Sunday, October 24, 2010

New and Improved Totes Sport Fresh Coats for Fall

Large Green Goddess Tote
Last summer, when I stopped doing craft shows, I decided that I wanted to put more time into making better stuff. Better as in more interesting, more challenging, and more creative. But also as in improved quality. Not that there's anything wrong with the way I currently do things, or that anything I make is defective (just needed to get that disclaimer out there). Nevertheless, there's always room for improvement.
A few months ago I got curious about acrylic sealer. I've always heat sealed the paint on my totes by ironing the opposite side of the canvas (as directed by the labels on the paint I use). This has always been an effective method of "setting" the paint. Still, I wondered if I could be doing more. So, I bought some sealer (they keep it under lock and key at Michaels) and applied a nice coat to my personal Large Green Goddess Tote. Now, the stuff is highly toxic (not to mention smelly) when it's wet, so I had some reservations, even though I covered my face. But the finish was beautiful. Clear and matte, it lent a truly professional quality to the artwork. Even though the Large Green Goddess Tote isn't a favorite of mine in terms of design, I found myself using it often just so I could ooh and ah over its slick surface.
Even so, I didn't start adding the acrylic sealer step to my bag creating repertoire. I was daunted by the task of sealing dozens of bags at once, and not a little spooked by the toxicity factor. (To reiterate, the sealer is toxic only when I'm spraying it, not once it's dry.) So I temporarily shelved the idea, letting it marinate.
Now I've decided that the time has come to go ahead and do it already. But I plan to seal the bags only as I sell them. This way I'll be spraying only one or two bags every so often instead of a whole bunch at once. This means investing in a more heavy-duty face mask, probably from a place where they mean business, like Home Depot. Adding the sealer also means updating each and every one of my Etsy listings to inform shoppers of the totes' new and improved wonderfulness. People are always asking me about the bags' durability, so I think knowing that I use acrylic sealer in addition to heat sealing will be the answer they're looking for.

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