DIY: Valentine’s Day Dog Bandana

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for humans! Show your favorite furry friend some love with this adorable doggie bandana (since some of us—me included!—have four-legged soul mates). And this gift is as simple as it is cute: You’ll be turning a rolled-up dinner napkin into a posh pup accessory.

Click through for the simple step-by-step instructions

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6 Tips for Success in Minted Challenges

You’ve set up your artist profile and you’re ready to enter your first Minted Design Challenge. This is an exciting and scary time. Where do you start? How do you stand out? What are you supposed to do after you submit your design? We have answers.

1. Read the Challenge Kit Closely

Every challenge has a submission kit with prize information, details about the type of work we’re looking for, creative notes, templates, submission and file guidelines. “Read the challenge notes—all of them—and then use those to help guide your design decisions,” says Julie Green, who joined the Minted community in 2010 and has 116 wins under her belt.

Within challenge notes, Minted’s merchandising team provides clues about what they’re looking for, and the files team includes info about the things you can and can’t do from a technical standpoint. “The more attention you pay to the challenge notes, the better your chances are of getting an editor’s pick,” Julie says.

Minted artist Kamala Nahas agrees. “I know it’s not always exciting, but there’s lots of useful information in the challenge kit. It tells you everything from how to set up files for submission to the special prizes Minted will be awarding.”

Julie Green of Up Up Creative’s Paper Crane wedding invitation

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DIY: Iron-on Valentine Treat Bags

Written by Sara Albers and Melissa Fenlon of  Alice & Lois

For Valentine’s Day this year, my daughter decided she wants to host a treat-making party for her girlfriends, and these easy-to-make cotton goody bags will be perfect for stashing the finished treats. All you need are basic muslin bags, double-stick fusible paper, an iron, and some fabric scraps (this is a great way to use up leftovers from previous projects!).  Keep reading for the full tutorial.

DIY Valentine Treat Bag | alice & lois for minted
DIY Valentine Treat Bag | alice & lois for minted

Read more for the full tutorial


How to Create Repeating Patterns in Illustrator

By Liz Conley

5 Fabric Design Tips

1. Place design elements on the sides to create a natural rhythm to your repeating pattern.

2. When filling the fabric art board with a pattern, make sure there’s no stroke on the rectangle. Strokes will cause an error on the finished file.

3. Make sure the size of your pattern is divisible by 36 inches. All Minted fabrics repeat exactly at the 36-inch mark.

4. For designs with a white background, easily add a pop of color to your alternate colorways by layering your pattern over a colored background. Customers love having options—especially for home decor.

5. Think outside the Illustrator window. Some of Minted’s most popular fabrics started as painting or drawings that were scanned in to tweak inside Illustrator.

Liz Conley, a former Production Designer, now works as a Public Relations Designer for Minted. Originally trained as a fine art printer and bookbinder, she now helps the Production Team translate Minted artists’ visions into real products. She’s also a Minted community member with a passion for watercolors and learning to push Illustrator to its limits in new ways. Visit Liz’s Minted Artist Store, and follow Liz on Instagram @lizconley.

Published January 15, 2016 • Learn how to become a Minted artist here.

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How to: Host a Sweet Cookie-Decorating Party

Want a surefire way to delight a group of kids this Valentine’s Day? Encourage them to play with their food! We dreamed up this bold and bright cookie-decorating party with a sweet modern theme; recreate it at home this Valentine’s Day by following our steps below.

Step 1: Invite Your Guests
Set the tone for your cookie-decorating party with a bold and bright invitation. Think: modern typography, graphic lines, and loads of saturated color. We adore this “In Love” invitation by Kim Dietrich Elam.

Step 2: Pre-Bake the Cookies
Store-bought dough is perfect for this (that’s what we used), but if you’d like to make your own dough from scratch, we love this sugar-cookie recipe from Julep contributor Melissa Bahen of Lulu the Baker. Pre-bake the cookies ahead of time for your party; estimate three to six cookies for each child to decorate (you’ll pack up the extras for them to enjoy later).

Condiment squeeze bottles are much easier for kids to use
(and are way less messy!) than icing piping bags.

