Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Character Papers

Bulmer Fishing
I thought it may be a good idea to write a little about our Character Papers because they are slightly at odds with the way we set up the site originally.

We developed the site to provide a basic library of free papers which could be used by both Card Makers and Scrap Bookers. These were all going to be general papers covering a wide variety of topics; sports, recreation, hobbies etc. Basically anything which would be useful for making cards or Scrap Booking Layouts.

Now the Character based papers move us slightly away from these original aims. We found that many people like to make cards with Disney Characters, Winnie the Pooh, Simpsons etc etc but the in many instances this breaches copyright. Even when you buy the official papers they often put restrictions on what you can do with them.  Although our images aren't copyright free we are more than happy for people to make hand crafted items with them, either for personal use or for sale.

Bea Fairy
So we are trying to build up a portfolio of characters which we can then put in different situations, all relevant to paper crafters. So far we have Brewster our oldest character who so far has 11 sets of papers to his name, Beatrice, the fairy with attitude,  2 sets of papers and Bulmer, the slightly grumpy Gnome who has just has his first set of papers. We intend to develop at least three more characters and then to concentrate on establishing these within the paper crafting community.

Although we have enough "situations" for the Characters we have to last well into 2012 we always welcome new ideas for things they can be doing.

In the meantime look out for a very special set of papers coming very soon which will feature all 3 of the current characters.

Brewster Bowling Brewster Cricket
Brewster Newspaper Brewster Singer

Friday, 4 November 2011

New Gallery on Free Craft Downloads

Well I really didn't enjoy the last two weeks. For those who haven't heard the main gallery area, which hold our free papers for downloading, corrupted. It didn't go all at one, it went bit by bit, gradually getting worse and worse. We tried uploading a backup copy of the database we had but unfortunately it didn't stop the rot :-(

So in the end we took the decision to upgrade the Gallery to a new, and hopefully better version. It was something we had planned to do at some stage anyway, when time allowed. Just not yet. Unfortunately half way through copying stuff over from the old system to the new one the old one died bringing down not only Free Craft Downloads, but many of our other sites as well (Free Craft Stuff,, Craft Clip Art, Craft Bargains etc etc.  So we were forced to close the old gallery early  and then work as quickly as we could to move over the remaining papers. Even as I type this several days later, there is another computer over in the corner slowly moving the papers. We are on the last stretch now, having reached the Valentine Paper we should only have a few thousand left to do! That will be over 50,000 images moved from one Gallery to the other. All we will need to do then is go though each section and ensure the description etc is OK.

Ever cloud has a silver lining as they say and this one certainly has. The new Gallery is much better than the old one mainly because it is simpler. Now, one you reach an individual image, you will find both Print and Download Buttons  on the top right of the Gallery. This means there is now longer any need to load the largest version of the image although you may still do so if you so wish :-). The thumbnails are now larger and the whiole thing just works quicker!

We hope you like the new gallery as much as we do. Hopefully that's the end of all the excitement for us for a while.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Beatrice: The Fairy with Attitude

Hopefully, by now, many of you  will have come across our new character "Beatrice" The fairy with attitude". We've spent a fair bit of time this week launching her first set of papers. This set contained just about everything we could think of, Decoupage, Frames, Pyramid paper, backing papers, inserts, even a Cross Stitch Chart and digital stamps. All free to download of course. The only thing we have left to do it a set of scrap-booking papers.

This is the 2nd character in our "family", Brewster being the first. They will soon be joined by two more who are already under development.

We've been asked a few times why we have developed our own characters rather than using  ones which already exist. Well there are a few reason:

  • Just about every character which already exists is covered by copyright, it would cost us more to use an existing character than it does to work with an artist to develop our own.
  • People identify a character, or set of characters with a particular company. We want people to identify these characters with Free Craft Downloads.
  • Even if you pay the license to use an existing character there are lots of restrictions as to what you can do with them. e.g. if we paid to use an image of Winnie the Pooh we still wouldn't be allowed to show him propped up against a bar with a pint in one hand and cigar in the other!  As these are our own character we'll be able to do what we want with them.
  • We may choose, at some point in the future, to let other crafters have ago at developing some papers using our characters. You can't do that unless you control the copyright.
So these are some of the reason we choose to develop our own characters.

At the moment we are running a competition which will run until the end of October. We are asking for people to suggestions ideas/situations for a set of Beatrice papers. The original idea was to pick a winner, make their idea into a set of papers and give them a prize. Having seen to quality of the suggests which have already coming in it looks as if we will be awarding several prizes and making quite a few sets of papers!

Finally we thought you might like to see the early sketches for Bea. It will give you an idea of how rhe character was developed and just how talented the artist we work with is!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

B****** Ebay Sellers

Not one but 2 Ebay sellers are putting my papers on disc and selling them. Not only my papers but papers by Lilac Garden, Monica and some commercial ones as well. Now I know that in the case of the 1st 3 we give our papers away for free but, as my copyright page makes clear, this doesn't mean they are copyright free. Just about all the work on my site I have done myself (other the bits which are public domain or I have specially commission and paid for) so what makes someone else the right to just download it and sell it on a disc.

