Author: Chris Hughes

10 Beautiful Space & Astronomy Gifts for Budding Astronauts & Space Scientists

Amazing astronomy presents for all ages

Space is fascinating, educational and entertaining! We marvel at the asteroids, comets, moons, planets, stars and galaxies. We wonder about all that is to be discovered across our vast universe. And space science provides us with some of the most gorgeous images ever captured by mankind. Here are some stunning astronomy gift ideas that are perfect for the stargazer, cosmologist, or astronaut in your family … even if that’s yourself!

1. The Horsehead Nebula in Orion Wall Poster

An eye-catching and gorgeous wall poster featuring the Barnard 3 nebula in the constellation of Orion, based on a photograph taken by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope. Perfect for dorms, bedrooms, offices, studios, classrooms, or anywhere blank walls aren’t welcome, Printed on 185gsm semi gloss poster paper. Size 99.3 x 84.3 cm (including a 5mm white boarder). Available in other sizes and on 50 more products.
Available on Redbubble

2. The Crab Nebula Chiffon Top

A bright and beautiful addition to any wardrobe, this stunning image of the Crab Nebula was taken by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope. Available in a wide range of sizes, this garment’s front panel is edge-to-edge custom printed using a sublimation transfer print technique that embeds dye into the fabric allowing it to stay soft and drapey. Option of black or white back panel, sleeves and binding. Slightly sheer 100% Polyester chiffon with silky hand-feel, ideal for wearing as a layering piece. Loose cropped boxy style fit.
Available on Redbubble

3. The Tarantula Nebula iPad Case

A stunning and colorful iPad case featuring the famous Tarantula nebula in Dorado, based on an original Hubble telescope photograph. Slim impact resistant poly-carbonate case with protective lip. Design wraps around the sides of the case and the colors are embedded directly into the case. Case allows full access to device ports. Fits 4th, 3rd, and 2nd iPad models, as well as model numbers A1395, A1396, A1397, A1403, A1416, A1430, A1458, A1459, A1460. Thickness 3/64 inch (1mm), weight 35g. Also available as a form-fitting removable vinyl decal with laminate top coat iPad skin, and on 50 more products.
Available on Redbubble.

4. Galactic Center Throw Blanket

A rich and glorious throw blanket featuring the heart of the Milky Way, based on radio and x-rays images from the Chandra X-ray and MeerKAT observatories. The throw blanket is 100% polyester fleece with soft, fluffy hand-feel. Printed on front with ivory colored back. Edge-to-edge sublimation print. Machine washable. Available in small (101 x 76cm), medium (152 x 127cm) and large (203 x 152cm) sizes. Also available on 75 more products.
Available on Redbubble.

5. Horsehead Nebula Close Up Throw Pillow

An stunning close up photo of the famous Horsehead Nebula in Orion. This vibrant double-sided print floor pillow cover is a versatile seating or lounging option that will update any room. Durable 100% spun polyester cushion cover. 90 x 90cm. Fills must be purchased separately for this floor pillow. Concealed zip opening for a clean look and easy care.
This image is available on 75 other products too.
Available on Redbubble

6. “Pale Blue Dot” Framed Print

“Pale Blue Dot” is a famous photograph of planet Earth taken in 1990 from 6 billion kilometers (3.7 billion miles) by the Voyager 1 space probe at the request of famous scientist, writer and Cosmos presenter Carl Sagan. The Earth is shown as a tiny blue speck against a ray of sunlight. This image is available as a framed print in three sizes. The print itself measures 23.9 x 20.3cm, 35.9 x 30.5cm or 47.9 x 40.7 cm. Both box and flat frame styles are available and the frame is a high-quality timber frame finishes to suit your decor. Premium perspex completes the frame – clearer and lighter than glass.
Available on Redbubble

