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The Craftster Need To Know Guide

History of Craftster

Craftster Membership Settings
     • Handy Features for Registered Members
     • Your Member Profile
     • Avatars, Personal Text, Signatures

Structure of Craftster

How To Find Things on Craftster
     • Search Feature

What Kind of Information Goes Where

Mechanics of Posting
     • First Step in Posting or Replying
     • Using Tags to Format Your Post
     • Posting Pictures in Your Message
     • Using Quick Reply Feature
     • Quoting Another Post in Your Post
     • Editing Your Post Later
     • Moving Your Thread to a Different Place
     • New Thread? How to Choose a Great Title

Tips for Posting a Completed Project with a Tutorial

Personal Message System
     • How to Send a Personal Message
     • Helpful Personal Message Tips

Organized Swaps

Etiquette, Tips, and DOs and DON'Ts

History of Craftster

Craftster is an online community where people share hip, off-beat, crafty diy (do it yourself) projects. The term "Craftster" means "crafty hipster" and is also meant to be an homage to the pioneer peer-to-peer sites Napster and Friendster. Craftster was started in August 2003 by Leah Kramer, a computer programmer and self-proclaimed craft junkie. Craftter has since grown to a readership of over 1,000,000 readers per month. Leah Kramer moved on from Craftster in 2010 but is still Craftster's #1 fan.

Craftster has been written up in numerous publications including Time Magazine, the New York Times and the London Guardian. Craftster is the largest online community for what is now commonly known as "indie crafts." ("Indie" stands for independent as in indie music, indie art, indie film, etc.) Craftster is regarded by many as one of the cornerstones of the recent renaissance in crafting known as the "indie craft movement.

In December 2009, Craftster was acquired by Internet Brands. Internet Brands is a leading Internet media company that operates community and e-commerce websites.

Craftster Membership Settings

You don't need to sign up and become a member to use Craftster but there are advantages to signing up. Signing up is free! And your personal information will not be given away or sold.

 Handy Features for Registered Members

• Member can post. Guests can only read.

• Craftster keeps track of which threads you've read and boards you've visited. This is helpful because next time you come to Craftster, you'll be able to see at a glance what's new and what you've already seen.

• You can use the Mark As Read feature to "trick" Craftster into thinking you've read a thread, a board, or the entire forum. You would do this if you want use the Show unread posts since last visit but have the results be narrowed.
• You can "collapse" and expand the categories on the main page. Whether a category is collapsed or expanded is remembered from visit to visit. This is helpful if you're really only interested in a few categories because you can just collapse the ones you're not interested in.
 Your Member Profile

The Profile button gives you access to your account information and lets you control how Craftster behaves in certain ways.

Click these choices to change many aspects of your profile:

Account Related Settings allows you to: create a "displayed screen name" that is different that your login name; hide your email address from being seen by other members; change your password; etc.

Forum Profile Information is where you set personal information such as your Avatar, Personal Text, and Signature.

Look and Layout Preferences allows you to change the way Craftster behaves when navigating and posting messages. For example, you can turn on a feature here called Quick Reply, which shows a reply box on screen whenever you are reading a thread so you can reply to that thread without having to do the extra step of clicking the Reply button. You can also change your Skin (called a Theme).

Notifications and Email provides settings that come into play if you subscribe to be notified when a thread is replied to.

Personal Message Options lets you set certain behaviors regarding Personal Messages you get through Craftster.

 Avatars, Personal Text, Signatures

If you click on the Profile button and then click Forum Profile Information you can change all of these things for your account.

For your Avatar You can (1) choose a picture that comes with Craftster's software, (2) upload a picture that is no bigger than 128x128 pixels or (3) enter a URL to a picture on your own website that is no bigger than 128x128 pixels.

Your Personal Text is meant to be a quick statement of whatever you want.

Your Signature can be any statement you want that's a bit longer. Some people put a link to their online shop, website or blog here. Please just keep it brief. And if you are going to advertise your online shop, please keep it somewhat subtle.

Structure of Craftster

The heirarchy of Craftster is as follows: CATEGORIES -> BOARDS -> TOPICS -> POSTS

So an example of a category is KNITTING and within that one of the boards is Completed Projects and within that one of the many topics is iPod Cozies. When you start a new topic on Craftster, this is also known as starting a new thread. Any message you write, whether it's a new topic or a reply to a topic is a post.

How To Find Things on Craftster

A huge part of what makes Craftster such a great resource is it contains a massive amount of information on many different types of crafting. Sometimes you may just want to browse Craftster, but often times you may want to find information on a specific topic.

It's tempting to just post a question about what you want to know but it's a much better idea to search for it first. Searching for it gives you access to all the information already posted AND it helps keep Craftster more organized.

Many threads about one specific subject are not as helpful as one combined thread that has everything you need to know! Please, please, please search before posting!

 Search Feature

There are three different ways to search for information on Craftster.

1. If you just type a keyword or two into the search box at the top of every page, then the entire Craftster forum -- each and every board -- are searched.

2. If you currently reading a board then you'll see a checkbox next to that search box which tells Craftster to only search that particular board.

3. You can confine the search parameters even further by clicking Advanced search. This allows to to specific only messages posted by a certain user, what date range to search through, and to limit the search to just the boards you want.

What Kind of Information Goes Where

There are two simple but important rules for where to put your posts.

1. A completed project with pictures and a tutorial that describes how you made the item goes into the Completed Projects board under the appropriate category.

For many categories, there is a break-down between things made from new materials and things made from re-purposing items in interesting new ways. For example purses made from newly purchased fabric vs. purse made from empty juice pouches.

