Category Archives: Uncategorized

Collage of my clip boxes

Pinterest seem to be confused about the owner of this image. This is a collage of my photos of my work. It is copyright (C) 2016 Mike Wilson, all rights reserved.

Someone used my photo, without permission, to link to their own site.

Tall "Moroccan" lamp

Images for social media marketing

I’m not a marketing expert, but I have gained some ideas over the years which I think are useful and I’ll share some here.

Even non visual products can be promoted through platforms like Pinterest, so it’s always a good idea to have an image associated with, for example, a blog post. In WordPress, use the “Featured Image” option to add an image to the post. Now there’s an image you or anyone else can use to create a link to your post on Pinterest.

It’s worth creating different images for each platform. The dimensions that work for one platform may be cropped on another. If the image you want to use is the wrong aspect ratio, consider creating a collage. I use Google’s Picasa for this. There are also sites like PicMonkey which lets you create collages on-line. (I just discovered Picasa has been retired, which is a shame).

Here are images I created for different platforms:

1024×512 for Twitter (scaled down)
1200×628 for FaceBook (scaled down)
800×2400 for Pinterest (scaled down)

Pinterest doesn’t seem to have a maximum height. “Skyscraper” images look great here.

Golden Box

A new download every month

Now my Etsy shop is up and running, I’m planning to add a new download product every month. For November 2016, I will upload something a little more challenging — a 4mm birch ply box. Probably this 18x11x10cm trinket box with an optional essential oil bottle holder.

I have modified the design since this box was made to give the box feet which I think look very elegant. The dimensions of the box’s lid are roughly based on the Golden Ratio, so I sometimes call this my “Golden Box”.

Which shop? Dragon Powered or Etsy?

For a while, I’ve had two on-line shops, the one here at Dragon Powered and one at Etsy. I’ve been wondering which shop to focus my marketing attention on. I want a nice clean, rational marketing strategy and so don’t want to confuse people with two similar offerings. A house mate had a good idea: keep the Dragon Powered shop for the physical items I make and use Etsy for the digital downloads. That makes a lot of sense — I only ship the physical products I make to the UK. The downloads are available anywhere in the world that has an internet connection.

So, from now on, any physical products I make for sale will be listed on this site. Any laser cutter download projects I offer for sale will be available from the DragonPoweredCrafts Etsy shop. Simple.

Dealing with WordPress comment spam

This site is managed by WordPress. There are many advantages to using such a widely used platform. One disadvantage is that it’s a popular target for hackers and spammers. Dealing with comment spam is a nuisance, and I wanted some automation. The popular Akismet plugin is an obvious choice, and an expensive one. I’m trying out WP-SpamShield instead. It’s funded by donations and I’ll send something if I’m still using it in a couple of weeks. So far, I’m impressed. It has it’s own contact form so I’ve been able to remove two other plugins.

Stackable clip tray

Stackable, clip-together, laser cut trays in oak veneered MDF

These trays are the same design I made last year. This time I used some beautiful oak veneered MDF from Kitronix. I polished the oak with Osmo Polyx oil which brings out the grain and leaves a lovely satin finish.

Stackable clip tray (medium)
Stackable clip tray (medium)
Stackable clip tray (deep)
Stackable clip tray (deep)

Update: If you have access to a laser cutter, you can make these boxes/trays using the download project in my Etsy shop.

Improved “Stars” table lamp

The prototype was a bit chunky for my taste. I made this one slimmer. I glazed the sides with frosted PVC which diffuses the light nicely. I left the top unglazed so warm air can escape. With an 11W compact fluorescent bulb, the lamp doesn’t get noticeably warm after several hours use.

The lamp measures 26x10x10cm.

The lamp is laser cut 6mm poplar ply. It’s all held together with wedges and would pack flat for posting.

Table Lamp "Stars"
Table Lamp “Stars”

Prototype table lamp

This the first version of a lamp design. It isn’t quite right and the second version will be narrower. I also found the large openings make for harsh light and so I’ll glaze the next version with something that will diffuse the light.

The lamp is laser cut 6mm poplar ply. It’s all held together with wedges and would pack flat for posting.

Prototype lamp
Prototype lamp

P1010242_HDR-001

Creating visual content for different platforms

Last weekend I discovered the rather lovely PicMonkey which makes it very easy to create collages for different social media platforms. I’m planning to use it to create different images for the different social media platforms I’m active on:

Pinterest works well with “skyscraper” images which are much taller than they are wide:

Instagram likes square images.

This blog and Facebook like wide landscape images. The featured image at the top of this post is an example of that.

Tiny lantern "hearts", laser cut birch ply
Tiny lantern “hearts”, laser cut birch ply
Tiny lantern "hearts", laser cut birch ply
Tiny lantern “hearts”, laser cut birch ply
Tiny lantern "hearts", laser cut birch ply
Tiny lantern “hearts”, laser cut birch ply

Site move completed

I have finished moving Dragon Powered from Weebly to a WordPress site hosted with Vidahost (who I recommend highly).

I thought Weebly would be easier and quicker, but I didn’t like how the site looked, didn’t enjoy the regular advertising to upgrade to a more expensive package when I was already paying, and it took longer to add pages than it does in WordPress. I want a quick and easy way to make a modern looking web site and WordPress seems to be the way to go.

The shop is using WooCommerce, a WordPress plugin. At the moment, I’m using the free version. If this is a success, I expect I’ll upgrade to the paid version to get more features.