7. Earthrise Over the Moon Tote Bag

This elegant tote bag features the image of the Earth rising over the Moon’s horizon that was captured by the crew of the Apollo 8 mission as it orbited the Moon. The tote bag is a durable, easy-to-carry shopping bag with sublimated print on both sides and is available in small, medium and large sizes. It has a super strong 1 inch (2.5cm) wide cotton shoulder strap and is made from soft yet durable 100% spun polyester poplin fabric. Gentle machine wash. This image is also available on a cotton tote bag and 50 other products.
Available on Redbubble

8. BOSS Great Wall Graphic T-Shirt

This wonderful and unique T-shirt features the “Great Wall” imaged by the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey mapping project. The front panel is edge-to-edge printed using a sublimation transfer technique for crisp, bold colors. The printed front panel is 96% polyester, 4% spandex. Solid color back panel, sleeves and neck bind are 100% cotton.
This amazing image is also available on 50 other products.
Available on Redbubble

9. The Pillars of Creation Duvet Cover

A fabulous bed covering featuring the “Pillars of Creation”, the amazing clouds of interstellar gas and dust in the Eagle Nebula in the Serpens constellation, some 6,500–7,000 light years from Earth. This machine-washable duvet cover has a vivid, full color print on the front, white on the back. 100% polyester top, 50% cotton / 50% polyester back. Concealed zipper opening and internal insert ties for easy assembly. Available in multiple sizes from twin to king. Twin size (173 x 224 cm) fits most extra long dorm beds. Duvet insert not included.
Available on Redbubble

10. Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation A-Line Dress

This beautiful dress pattern comes from the CMBR, the electromagnetic radiation remnant from an early stage of the universe. This faint cosmic background radiation fills all space. The dress has a loose swing shape for an easy, flowing fit. Sizes run large, so order a size down from your usual. Print covers entire front and back panel. 97% polyester, 3% elastane woven dress fabric with silky hand-feel. This pattern is available on 50 other products.
Available on Redbubble

These and many many more space and astronomy based products can be found in the Astronomy Collection in the Tiokvadrat store on Redbubble. Available products include colorful astronomy design for tops, t-shirts, skirts, scarves, leggings, socks, bags, phone cases, covers, mugs, notebooks, coasters, cushions, pillows, duvets, mats, blankets, clocks, prints, shower curtains. Perfect gift idea for astronomy and space sciences loving boy, girl, friend, wife, husband, partner, brother, sister, colleague, or the office. Happy shopping!

Filed under: RedbubbleTagged with: ,

Creating a Shopfront for Redbubble Products on Pinterest

I wanted to find out how to use Pinterest to create a “shopfront” for some of the products in my Redbubble store Tiokvadrat. This is how I went about doing that.

I will be applying many of the lessons I learned in my previous post, “Effective Pinterest Pins and Boards“, where I took an in depth look at how one experienced user’s was succeeding with Pinterest. I will be creating pins for my some of my mug designs in my shop on Redbubble. I won’t actually be selling the products here, this is just the shop window. (I think it important to think along the lines of being a shop owner.)

I will be using the Google Chrome browser for this task, with the Pinterest Save Button extension installed. That’s all the tools I need. I’ll be working on desktop because, although all this is possible on mobile, it can all get a little fiddly at the small size. It’s nice to have some big browser windows open when working — but remember, 75% of users view Pinterest and Redbubble through mobile devices.

I start by creating a new board at Pinterest. I want to create the board in my free business account at Pinterest (which is available once you have joined Pinterest as a member). Later, I will be able to later get some helpful visitor statistics. (Alternatively, I could just create a normal user board, but then I won’t get those statistics.) Creating a new board is as simple, I just visit my business profile on Pinterest and click Create board.

Tiokvadrat boards tab
My main board tab

I name the new board Mugs and Cups by Tiokvadrat:

Pinterest create board dialog for Mugs and Cups Tiokvadrat
Create board dialog

That’s two keywords and a brand name. A name that’s short enough to show well later. I leave the Visibility box unchecked because I certainly don’t want to hide this board, that would defeat the whole point of creating it.

