I've decided to start posting a picture and a favorite quote every Friday (kind of like I did yesterday but on Fridays) to carry me through the weekend. If you'd like to join me please do - call me sappy but I love reading quotes and would like to see some of your favorites too! Just tell me in the comments if you'll be participating and I'll be sure to stop by :)
Now, I gotta say right off - I might be really stepping in it here: writing a tutorial on how to write a tutorial?! Who do I think I am? Well, I'm just someone who loves and appreciates a good craft tutorial and would like to see more of them in the world!
I've been involved in craft blogging for 3½ years now and have seen many, many tutorials in the blog world; also, since starting The Crafty Crow two months ago, I have been on a one-woman mission looking at children's craft tutorials and have seen 100's just in the last few months. Besides writing my own tutorials here at Bella Dia, I've had experience in contributing patterns and instructions to books and all this leads me to tell you - a good tutorial takes a lot of work and is hard to do! So this tutorial about how to write a tutorial is well, double jeopardy?! Mostly, I am trying to share what I look for in a tutorial and what I think makes a good tutorial. I sure don't want to sound like I'm the know all end all here - it's just my opinion and what I've learned from my last few years of doing this. So here goes!
Note: I am going to be using a new tutorial of mine about how to make a daisy chain for my example (in blue). Since I don't have any daisies but I do have lots (and lots and lots) of dandelions I'll be using them as my flower of choice.
How To Write A Tutorial
1. Specific Title. Be specific in the title of your tutorial versus a cute but mysterious title that no one will know what you are talking about until they read the post.
How To Make A Daisy Chain instead of Daisy Daisy Give Me Your Answer Do
Optionally: Give a cute title but with a specific subtitle.
Daisy Daisy Give Me Your Answer Do: How To Make A Daisy Chain
By naming your tutorial in the title it will make it easier for people to search for it in your blog archives and easier for search engines to find it too.
2. Begin with a picture of the completed project. Yep, right at the beginning so everyone can see what they are going to make :)
3. Give an overall description of the project. How long did it take (hours, minutes, days), what is it good for (gifts, recycling, just plain fun, etc.), age range or ages of who did the project (adults, kids with adult help, 3+, etc.) and the difficulty level, any tips (messy, outside, ventilate, etc.), any materials that are hard to find or unusual and where to find them.
Daisy (dandelion) chains are a fun last minute activity that children of almost any age can make. I didn't have any daisies on hand but any sturdy-stemmed flower will do and if you're lucky like me you'll have a whole backyard full of dandelions just waiting to be made into beautiful garlands! ;)
4. Materials and tools list. Make a list of everything you will need to complete the project. If you use a particular brand I'd love to know that too. You know what makes a materials and tools list even better? A picture!
Materials: as many sturdy-stemmed flowers as you want
Special Note Regarding Pictures: The more pictures in your tutorial the better but you need to have at least one for each different step. Clear pictures with a clean and contrasting background. Close-up views and sometimes a picture of the whole work space for perspective.
*click on pictures for a larger view*
5. Procedure. This is the hardest part. Depending on how complicated the tutorial is, try to break it down into clear easy steps, numbering is helpful, and add the obligatory picture for each step. Using bold and italic typefaces can indicate new steps or important tips. Different colors can be helpful too but don't go overboard because it will make it more confusing. Definitely add any precautions or pointers or "don't do what I did" kind of help. Watch your vocabulary and try to be consistent with the words you use.
Step 1: Gather your flowers; stems need to be thick enough and strong enough to hold together after making a vertical cut within the stem.
Step 2: Make a small split in the stem with your fingernails. It only needs to be big enough to slide in another flower stem. The split pictured is about one inch below the flower head but you can vary this as you please. The closer the split to the flower head then the closer together the flowers will be on the garland and the further away from the flower head then the further away the flowers will be from each other on the garland.
Step 3: Slide the stem end of another flower through the split until it stops at the flower head. You may trim off the first stem about 1/2" behind the split.
Step 4: Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until your daisy chain is the length you want or you run out of flowers.
Step 5: If you want to make a crown then slide the very last stem through the split of the very first flower and pull so the circle is complete.
6. Review. Check for errors. Read it through several times to see that it makes sense and proceeds logically. If possible, have someone else read it and give you some feedback.
If you have any other suggestions for what you think makes a great tutorial please leave them in the comments. Thanks so much for indulging me here and I hope this helps some of you put together your own tutorials :)
Now I'm off to check out the tutorials in my archives...
Not much of a how to here: find a glass plate and a glass bowl at the thrift store (or perhaps your own cabinets), make a pretty display on the plate, turn the glass bowl upside down on the plate and you're done. A beautiful display of found objects!
There's something about putting even the most mundane object under glass that turns it into a work of art. The items I've chosen are findings from one of our last outings - obsidian, agate, other pretty rocks, shells, pinecones, and a bug (possibly a cockroach?) casing. See? Even a cockroach can be art! ;)
I meant to make a Mother's Day post but I found myself in bed for most of the weekend suffering with the flu. Then, what happens next? Come on mothers, you know. Yep, my son gets it. Luckily, so far, crossing my fingers, my other two haven't come down with it so we are on the mend. I am very behind on email so I hope you all understand and I'll be up to speed soon.
Thank you everyone for all the nice things you said about my tree drawing. It's hard when I do something that I like and then I hesitate to do it again because I'm afraid it won't come out as well the next time and then I'll feel like I just got lucky the first time around rather than having any real skill. I felt like I had to just dig in and try again. Sounds so wimpy but there it is. Does anyone else ever feel that way?
This is a drawing of a piece of branch from our firewood box. I'm using a mechanical pencil (my beloved Quicker Clicker) and a kneaded eraser. The kneaded eraser is really fun and so helpful with the shading and highlights, plus you can play with it like playdough :)
Make sure the quotes are in there because they make all the difference!
Tricky part done!
now in the URL field put the web address that you want to go to when the image is clicked, for example:
now click Save
This new Typelist has to be added to your blog.
go to your blog's Design tab and click Select Content
click on the box next to your new Typelist and click Save Changes at the bottom
Click on Order Content if you'd like to change where the button is located on your sidebar.
Be sure to click on the button from your blog to make sure it works and you're done!
I have to assume there are other ways of doing this but this is how I do it and it works :) If any of you more experienced computer people out there have any tips please leave them in the comments! Thanks, I hope this helps someone :)
I've always wanted to be able to draw. I mostly wanted to be able to put down on paper the ideas I can see in my mind but I also wanted to be able to draw a tree. I always thought that if someone could draw a tree then they were a pretty good artist because I think trees seem hard to draw. Inspired by Lori's drawing lessons that I have featured on The Crafty Crow, I've been practicing a lot lately. I finished this tree drawing this evening and I have to say I am pretty darn pleased with it. I see places for improvement but for my first real effort I'm satisfied.
The kids and I have begun keeping nature journals so consequently we're spending more time looking at the shapes and lines of trees and rocks and water movement at the river. I pulled out Keeping A Nature Journal that's been sitting on my shelf forever and it has been a practical help as well as an inspirational one. Besides suggestions on observing nature and how to get started journaling, it has basic drawing lessons and exercises that I have found extremely helpful.
2004-forever! All rights reserved. I would love it if you would link to my blog so please feel free to do so at any time. You may use a few of my photographs as long as you give me the proper acknowledgment and link back to my site. Please do not use all of my photographs from one post, i.e. a tutorial, without my permission. If you would like to use any written content from my blog please email me for permission also. Thank you! (bellathecraftycrow(at)gmail(dot)com)