead of say, a deep-cut blade.

Action shot! It's also the most nerve-wracking part.
Once an entire sheet is cut out, I unload the paper. Carefully bending the sheet, a piece comes out!

I made that bracelet too!

A gentle folding job, and it creates the jewelry card (this one stands up on it's own, or can be placed into plastic packaging too).

It can stand on it's own! It's also double sided.

In a short period of time, I had a good healthy stack of these:

And that's pretty much it! My packaging attempt was a huge success, and I'm super happy I was finally able to figure out the offset between the SCAL2 program and my Cricut board. It's been bothering me for a little while. 

So here's one last view of the final product:

So now it's off to making more badges, and getting these lovely pieces of jewelry photographed and put up on the Etsy store.

Oh, I did have ONE other thing to try, and the first test was VERY successful...


Well, okay. Right now these are just pieces of paper cut out, the sticker test is next where I see if my deepcut blade will go through the sticker paper or not.


  1. ~drools all over her screen~ I love the new packaging. I'm having packaging envy! I'm thinking also gadget envy. I totally understand why your work looks so loverly!

  2. I am definitely bookmarking this website and sharing it with my acquaintances. You will be getting plenty of visitors to your website from me!

    Jewelry Packaging