As soon as I create the board, Pinterest offers me some random pins to save to it. I ignore this because I’m only going to show pins for my own products on this particular board. (However, building other types of board can also be fun, particularly if you start using Pinterest for research.)

Pinterest board  created
Board created

The new board is just an empty shell at the moment. I’m prepare it by first giving it a good solid description. Pinterest lets you enter up to 500 characters, and I like to make use of as many as I can to feed the search engines.

While I am here I will also set the board category as Home décor. (I am not sure this is the best choice, but it seems to be the closest match in the category list Pinterest provides.)

Tiokvadrat board edit details dialog
Board edit details dialog

OK, now the board is set up and I am ready to start pinning. In a new browser tab I open my Redbubble shop and display the mugs in it.

I have found the easiest way to navigate Redbubble is to tag all my designs with my business name (“tiokvadrat”) and then use the main Redbubble search engine. In this way I can just search for “tiokvadrat mugs” and see all my mug designs:

Tiokvadrat mugs on Redbubble
Tiokvadrat mugs on Redbubble

Redbubble tells me there are nearly 200 designs in my shop. As there are three types of mugs (classic, tall, and travel) that means I have nearly 600 mugs to choose from. Of course, I am not going to pin 600 mugs! Not only do I not have that much patience but I also only want to show my very best mugs on Pinterest. Hopefully, if someone like the mugs I’ve pinned they will then click through to Redbubble and explore more of my designs and on other products.

To start with,  I will narrow down the selection of mugs to just the classic ones using the filters in the left margin. Clicking on the first image takes me through to the product page:

Redbubble product page for the Tiokvadrat Girly Swot mug
Redbubble product page

From here I can click the Pinterest Save Button in my browser toolbar:

Pinterest Save Button

Which will then show me images that it has found on the page. Here are some of them:

Pinterest Save Button choose a pin to save screen
Pinterest Save Button choose a pin to save screen

I like the first image best, so I click (once!) on that. The Pinterest Save Button opens a dialog:

Pinterest choose board dialog
Choose board dialog

Before going any further I want to change the text on the left side under the image. This description has been auto-generated by Redbubble from my work’s title (sometimes you get lucky and get the work’s description here, but in this case not). This text will be used as the description for the pin, so let’s beef it up a bit.

I use a common formula for product titles and descriptions that goes something like this:

[what] – [who] – [where] – [when] – [why] – [how]

I like to use this as a general prompt when writing text, but not slavishly. For this mug I’ll write:

Blue “Girly Swot” classic mug celebrating clever girls! Perfect gift mug for smart women studying at school, college, or university. Make a statement against casual misogyny.

That’s the “sales” text with some meaty keywords. Next I will add my standard “branding” tagline which I add to every product:

Blue “Girly Swot” classic mug celebrating clever girls! Perfect gift for smart women studying at school, college, or university. Make a statement against casual misogyny. Design by Chris Hughes of Tiokvadrat.

That should be just the right amount of text for a pin. (If you add too much it will be truncated; if you add too little you will reduce the chance of your pin getting found on Pinterest results.)

Notice that I have included my shop address in the text, but not as a full URL — for some reason, if you include the “https://” in the URL, Pinterest will reject all the text and you will end up with no description at all.

Now I am ready to save the pin to my Pinterest board called “Mugs and Cups by…”. When that’s done, you will get a link to See it now. Clicking that shows you the pin on Pinterest:

The pinned product on Pinterest

At this point it is worth checking that 1) the pin looks like you expect it to, 2) that the text shows and is correct, and that 3) clicking the pin links you back to the product page on Redbubble.

Did you get back to the main product page on Redbubble? You did? Great! Now you have posted a pin that will lead interested Pinterest straight to one of your products on Redbubble, ready to buy or explore your works and products further!

