Scrabble Tile Pendants and the evolution of design.

I was bopping around on Etsy today and I saw sooo many tile pendants for sale.

I became curious about how these are made, so, I did a google search entitled: “How to make a tile pendant” and I ran across a blog called All Things LittlePut in which the author claims she was the first to invent and sell on etsy, the most popular item sold on the handmade website…the scrabble tile pendant! Most of the time when I hear about designers claiming to be the inventor of a very popular item, I usually roll my eyes. I think it’s because everytime I’ve heard someone do this they are complaining about how everyone is ripping them off and it’s never a positive sounding conversation….however, when I read this article, something stirred in me that I hadn’t previously considered because of some of the comments left and the inventor slash author’s willingness to share her formula for creating these pendants.

(One of Littleputs super cute tiles)

The author said the following,

“There is no real way to talk about them (scrabble tile pendants) without either sounding braggy or sounding pissed off that so many others followed in my footsteps. There is a lot of argument over whether I was the first person to make them or not. Since I had never seen one before I made my first one, for a long time I was (either naively or not) convinced that I had come up with the idea before anyone else. Aside from making them from my very own imagination I also was the only person on Etsy to sell them in the style that I did. While I know there have been others combining paper and scrabble into jewelry I am still 100% convinced that the style and design in which I made mine is something I really did invent.”

I have been in her shoes 100%, as artists and crafters we see things that are handmade all the time, and each item we view influences us whether we realize it or not. I did this with my tutu costumes, I began making tutus, they evolved to dresses (which is something that was becoming more popular in the market at the time) and eventually they have morphed to full blown costumes with wings and accessories. I think part of the reason I went from tutus to the dresses was because “excitement” from buyers was fading for “regular” tutus, I wanted to make what people wanted. I wanted to make money too, to be honest about it. However, I feel I took an idea and put my own creative spin on it. From the way I trim tulle to make my color combinations, I feel my items are my very own, ~although they may have been birthed originally from one tutu, just like the author of the scrabble tile blog. To me, this felt like a completely natural evolution of creativity to me in my design process. I’m still constantly improving the way I do things and getting better at what I do. A tutu I may have made 3 years ago would definitely pale in comparison to a tutu I make today. My techniques have grown and become more refined. This is what most designer go through, I feel it epitomizes the natural evolution of finding our own design style.

One commenter on this artist’s blog said she was happy that the creator of the tile pendant had decided to sell her instructions in pdf format because now she didn’t have to buy one and deconstruct it to figure out how it was made…….

THIS made me sick to my stomach. I am a firm believer in the fact that each person when creating, puts a tiny spin on the item with their own touch, it’s only natural to have a variation because two different people are making that type of item. However, the thought though that some people are actually out there buying items and taking them apart to figure out how someone else (who is a leader in the market) is making them, and TRYING to copy makes me sick. It honestly disgusts me.

Another nugget of wisdom from LittlePut is very insightful,

“After a lot of frustration and agitation (and watching some really not-pretty variations of my idea crop up on Etsy) I finally gave in and decided to teach people how to make them. In Jan of 2007 I published a full color tutorial on how to make the scrabble tile pendants and began selling it on Etsy. I have since created a small website which sells it and have it selling on YouCanMakeThis.com

To which a reader commented…

“I hope you know that there’s a big difference buying a product made by the originator than buying a Knock-off. Your’s will always be the better product.”

As artists/crafters we can tell people it’s not cool to copy, but the proof is in the pudding…if you buy a knock off you’ll get what you pay for.

If you’re looking to learn how to make these popular jewelry pendants, I’d encourage you to go to this girl’s website & purchase a copy of her instructions at her WEBSITE

Goose

Resident Blogger & Creative Force Behind the Goosie Girl Brand. Hailing from Chicago, it's not been decided as of yet if she lives to blog or blogs to live.

One Comment

  1. hi. I bought Littleput’s tutorial, and now I make scrabble tile pendants, and sell them. I also have one of Littleput’s pendants. They are different than mine. Since then, I have seen many tutorials sold on the internet. I also know of at least one other person who claims to be the originator of the style. And now there are SO many shops making and selling them, that they are no longer original. So, in a way, I am sorry that Littleput sold her tutorial. I sort of wish that it was still just her (mostly), making them. Cause it was fun to watch her metoric rise to the top. And it was fun to think that maybe, just maybe, I could do even a fraction as well. But it was too late.
    Sigh.

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