I have just bought two discs from one of the sellers and I have to say it is pretty poor quality, in fact some of the images seem to be thumbnails so they can't actually be used for anything worthwhile. I'm going to very very nice (at first) and just email the two copyright thieves but if they don't agree to stop then I can see it getting very expensive for both of us. I know I can get the individual discs taken down by Ebay BUT I can't check every disc they list to see if it's got my papers on it!

Anyway I shall let you know how the email goes... in the meantime if you buy a disc and find it has my (or other designers ) stuff on it please let me (or the designer) know. I do not sell my designs on disc (except the odd bits I did for the Craft4Charity disc a couple of years ago) and I haven't given anyone else permission to use my designs in this way.

  1. Report such people to Ebay.
  2. Leave them negative Feedback
  3. Demand your money back either from them or PayPal (do NOT return the disc, tell them it has been binned)

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Backing Paper Builder

If you want to use our Backing Paper Builder on your site or blog all you need to do is put this code on a page or post.

<iframe border="0" height="900" src="" width="470">&amp;amp;lt;p&amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;amp;lt;br /&amp;amp;amp;gt;If you can see this, your browser doesn'understand IFRAME.  However, we'll still &amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=""&amp;amp;amp;gt; link you to the file. &amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;gt;</iframe> 
If you are doing it on something like blogger you will need to paste it into the "html" version of the editor.

p.s. If you do use this on your blog or site please do let me know... just for me own interest. If enough people are interested in this then we may do the same with the tile maker.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Free Christmas Downloads

Honestly it just doesn't seem right, last week I was set on my computer, just approaching Aug Bank Holiday weekend, sorting out Christmas papers to add to the site. I realise that card makers like to start their Christmas Cards early but it still just doesn't seem right. The shops and the shopping channels on TV seem to be pushing us to start Christmas earlier and earlier.

Well anyway Free Craft Downloads has started uploading its Christmas downloads for this year. So far we have decoupage, pyramid sheets, backing papers, word strips and lots more, all with a Christmas theme.  We already have a great selection of free Christmas downloads for card makers and scrapbookers and have been thinking of rearranging them for sometime. Here's a list of the main stuff available at the moment:

(since writing this page we have set up a list of Free Christmas Papers available on the site. You can Find it HERE . It lists 1000s of sheets which are now available))

Backing Papers, Inserts, borders and Tags

     Christmas Papers 1
     Christmas Papers 2
     Christmas Papers 3
     Christmas Wording Papers
     Father Christmas
     Merry Christmas

Decoupage and Pyramid

      Christmas Decoupage
      Christmas New Decoupage
      Christmas New Decoupage 2
      Christmas 2011 Decoupage
      Teen Christmas


      Christmas Templates

Christmas Frames

      Christmas Frames

Special Papers

      Brewster with Card

Cross Stitch

      Christmas Candles
      Father Christmas 1
      Father Christmas 2

You can make your own personalised backing papers by using our online Backing Paper Builder(There are some Christmas Backgrounds on this if you choose "template" rather than solid colour as the background )

Other Sites with Free Christmas Craft Downloads can be found on Free Craft Stuff:- Christmas

We will be adding more Christmas stuff over the coming weeks so make sure you are a member of our email list if you wish to be kept up-to-date.




Free Craft - Details -

Free Craft - Details -

This is just a test for the Social Buttons

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Childrens Glass Painting Project.

This is the first Glass Painting Project I have done which is specifically geared towards children. Not that it can't be used by adults as well. I was thinking of doing another example myself to show that the same technique can be used by adult to produce quite high quality work and may still when time allows.

I still don't feel that these thick waterbased paints give the same standard of finish as a flowing paint, solvent or waterbased, but then again it is very difficult to use a flowing paint on a curved surface. What will help is when I find another glass painting film which would let me paint flat the move it to a window  etc, haven't found a good one since Rainbow Glass closed down :-(

Anyway back to the Childrens project. It features "Luke" doing most of the painting. I did the outlining for him although he does have a go at outlining now-a-days, and it is getting a lot better, I did it mostly for speed. He's made the little candle holder as an end of term present for his t4eacher so hopefully she'll like it.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Glass Painted Vase

I realise I haven't really mentioned our Glass Painting site on here very often. About 7 years ago Glass Painting went through a very popular period. It has diminished since but still remains a fairly popular craft in the UK, USA, India and quite a few Middle Eastern Countries.

This is a hobbyist type of glass painting. The paints aren't fired but you can still get some amazing effect and paint everything from a small candle holder right up to a full window or door. Here is the video which we did for one Glass Painting Project, a Dolphin Vase. You will find lots more projects, together with guides, product reviews, how tos etc on our site

Selling My Crafts

One thing I often get quizzed about by site  members etc. is about how they can sell their finished crafts. Whilst some people are content just to make crafts to give to their families and friends other like to sell them.

  • Some people like to sell them just to cover the costs of their materials
  • Some people sell them to raise funds for charity.
  • Some people like to do at as a part-time of even full time job.
So how easy is it to sell your crafts.

