Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Card Making Days

On Free Craft Downloads we are eager to build up a list of Card Making Days to compliment our Free Craft making downloads. We tend to remember the days we celebrate but sometimes forget the days which others celebrate but we don't.

With many crafters taking part in international forums we now often have friends who celebrate "days" which aren't part of our own customers.... July 4th in the USA,  Australia Day, Chinese New Years to just name a few.

Even some of the common days have different dates, Mother Day may not be celebrated on the same date in the UK as it is in Canada (wouldn't know without looking it up). Add to these some days which haven't quite "made it" into our calendars... Grandparents Day for example, how many people could say when that falls this year even in their own country!

So if you have any dates which you think we ought to add and may have forgotten please either leave a comment with this post, in the Free Craft Downloads forum or even email us. We will be asking on several of our forums, our Facebook page etc and then in a few weeks time we will be putting all this information together to hopefully make the definitive Card Makers Dates list.

We will try our best to make this available as a download so you will be able to save it and keep it for continual reference.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Craft Shopping Television

I know I've talked about Shopping Telly before on several websites. At least three of the Channels, QVC, Ideal Word Shopping and Create and Craft (another part of Ideal World) are of interest to crafters as they sell large amounts of craft goods, particulaly paper crafts like card making and scrap booking.

Last time I mentioned the "problems" with the shopping channels mainly

  • High prices and postage
  • Narrow Range of Crafts 
  • Demonstrations and demonstrators continually interrupted
  • Continual Hard Selling
  • Low quality goods

Tuesday, 14 December 2010


Well we've been getting on with the new site as mentioned the other week. The site is meant both for those crafters who are new to the computer and those who would like to increase their knowledge a bit. The initial topics covered include:
  • Creating a website / blog
  • Shopping on the Internet
  • Images and Sizes / DPI
  • Making Your Own Decoupage Sheets
  • Making your own Pyramid Papers
  • Keeping Your Computer Safe
This and more is on the site right now plus we will adding more weekly. There is a newsletter to join if you would like to be kept up-to-date with new articles.

You don't have to join the site just to read the articles but you will have to if you want to make any comments. If you have any thing you would like covered on the site and it is related to computing/crafting then just contact us through a message here, in the Free Craft Downloads Forum or by using that contact us form on www.freecraftdownloads.co.uk (We will add a contact form to Computing4Crafters Shortly).

We have now closed Computing4Crafters and amalgamated all the info onto Craftville.com

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Themes For Home Made Greetings Cards. Part III Adults

For many adult you will have a clear idea of what theme you should use for them.  Often topics like computing, gardening, sport, flowers etc will cover the job. Unfortunately there are times when you have no idea of what type of Birthday card someone would like. Luckily Free Craft Downloads can cover you here... you're making a Birthday Card so hopefully you know their Birth date and there for you can use either the Birth Sign papers or the Brith stone ones, maybe you could combine both into one card.

For the Birth Signs we have both backing papers and decoupage covering each of the sun signs... if you aren't sure which one is relevant then the Useful Information section has them listed for you together with the Birth Stones.

In the Birth Stones we cover 6 at the moment and will be adding the other six other the next few months.

At least with these if you need to make a last minuet card for  friend or relative then you will be able to download the free papers and decoupage and make something relatively quickly.


Decoupage Sheets
Zodiac Decoupage

Backing Papers, Inserts and Tags
Birth Signs

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Craft Forums and others

Many of us are members of forums, in fact I must be a member over over 20. not all of the are craft forums, many deal with the software I use to run the site and others are for Webmasters and cover things like site promotion and development.

I've noticed something different about the craft related ones, on the whole they're a lot more sociable than other types of forums which I'm a member of.  There's a lot more general chatting going on which is really nice.

Of the forum I'm a member of it's obviously my own which I visit most often and which I enjoy the most.

Free Craft Downloads Forum is the one I use most. Lots of great areas, a lot of general chat but also sections where crafts can be discuss, mostly paper crafts.

