Moving Announcement Challenge: Special Prize Winners

Moving to a new home is one of the most exciting events in someone’s life, whether it’s a newly married couple settling into their first apartment together, or a growing family moving into a bigger house. Minted customers love fresh, original moving announcements to notify family and friends about their new address. One in six Americans moves every year, and mailing a change-of-address card is a popular tradition. Moving announcements are a large and growing business for Minted, and we were “wowed!” with all of the creative and out-of-the-box designs! Congratulations to all the winners and runner-ups!

For the most out-of-the-box moving announcement 
Have Moved” by Qing Ji

Runners-Up: Where in the world” by Kristen Smith | “We Mooved” by Kissyfish
Scripted” by Bethany Anderson

For the best design incorporating one or more photos
New Nest” by Linda Alam

Runners-Up: love is key” by Leah Bisch | “A sweeter lot” by Pandercraft

For the best moving announcement showcasing a particular location
Gone South” by Lisa Cersovsky

Runners-Up: Back to Cali” by Erica Krystek | “Long Haul” by Ann Gardner
Flying from one airport to the next” by Kissyfish

For the best traditional, elegant moving announcement design
Beautiful Home” by Kimberly FitzSimons

Runners-Up: Sweet new home” by Laura Bolter Design | “Presidential” by Pad and Paper
Floral placard” by SunnyJuly

Click through to see more special prize winners from our invitation challenge

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DIY: Watercolor Cloth Napkins

By Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of Alice & Lois

Looking for a simple way to add a handmade touch to your next party? These hand-painted watercolor cloth napkins are an easy DIY project and will add a pretty splash of color to your next brunch or bridal shower. Bonus: The napkins can also double as take-home favors. All you need are a few supplies and you’re all set; I tied on sweet little “love” cards to use as napkin rings.

Click through for the full tutorial


Top tips for designing self-launch notebooks

Bold Statement Notebook by Sandra Picco Design

“No one can own too many notebooks,” says Minted artist Jennifer Pace, and we couldn’t agree more. That’s one of the reasons why we invite Design Challenge–winning artists to self-launch non-customizable notebooks in their Stores.

With self-launch notebooks, artists are able to easily create products with production options and construction that are ordinarily reserved only for those with access to specialized machinery. Self-launch notebooks come in three formats: day planners, address books, and notebooks, and customers have two binding options (spiral or grommet). Unlike Minted’s fully customizable products, notebooks only come with lined paper.

Overall, self-launch notebooks are similar to Minted’s other self-launch products, but the primary difference is that you upload four files per colorway—a front of the notebook, inside front cover, inside back cover, and back of the notebook.

With two successful notebook designs in Minted’s collection, Jennifer is eager to create a line of new self-launch notebook designs for her Store. Here, we share the Arizona artist’s design tips along with insights from Minted’s Product Development team.

Chalkboard Dreams Notebook and School’s In Notebook by Jennifer Pace | Photography by Rachel Solomon Photography

Jennifer starts the notebook design process like she does all of her projects—with a moodboard. She begins with one inspirational component, such as a color or photo. “That inspires the moodboard, and then I sketch multiple rounds of ideas,” she says. For example, for her School’s In notebook, she was inspired by retro illustration and colors.

Photos of Jennifer Pace by Rachel Solomon Photography

While it’s important to study what’s on trend in the stationery world, it’s equally important to find ways to flip the trends and put a new spin on them. “Minted customers love the variety of notebook designs, so make sure your concept stands out as unique,” she says. Ask yourself, Is there a specific niche that’s missing from the collection?

To generate fresh ideas, Jennifer recommends combining different forms of art with traditional design concepts. “Don’t be afraid to launch an idea—you never know what’s going to be the next big design,” she says.

Beyond selecting colorways, customers cannot personalize self-launch notebooks, so we recommend excluding fictional dates, names, and personal photos in designs. That said, non-custom design doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t be personalizable. For example, you may want to consider including elements that allow customers to pencil in their personal details via a book plate element or fill-in-the-blank start and end dates on the front inside cover.

Keep in mind that the product images show the front, inside front cover and back covers, so the inside artwork can be just as important as the outside.

As marked in these templates, some areas of the files will be obscured if a customer chooses a grommet-bound notebook. This is an option that will be available for all notebooks, so keep this in mind while creating your design.

Because self-launch products are not reviewed by the Minted Production Team, we suggest making your own test prints.

