As part of “Handcrafted in Nottingham”, we have designed and made the majority of items in our new range.
Read on to find out just how we make them and some of the problems we encountered.
Badges and fridge magnets
We run ‘make your own’ badge and fridge magnet activities in the museum nearly every weekend. So, we are familiar with the operation of the press, and the manufacture of the round pin-badges and fridge magnets is relatively straightforward. Based on our survey feedback, we chose two main types of design; line drawings and photos (both by volunteers and friends of the museum).
We don’t like waste and decided to make the most of an item – an embroidered sew-on badge – that we bought when such things were more popular. Our plan was to cut out a matching piece of wood and stick the badge to it. Here comes one of those problems – the sticking part proved much more difficult than we expected. After trying lots of different adhesives we thankfully found one that worked.
We also had plans for resin-based magnets but after experimenting we found the material tricky to work with; in particular, we could not get a glossy finish. But watch this space, as playing with the resin has given us lots of great ideas and we will be trying it out again soon.
We chose several photographs for our souvenir postcards taken by both fellow volunteers and friends of the museum that reflect the range of exhibits you can enjoy when you visit us. As you know from our story about souvenir postcards, we are printing the line drawings in-house, what we have to confess is that the lovely, traditional linseed oil based ink takes ages to dry and it is difficult to keep our postcards smudge free.
We had considered buying engraved slate coasters until we realised that we could engrave them ourselves. After an initial successful experiment, we have designed and made several word-based designs that reflect not only exhibits from the five galleries in the museum but the wider Nottingham area too.
Mugs are not just great merchandise – who doesn’t love a mug? They have a place in our hearts as our idea for boxed mugs set up the key themes for “Handcrafted in Nottingham”. By way of experiment, we printed some line drawings on some plain white mugs. They looked great, and that inspired us to seek out and create more line drawings, and to design and laser cut some display boxes.
The mugs and boxes gave us the core of our brand, they are undoubtedly handcrafted in Nottingham. Of course, the boxes also fired our imaginations and led to the beautiful merchandising displays you will find in both the museum and the Wollaton Hall Gift Shop soon.
Last but not least, our keyrings have given us lots of possibilities. We have photo keyrings and small pendants that we made ourselves.
On your next visit please tell us which items you like best and what else you would like to see in the range.
“Handcrafted in Nottingham” would not be possible without the assistance of Nottingham Industrial Museum volunteers and we are very thankful for their help and advice. We are particularly grateful to Rowena H and Ben V for their help. We would also like to thank the following individuals for permission to use their artwork and photographs on our merchandise: Charlotte Clark, Maria Badshamiah, Michelle Spaul, Coal Fired Media, Weronika Hajduk, Rehannah Mian and Colin Moss.