Tales of Alice

Sharing my handmade world

Can You Recycle Paper Tape?

Can You Recycle Paper Tape?

I though I’d take a little time to answer the question, ‘can you recycle paper tape?’ It seems like a simple enough question, but the answer might surprise you…

You might have noticed that there is a growing trend for using paper tape, rather than the more common plastic tapes. I myself offer a range of paper tapes, which are, in theory, totally recyclable.

However, as with so many other eco-friendly products, the question of whether these tapes are actually recycled, is somewhat of a sticky issue…see what I did there? (I’m so sorry! haha)

This is because, despite paper tape having the potential to be 100% recyclable, most commercial recycling processes haven’t quite caught up with that potential yet. The recycling industry is a developing field, and while we might want (and need) the speed of a revolution; in truth, the process generally moves at more of an evolutionary pace.

Therefore, rather than, ‘can you recycle paper tape?’ The more apt question might be, ‘will my paper tape be recycled?’Recyclable paper tape on a gift wrapped present

Issues In The Commercial Recycling Process

Recycling facilities here in the UK have been developed with mechanical processes that separate sticky tape from paper and card. The paper products can then be recycled, while the plastic tapes are usually incinerated for energy recovery.

This process was put in place to counteract most people’s tendency not to bother removing plastic tapes, before placing paper items in the recycling. However, these separation processes were implemented before the growing popularity of paper tape emerged. Therefore, they were not designed to be able to distinguish between plastic tape and paper tape.removing plastic tape from a box

So, Will My Paper Tape Be Recycled Or Not?

Unfortunately, at present it is unlikely that the paper tape, which you place in your recycling, will actually get recycled. It will be reclaimed, along with the plastic tapes, to be most likely incinerated.

I understand that answer is probably disappointing, and might lead you to despondency. After all, what is the point of using paper tape if it won’t be recycled anyway? Well, I actually think there’s several good reasons to persevere!lots of rolls of paper tape on a wooden table.

Why Paper Tape Is Still The Best Choice

Firstly, as I mentioned earlier, recycling is very much a developing field. Commercial processes are evolving in order to improve the recyclability of as many products as possible. So, the more commonly used paper tape becomes, the more likely it is that recycling companies will develop machinery that can identify it. Once that happens, paper tapes will be left in the mix, with the rest of the paper and card, and will be recycled.

Secondly, even if for now, paper tapes are unlikely to be recycled, they are still a far more eco-friendly choice than their plastic counterparts. The incineration of natural, paper tapes produces less atmospheric pollution than that of plastic tapes. Paper tapes like mine are also biodegradable and compostable. This means that if they are placed in landfill, they will at least naturally biodegrade. Compare this to plastic tapes, which will sit in landfill for centuries.

Finally – and this one is important for me, as a gift wrap business – I think that paper tape is actually a superior product. It is much more durable than plastic tape, and adheres much more successfully to paper and card. This is especially true for the recycled stocks I offer in my shop. The only small gripe I have is that paper tape does tend to curl round on itself, when you’re cutting a long length. But, in my opinion, it is easy to accept that small issue, given all the other benefits.

Looking Ahead

I appreciate this has probably not been the answer you had hoped for – or possibly even expected – when I asked the question, ‘can you recycle paper tape?’

However, it is an open and honest answer, which also aims to reflect a high level of hope. Indeed, I anticipate being able to return to this post in the future, to update it with the news that paper tapes are being recycled.

The recycling industry is a growing, and innovative, field, with a heck of a big responsibility on its shoulders. The pace of change may be frustrating, but if we, as consumers, continue to make eco-friendly choices, then we push that change forward.

Take a look at my range of paper tapes, and see what you think.

ball of hemp cord and pair of scissors

Hemp: The Eco-Friendly Choice

Hemp, The Eco-Friendly Choice

You might have noticed that I’ve added some new hemp cords to the website this year.

