Factory Free: How to Manufacture Home and Gift Products - Blog

Factory Free: How to Manufacture Home and Gift Products

If you’re looking for tips on how to create products that aren’t handmade or made for you in a factory. Then Joanne Griffin from Arnold & Bird shares advice on alternative ways to manufacture.  

If you’re just starting a home & gift business, or you’ve begun and want to add more products to your range – you’re likely looking at how to manufacture your products. Maybe you don’t want to handmade each item but still want to design the product yourself. But the thought of finding and dealing with a factory is off-putting.

The great thing about home, gift & stationery products is that it can be a lot easier to manufacture in the UK than abroad. You can work with smaller numbers and depending on your product there will be companies set up with blanks ready to create the product you’re designing.

To start you off I’ve included a list of UK manufactures and ‘blank’ product providers that could help develop your next range. As well as some artwork tips to get the best finish on your new range.

Always remember to do your research on each company and order samples before you place your final order. This way you can check quality, finish and size.

Printing

Printed.com

Moo

Hello Print

Paper & card blanks

Soho Paper

Paper Mill Direct

Fine Art Foto

Paper-based products & stationery

A Local Printer

Fabric printing

Woven Monkey

Spoonflower

Contrado

Blank textiles

Sanmar

TSC Apparel

Jewellery

Cookson Gold

Betts Metal Sales

Paskell Tools

Palmer Metals

Rashbel

Samuel Findings

Enamel pins

Zap Creatives

Awesome Merchandise

Wooden blanks

Little Brown Dog

Various products

Awesome Merchandise

Packaging

Eco craft

Tiny Box Company

West Pack

Tams Packaging

Pack Help – Poland

Artworking tips to ensure you get the best finish on your products

Make sure the document colour mode is set to CMYK not RGB. CMYK is for print and RGB is for anyone online or the web.

Keep any text and crucial information at least 3mm away from the document edge – you don’t want to risk it being cut off!

Use layers in the original design document to separate each of your design elements so it’s easier to work on.

If you have any text on your document then select the text and use ‘create outlines’. This will make the text into a shape so it won’t be editable anymore. It means your text will then be embedded into the document and will print correctly.

Save the file as a PDF at 300dpi to ensure the best print quality and flatten the artwork

  • The only exception to this is when you add a finish such as gold or embossment. In this instance save each file as separate PDF documents e.g. Artwork for gold foil layer and artwork for the background.

For paper prints, ensure you have a bleed on your document and check with the printer what this should be.

For ceramic printing don’t include a bleed so the artwork sits inside the cutter.

If you’re adding trims, decorations or embellishments then send a spec sheet to show where these go.

If you’re adding a repeat pattern to products then send the pattern as a swatch to be added.

Most companies will be able to send through templates for you to design on that will have the bleed and non-text area specified. If they don’t you will have to add crop or trim marks to your document.

Do a test print first if possible so you can check the product in real life – this is always different from seeing it on a screen.

Your finished PDF files are likely to be very large so use www.wetransfer.com to send them to the printer for free.

Double-check the finished document before you send it to the printer, and double-check the proof they send you! Have a family member or friend check over too if possible for a fresh pair of eyes.

If you’re unsure about anything then call the company and chat through your questions with them.

With any business decision, it’s best to do your own research and work out what works best for your brand. Use these tips as a starting point and good luck with creating your new products!

Beyond the blog

Feeling inspired and want to move your ideas into action steps? Get in touch with Joanne for product development & design support to bring your ideas to life, feel confident in your products and move your business forward.