Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How to make a chain flower

 How To Make A Daisy Chain


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
Tools: fingernails
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. 

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