The Forum with no Name is very similar. It used to be "Alan and Barrys Crafts" forum but when that company closed it was rescued so it wasn't lost to the members.

Other Popular Craft Forums include:

More specilised Craft forums would include the like of:

There are lots of other Craft related forums... many the popular craft designers also have forum including FeeJ Designs and Joanna Sheen.

All of these are nice forums where you can meet and chat to other crafters.  may be best to have a nosey at a few until you find one which really suits you.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

UK Craft Fairs

OK, as some of you know we run a site called Craft Calendar. What you may not know is that we have been taking part in Craft Fairs in one way or another for over 15 years. We are very supportive of UK Craft Fairs and that's why we're asking for people to COMPLAIN!

  • More and more Crafters are arriving at Craft Fairs to find they are competing with "bought in" goods.
  • More and more visitors are attending them to find that on lots of the stands they aren't being offered handmade goods direct from the crafter.
  • More and more visitors are buying items which they think are "Craft" but after getting home finding labels on them which show they obviously aren't craft.

We believe strongly that UK craft fairs should be restricted to UK Crafters selling THEIR OWN goods. That the person behind the stand should be able to talk to you about how they made the item and even  accept a commission if necessary.

Why should crafters have to compete with bought in goods at an event which is advertised as a Craft Fair (OK if its advertised as a Craft and Gift Fair then you get what you pay for). Why should visitors be mislead about what they are buying. Why should they have to pay (in some cases) to see the same items which you can see in your local tat shop!

The same applies to some extent to Craft Material Shows. Why when I've paid to go into a Craft Material Show, which can be quite expensive at some of the larger venues, should I be presented with stands selling ironing board covers or hair grips! .... I'm NOT interested in them.... the organisers would have you believe that these stands are "spare" because no crafters wanted them... when the actual truth is more and more the smaller craft companies can't afford them because the organisers can get more money giving the space to a shoe polish company!

So we're asking you to complain. Support UK Crafts, they're having a tough time at the moment. If a Craft Fair isn't a Craft Fair or a Craft Material Show isn't a Craft Material Show then you have every right to complain about it being misrepresented.... maybe, eventually organisers will get the right idea.

p.s. there are a lot of good Craft Fair / Show organisers out there and this post obviously isn't aimed at them. Unfortunately they suffer as well when the UK public loose trust in the craft market! So, on the other side of the coin, if you attend a good craft fair, do make a point of finding the organiser and thank them.

p.p.s. All the photo in this article are real crafters!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Themes For Home Made Greetings Cards. Part II Older Children and Teens

Once again the free number card templates make a good standby for Birthday Cards especially for the "important" years, 16 and 18.

Teens are normally quite difficult to do any sort of card for but we did the "Cartoon" figures a while ago which went down really well so these have now been added to the main site. There are three sets: Older tennager (because they are drinking), Music, in which they have guitars and Football. Each of the 3 sets have decoupage, pyramid sheets, backing papers, inserts, tags and frames. In addition to this Street Dance has become popular lately, thanks to Britain's Got Talent and other shows like that so our papers with that on have also proved popular.

Finally Sports can also be popular with teenagers and our free papers include many from Karate through to Skateboarding, you will find these altogether in the new sport section.


Decoupage Sheets

Number Templates 1
Number Templates 2
Number Templates 3

Backing Papers, Inserts and Tags

Monday, 8 November 2010

Themes For Home Made Greetings Cards. Part I Infants and Toddlers

You would not believe how many emails and messages we get asking us to suggest a Card theme for "A Teenager" a "Six Year Old" my "Mother in Law" etc. etc. etc.

We thought we'd do a short series of posts giving some ideas, obviously drawing on the resources at Free Craft Downloads. When we first started Free Craft Downloads the idea was to build up a library of papers. Maybe not "great" papers but a library of free papers where crafters could go, even at the last minuet and hopefully find a papers to suit their needs.

Themes for Infants and Toddlers.