Well obviously it will depend partly on what sort of crafts you make. Whilst some crafts sell in quite large volumes, crafts such as greetings cards and jewellery for which there is a large market, there is equally a lot of competition as many people do those crafts themselves.


Your USP is your Unique Selling Point... whist for some items the mere fact they are handmade can be its USP, in a crowded market you are going to need more. The fact a greeting card is handmade isn't much of a USP when 1,000 of other people are also selling handmade cards. However is you were making handmade rocking horses, that would be a different matter.

So if you are selling cards or jewellery or some other popular craft then you are going to have to have something which makes your items stand out as unique.

Where Do I sell?

The Internet? Well the are certainly loads of people setting up sites to sell their hand crafted goods on line. How successful they are being is doubtful Again it will depend on what sort of craft you are making and what sort of "off line" following you have.

Again those making common crafts can't expect a large amount of custom from the search engines, there are just too many competing and joining an already saturated market. Those crafters should see their websites as an online brochure, away to service their off line customers and attract repeat custom.

Those selling more unique and expensive crafts can hope to see at least some search engine traffic.

Craft Fairs. Obviously a common way for people to sell crafts and the more common crafts are much more likely to sell at least a few items. Whereas a customer may not go online specifically to buy a birthday card, it may be a spontaneous purchase at a Craft Fair.

Friends and House Parties. This is the way which many people start off, they sell to friends and then friends of friends. Organising a small "event" in their own home where they can invite people to come round and view the items. Selling at church, school or other types of community group.

That was obviously only a really quick run down and I'll look at each of these methods in more detail in future posts!

Friday, 11 March 2011

Newsletter Video

We have been working hard on our newsletter over the last couple of weeks. Firstly we have made it an "online" newsletter this gives us much more scope for showing off all the free papers and linking directly to the downloads. Crafters are on the whole, very "visual people" and we wanted to give more images without clogging up peoples email.

It has also enabled us to do our first Video Newsletter. Again we think a lot of people will prefer to get the information this way. It will also enable us to show people how to do different things on the site. We will include some other information in these videos including info on craft shows and other craft related news.

There is no doubt that the Internet is more and more becoming the place to see information presented in this manor and the quality has increased greatly over the last two years. Try this with the video above. When it starts playing you will see a number (normally 360) on the bottom bar. If you have a fairly fast connection click on this number and change it to HD quality. Then use the botton on the bottom right of the video to view it full page, the quality is really good (if you have a slower connection then you can do the same but after you have changed it to full screen then pause it for a while to give the video a chance to buffer).

I hope you like this video, it includes information on 3 sets of free papers (Cheer Leading, Football and some Easter Decoupage featuring Brewster) as well as giving you glimpses of and

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Brewster Cricket Papers and More

As those who have signed up to our paper crafts newsletter will know (and readers of out Facebook Page) this week  Brewster has taken up Cricket, luckily just in time for the Cricket world cup. This time there is a score board which allows you to personalise the papers to meet your exact requirements, we have even thrown in some numbers and the words "Not Out" and "Retired" to help with those special greetings cards.

Each time we do a set of Brewster Papers we try and give you some way of adding a "Personal Touch" to the papers. When he was a teacher there was a blackboard, when he was a newspapers vendor we added an "Aboard", the Sheriff had a wanted poster by him and at Christmas he was carrying a huge Christmas Card.

If you have any ideas what you would like to see Brewster doing next, or in the near future please do let us know either by adding a comment here or by emailing us, we would love to hear your ideas. Remember it would be good if there was something about the design which could be personalised. Obviously we can promise to make every suggestion but those which would appeal to lots of people will stand a good chance. We may even see if we can reward those whose suggestions we use :-)

Monday, 10 January 2011

Free Craft Downloads:- Paid Membership

We've put off having paid membership for a long time, after all, it's pointless having a site called "Free Craft Downloads" if you are going to charge people! The other thing is we actually enjoy doing it and somehow it seems wrong to charge for something you are doing because you enjoy it.

Unfortunately the costs of running the site are going up and up and every few months we go through a situation where things get remarkably "tight" and stressful just trying to get the money to pay for the server etc.

So here is what we've decided.

Everything which is in place at the moment will stay the same, all the papers will still be free to download and we will continue to produce the free papers on a weekly basis.

The Paid Membership of the site will be something completely new and everything in it will be "in addition" to the content we already have.

Paid Membership will include the following benefits:
  • The ability to download each weeks sets of papers as a zipped file rather than individual papers.
  • Access to zipped files of past sets which includes 10,000s of papers (we will eventually make ALL past sets available as zipped files)
  • Unique Premium sets which will only be made available to paid members.
  • If that all isn't enough there will be a very special sign up bonus which will be worth more than the sign up cost in its own right!
We will be working very hard to ensure that paid member receive the best value for money possible whilst  not decreasing what is on offer for the normal web site visitor. By doing this we hope that everyone will be happy.

If you have any comments or further suggestions we'd be very happy to hear them.