Now go back to your list of classic mugs. Add another mug. Maybe add some other mug designs too. Pin what you like around the theme of mugs. Just remember that every pin will link back to the product page you got it from.

After you have pinned half a dozen images, go to Pinterest and take a look at your board. Here is what mine looks like after a while:

The completed Mugs and Cups by Tiokvadrat board with pins
Completed board with pins

Notice that as well as pinning mugs I have also been pinning designs. This is my preferred style for now, it may change in a few boards.

After a bit of testing to make sure my pins go to the right place and the pin titles and descriptions show up OK, I am now going to go on and complete this little shopfront in Pinterest. In a later blog post I will talk about how to analyze your shopfront’s visitor statistics.

If you would like to see the finished board on Pinterest, take a look here: Tiokvadrat Mugs and Cups

Filed under: Pinterest, RedbubbleTagged with: , ,

Effective Pinterest Pins and Boards – How One User Makes Pinterest Sing

The open Pinterest board showing its pins and a well-written board description

Pinterest is a great way to promote your website whether it is a business or a hobby but you have to make sure you are using it to full advantage. In this post I’ll take a close look at how to optimize Pinterest and pass on some tips to help you make it work for you.

As a new user, Pinterest can be quite confusing. How to make sense of pins and boards and things when you only have a few examples of each? How do you optimize Pinterest? The easiest way to understand how your pins and boards should work is to take a look at an existing, well-managed board and the pins that its user has saved to it.

Let’s start with pins. Pins on Pinterest are basically just images with links. You click them and they take you somewhere. That somewhere can be inside Pinterest, or out to another website. Unlike normal image links, pins have other visible clickable information attached to them.

The Home Feed

When you first go to your Pinterest home feed you will see 100’s of pins. These are the pins that Pinterest thinks could be of interest to you based on the favorites you selected when set up your account. Similarly, if you search for a topic on Pinterest you will see a similar feed of results. Here for example are the results I see when I search for tips on how to catch a certain type of fish:

Pinterest search results for how to catch a rainbow trout
Typical Pinterest search results. The pins come from a variety of sources, and include both original pins and repins.

What I am seeing in the results are shortcuts to pins; if I click on a shortcut in the search results I can see the full pin:

Example of a full Pinterest pin
A full pin with image (top), including graphical text, and metadata below.

Structure of a Pin

The pin has both the main image (which in this case includes some graphical text on a black background) and some extra information below it. (This is actually a “repin”: that is to say it is a copy of an original pin. We will see the original pin a bit later. Be aware that in many ways a repin is more valuable than an original pin: making great pins that other user’s want to repin is a great way to raise your profile in Pinterest. Getting repins is one of the secrets of Pinterest optimization.)

Let’s take a look at the different fields that make up the pin:

The component fields of a Pinterest pin including the main linking fields

The Title of this pin is “Trout Fishing Tips: How to Catch Trout [Fly Fishing Methods & More]”. That’s 77 characters in all but notice that Pinterest shows only the first 47 characters in our search results. It is worth checking that any title we set works in both its long and its short forms.

The creator of the pin used the terms “trout”, “tips” and “catch” at various places in the title of the pin, but not the term “rainbow”. “Trout”, “tips” and “catch” also appear in the pin description but “rainbow” doesn’t. Pinterest seems quite happy to return a partial match to my search rather than returning a full match.

The Creator’s Profile Page

Clicking on the Creator link takes you to the creator’s home page on Pinterest. That page belongs to a business user called “Wilderness Today”. (This is actually the user’s display name that they’ve set in their profile settings, not their username. You can adapt your display name on Pinterest to suit your business. For example one one visit to this profile I noticed that this user had added the tags “Hunting, Fishing, Survival, & The Great Outdoors” to their display name.)

Wilderness Today's profile well-organized profile page on Pinterest
Wilderness today’s well-organized profile page on Pinterest. Note how Pinterest tiles some of the user’s pins to form a decorative header image.