Firstly for young children,the card will be as much to amuse the parents as it will be the child. Card colours tend to be fairly stereotype(ish) with Pinkish for the girls and a range of Blues for the boys. Although there are a great number of  Cartoon Characters which you can use on these papers the old "Number" Theme remains popular and is a good choice if you aren't too sure of the Childs interests, Teddy Bears are also a good standby.. Free Craft Downloads has Nuber based Backing Papers, Inserts, Tags, Template and even a bit of decoupage. Using these together will help you make a suitable card for any aged child even at late notice.


Backing Paper, Inserts and Tags



Saturday, 6 November 2010

Brewster Design

I thought some of you might be interested in see how Brewster Developed. So here are a few of the early images.
I have been asked a few time "why" Brewster came about. Well most of our basic images come from either stuff we have made or public domain images which we alter to suit our needs. After three years of making Free Papers we though it would be nice to have a character who we could use in a range  or papers and in a wide variety of designs. So far with Brewster we have made Free Decoupage, Cross Stitch kits and Scrap booking layouts. He has been both a newspapers vendor and a teacher. Both of these situations were chosen as they gave scope for the designs to be personalised either on the A Board or the Blackboard.

Next week will see Brewster in a festive spirit and again will have scope for personalisation.

We would obviously like to add our than to our illustrator "Mike" for doing all the hard work on each original image and for being able to turn my garbled instructions in to something fantastic.....

Next Year Brewster will be picking up some friends and maybe even a love interest in time for Valentines Day... stay tuned for further news :-)

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Card Making and Colours

As is fairly normal, I was sitting making some of the free backing papers the other afternoon with the television on in the background, can't remember exactly which channel but it was one og the shopping telly craft shows so probably either QVC or Create and Craft.

Anyway my attention was suddenly drawn to what they were saying "These colours are so in this year" and "These are going to be next seasons colours". I was honestly going to turn over as I assumed the schedule had moved on to a cloths programme but no, it was still on a card making programme and this was then talking about a set of papers they were selling.

So is it just me or is it really stupid talking about card making papers in this way. I know there are some conventions, lots of reds and greens for Christmas papers, blacks and greys for sympathy ones and I do tend to do my Christening papers and Baby papers in pastel blues and pinks, but are is there really such a thing as "thins seasons colours (pastel green if I remember rightly in this case) or is it just another way of them getting us to buy yet another set of papers?

Friday, 29 October 2010

Computing 4 Crafters

I have been thinking for sometime about starting a new site (like I don't have enough to do already). It would combine my computing "skills" and my interest in Crafts. So the site is going to be called "Computing4Crafters".

On it I would like to do a series of tutorials, both written and video, which would show people how to making there own decoupage, there own backing sheets, cross stitch patterns etc, either using commercial computer software or some of the free software which is out there. Thinks I could quite like this idea. I've been using Paint Shop Pro and other graphics programmes for over 20 years so I think I have something to share especially when it comes to the area of crafts!

Any ideas about what people would like to see on a site like this would be most welcome.

Thursday, 28 October 2010


Brewster is our very own "mascot" and will be appearing in a series of papers this year. Mainly Decoupage but will hopefully be able to make some backing papers etc to go with these and we will also be using him in some Glass Painting and Cross Stitch designs.

So far we have seen Brewster as both a paper vendor and this week he was a teacher.

Both of these images were made available as decoupage sets and were mnade specially so you could add either one of our messages, or your own message to the A Frame or Blackboard. The next Brewster set will see him in a festive setting and again it will be made so there is space for your own personalised message to be added to the image!

As I sad before we will continue to produce Brewster papers over the next year. We will slowly be adding some friends and maybe even a bit of love interest for him in time for Valentines day. We would love to hear from you if you would like to suggest ideas for Brewster Papers. Obviously we can't guarentee that we will be able to make everyone but we will select the best (and most doable ideas to be turned into papers. If you'd like to make a suggestion just leave a comment here or email us at: admin@freecraftdownloads.co.uk.

If you would like to download the Free Brewster Papers we have release so far you will find them here: http://www.freecraftdownloads.co.uk/paper/v/test/brewster/

www.freecraftdownloads .COM

As you probably already know our main and busiest site is freecraftdownloads.co.uk. However we also own www.freecraftdownloads.com. For a couple of years it really hasn't been used properly, just showing a mirror of Free Craft Stuff but we finally got round to using it for something productive earlier this month.