Ready to dive in? If you’ve won a Minted Design Challenge and therefore have created a Minted Store, log into your Minted artist account and navigate to your “My Projects” page. Then create a “Self-Launch Notebooks” project. Be sure to use these self-launch notebook templates.

Download our Notebook Self-launch Guide.pdf
The Self-Launch Process
Store Basics

What are your insights and advice about notebook design and self-launch products? Share your thoughts in Comments.

About the Author: Amy Schroeder, Minted’s Community Content Manager, founded Venus, the magazine about women in the arts and DIY culture, and has written for Etsy, West Elm, and NYLON. Connect with Amy on Instagram @thevenuslady.

Published July 30, 2015 | Learn how to become a Minted artist here.


DIY: Fabric Play Tent

Every kid loves a small space to call their own, which is why we created this easy-to-follow DIY play-tent tutorial. Let your child pick out a favorite fabric pattern and then stitch up this special little hideaway. Bonus: It’s collapsible, making it super easy to fold and store.

DIY: Fabric Play Tent
Measures approximately 33″ x 33″ inside (at the base) and 55″ tall (inside)

• Scissors
• Four 6′ x 1″ wooden dowels
• Four 1″ rubber feet (optional)
• Drill + drill bit wide enough for your chosen ribbon
• At least 4 yards of fabric
• Sewing machine and thread


1. Drill a hole through each of the dowels about 10″ from the top of the pole.

2. Cut out four triangles of fabric according to the dimensions in the provided pattern (above). It’s easiest to measure one triangle out and then use that as a template to trace the next three, as they end up being quite large. Be sure to choose a fabric pattern that’s the same right-side up and upside-down; otherwise, you will need to use more yardage of fabric.

3. After cutting out the four triangles, cut off the tops about 5 inches down from the tip.

4. Sew together the edges of the triangles to form a pyramid.

5. Choose which side you’d like to be the front. To create the tent opening, vertically cut up the middle about three-quarters of the way to the top. Next, snip a 1/2″ notch horizontally from both sides of the incision. Fold the fabric under about 1/2″ and hem (below).

6. Use a two-inch length of ribbon and either sew or glue the 1″ raw cut at the top of the tent opening (above).

7. Hem the bottom and top edges of the fabric panel about 1/2″.

8. Gather the dowels together and stand them up (it’s helpful to have another set of hands for this part) and thread the ribbon through the holes; tie a loose knot. Pull the fabric over the top and spread out the dowel legs as much as possible. Once the tent structure is standing, untie your knot and tightly wrap the ribbon around the dowels and tie it off.

More Fun Kids’ Ideas:
• DIY Felt Initial Banners
• DIY Summertime Lemonade Stand (with printables!)
• DIY Ribbon-Spool Spin Drums



Minted Artists Visit West Elm Stores to View Winning Work

For our third collaboration with West Elm, the home decor company selected 106 of their favorite Minted prints from more than 5,000 submissions. Now that the winning art is appearing in West Elm locations around the U.S., Minted artists are stopping by to see their work on display.

Here, four Minted artists share photographs of their work at West Elm locations, along with their thoughts about the experience.

West Elm in Denver, Colorado (Photos by Holly Royval)

Holly Royval of Denver, Colorado | “Fire Grass

“The original is only a 5” x 7,” so it’s really cool to see it blown up so much larger. West Elm is my favorite store, and the first West Elm + Minted collaboration is what made me aware of Minted and got me involved. To see my art hanging in the store is a dream come true.”

Monica Cheng of South Houston, Texas
Photo taken at West Elm in Dallas, Texas
Let Go and Soar” (orange balloon) | “Let Go and Hope” (blue balloon)

“When I received the announcement email, I scanned the winners’ list for my name, felt my heart leap, and then returned to changing a poopy diaper and putting my 2-year-old down for his nap. (Insert happy dance.) This pretty much sums up the overlapping worlds of a mommy artist, and I love it. It still feels pretty surreal and humbling to know my work is on display among those of beautifully talented artists. I feel super thankful for the opportunity that Minted has extended through this partnership.”

Hi Uan Kang Haaga of Washington, D.C.
Pink Moon” [ 1 ]  | “Blue Moon and Orange Sun” [ 4 ]  |  “Moonlight Rain”  [ 6 ]

“My husband and I took our three kids to the store on a Sunday afternoon, and the kids loved jumping around on the furniture and kept asking if it was really my work on the walls. I’m really pleased with the print quality of the work. Although the West Elm prints are larger than my original work, the colors are accurate and crisp, and look great in West Elm frames.”

