DIY Pull Tab Silly Circus Gift Wrap Tutorial. (Photo: Handmade Charlotte)
If you ever need some DIY inspiration (and who doesn’t from time to time?), the ridiculously addictive craft blog Handmade Charlotte is the place to go. With charming visuals and clever projects, the site will show you how do everything from making upcycled cardboard lanterns to freeing your inner flamingo. (Seriously, check it out!)
Site founder Rachel Faucett has been called one of the most influential Pinterest users by Business Insider, and she has branched out to design for brands like Anthropologie and Pottery Barn Kids.
Faucett sat down for an email interview with Yahoo Makers about how the site got started, her true superpower, the site’s most popular projects, and more.
She also explains how not to clean up after a DIY candle project. (Hint: her #craftfail story involves a fire extinguisher…)
Read on and we bet you’ll be dying to get your glue gun out before you finish!
(Text has been lightly edited for clarity.)
Yahoo Makers: When did you start DIYing? How did Handmade Charlotte come to life?
Handmade Charlotte: I’ve had a lifelong double cheeseburger love crush on “Making.” When I realized that I could give all of my crafty ideas away by turning them into DIYs, that’s when things got exciting.
My husband and I have five children. We clearly love kids and became completely obsessed with family-centric experiences and design. We opened an Etsy Shop where I sold baby bloomers. Jonathan named the line after our fourth child, Charlotte, because we seemed to exclusively dress her in handmade clothing. Handmade Charlotte was born! Anthropologie contacted us through our Etsy Shop, and we had the incredible opportunity to design a holiday capsule collection. Things sort of took off from there. We flipped the “on” switch and launched Handmade Charlotte the blog in 2010, and really enjoyed connecting with creatives from all over the world.
Then our super BFF Pinterest came along and started driving massive amounts of traffic to the projects we were producing. Babble.com, Martha Stewart, Better Homes & Gardens, Momtastic, DotComs For Moms — it seemed like every site on the Internet wanted us to contribute content to their super sites. Once the wave of publications took notice, along came the brands. We design, shoot, style, publish, and amplify advertisements for some of the largest companies on the world. Our network of super creatives has grown to over 50, and it all started out with the “Fortune Cookie Bloomer”! Handmade Charlotte is now a multidimensional digital leader that provides a suite of services for agencies, brands, and publishers that is delivered to millions of engaged readers and consumers each month. The adaptable media that our social production team generates secures more earned media consistently than any other publication in our vertical. Our clients include everyone from Energizer to Hershey’s to Target, and Handmade Charlotte has designed hundreds of craft products that can be found in Pottery Barn Kids, Michaels Stores, Jo-Ann Stores, A.C. Moore, Hobby Lobby, Paper Source, and more.
What’s your favorite trick or tip to foster creativity?
Brainstorming with highly aggressive thinkers that aren’t afraid to shout out the wrong answer. I’ll often invite musicians, chocolate makers, interior designers, banjo players — basically anyone with a confident, beautiful mind — to our farm. We bounce ideas back and fourth until we fall asleep and they have to go home. I thrive on interesting, ambitious, smart people.
What’s your advice to Makers and crafters who want to take their projects to the next level? Go pro, quit their day jobs, or become an Internet sensation?
Super Secret Top Notch Tactical Advice From A Novice Macaroni Necklace Maker Turned Social Media Mega Star (completely laughing my head off here of course) :) :)
Beach Bungalow Gift Wrap. (Photo: Handmade Charlotte)
Make really cool, sick, gross, amazing stuff, upload it to the Internet, and then tell your mom. She or someone that likes you a lot will tell a few friends, those guys will tell a few other awesome people. Ask for social media donations and pledges to propel your brand forward. Don’t underestimate the power of your friends and family’s network to launch your dream.
Can you tell us about a project that went horribly wrong?
Wax On But Not Down The Drain :)
The almost fatal crafting explosion (dramatized slightly for this article) occurred while ending my first ever candle-making experiment. The not-so-brilliant session of discovery had ended, and I poured the remaining melted wax down the sink of our newly renovated kitchen. An overflowing basin of waxy bits had me reaching for the nearest lighter.
Getting the wax back to a liquid state seemed obvious. Clearly I had forgotten that paraffin is extremely flammable and flicked the wheel of the lighter. The sink was immediately filled with flames and headed up the walls. By this point I’m completely freaking out! At that very second my husband walks around the corner and calmly puts the fire out as if expecting the disaster all along. The next weekend he built me a workbench in the garage, and I guess that was my first official studio!
What’s your favorite DIY tool? The one you can’t live without?
I’m a certified craft supply junkie and could never narrow down to just one. I would need at least the basics: paint, paper, scissors, pencils, pens, yarn and thread, needles of all kinds.
What’s your favorite easy Maker/craft/DIY project? How can readers learn how to do it?
Paper lanterns are so much fun to make and super easy. I’ve literally made hundreds of them! You can find the tutorial here.
What’s the most amazing project you’ve come across in, say, the last week? Can you give us the link and tell why it’s so awesome?
I’m a huge fan of Jodi Levine + Super Make It! You can always count her to create an innovative project with materials you can definitely track down.
Fish pops! (Photo: Super Make It)
What’s your biggest, best overall DIY tip?
What music/band/artist do you like to craft to?
Indie Rock from the ’90s. Pavement, Built To Spill, Archers Of Loaf, The Pixies, Superchunk, Ween, Modest Mouse, Flaming Lips, mixed with a little Jaco, Victor Wooten, Hank Williams Sr., and then pick it up again with a little Chipmunks soundtrack, maybe vintage Muppets, and skip to Jelly Roll Morton and then close with The Grateful Dead. My husband is our house DJ, and he spins records nightly!
DIY Animal Parade. (Photo: Handmade Charlotte)
If you were the star of a sitcom about a DIYer, what would it be called?
“Cosmic Twins Living A Unicorn Life.” I would put together a cast of several magical co-stars. We would all star and make amazing things and start a club with membership cards. Everyone would be invited to jump on the bus!
Do you ever craft with a cocktail in your hand? If yes, what is it?
I read “Crafting Under The Influence” by Amy Sedaris, and she tells readers to beware. And I’ll give the same advice. :)
If you had one superpower, what would it be?
If you won a million dollars, what is the first thing you would buy?
I would buy as many cows and goats as I could from Heifer International to give to the new generation of female farmers in Africa.
Merry Maker Stencil Dress. Photo: Handmade Charlotte)
What’s the most popular project you’ve featured on the site? Why do you think it grabbed your audience?
The Tye Dye Peace Cake is one of our best, with over 520,000-plus social shares and climbing. The innovative technique is really special. And everyone wants peace!
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned from running Handmade Charlotte?
I’ve learned so much, and still have a long way to go! I’m dying to blow glass, build a treehouse, paint my kids in shades of green, watercolor in water, dig an indigo pit, and on and on!!!
30 Minute Yarn Wig. (Photo: Handmade Charlotte)
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