In fact, I’ve always used hemp cord in my gift wrap sets. And, since last year, I have offered the option for all of my gift tags to be threaded with hemp cord too.

Hemptique Hemp Cord set - Emerald, next to a present wrapped in Wrapped By Alice paper and tied with cord from the set.

So, Why Hemp?

Why, you might ask, when there are so many natural cord and twine options available, have I plumped for hemp? Why not cotton baker’s twine, or jute twine?

The answer is simple – hemp is the most eco-friendly natural fibre around, and it also happens to produce the highest quality cord on the market.

Indeed, many other natural fibres – such as cotton – are actually harmful to the environment. It seems we have developed a tendency to treat the word, ‘natural’, as though it is interchangeable with, ‘eco-friendly’. However, this is often times not the case.

Businesses, in particular, bear a big responsibility for pushing the narrative that just because a product is natural, it is also kind to the environment. In the best case, this sort of marketing is a product of laziness, and a lack of research, and in the worst, it is simply profiting off a deliberate lie.

However, I’m here to say that, hemp has the credentials to back-up its eco-friendly status. Let’s take a look at the ways in which hemp is good for the environment.

image of hemp plant growing


The Eco-Friendly Benefits of Hemp

Water Requirements

Growing hemp requires less than a third of the water needed to grow cotton, and produces 220% more fibres – it’s a win-win.

water being poured into a metal bucket


Nearly all varieties of hemp are naturally resistant to pests, which means that pesticides need only be used sparingly, if at all. This means far less chemicals are being leached into the soil and waterways. It also means that hemp plantations provide safe habitats for pollinators, birds and small mammals.



Hemp grows rapidly; quickly covering the ground and leaving little to no room for weeds to grow. This rapid ground cover means that herbicides are not needed, which again prevents contamination of soil and waterways.


Soil Quality

Hemp is also great for soil quality. Not only does it have deep root systems, which stabilise the soil, it also requires very little nutrients or fertilizer to grow. Moreover, it puts a great deal of nutrients back into the soil, through decomposition of its leaves, once they fall.

hands holding soil


Carbon Emissions

Hemp production results in lower amounts of carbon emissions, when compared to other natural fibres, such as cotton. Meanwhile, the plant itself, with its bountiful lush green leaves, captures large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Scientists estimate that for every ton of hemp grown, 1.63 tons of carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere.


Hemptique Hemp Cords

You might have noticed that all my hemp cords are from the same company – Hemptique.

I have chosen to work with Hemptique for two reasons – their dedication to being an eco-friendly business, and the quality of the products they produce.



Eco-Friendly Materials

Hemptique is committed to using materials that are kind to the environment. Of course, there is the fair trade hemp, which they use to produce their cords. But they also ensure that the other materials in their manufacturing process are eco-friendly too.

For example, if you purchase one of the colourful hemp cord sets available on my site, you can rest assured that Hemptique have used only premium-quality, fibre-reactive, AZO-free dyes, to produce the vibrant colours featured. These are the most environmentally-friendly, man-made dyes available.

Another example, is the corn and potato starch mixture which Hemptique use to polish their cords. This mix is used in favour of alternatives, such as wax or chemicals, as it makes the cord more easily biodegradable.

lots of wooden spools


High-Quality Cords

It’s also worth noting that Hemptique produce cords not twines. What’s the difference? I hear you ask! Well, it’s a matter of quality – twines are made using fewer strands of fibre than cords, and may be uneven in thickness and have fly-aways. Cords, on the other hand, are round and even, without any loose fibres, and are also incredibly strong. Even the thinnest cord that I offer – at just 0.5mm in thickness – can hold up to 4.5kg / 10lb in weight! This property means that it can be reused many times.


The Best Choice for Gift Wrapping

Hemp cords provide the perfect gift wrapping alternative, not only to ribbon, but also to some seemingly eco-friendly alternatives, such as baker’s twine.