Kelsey McNatt of Denver, Colorado
From top: “Directional Arrows” | “Native Bison” | “The Antler

“It was so exciting walking in the door and seeing my art front and center. I have a couple other personal pieces in the West Elm Denver local section, but I felt really proud to see these three pieces together. Knowing that they were handpicked is really special.”

Are you a West Elm + Minted collaboration winner? Share your experience in Comments below.
Published July 27, 2015 | Learn how to become a Minted artist here.



DIY: Easy Alphabet Cake Toppers

If you haven’t wandered the scrapbooking aisle at your local craft store, you’re missing out. The scrapbooking supplies I love the most are chipboard letters and stickers—they can be used to customize anything from favors and treat bags to party hats. I found these colorful mini alphabet stickers the other day and, in just a few simple steps, transformed them into cake toppers that can spell out anything you’d like.

letter cake toppers


Meet a Minted Artist: Julia Contacessi

A monthly series where we highlight a member of our talented Minted artist community. Featured this month: contemporary abstract artist Julia Contacessi, who lives in Norwalk, Conn.

After graduating from Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute in 2000, Julia Contacessi worked in marketing and branding as a graphic designer before deciding two years ago to quit and pursue painting full-time. Here, she shares a glimpse into her studio life.

Q&A: Minted Artist Julia Contacessi

Quick! Tell us…
Digital or Film: Film
Modern or Vintage? Modern Vintage!
Marfa or Oahu? Oahu
Morning or Night? Night
Stripes or Polka Dots? Both please!

How did you first hear about Minted?
I first discovered Minted years ago (BN—that would be “Before Neo,” before my son was born!), around 2007. I used to make custom candles that people could give as party or wedding favors, and I was always searching for other industry-related ideas and products. I remembering falling in love with Minted’s concept, and, of course, the designs were amazing. Then, more recently, when I started painting full-time and began to focus on other avenues to expand my reach, I joined the community and started to enter art print challenges. The Oh! Ovals challenge last year was the first one I participated in.

What mediums do you most enjoy working with?
As a painter, I focus primarily on acrylics. And because I love exploring the contrasting nature of things, I enjoy working with polymers and texture pastes along with pencil and paper. And, just recently, I started playing with fabric but not sure if that’s going anywhere.

If you could sit down with any artist past or present, who would it be and where?
Patricia Larsen in her studio
(Ed. note: See images of Patricia Larsen’s incredible studio in Mexico on Remodelista.)

What are you inspired by?
I’m a details person and usually find beauty in the simplest of things. I can fall madly in love with the sparkle from the edge of a gold glass vase or obsess over the texture of a stone found along a walk. I guess, as a way to hold on to these bits of beauty, I started creating art—trying to recreate the beauty I find in life in my work.

What color palettes have you been into lately?
I’m currently crushing big time on all shades of blush.

What are some recent inspirations?  
I’m often drawn to the sea as a source of inspiration—I’m fascinated by how the ocean provides an escape and can transport you to a meditative, dream-like place. My most recent work explores the water in abstracted forms to capture the fluidity of time. I see this recent series as a progression of my earlier landscape work—it’s almost as if I am trying to capture the same subject matter and inspiration in another form.

How do you approach your art?
For me, my work is how I problem-solve and find balance.

And how would you describe your style?
My style is single-minded and focused on the simplicity of beauty in the moment. My goal is to drown out the noise and clutter to find a sense of calm. The end result is clean, fresh and modern.

What does Minted mean to you as a working artist?
Minted is such a valuable business partner—the company connects artists with amazing, like-minded businesses that would typically be untouchable as an independent artist. That means relationship-building in ways I could never do on my own. Minted is also a peer-to-peer resource and, in the creative world, I NEED MY PEEPS!! That means working on my own doesn’t have to feel that way.

"Sand" by Julia Contacessi | Minted  “Sand” by Julia Contacessi for Minted

Julia’s Favorite Things
We asked Julia to share her current favorite art, style, fashion, and home décor inspirations.

