Friday, September 2, 2011

5 Steps to Writing an Awesome Tutorial

When I first started sewing, I turned to online tutorials to teach me my basic skills and quickly realized that some tutorials are really amazing and helpful, and others, while well-intended, can be complicated and confusing.  That's why I originally started this blog.  I wanted to use my experiences to review tutorials and direct other beginning sewers to the best of the best so they wouldn't have to stumble over poorly written tutorials like I did a few times!

Eventually I started writing my own tutorials and learned that it's not as easy as it sounds to get those pictures and words together in a way that makes sense to the rest of the world.  (If you've ever tried, I'm sure you know!)  So today I wanted to share with you how I write my tutorials.  Of course, you can write a tutorial whatever way works best for you.  This is just the way I do it, and I thought it might be helpful to someone out there.  :)  So here we go!

Step 1:  Write the Tutorial

I know it sounds strange to start with the writing, but this is where I begin.  Thinking through a sewing/crafting project before you do it saves you time and mistakes, plus trying to verbalize how to do something helps you figure out what pictures you'll need.  When I write my tutorials, I actually write out what pictures I'll need in between the paragraphs.  I put a description of the picture in brackets and highlight it so it's easy to find and replace with a picture later.  So for example, my tutorials look something like this when I first start working on them:

Step 2: Print the Tutorial and Do the Project

After I've written my tutorial, I print it out and follow it as I do my project.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  First, that way I can check off the pictures as I take them and make sure I got the right shots of everything.  And second, it allows me to follow my own tutorial and see if it makes sense!  Almost always I notice things I left out, or things that need more explaining, and I pencil them in.  That usually looks about like this:

Messy, huh?  It's systematic, I swear! :)

Step 3: Do a Photo Shoot

When the project is finished, I like to do a photo shoot of the final product.  I usually do this outdoors in the middle of the day so that there's plenty of good light.  There are some great tips for taking photos here, and you can visit my blogging tips board on Pinterest for other photography tips.
Image Source.

Step 4: Editing

This is probably the most time consuming step next to actually doing the project--going back and editing your tutorial copy and your photos.  But it's really important, I swear!  It really makes all the difference between a beautiful, easy to follow tutorial and one that no one wants to use!  So reference the print out you wrote all over and fix all the verbiage, then use Photoshop to edit your pictures.  Can't afford or don't know how to use Photoshop?  No worries!  There are plenty of free, easy-to-use online alternatives, like

Step 5:  Put it All Together on Your Blog!

Now it's time to combine all that copy and all those great photos you edited on your blogging platform.  Be sure to preview your post before publishing it to make sure everything shows up correctly.  If it looks okay, post it!  Ta-da!  Now you've got a great tutorial that everyone will want to use. :)

I hope this information is useful to someone.  And, if not, I ramble to myself all the time anyway, so no big deal!  Haha.

Thanks for stopping by and happy crafting (or blogging, as it may be today)! :)


1 comment:

  1. I just adore this project!
    Hope you visit me too @ mommiesandbeyond dot com. I am going to do this project! I will post on my blog the results! Thanks for sharing!


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