Step 3: Prep the Cookie Decorations
Here’s what you’ll need:
• Royal icing and condiment bottles
We made ours using this royal-icing recipe; add flavors and colors to the icing to your liking, then pour the icing into squeeze bottles and label each with a flavor sticker.
• Sprinkles/candy/other cookie embellishments and paint palette trays
Plastic paint palettes are a clever way to neatly corral all your cookie embellishments in one place.

Tip: If you have young kids, you can pre-frost the cookies by flooding them with a layer of royal icing (above) and allowing them to set in advance. The kids can then use the icing bottles to “glue” on cookie decorations like sprinkles and candy.

Letter-shaped cookie cutters will help the little decorators find their seat.

Step 4: Set Up
Before everyone arrives:
• Cover your tabletop with a playful table linen that complements the overall party vibe. We used “Golden Triangle” by Cindy Lackey. Alternatively, you could cut rectangles of wrapping paper to make placemats (so easy to clean up, too!).
• Stack the pre-baked cookies on a tray in the center of the table.
• Set out individual cookie-decorating embellishments at each place setting (the paint palettes also work perfectly for mixing icing and sprinkles!)
• Set out a cookie cutter in each child’s initial. They make the perfect place marker and take-home gift for future baking adventures.

Click through to read the rest of our cookie-decorating party ideas


5 Tips for Refreshing Your Minted Artist Store in Q1

Ready to give your Minted Artist Store a seasonal refresh? To help you think through your merchandising strategy and the products to spotlight in your Store, we’ve compiled these five tips with the insights of Minted’s marketing and merchandising leaders.

Alexandra Dzhiganskaya updated her Store shortly after New Year’s, prioritizing her winning Valentine’s Day designs and spring floral art.

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6 Tips for Non-Custom Self-Launch Stickers and Labels

Self-launch non-custom stickers are the eighth product of Minted’s self-launch offering for Minted Artists with Stores. This release includes two products: stickers and labels. The only difference between the two is the paper they’re printed on—stickers are printed on an adhesive-backed paper; labels are printed on a coated paper with a slicker, waterproof surface.

Minted’s assortment of customizable stickers are recommended for use as envelope seals and for adding a special touch to stationery and more. Minted’s assortment of customizable labels are recommended for a number of uses, including a durable way to identify kids’ bottles, food containers, and sports equipment.

One of the most important things to keep in mind about self-launch, non-customizable stickers is that they cannot be personalized by customers. If you’re looking for ideas for the endless possibilities for stickers, you’ve come to the right place. Here you’ll find valuable insights from an experienced Minted sticker designer along with Minted’s merchandising, marketing, and technical leaders.

Guapa” rounded stickers by Kelli Hall

1. Fill a gap

“Self-launch stickers have potential to be very popular with consumers,” says Erica Krystek, a prolific artist whose Minted Artist Store includes a range of stickers. When it comes to creating new products for your Store, we recommend creating your own strategy based on your strengths and interests in addition to filling a gap in the Minted assortment. What do you feel is missing from the Minted sticker and label assortment, and how can you create something unique?

If you’re looking for more precise merchandising advice, Minted CEO Mariam Naficy’s vision for self-launch non-custom stickers revolves around greater flexibility for gift-giving. She recommends creating gift tags with the “From:” and “To:” fields not filled in, allowing for everyone in a family to use the tags. “We’re considering promoting non-custom stickers in the Minted shopping cart as an easy, last-minute ‘add to cart’,” she says. “Kind of like chewing gum at the cash register.”

2. Take a seasonal approach

Mary-Kevin Stuart, Minted’s Senior Merchandising Manager of Baby and Kids products, recommends designing stickers for events and holidays. “Stickers could be used for holiday treats or favors,” she says. “For instance, a sticker that simply reads, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’.”

You may also want to create gift labels that are versatile enough to be used year-round, or create seasonal stickers (such as themes for spring, summer, fall, and winter) or holiday- and event-themed stickers, such as for birthdays, winter holidays, etc.

Rollin’” sticker by Erica Krystek

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A is for Art Challenge: Special Prize Winners

Announcing the special prizes winners for our A is for Art Challenge! At Minted, we believe that it’s never too early to surround children with beautiful art. We asked you, our talented artist community, to create unique customizable pieces of artwork, perfect for any child’s room or nursery. Congratulations to all the winners!

