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Creative Advice from Mark Montano + a Giveaway!

Mark Montano is a power house of fabulous craft projects. You probably know him best from his super successful line of crafty books, most notably The Big Ass Book of Crafts. His craft tutorials stand out for using unusual objects like safety pins, toys, and doll heads. You can check out some of his popular tutorials right on his blog and see for yourself!

Mark Montano Interview

We were lucky enough to get the chance to chat with Mark a little bit about working  in the craft industry, how he’s built his empire, and what’s next for him. Check out our interview:

Q. You’ve had an amazingly successful career in the craft industry. What’s your secret?
A. Persistence, hard work, relentless social media marketing, interaction with everyone, being creative every day, working through the failures (and there have been quite a few!).


Q. I know you got your start in the fashion industry, what made you decide to take that focus to crafting?
A. Actually, it might be the other way around.  My interest in sewing and crafting brought me to fashion and when I felt that fashion became more about production and shipping, I decided it was time to go back to my roots.  


Q.  You make a ton of jewelry and even put out a book with fabulous jewelry making ideas, The Big Ass Book of Bling, but do you have a favorite type of craft?  
A. I love recycled paper crafts.  There is such an abundance of paper in the world and I feel like we should use it for everything creative.  


Q.  10 published book titles is quite the accomplishment! Do you have advice for someone who is hoping to get their designs published? 
A. Figure out what makes you unique and focus on that.  You’re unique-ness is the ONLY thing that will make you stand out from the crowd.


Q.  What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?
A. Be as conservative with your money as you possibly can. Only spend on what you need and avoid frivolous purchases when you’re in business until you can actually afford them.  Stay away from credit cards unless you can pay them off at the end of the month in full.  Don’t spend what you don’t have. 


Q.  Where do you look for opportunities to grow or promote your brand?  
A. When an opportunity arrises, I take it.  Like this interview for example!


Q. Do you make your craft tutorials based off of what your fans like, what’s popular, or what you like?
A. What I like.  I seriously have to enjoy what I’m making or I don’t want to make it. If I can enjoy it, then I think  other people can.  I don’t follow trends and only try to give techniques rather than concrete ideas that people feel they have to follow.  I like to inspire rather than dictate.  


Q.  What was your biggest/most memorable craft fail? 
A. The Dummies Guide to Window Treatments and Slipcovers.  That book is so boring!  I have a list and they’re all pretty BIG and pretty awful.  


Q.  What inspires you?
A. Color combinations in nature, science fiction, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, interesting people who you know were an animal in a former life (Like the lady who wears only giraffe prints and is very tall, or the man who has his hair dyed like parrot feathers and eats crackers on the subway in the morning).  


Q.  Tell us a little about your upcoming projects. What’s next for the Mark Montano empire? 
A. Right now we’re developing a show for PBS Plus. We’ve filmed the episodes and are working with PBS producers to get it right. It’s a long process and the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my ENTIRE life. 
There you have it! Many, many thanks to Mark for this wonderful interview! And to help you stay on track and keep being creative we’ve got a little surprise…


UPDATE: This contest is now CLOSED.

Thank you to everyone that entered the contest portion of our interview! Unfortunately, there can only be one winner this time and our random number generator picked Claire! Congrats Claire! She told us “I knit a sock that ended up comically huge. I’m not sure why I kept going even after I realized how large it was – blind hope, maybe.”

Knitters and crocheters feel your pain Claire. Hopefully, none of the projects you make from Mark’s books end up as fails. Thanks again everyone and keep your eyes open for our next giveaway.


We’re giving away a book bundle from Mark Montano! One lucky winner will walk away with not one, not two, but three craft books.

9781451685282_p0_v1_s260x420 vision-box-idea-book-mixed-media-projects-for-crafting-the-life-of-your-dreams Pulp-Fiction-Perfect-Paper-Projects-by-Mark-Montano


That’s right, you have the chance to win copies of The Big-Ass Book of Bling,  Vision Box Idea Book, and Pulp Fiction: Perfect Paper Projects. To be entered to win, simply answer the question below in the comments section on this blog:

What was your biggest/most memorable craft fail? 


Contest Rules:

Contest ends on July 28th at 11:59 pm Est
Must be 18+ and a resident of the US or Canada to win.
Only comments made on this post will be eligible.