Combine hemp cord with my recycled papers, and recyclable tape, and you have the ultimate eco-friendly gift wrapping experience!

hemp cord - autumn nights set, with gift behind tied with grey hemp cord from the set.

Let’s hear it for hemp!

Rainbow reflected in the palm of a hand.

Wrapped By Alice During the Covid-19 Crisis.

The Effect of Covid-19 on Wrapped By Alice

As you may have noticed if you’ve been on the site, my shop has been closed for business since the start of lockdown here in the UK, all the way back in March! This is because, as well as being a printer of eco-friendly wrapping paper, and a lover of dogs, I am also the owner of a suppressed immune system – the latter I tend to shout about a little less than the first two!

It’s this faulty immune system that landed me in the ‘extremely vulnerable category’, and has kept me at home for the past four months; shielding from basically everyone and everything, including my business, and you, my lovely customers!

Up till now shielding, has made running Wrapped By Alice basically impossible, as the Covid-19 guidance is so strict; stopping me from having interaction with anyone other than my partner, Kenny, and my stepdaughter, Yasmin. So, we’ve been making our own entertainment (and biscuits!) at home.


Yasmin with her giant butterfly cookie.

While shielding has presented one obstacle to running the business, the other has been the toll that lockdown, in and of itself, has taken on my health. We’ve all had our lives turned upside down recently, and I think most people have felt challenged by that to some degree. But when the structure of your life is built around managing your health, and then that structure suddenly crumbles around you, it’s bound to have ramifications.

Pre-lockdown I had a very quiet, largely solitary life, where I worked my business and household responsibilities around my health. Then lockdown hit, and overnight, me, Kenny and Yasmin began sharing our space 24/7. Whilst the energy I would normally prioritise for the business was redirected to Yasmin – making sure she was happy and entertained and keeping up with her school work.

At times during lockdown, I have felt like I’ve lost much of what makes me who I am – no longer independent, but rather relying on Kenny for everything; not able to run the business, and too tired to be creative. The times where I was too ill to even help with looking after Yasmin were particualrly hard.

But I am nothing if not resilient (and at times, plain obstinate!) and I feel like I am starting to settle into my new role, and thankfully even have a little left over energy for business planning. Once shielding ends, I’ll be looking after Yasmin until she goes back to school in September. But once she’s back and settled in, I will be reopening; so, like the Terminator, I will be back! 😆 I’ll keep you all posted as to progress! Stay safe my friends x x

recyclable wrapping paper. Rolled sheets of wrapped by alice paper, with pugs, frenchies and cats.

Can You Recycle Wrapping Paper?

Can Your Recycle Wrapping Paper?

The short answer to the question, ‘can you recycle wrapping paper’, is, ‘yes’!

However, the long answer is rather more complicated. Here are some tips to help you decide whether or not you can recycle your wrapping paper.

Did You Buy Your Wrapping Paper From Wrapped By Alice?

Now, here is where it’s really simple; if you bought your paper from me, then you can recycle it – all my papers are 100% recyclable. Just pop it in with your other paper and card recycling; job done!

recycled wrapping paper on shelving

What Are Other Wrapping Papers Actually Made From?

Often, wrapping paper hides additional substances, such as plastic and metallic particles – I’m looking at you glitter and foil! Any wrapping paper which is glittery or foiled is a mixed product and can therefore not be recycled. The same applies to glossy, laminated wrapping papers, as their sheen is created by coating the paper with a plastic film. Heavily dyed papers are also not recyclable, as they leach their colour during the pulping process.

You’re pretty sure your gift wrap passes all the above tests, and is just paper – plain and simple? Off to the recycling bin you go…but wait; it still might not be recyclable. Thin, poor quality wrapping paper (you know the type a lot of places sell very cheaply, on long rolls) is probably not suitable for recycling. This is because, although paper can be recycled numerous times (generally, up to 7 times), in order for it to be suitable it has to contain a high number of long, quality fibres; something which these cheaper papers do not.