Who inspires you: Positive people doing good things
Favorite recent discovery: My new sneaks—Cloud. I can run all day in these babies.
Favorite place in the world: Home
Favorite charity: Everytown for Gun Safety
Favorite movie: The Birdcage
Favorite colors: A lot! Blush, gold, cream… and then navy, green, and gray. Plus, soft purple.
Fashion idol: Recently I’ve been exploring fluidity and discovered Rick Owens. Fashion as art, incredible! And I always love Eileen Fisher.
Daily website read: TheSkimm
Song in your head: Because of my six-year-old: “Lego Ninjago the Whip
Favorite Instagrammer: @interior_wish_list

Favorite pieces of art in your home: I just recently added two original abstract figures by Kim McAninch to my bathroom: this one and this one. Every day they make me smile.
Stationery: Neenah or Mohawk
Pets: Just recovering from the loss of our beta, Bubbles. He was a good fish.
Favorite flowers: Hydrangeas
Favorite gadgets: My Jawbone UP
Favorite neighborhood restaurant: LeFarm or Bartaco (because I can never get a rez at LeFarm!)
Favorite drink: By day, a fresh juice made with my Breville; by night, Smart Cookie red wine
Favorite dessert: Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt bars in coffee chocolate chip
Coffee-table book: Elements of Style by Erin Gates
Favorite snack: Lesser Evil Organic Popcorn in Himalayan Pink
Top 3 DVRed shows: Scandal, Girls and The Affair (oh, my)

Favorite artist: My mom
Favorite works of art: Oh my… here’s a look at my Pinterest
Favorite art supply store: Jerry’s or Blick
Favorite paints: Charvin and Turner Acryl Gouache
Favorite brushes: Liquitex Freestyle Paddle
Other art-related favorites: A good quality mat and frame!


What’s one of your surprising sources of inspiration?

Where does creative inspiration come from? In the eyes of Minted artists, it comes from everywhere. That’s the impetus of our new #WhatInspiresMe series—to spotlight the inspirational who, what, when, where, why, and how of the Minted artist community.

Every other Monday, we invite three Minted artists to answer a different question about the inspiration behind their work. To spark an ongoing dialogue, we invite you to share your own answers with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

To kick off #WhatInspiresMe, we asked Erin Beutel, Oanh Tran, and Angela Simeone to answer this question: What’s one of your surprising sources of inspiration?

Erin Beutel
Mount Vernon, Ohio

The mundane moments of life. When I walk into the kitchen to make dinner and the sun is falling through the lace curtains just so, or the kids and I are heading to the car to run errands and find a fallen leaf covered with perfect water droplets. The more I notice these tiny moments, the easier it gets to find inspiration everywhere. Every day becomes pregnant with possibilities no matter how routine it may seem at first glance.

“After the Rain” | “Summer Bliss” by Erin Beutel

Fly With Me I” by Erin Beutel

Oanh Tran of lulu and isabelle
Zurich, Switzerland

I grew up in Vietnam’s largest city and went to university in Singapore, so I’m naturally interested in buildings and the urban environment. That’s why I chose architecture as my career. Since moving to Switzerland two years ago, I’ve found myself surprisingly drawn to and inspired by nature, especially the Swiss Alps. My husband’s family comes from a small village surrounded by mountains in Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, and every time we visit, I have the chance to immerse myself in this magnificent landscape. I hope my photos can inspire people the same way the landscape has inspired me.

winter in monochrome” by lulu and isabelle

“Almost Heaven” by lulu and isabelle

Angela Simeone
Nashville, Tennessee

I’m always surprised how my children bring ideas and concepts my way through materials that make it home in their backpacks. I’ve found materials and concepts through their textbooks, school-supply packaging, and art projects. My boys did a Chuck Close–style abstraction of their school portraits using overlay and grids. I also did a Sharpie art series using school folders after labeling all of theirs—I liked the flow of the pen off the surface, which allowed for a looser illustrative style.

The Definition Of Series 2 by Angela Simeone

How about you—what is one of the most surprising places you find inspiration? Share your answer in Comments below or via social media with the hashtag #WhatInspiresMe.

Learn how to become a Minted artist here.


Black-and-White Ice Cream Cone Wrappers (Free Printable!)

By Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of Alice & Lois

Summertime means lots (and lots!) of ice cream, which is why we designed these modern black-and-white ice cream cone wrappers. They’re such a fun, easy way to dress up a plain ol’ sugar cone. Download and print them out to use at your next summer gathering—set up a toppings bar for the kids stocked with sprinkles, mini candies, granola, sliced fruit, and whipped cream and just start scooping!

Click through for the free ice cream cone wrapper printable…