2. Any questions, tips, or other discussion goes into the Discussions and Questions board. Please remember to search first to see if what are about to post has already been discussed.

Then there are several special folders which are described right on Craftster's main page like swaps, crafting for charity, crafty business ventures, etc.

Mechanics of Posting

 First Step in Posting or Replying

To start a new thread, go to the appropriate folder and click the button that says New Topic. To reply to an existing thread, click the Reply button.

 Using Tags to Format Your Post

There are lots of ways to spruce up your message with text formatting. You do this by using special "tags". The concept of tags is well known to people who can code HTML by hand but otherwise they can be a little bit strange.

Basically the rule for using tags is: figure out what tag you want to use; then make sure you put the "opening tag" in front of the piece of text and the "closing tag" at the end of the piece of text. For example, the opening tag to make something bold is [b] and the closing tag is [/b].

You can just type the tags in as you go. If you are unsure of what tags are available, try clicking the formatting buttons and an opening and closing tag will be inserted for you. But you must make sure the text you want is typed between those tags.

Here's an example of some basic formatting (italics, bold, underline, how to combine styles, and how to set text color):

And here's what the results look like:

To post an inline link, use the [url=http://whateverurl.com] and [/url] tags like so:

And it will come out like this:

If you are unsure of whether you are using the tags properly, you can click the Preview button and check how it looks before posting.

 Posting Pictures in Your Message

If you want to post a picture in your message, you must have web space somewhere and then you upload your pictures there. Then in your message you enter the URL of the image in between the image tags like so: [img]http://www.someurl.com/craftsterpics/purse1.jpg[/img].

If you don't already have web space, here's some suggestions from Craftster members for free or cheap web hosts. In particular, we recommend PhotoBucket which is free and you can also upgrade for a small amount of money to have even more space if you run out.

Craftster also offers free picture hosting for Craftster members! The pictures you upload there are for Craftster Forum use only. I.e. not for personal use. This is a great way save on your own bandwidth. Click here for Craftster Picture Hosting.

Please note that in order to prevent spam bots and spammers from posting inappropriate pictures, you must post 10 times in the forum before you are allowed to post a picture. In the mean time you are allowed to post links to pictures.

 Using Quick Reply Feature

There is a handy feature called Quick Reply which is not on by default. To turn it on, go to you your Profile, then click Look and Layout Preferences, and you'll be able to turn this feature on. This feature shows a reply box on screen whenever you are reading a thread so you can reply to that thread without having to do the extra step of clicking the Reply button.

 Quoting Another Post in Your Post

If you'd like to respond to a post and include that post in your response, click the Quote button in the message you'd like to quote. This causes that person's message to appear in your message with the quote tags, [quote]...[/quote], around it. If you want, you can delete some of what's in the quoted segment in order to trim the quote down to just the part you want to comment on. If the message you are quoting has an image in it, it's a good idea to remove this part of the quote so the bandwidth hit that that image takes up isn't doubled.

 Editing Your Post Later

If you've posted a message and then you want to edit it later, you can click the Edit button under that message. You can also delete any message you've posted by clicked the Delete button under that message.

 Moving Your Thread to a Different Place

If you've started a thread and you realize that you started it in the wrong board, you can click the Move Topic button and choose the correct folder to move it to.

 New Thread? How to Choose a Great Title

To help people locate the impressive craft projects you post, carefully word the title of your posts to make them as informative and descriptive as possible. Here are some tips:

descriptive words – Use words to help describe the focus or subject of your post such as: stencil, tutorial, pattern, do it yourself, craft, design, recycled, instructions, how to / how to make, handmade, reconstructed.

methods – What methods did you use to create your craft? Is it embroidered, knitted, or woven? Include that in the title.

materials – It never hurts to incorporate your materials using words like beaded, felt, or polymer clay, candy wrappers, etc.

item - Describe your item. Is it a circle skirt, a purple bracelet, a bottle cap necklace?

Now use the materials and/or method, item, and descriptive words together in any order:

Examples: satin handbag tutorial, floral embroidery napkin design, recycled cassette tape wallet, reconstructed pink pencil skirt pattern, making embroidered vintage slips, do it yourself crochet flower necklace, woven duct tape purse tutorial, how to make, knitted cargo pants, handmade squeaky pet toys, blue and green beach glass crafts

And that’s it! You’ve created a title that makes it easy for others to find your work!

Tips for Posting a Completed Project with a Tutorial

This section is coming soon!

Personal Message System

 How to Send a Personal Message

When you are looking at a message someone has posted, you can click on the speech bubble to send that person an Personal Message. If the speech bubble is blue it means that the person is currently on Craftster. If it's gray, that person is not currently on Craftster. You can send them a message either way and they can read it whenever they want.

If you want to just send a Personal Message to any member whose username you know without finding a message of theirs and clicking the bubble, then click on the link in your User Info box to access your Personal Message area, click the New Message button, and type that user's name in the To field.

 Helpful Personal Message Tips

To get to your Personal Message area, click the link in your User Info box.

• When sending and Personal Message to someone, you can keep a copy of your sent message by checking Save a copy in my outbox.

• To see the message you've sent (if you opted to save a copy), click the Outbox button.

• It's a good idea to delete messages you don't need from time to time. Some users have had problems when the total number of message goes over 100.

Organized Swaps

Craftster members can start Swaps where, according to some theme, people can trade crafted items. Over time, based on experience with lots of different issues that can arise, a set of rules for organizing or participating in a swap has been developed. These are all outlined in the Swap Info Guide.

Etiquette, Tips, and DOs and DON'Ts

Please see our updated Rules for more information.

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