All my wrapping papers are made from high quality, recycled, uncoated and undyed paper stocks, so you won’t face any of these barriers to recycling.

The ‘Scrunch Test’

If all this information is a bit overwhelming, and you don’t know what the hell your wrapping paper is made of, then the simple ‘scrunch test’ is probably your best bet – scrunch your wrapping paper in your hand; does it stay scrunched up? If it does, then it can more than likely be recycled. If it starts to expand back out again, it probably contains plastic and can therefore not be recycled.

Other Sticky Issues

So, we think we’ve finally got to grips with the question of, can you recycle wrapping paper. But now what about all the extras that can come with a gift wrapped present?

drawer full of stickers and gift tags

First off, remove any ribbon or twine – these definitely can’t be recycled with your paper. However, the hemp twine which I include in all my gift wrap sets, can be reused over and over again, and will also naturally biodegrade, so, all is not lost!

So finally, we come to the sticky issue of tape. And this is where it gets really complicated and contradictory – what fun!

Here in the UK we are advised to remove all sticky tape from wrapping paper (and all other paper and card items) before putting them in our recycling; some local authorities even have a blanket ban on wrapping paper, because of this issue.

However, our recycling facilities do have mechanical processes to separate sticky tape from paper and card. As I understand it, it is only a huge amount of tape, e.g. a box almost entirely coated in packing tape, that would cause issues. Therefore, best practice is probably to remove as much plastic tape as you can before putting your paper in the recycling.

What About Paper Tape?

There is a growing trend for using paper tape, rather than the common plastic tapes. I myself offer a range of paper tapes, which are completely recyclable; this means you can leave the tape on your paper and card, and, in theory, it will all be recycled together.

However you might wonder, what is the point of such tapes, if the machinery at recycling centres is designed to separate it out anyway? Surely it won’t be recycled?

Well, firstly, the more commonly used this tape becomes, the more likely it is that the recycling companies will develop machinery that can identify these paper tapes and leave them in the mix to be recycled.

Secondly, my paper tapes are a natural, biodegradable and compostable product. This means that even if they are removed from the recycling chain and placed in land fill, they will at least naturally biodegrade. Compare this to the plastic tape that will sit in landfill for centuries. Equally, if the tape is incinerated, it is better for it to be paper, rather than plastic.

And finally, I think that paper tape is actually a superior product. It is much more durable than plastic tape, and adheres much more successfully to paper and card, especially to the recycled stocks I offer in my shop. The only small gripe I have is that it does tend to curl round on itself if cutting a long length; but I can accept that small issue, given all the other benefits.

In Conclusion

Apologies my friends, for such a complicated answer to the simple question of, can you recycle wrapping paper! But it seems, at least for now, if we’re going to successfully recycle as much as possible, then we need to educate ourselves on how to properly prepare items for recycling.

As an example, my local authority banned Christmas wrapping paper and Christmas cards from recycling collections this past festive season; this was due to the issues mentioned above ( Christmas t’is the season of glitter and sparkle, after all)! However, I knew my paper didn’t contain any of these extras, and so I still placed it in the recycling, defying the ban, because I knew that it could be recycled.

So, arm yourself with as much information as possible, and get recycling, folks!

Wrapped By Alice recycled logo
my workspace. my printing table with cube storage beneath and shelving above

Big Changes Mean Big Challenges: Chronic Illness in Business

Where I Have Been: Moving House and Beyond

Apparently today is National Writing Day, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to explain where on earth I’ve been for the last 3 months (apologies to the ‘gram, et al!) 

So, I did a rather big thing while I was away…no I didn’t have a baby! But I did buy a house, move into that house with my partner (not only the first time we have lived together, but also the first time I have ever lived with any partner). And, if that weren’t enough, in the process I also became a stepmum (I prefer the title ‘bonus mum’) to my partner’s 5-year-old daughter.