The user describes themselves with the description “We are your authority resource for everything to do with hunting, fishing, survival, camping and the Great Outdoors.” You can see straight away that this user’s profile page is very well organized. Each board is clearly labelled with its topic making it easy to drill down into specific aspect of fishing, hunting, or survival. The title of each board appears in white text on a black background. You can immediately understand the purpose of each board. This is great Pinterest optimization.

(Note: if you are using the Firefox browser and you are not seeing this view it may be because some features of Pinterest are being blocked by Firefox’s cross-origin resource sharing (CORS) functionality. Do some research to resolve this issue or switch to another browser, otherwise many aspects of Pinterest will remain a mystery to you forever.)

While we are here, click the Community link and check the number of followers this user has! The user clearly knows something about optimizing Pinterest!

The Fishing Tips Board

Somewhere within these myriad boards is our original pin. After a little bit of hunting, we find that the pin is pinned to this board:

A typical board shortcut visible on a Pinterest user's profile page
A board shortcut on a Pinterest user’s profile page. The user has promoted a black and white pin (left) to serve as a board title.

This board, like all the other boards owned by this user, Pinterest represents it on the user’s profile page by a group of images. On the left is a single black and white “promoted pin”; on the right Pinterest makes a collage from the latest 4 pins to the board. If we look in the board itself we can find the promoted pin. It is actually just a normal pin. The user has promoted it to the role of “cover” in the board’s settings. It looks like this:

A pin that can be promoted to become a board cover image
The pin that has been promoted to become the cover image. All of this user’s board have a pin like this, making it easy to create a consistent appearance across all the user’s boards.

Board Organization

Opening the board we find that the user has provided a full description to supplement the board title and further expand on what the board is about: “We could all use some tips in life. If you are a fisherman or fisherwoman, you are in luck, because…”

The open Pinterest board showing its pins and a well-written board description
The opened board showing its pins. Note the well-written board description loaded with important keywords and hashtags.

The user cleverly embeds important “niche” keywords into this description, including multiple uses of the core words “fishing” and “tips” alongside mentions of related keywords like “fisherman”, “fisherwoman”, “beginner”, “expert”, “casting”, and “saltwater”. This keyword smattering helps with search-engine optimization (SEO) both within Pinterest (helping to get pins found) and in the wider online world, for example major search engines like Bing and Google which also index Pinterest pages.

Notice also the use of “hashtags” within the description: “#FishingTipsForBeginnners”, “#LakeFishingTips”, etc. They are not links because, as the Pinterest help pages tell us, hashtags in board descriptions do not automatically become links.

The Original Pin

If we look through the board we will find the original pin:

The original pin in its original board
The original pin is just one related to fishing on this board.

Clicking on the pin zooms it as expected. Notice that now the name of the name of the pinner has changed. That’s because we are now looking at the original pin, not a repin as we were earlier:

The original pin showing the details of the original pinner
The original pin, now showing the details of the original pinner.

Pinterest Hashtag Search

Notice also that the hashtags here are now clickable links. Click a hashtag to be taken to Pinterest’s search engine. There you will see other pins that share that hashtag in their description:

Pinterest search engine showing the results of a hashtag search
Pinterest’s search engine showing the results of a hashtag search. Each returned pin will have the hashtag somewhere in its metadata.

This is just the normal Pinterest search. Hashtags therefore provide another way of finding and grouping your pins outside of boards. If you add a unique hashtag to each of your pins, you will be able to use Pinterest search to return just your hash-tagged pins. Consider clever hash-tagging to be another good way to optimize you presence on Pinterest.

Linking to the Outside World

Clicking the image in the pin in the Fishing Tips board opens the website. The link takes us directly to the article being promoted by the pin:

The target of the pin: the article and Wilderness Today
The main target of the pin (and of any repins!): an article at the Wilderness Today website.

Filed under: PinterestTagged with: ,