Monday, June 19, 2006

Sources for materials and equipment

As promised, here's a list of some of the places I buy my materials and other items I use, and how they come in handy for me.

Rock N Roller R12 cart
I paid $229 with free shipping. This cart is an incredible workhorse. You can effortlessly wheel equipment across just about any surface. You can configure the cart 7 different ways to haul just about anything (click here to see a video of it ). I'll post more about this cart in a coming blog entry.

Matboard & Foamboard
Great prices on boards. A 25 pack of bainbridge archival 1/8" foamboard is just over $100 shipped. Matboard prices are also very good, with a wide assortment of standard and rag matboard from Crescent. One trick...when you order too much stuff, the shipping gets really expensive (due to the large size). If you need to order more than 25 sheets of matboard or foamboard at a time, it's best to break it into quantities of 25 and place separate orders.

Clear Plastic Sleeves
Excellent prices on 100 packs of plastic sleeves. You use these to put your matted (but unframed) prints into. It's a much better alternative to shrinkwrapping (faster, cheaper, and looks better). Most stores sell plastic bags with the adhesive on the flap, which is bad because it can stick to your print and damage it when you insert it into (or remove it from) the sleeve. However, these bags have adhesive on the bag instead of the flap, so your prints are safer.

Clear Plastic Sales Bags
These are clear plastic bags you can insert your prints into for a customer to carry them away in after the sale. Clear bags are better because they can show off your work as the customer carries it around (potentially, another show patron could see the print, ask where they bought it, and you could have another sale). I use the polyethylene flat bags in 1.5 mil thickness. You want to make sure the bag is big enough to for the customer to get a good grip on the bag. I'd recommend a bag with a height at least 8 inches (if not more) greater than the print it will be holding. You also want to make sure a couple inches wider than the print so you can get it in easily, especially if the customer buys multiple prints. I use the 18" wide by 28" high bags, which is enough to hold a couple of 16"x20" matted prints. This size bag in quantities of 500 cost $55 shipped.

Bubble wrap
I paid $21 shipped for a 24" x 150' roll of bubble wrap. Other places sell at better rates per foot, but only sell in much larger quantities (500 foot or more), which is more than I need for the moment. This was the cheapest way to get started. I use this to protect the framed prints during transport and when a customer purchases one. Cut a piece of bubblewrap long enough to wrap around the frame, trim it a few inches wider, fold it in half, and tape up (with clear packaging tape) 2 of the 3 open ends. You now have a padded sleeve to slide the frame into.

I think that about covers the majority of my supplies. If I can think of anything else, I'll update this. If you know of a better source for any of these items, please post them in the comments section

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