‘Wow, that’s a lot of stuff’, you might be thinking! Well now, just for good measure, add into the mix, the fact that I also have a number of chronic illnesses to contend with, and you may get some sense of the pile of quivering, overwrought jelly I have been for the past 3 months! Overwhelmed doesn’t cut it. Exhausted doesn’t cut it. But I’ve made it through, and am somehow sat in my new workroom, in my new house, telling you all about it, on National Writing Day!

This Is Going To Get Personal: Chronic Illness In Business

This is something of a sea change for me; I never normally share anything about my health; I guess I am a naturally private person, and, furthermore, a stubborn one – I never want to feel that I’m defined by my illness. Not to mention – and I can’t stress this enough – I don’t think that you, or anyone else for that matter, wants to hear me bore on about my ‘daily struggles’!

Nevertheless, it’s true that over the past 5 years, since setting up Wrapped By Alice, I have had to close the business on many occasions, thanks to severe infections (yay), surgery (double yay), or just being plain unable to get out of bed (…you get the idea). I’ve never really offered an explanation as to those absences, and fair enough – that is one of the perks of being your own boss, after all!

But, having said that, I don’t think that I’ve ever been MIA for quite as long as I have this year, and I feel like I want to let you in on a bit of what’s been going on. So, welcome to my new house! It’s been slow progress, but it’s already feeling like home, here are a few of my favourite bits so far…

Home Sweet Home: Pops Of Colour And Personality

Dining table, with placemats from Ebay. His and Hers Billy bookcases from IKEA.
Close up of my bookcase, adorned with lots of ornaments; all gifts from over the years.
Toy chest from IKEA, Lego Star Wars X Wing, DED ass artwork, antique bear (model wears his own sunglasses and space rocket).

However, no part of the house was as painfully slow to complete as my workroom; by this point I was running on absolute empty; I thought I’d only need 4 days to sort my workroom out once all my stuff had been moved over (what an uncomprehending fool I was!) It actually took over 4 weeks! I was desperate to get back to the business, and reclaim a bit of me, but days on end went by where I was too tired or too ill to do anything. And even on those days where I started with high hopes, I could only manage to get done a tenth of what I had planned; it was like wading through treacle… very, very thick, frustrating treacle!

But all in its own time, and with a lot of help from my brilliant family, finally it was done, and now I am writing this at my desk in my brand new workroom, having just recently reopened the business, and it feels so good!

My New Workroom: A Purpose-Designed Space

wardrobe with neatly stacked wrapping paper sheets
My beautiful paper, all stored away neatly, ready to send out to my lovely customers.

Last But Not Least: My Partner In Crime!

Shout out to my fella, for not considering my health problems, when deciding that I was the one for him. I was going to say, ‘he takes it all in his stride’, but that would be a platitude; it would imply that somehow this is easy for him. It is never easy to build your life with a person who has a chronic illness or disability; I mean it’s a hard enough thing to do as it is! But he accepts and supports me; he never makes me feel bad for the things I can’t do, and celebrates with me in all the things that I can do. I guess he’ll do!

me giving a kiss to my handsome fella.
Obligatory soppy photo of me and the boy.
Peony Print, surrounded by real pink peonies

Peonies: Printing My Limited Edition Pink Peony Art Print

My Inspiration

I have to admit to you that I am a little cuckoo about peonies! They’re my favourite flower, and I wait all year in anticipation of their arrival. I’m lucky enough to have two really well established peony plants in my garden, and from May onward I’m pretty much constantly checking on their progress.

Close up of an open pink peony, surrounded by peony buds

A peony in bloom in my garden.

I decided to draw on this love, as the inspiration for a limited edition peony art print. To be honest, I only ever draw what I love, which is why there are so many dog designs in my ranges!

The Creative Process

I began by drawing some simple ink illustrations of peonies in various stages of bloom. From these drawings, I then carved rubber stamps, or block cuts, as they can be called. 

Block carving of a peony, next to original floral sketches

It is these block cuts which I use to create my peony art print.

