10 tips for packaging handmade items featuring Mellybee

Posted by on Jun 24, 2013 in Featured | 10 Comments

As I’m new to selling online, I’m still giving thought to packaging handmade items and the kind of things I could do to make the whole experience extra special (without driving my costs up too high). While this was still on my list of things to think about, I was over the moon to win a screen printed tea towel by Mellybee in the BlogandBuySale Lucky Dip. I felt even luckier when I opened the envelope and saw all the thought that goes into her packaging.

Handmade product packaging

Melanie Chadwick has a screen printing studio in Cornwall where she makes lovely products for the home or for giving as gifts. Her signature style is her unique hand lettering and quirky illustrations on brown Kraft paper, which she continues throughout her packaging. The brown paper bag was tied up with garden twine and this carries her brand through to the smallest detail.


Handmade product packaging Mellybee

Thoughtful packaging doesn’t need to be costly either; a simple handwritten note adds a personal touch. Melanie says;

‘My main aim would be for people to smile when they receive one of my products and that they would want to touch it, pick it up and explore how its been created – getting a sense that it’s not been mass produced but has been individually made and printed for them.’


Mellybee packaging

Even before the package arrived, I was looking forward to ordering a whole set of Mellybee tea towels for my new home. Finding a special code for a discount off my next order was a real treat and this is another great way Melanie uses her packaging to bring buyers back to her website.


Handmade product packaging Mellybee

Melanie also uses her packaging to tell buyers all the important things about herself and her brand. She tells us that her items are British made, being printed by hand in Cornwall. The belly band which wraps around the tea towel is also illustrated and tells us it’s printed on 100% cotton using eco-friendly inks and includes the all essential care instructions.


Handmade product packaging Mellybee

And last, but not least, the fabric tag on the tea towel is neat and tidy, and will be a gentle reminder of who it was made by every time I’m in the kitchen.

In brief, my 10 tips for packaging handmade products are:

  1. Differentiate yourself from the mass produced market by adding personal touches
  2. Think about how you want the buyer to feel when they receive their item – a good start is to say ‘thank you’
  3. Carry your signature style through to your packaging to create a more memorable brand
  4. If you’re selling online, encourage buyers back to your online shop by offering discounts or showing them other products they may not have seen
  5. Take the opportunity to tell buyers about yourself, your brand and what makes your products special
  6. Be creative – thoughtful and environmentally friendly packaging doesn’t need to cost the earth
  7. Encourage feedback – if you’re doing something right (or wrong) it’s always good to know
  8. Package your product carefully. Marking your package ‘Handle With Care’ doesn’t always mean it’s going to be handled with care!
  9. Consider the weight and size of your package – inflated postage costs can put some buyers off
  10. Leave your mark on your item so in years to come buyers will still know who made the item, or where it’s from.

Melanie writes on her website that her aim is ‘to inspire joy and creativity as well as producing products that are functional and beautiful’. I’d say she’s certainly achieved that! You can visit Melanie’s shop www.mellybee.co.uk to see her quirky brand and full range of products or her portfolio site www.melaniechadwick.com to learn about her illustration services. Find her on Twitter @mellybeeblog or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/mellybeeillustration

Mellybee was featured on the BlogAndBuySale website. BlogAndBuySale showcase a range of the best handmade products available online. Follow them on Twitter at @blogandbuysale


If you found this post useful, or have any other tips on packaging handmade items I’d love to hear from you in the comments below 🙂


  1. Boz
    June 25, 2013

    Some good tips. Nice to see working examples too. Very helpful.

  2. john pindar
    June 26, 2013

    Like yourself new to online selling. I’m a screen printer and had looked into size of prints regarding ease of posting and framing. Had given no thought at all about receiving one of my prints. This post has appeared at just the right time. Thank you so much.

  3. A Timely Blog Post | notes to the milkman
    June 26, 2013

    […] came across this superb blog post this morning. It is by Marie Campbell, who runs the Boho Press in Wolverhampton. I’m in the process of producing some screen prints intended for sale on […]

  4. Marie
    July 8, 2013

    Thanks Laura, your blog posts are great so that’s a real compliment – and thanks John for the re-post on your blog, I love that you’ve had a full-on discussion about my post! 😀

  5. Amy
    August 2, 2013

    From the very beginning of my online selling adventure shipping items has been my favorite part, just like wrapping gifts is my favorite part of Christmas. I sell mostly fabric so I like to tie them together with a co-ordinating ribbon and then wrap them in tissue paper. I wrap them up like a gift but instead of tape I seal the whole thing up with a gold embossed “Thank You” sticker. I always include a hand written Thank You note to let my customers know that I appreciate their businesss. I have gotten a few comments in my feedback complementing my packaging and it really warms my heart. I buy all of my shipping items at the Everythings a Dollar store so it really doesn’t cost me much. Hopefully when my business grows I can have everything co-ordinated and branded for better recognition and branding but for now to the Dollar Store I go! Great Post.

    • Marie
      August 6, 2013

      Hi Amy, I think you’ve got it absolutely right and that’s such a good point – I was thinking about packaging from the recipient’s point of view, but it’s also nice for the sender, and I didn’t think to mention that. I completely agree with you about wrapping gifts at Christmas, I love that time and make a proper evening out of it too. Thanks for giving me another perspective – I think tip number one should have been ‘have fun and enjoy the time spent packaging your products’ – after all, why should it be seen as a chore when you’re actually doing something creative and nice? x

  6. Hayley
    September 9, 2013

    Brilliant tips =) I pack my items with a sheet of bubble wrap topped with a sheet of pretty tissue paper, a thank you note and a couple of business cards. I’m always looking for ways to make my packaging stand out. Will take all your tips on board.

    Thanks =)
    Hayley x

    • Marie
      September 15, 2013

      Hi Hayley, I’m glad you’ve found it useful 🙂

      Sending out a couple of business cards is a good idea – one for them to keep, and one for the recipient to pass on! Another point I should be adding to my list!

      It’s really interesting hearing how other designer-makers and artist package their products x

  7. Aby Moore
    September 14, 2013

    Your products are lovely.

    How would you package delicate fabric items?, I am worried that tissue paper will not protect them, but am keen to keep packaging costs down.

    • Marie
      September 15, 2013

      Thank you Aby,

      I know your dilemma myself – I’ve found padded envelopes quite pricey unless you buy them wholesale (which for me is a little ambitious!)

      Perhaps you could use bubblewrap (like Hayley above) or a sheet of corrugated card, front and back? Neither are particularly pretty, but if you wrap the item itself in a single sheet of tissue, the practicality of keeping your items safe can be disguised a bit.

      I send my prints out with a greyboard back board to keep them from creasing and then enclose them in a cello envelope. Neither are fancy but my added little touches are a thank you sticker on the envelope and a business card inside. I also drop in a couple of free postcards – one with a handwritten note for recipient to keep, and another blank one for them to send out to a friend.

      I’d be interested in hearing other people’s solutions – it’s a tricky one!