Bold Name Award
For the art piece that most beautifully displays child’s name
Watercolor Whale” by Lindsay Megahed

Monogram Award
For the most interesting use of a child’s initial
Track Initial” by Erica Krystek

Cradle Award
For the best work of art that celebrates the birth of a new baby
Meadow Fawn” by Jennifer Wick

Little Artist Award
For the best executed and beautifully artistic piece
Vintage Floral Monogram” by Hannah Williams

Rhyme Time Award
For the best piece that showcases a quote, pieces of poetry, or literature
Eeny Meeny” by Ariel Rutland

Back to School Award
For the best art print that also teaches kids something in a fun way
Homes” by Natalie Groves

Tiny Dancer Award
For the best ballet or dance inspired piece
The Ballerina” by Oma N. Ramkhelawan

Rainbow Award
For the brightest most colorful piece
Welcome to the World” by Shiny Penny Studio

The following awards will be announced with a catalog round-up post at a later date: Just for Boys Award, Little League Award, & Petting Zoo Award

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Meet a Minted Artist: Kaitlin Rebesco

A series where we highlight a member of our Minted artist community. Featured this month: photographer Kaitlin Rebesco, who is currently based in Austin, Texas.

Fine art photographer (and newly certified yoga teacher!) Kaitlin Rebesco shares her current inspirations, how she overcomes artist’s block, and a glimpse into her daily life as a working artist.

Meet a Minted Artist: Kaitlin Rebesco

Quick! Tell us…
Digital or Film? Digital. But one of my goals for 2016 is to start shooting film!
Modern or Vintage? Both. Contrast is key.
Portraits or Nature? Nature
Landscapes or Still Life? Landscapes
Summer or Winter? Summer
City or Country? Both. I need to split my time between both types of environments in order to feel balanced.

How did you end up doing what you’re doing now?
After college I spent a year working and traveling in Australia. I took photos obsessively during this time, wanting to document every new sight and experience. Upon returning to the States, I decided to pursue photography as more than a hobby. I took classes, built a portfolio, and applied to a professional photography program at a school in Paris. I studied photojournalism but, in the time since graduation, I’ve gravitated towards fine art photography. I enjoy that it allows for more creativity and abstract representation.

Did you study art formally in school?
I studied photojournalism at Spéos Photographic Institute in Paris. I have also taken many continuing education courses at the International Center of Photography and the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Where do you currently reside?
I am currently in Austin, TX. The warm weather was a huge draw for me; I couldn’t do another winter in New York! I also like that there are many state parks not too far outside of the city. It’s the best of both worlds. I often gather inspiration from my environment though, so, above all, I value change and I enjoy moving around. I will be leaving Austin at the end of January to spend two months in Costa Rica.

Meet a Minted Artist: Kaitlin Rebesco

Can you share the schedule of a typical day in the life?
This is something that I struggle with! I thrive within new environments and experiences, but keeping up with work and responsibilities can necessitate a schedule or routine. I try to mix up my routine as much as possible, but one constant that remains is a daily yoga practice. This has been life changing in many ways. But, as it relates to my creative work, I think it keeps me open and receptive to new ideas and inspiration. It’s funny, but photography and yoga are actually closely tied. While studying photojournalism, I realized that in order to be successful you have to be able to reach a sort of meditative state. As with yoga, the goal is to remain alert, aware, and present in the moment. If you let your mind wander, you can miss something.

What objects have been most significant to you lately?
Moving around so much has sort of made me an unintentional minimalist!

What are you serious about?
Finding meaningful work, feeling good about how I am spending my time, being grateful for what I have, not taking anyone or anything for granted, living thoughtfully/mindfully.

What things will you never take seriously?
That being said, I really don’t take anything too seriously.

Meet a Minted Artist: Kaitlin Rebesco

What medium(s) do you most enjoy working with?
Photography, mixed media/collage

When did you begin taking photos?
In my early 20s.

How do you approach your art?
I guess at the most basic level it is an outlet, a release of energy. I find a lot of satisfaction in being able to create something that represents the way I see things.

How would your describe your artistic style?
Clean, contemporary, minimalist

What is your creative process like?
Often I start by going out and just shooting. I photograph whatever catches my eye and resonates with how I am feeling. Later I will go back over my images and look for patterns, connections. This might spark an idea for a series or a concept to explore.