Flat lay of Wrapped By Alice peony print, showing finished print, with printing tools

Although they are a limited run of just 50, in reality each print is unique in its own right. There’s a couple of reasons for this; firstly, each element has been carved as an individual block cut, rather than being carved as one large piece. Added to this, I don’t choose to use a template when printing, therefore, one-off variations are created between each print. Finally, once I have finished printing, I add in each stem by hand, using watercolours; this adds yet more individuality to each piece.

Peony Print, surrounded by real pink peonies

To find out more about my peony art print, and get your own little piece of peony print perfection, by visiting my listing.

Do It Yourself

If you’d like to have a go at doing your own block print, here are the materials I used to create my Peony art print:

The Speedball Speedy Carve block is made from a really soft rubber, and comes in all different sizes. It’s so easy to work with; just draw or trace your image straight onto the block (remember to reverse your image), then get carving!

The Pfeil cutters are a bit of an investment, as they’re not cheap. However, I have found that they are really worth the price tag! If you just want to have a try first, then you can buy really cheap lino cutters, like this one, but you will find it a lot trickier to carve.

The Versamagic and Versafine ink pads are great, as they come in tiny dew drop sized pads, which cost under £2.00 each! Great for experimenting with colours, and none of the fuss associated with traditional lino printing, where you’d use traditional block printing ink along with a brayer.

gift wrapping tutorial japanese 3

Gift Wrapping Tutorial: Japanese-Style Gift Wrapping

Japanese Gift Wrapping Tutorial

I thought I’d put together a gift wrapping tutorial to give you some inspiration as to what to do with the free stickers I include in all my customers’ orders. Check out my shop for unique wrapping paper and more.

gift wrapping stickers

I thought I’d introduce you to a Japanese-style gift wrapping, which gives you beautiful crisp edges, and lovely lines. There is a great tutorial on YouTube, which shows you how to use this technique:



However, I know myself that it’s sometimes tricky to keep up with a video, especially when you’re doing something for the first time, so I thought I would break it down for you, step by step, in my own tutorial, featuring (of course) my lovely stickers!

Step 1

Place your gift on your wrapping paper, so it sits diagonally; there should be a little excess paper at each bottom corner of your gift, with a larger amount of spare paper at the top two corners (see pic). It is with the bottom end of the parcel that we will begin.

gift wrapping tutorial japanese 1

Step 2

Fold the bottom corner up, and fold along the edge to make a crisp crease.

gift wrapping tutorial japanese 2

Step 3

Start with the bottom left corner, and fold the corner in, as shown.

gift wrapping tutorial japanese 3

Step 4

Bring the paper on the left upwards, to form a straight edge, at the corner, as pictured.

gift wrapping tutorial japanese 4

Step 5

Now fold along the left edge, to create a crisp fold, and secure the paper with a sticker, as shown.

gift wrapping tutorial japanese 5

Step 6

Repeat the same process with the bottom right corner.

Step 7

Now, turn you parcel round, so the end that was furthest away from you, is now nearest to you. Start with the right corner, and fold the paper in from the middle, as shown.

Step 8

Repeat with the left corner.

Japanese Gift wrapping tutorial step 8

Step 9

Now, fold the flap of paper up, and fold along the edge to create another crisp fold, then secure with another sticker, as shown.

gift wrapping tutorial japanese 9

And You’re Done!

japanese gift wrapping idea

I’ve used my Pedro the Pug wrapping paper and gift tag in this tutorial.

My favourite thing about this style of gift wrapping is the beautiful neat corners it creates:

Japanese gift wrap idea










And, if you practise a lot you might even get as quick as this guy:


twitter network hours

Twitter Tutorial, Number 4: Networking Hours

We’ve now learnt all the essentials of twitter – hashtags, the @ symbol, retweeting, liking, and inserting links and images into our tweets. For our final tutorial I thought I would share my favourite networking hours with you, so that you can put into practice all the things we’ve learnt over the course of the 4 lessons.