Basically we are using it to develop new ideas on and practice web site building, formats etc but in doing so we hope to produce a site which many will find useful. If will have many of the same free papers on it that Free Craft Downloads does  but sorted in a completely different way. On free craft downloads (.com) they will mainly be filed in "Day" sets. So we have started with Christmas and Easter. Next we will be adding free New Year Papers and so on through the year. All the normal papers are there, decoupage, backing papers, inserts, glass painting designs etc but hope fully it will be easier to to find what you are looking for.

Please do take a look but remember it is a work in progress. Any comments will be gratefully received.

Loads of Free Craft Downloads

OK I've decided to create this blog so people can follow the work we are doing on our Free Craft Papers and other Free Stuff for crafters. Mainly it will follow the work on the following sites:


In addition to these we have a few "feeder" sites around which help generate traffic and / or are general craft directories such as www.craftlinks.co.uk and www.craftlinks.org.uk.

So the first question to answer is, why do we do it? Well it all started off as a bit of fun (the free sites) but I have to admit it has slowly dragged us in to become more serious. THe problem is the more visitors you get and the more papers you make, then the more server space and more powerful server you need. The more powerful server you have the more visitors you need to cover your cost and so on and so on.

At the moment we have a single (quite powerful) dedicated server for the main sites and a few shared servers for the smaller ones.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Publicity for Free Craft Downloads

"Can't give the stuff away" I think is the phrase people use.

Don't get me wrong, the members of Free Craft Downloads which we have are all very nice (not met a bad one yet!) and for a site which doesn't have an advertising budget we don't do too bad. According to Stat Counter we have an average of just over 1,200 unique visitors a day over the last 30 days, but in reality that must be a pin prick compared to the number of Crafters who would use our site if they knoew about it surely. All the crafters who do use it seem to love it and appreciate it but how do I get more to look at the free papers?

What I've done so far:
  1. Increased the range of free downloads to include Free Cross Stitch Patterns, free glass painting designs, free digi stamps, scrap booking layouts as well as the normal backing papers inserts, decoupage and tags.
  2. Opened a Facebook Group
  3. Joined various Craft Top 50, 100 lists
  4. Joined some Craft Banner exchange schemes
  5. Joined loads of "Craft Links" sites
  6. Spent a bit of money (not a lot because I don't have it) on google adwords and Facebook ads
  7. Swapped links with various Craft Related sites.
  8. Worked to ensure we are at the top or near the top in search engines for popular phrases like Free Decoupage Sheets and Free Craft Downloads.
  9. Appealed to members to invite their friends.
To be honest I'm running out of ideas... I have over 40,000 sheets to give away, add to them weekly, we have forum, a projects section a useful information section and much more... all I need is more people.......

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Craft Calendar

For those of you who have been wondering what I've been up to for the last couple of months (not many I know) I can now tell you that the answer is Craft Calendar

As the name suggests this is an Events" type site listing Craft Fairs, Craft Material Shows, Craft workshops and other craft related Events in the UK.

The site itself has a great interactive map which makes it really easy to find events in your area. You can also search within a date range, by City or by Region.

Events are being added on weekly bases so there is always new events to find on there.

Monday, 18 January 2010


Well I've completelyrevamped the glasspainting.co.uk website, new layout, new mailing list, new forum and even some new content.

The new content includes 3 new videos, a basic painting one, a new blending one and a glass painted portrait.

Not too sure about the last one. The videos a bit boring, just me glass painting speeded up! I'm not too sure about the result either. It's the first time I've tried this type of glass painting (without outliner) and I think I'll have to give it a few more tries. Next time I'll ensure all the colours are completely different as the dark brown I used was far too close too the balck. The blue I used should also have beeen a lot greyer!

Well if you don't try these things you never learn anything new! Would be interested to hear if anyone else gives this style of glass painting a go!