How has your work changed over time?
My work has become much cleaner, more in line with my vision. When I first started shooting there was this gap between the types of photos I was taking and the types of photos I would like to hang on my wall. As time goes on, that gap gets smaller. Although it has not yet closed!

What do you do when you encounter artist’s block?
I go in search of inspiration. Ideally this would involve travel or exploring a new place (even just a new neighborhood within my current city). Otherwise visiting a museum, gallery, or discovering new art and artists on the internet. I could spend hours looking at images on Pinterest, Instagram, and Flickr.

Meet a Minted Artist: Kaitlin Rebesco

What do you enjoy most about being part of the Minted community?
I really appreciate the open line of communication between Minted and the artists. It feels more personal and ongoing, and it’s clear that the company’s intent is to build a community.

What does Minted mean to you as a working artist?
It’s about partnership, and it also signifies how the internet is creating new possibilities for working artists in terms of exposure and reach.

What are some of your favorite Minted pieces?
There are so many great pieces to choose from! As you can probably tell from my selections I am attracted to abstract figures and forms, clean compositions, splashes of color…
“Form” by Lauren Packard
“Morning River” by Lauren Adams
“Drawing 264 – Gesturing Man” by Derek Overfield
“As You Are” by Karen Kaul
“Composed” by Amelie Conger
“Embrace” by R Studio
“Going for a Swim” by Whitney Deal

Meet a Minted Artist: Kaitlin Rebesco

Katlin’s Favorite Things
We asked Kaitlin’s to share her current favorite art and home inspirations.

Last stamp on your passport: Costa Rica
Favorite pieces of art in your home: A vintage photograph of the construction of the Sydney Opera House
Favorite gadget: iPad
Favorite neighborhood restaurant: Juiceland
Favorite drink: Water/juice/tea
Favorite artist: I have hundreds of favorite artists! Really, there are too many to count. Ranging from iconic artists to contemporary artists whose work I’ve mainly discovered via the internet. Nils Udo, Picasso, Matisse, Ellsworth Kelly, Saul Leiter, Marco Tirelli, Wyatt Kahn, Esther Ruiz, Gerhard Richter, John Baldessari, Andy Denzler, Henri Cartier-Bresson…
Favorite works of art: Again, too many too count.
Favorite camera gadget: Remote shutter release

More from Kaitlin Rebesco:
• Kaitlin’s Minted Store
• Kaitlin’s website
• Kaitlin’s Instagram

More from Minted:
• Art Prints
• Photography Prints
Maps & Landmarks Art Prints

Photos: Courtesy of Kaitlin Rebesco

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Meet a Minted Artist: Julie Green of Up Up Creative

Julie Green of Up Up Creative doesn’t do New Year’s resolutions, but she does usually choose a word to sort-of nudge her in a direction of growth for the year. Her word for 2016 is practice. “I’ve been self-employed since 2008, and I guess I feel like I’ve reached a certain level of proficiency as a designer, and as a human being,” the Rochester, New York, artist says. “If I want to continue to grow, I need to remind myself to practice new skills and keep challenging the status quo.”

Here, the longtime Minted artist shares interesting corners of her life, from her love of Baptiste Yoga, “being the worst multitasker,” and her healthy obsession with fonts.

You have 11.5K Pinterest followers, with 117 boards. How’d you build such a strong following?
I know it’s called social media, and I definitely use Facebook and Instagram to engage with people in a more social way, but Pinterest is something I use just for me. It’s where I gather ideas and inspiration; it’s where I imagine my own life and the lives of my clients and customers; it’s where I go to observe trends in my own interests, tastes, and styles. As for how I built that following, I sure wish I knew! But maybe it’s partly that I didn’t try to.

Cool and All” save the date card by Julie Green of Up Up Creative

You’ve gotten great press. What’s your favorite feature and why?
My favorite was Martha Stewart Living (December 2012 holiday gift guide), because it was the first magazine I was in that people in my life actually read on a regular basis. When you’re a freelance graphic designer with children—whether you work while the kids are napping or you work full time from a studio, or you do something in between—most people in your life don’t really get what you do and don’t even always think it’s a real job or a serious thing. When you turn up in one of their favorite holiday gift guides, suddenly you’re having conversations with them about your work. That’s pretty cool.