My Favourite Networking Hours

All hours are in GMT.

All Week:

#wineoclock #womaninbiz: Mon-Fri, 18:00 – 19:00 – use these two hashtags together, to network with other small business owners; this is a really nice community hour.


#creativebizhour: 20:00 – 21:00 – for creative businesses to promote and connect with each other and their customers.

#vintagewedhour: 20:00 – 21.:00 – for businesses selling vintage, and wedding items, to promote to brides and grooms-to-be.

#buyonlinehour: 20:30 – 21:30 – for businesses that sell online, to promote their products.


#indiehour: Tue, 19:00 – 20:00 – for small, independent, creative businesses to promote and connect with each other and their customers.

#FBlikehour: 20.00 – 21:00 – this is a good networking hour if you want to promote your facebook page to your twitter followers – you can pick up fresh likes for your FB page by including a link in your tweets, during this hour.


#handmadehour: 19:30 – 20:30 – biggest networking hour of the week for handmade businesses.

#weddinghour: 21.00 – 22:00 – biggest wedding networking hour of the week.


#handmadehourUSA: 00:00 – 01.00 – the American version of #handmadehour – this is a great networking opportunity if, like me, you have an Etsy shop and make a lot of sales to customers in the USA…unfortunately I am never awake late enough to join in; but if you’re a night owl, this would be a great one to join in!

#bridehour #bridebible: 20:00 – 21:00 – designed for brides who are looking for items for their wedding days, and for makers and suppliers of wedding items to promote their goods to them. Use both hashtags together.

#twittersisters: 20.:00 – 21:00 – great community hour, for women in business to network with each other.


#retailhourtime: 20:00 – 21:00 – for businesses to promote their products.


#satchatUK: 08:00 – 09:15 – for early risers, to share what they have going on with their businesses.

#makehour: 20:00 – 21:00 – for people who make handmade items.


#SBS: 17:00 – 19:30 – send one tweet, including this hashtag, and describing your business to@TheoPaphitis, he will then choose his favourite 6 to promote later in the night!

#crafthour: 19:00 – 20:00 – a close second to #handmadehour.

#hndmadehour: 20:00 – 21:00 – biggest networking hour of the week for handmade businesses.


Twitter Tutorial, Number 3: Retweets & More

So far, we’ve tackled hashtags and how to use the @ symbol, so now we’re going to handle the two other key principles of twitter – retweeting and liking! We’ll also have a look at how to add images and links to your tweets.


Retweeting is an important part of the twitter community, especially for small, handmade business owners; as I mentioned in the previous tutorials, twitter is a big community, and one of the ways we support each other is by retweeting!

Retweeting expands the audience of a tweet; if you spot a post from another maker that you think looks interesting, then hit the retweet icon underneath the tweet itself, and bam, that tweet is now visible to all your followers too; one or more of them might in turn retweet it, and before you know it one little tweet has reached a big audience – this wouldn’t be possible without all of us working together to promote each other! Don’t just retweet randomly though; I only retweet those tweets which genuinely fit with my own interests; at the end of the day I don’t want to spam my own followers with loads of random offerings!


Hitting the like button (the little red heart) at the bottom of people’s tweets is another way to show support and appreciation for your fellow tweeps; if you see something you like, be sure to click the heart. As a maker myself, I can say it genuinely gives you a little boost when somebody likes one of your tweets, especially when that tweet is promoting one of your products.

Inserting Links

If you’re a maker or artist you are going to want to include links to your products in your tweets, so that people can get straight to the item in question in your online shop. How you share your products will depend on what platform you use to sell online.

For example, if you have an Etsy shop, then the Etsy Seller’s App (if you have a smart phone, and don’t already have this free app, then I highly recommend you get it) allows you to share the link directly; just go to ‘Your Items’, and click on the product you want to tweet about, and there will be a ‘SHARE’ option in the bottom right corner – this will open the link in twitter, as well as automatically adding the primary image of the listing in question – which means you get a link and an image, all while using just 20 characters or so. Most other ecommerce platforms will have a similar option.

Inserting Images

Having an image attached to your tweet is always a good idea. People are much more likely to engage with a tweet if there is a visual element to it. As mentioned earlier, if you include a link in your tweet, then it will normally automatically add the primary image on the page you linked from to the tweet. But for those occasions where you are not including a link in your tweet, or this function doesn’t work, then you can add an image (or images) manually. You can add images by using the picture icon when composing your tweet, or the camera icon allows you to take a picture there and then, to attach to the tweet.

twitter tutorial

Twitter Tutorial, Number 2: The @ Symbol

In my first twitter tutorial we learnt about hashtags, now we’ll move on to the other sometimes mystifying symbol of twitter – the @ symbol; what does it mean, and when and how should you use it?

The @ Symbol Explained

The @ symbol goes before a twitter user’s chosen twitter name, e.g. I chose the twitter name wrappedbyalice, so I appear as @wrappedbyalice.

Twitter users employ the @ symbol in order to communicate directly with each other (N.B. these are not private communications; they are visible in the same way as all other tweets). For example, someone might tweet, ‘So excited – my goodies from @wrappedbyalice arrived today; can’t wait to get wrapping!’ It would then pop up in my twitter notifications that someone had mentioned me in a tweet, I could then view the tweet, and reply. Mentioning others in tweets like this also provides the added bonus that any other twitter user who sees the tweet will be able to click on my username, and be taken directly to my twitter profile, where they could choose to follow me if they liked!

How To Use The @ Symbol

Shout Outs

As we’ve seen above, one of the ways that we can use the @ symbol is to communicate directly with another user, and perhaps give them a shout out. Publicly supporting other crafters is really important, because twitter is a big community; this is particularly true for small business owners, and even more so for women in business; twitter offers a fabulous way to encourage and support other makers, who will in turn support you, and it’s using the @ symbol that makes all this possible!


It’s also good twitter etiquette to generally interact with other twitter users – comment on their posts; say a friendly thank you, if someone is kind enough to give you a shout out.

When you leave a comment on someone else’s tweet it will automatically add their username to the tweet, likewise if you reply to someone else’s comment on your own tweet.

N.B. do not start your tweet with the person’s username, at least put a fullstop first – e.g. ‘.@wrappedbyalice, your paper arrived today, can’t wait to get wrapping!’ – this is because tweets which begin with a person’s username, i.e. ‘@wrappedbyalice…’ will only be able to be seen by people who follow both the sender and the recipient; no one else will be able to see it!


You can also use the @ symbol to target a specific user(s), for example, to let them know that a certain product is back in stock. N.B. don’t ever spam someone’s account; unsolicited, pushy tweets are the worst! But if someone has shown interest in a product, than it’s perfectly fine to get in touch with a friendly, informative tweet.

You can also use the @ symbol to increase the reach of your tweets, as each networking hour will have a twitter account attached to it – an account which set up the hour and promotes and manages it (for more info on networking hours, see my first tutorial). For example, the twitter account in charge of #handmadehour is (not surprisingly!) @handmadehour (and their sister account @HMNation) and they will retweet other people’s tweets during the networking hour; as they have thousands and thousands of followers it’s great to be retweeted by them…but the only way they’re likely to see your tweet, out of the thousands of other tweets being posted in that hour, is if you tag them directly in it! For example, ‘I hand print beautiful designs onto eco-friendly kraft paper #handmadehour @handmadehour’ (I’d also include a link to my website and image of my work, but we’ll talk about these two things in the next lessons).

To get you started here are a couple of great networking hours, and the accounts that run them; there are so, so many more – get researching find which hours work best for you and start tweeting!

#handmadehour Wed, 19.30-20.30, & Sun, 20.00-21.00. Run by @handmadehour & @HMNation

#crafthour Sun, 19.00-20.00. Run by @Craft_Hour & @crafthourRT.