There’s money to be made with your skills if you’re good at any type of craft. Here are 10 common craft ideas that you can do to make money, either as a hobby, home based business or small business.
1. Basketry and Canework
Basketry and other wickerwork with raffia etc, appeal to many people because they’re not only beautiful, they’re practical. They have many uses from storing stuff in the home to gifts for family and friends. Making basic wicket baskets is not a difficult skill to pick up, although it takes some time to get good at it and produce the more fancy and elegant ones. Once you do though, there are many ways to make money from it.
To be successful in this money maker, you need to keep a good standard of workmanship. Brightly colored designs have a wide appeal, but try to combine clever designs with practical purposes. Study the market and offer your products on sale or return to gift and novelty shops, stores, women’s exchanges etc. Popular items are lamp shades, baskets, mats, trays, footstools, hats, chair seats and backs. There’s no reason why you cannot have your own line of fine products that can be sold as art pieces. Another way of making money from this hobby is to conduct classes, teaching people how to produce simple basketry/canework items. If you’re particularly skilled and have a good way with people, you could always sell yourself as a demonstrator where malls pay you to demonstrate your skills on stage for craft promotions etc. This money maker is about using your creativity to turn a simple hobby into money.
- Basket Weaving 101 : Great video for beginners.
- Wicker Basketry by Flo Hoppe : Book on the basics of basket weaving to more complicated designs.
- Creative Basket Making by Lois Walpole : Another book that teaches the art of basket weaving.
- www.basketweaving.com : Lots of basket weaving kits to help you learn the art.
- www.basketryandbeyond.org.uk/resources/ : Resources and helpful information for beginner basket weaving.
2. Bottle Sand Art
Bottled sand art is a lovely sight to behold. These are little glass bottles filled with layers of colored sand delicately poured into the inside to form all manner or images, then packed to the brim and then sealed with a cork. The simple ones are cheap to produce and can be made of any sized bottle. Prices will depend on the size, style and quality of the bottle. For the more skilled artist, the sand can be layered to produce truly intricate patterns and images. This is done with a long nosed funnel with curve at the end. The sand is poured into the funnel and carefully guided so that it comes out in a controlled flow at the outlet which is pressed against the inside surface of the bottle. In the hands of a skilled craftsman, a limitless variety of intricate designs are possible.
The bottles and sand can be purchased from local art wholesalers. The funnels though may be a little bit more difficult to find since this is a specialized art-form. There is a link in the resources section where you can order these long-nosed funnels. Alternatively, you could get a metal-smith to produce funnels according to your desired specification. The bottled sand-artists that I had the privilege to watch mentioned that he had his tools custom made to suit his particular style. Good money maker for those with lots of creativity, patience and a pair of steady hands!
- Andrew Clemens : Video on Andrew, arguably the most famous bottle sand artist and his absolutely beautiful masterpieces.
- Bottle Sand Art Video : Watch a bottle sand artist create a beautiful landscape design in a bottle.
- www.ssww.com : S&S Worldwide is a company that sells a wide range of bottle sand art kits that can give you a basic feel of the art.
- www.sandgallery.com : This is one of the very few (actually the ONLY one that we found) where you can order the long-nosed metal funnels that are essential for any serious bottle sand artist.
- Sand Art Bottles on Pinterest : View the limitless designs possible for the creative bottle sand artist.
- More Sand Art Bottles on Pinterest : Another collection of beautiful sand art in bottles.
3. Homemade Decorative Candles
The simple candle that once used to provide light before there was electricity has transformed into a modern day work of art. Beautiful yet functional, these days candles are used as decorative articles more than for lighting!
Your investment would be minimal, with wax, your main raw material being easily obtained and cheap. While it does require some artistic talent, learning the basic skills is fairly simple. A trip to your local bookstore or the internet will provide you with information about candle making. Your candle designs will be limited only by your imagination and creativity. The Internet has made it possible for Candle Makers and other craftspeople to sell their products around the world at the click of a mouse.
To make more money, you can try to set yourself up as regular supplier for a crafts outlet or marketplace. You could also conduct classes on candle making. Unless you have a family or friends that share your passion for candle making, this business is more about fun than it is about money.
- www.lonestarcandlesupply.com : Great resource with guides on how to make many different types of candles.
- Candle Making 101 : Excellent easy to follow step by step instructions on your first candle making project.
- www.cajuncandles.com : Another instuctional page from a candle making supply website.
- How To Make A Candle : Easy to follow, clear guide video showing you the steps to make a beautiful candle.
- Creative Candles on Pinterest : A Pinterest board filled with lovely candles designs to inspire you.
- More Creative Candles : Another Pinterest board with beautiful, creative candles.
4. Button Badges
Button badges have a universal appeal across all age groups and cultures. They’re small, unobtrusive, but they also make a big statement about whatever it is you want to make. They’ve a popular promotional item that people give to their customers and clients and at events, fundraisers and gatherings. Many people also collect button badges as a hobby. They come in all sizes, are mostly colorful and can be either hand printed or embossed with a standard design.
Companies that supply button badge making machines will usually have all the button badge supplies you require as well. There are a couple of ways to make your button badges stand out. If you’re located in a popular tourist spot, you might want to consider hand-painting them. It’s more difficult to paint button badges by hand, but the great thing about doing it this way is your customers get to personalize them in whatever way they want – from the type of picture, to the choice of colors to what they want to say. Another way would be to print your designs with a computer and then insert them into the button badges. These images can be anything from popular places to even personalized photos of your customers.
If you intend to go into it in a fairly big way, that will mean investing in automatic or semi automatic machines that can produce anywhere up to 1000 badges per hour. These machines can cost upwards of a thousand dollars but you will probably be able to source for a second hand unit on the internet. Going into this business in a big way also means marketing to corporate clients or sourcing for large orders. You might also need to take on a helping hand or two. A typical small shop setup will include your badge maker, your badge supplies, a laptop and software (to easily create your designs for the various sizes of badges) and a color printer. You’ll want to display as many of your badges because their colors will help attract customers. However, if you just fancy a fun, weekend money maker, a simple button badge maker is small enough that you can carry it in a large bag or trunk and lug it to wherever you want to set up shop. Any way you choose, making button badges for money is simple and can be done by anyone.
Read Make And Sell Button Badges our more detailed page on making and selling button badges.
- Badge-A-Minit offers a comprehensive range of start-up-kits that meet most budgets, running from $100 for basic systems to upwards of $500 for semi-automatic and professional automatic systems.
- Mastergrave is a UK based company that has a Starter Kit that’s affordable.
- www.ButtonsOnline.com supplies all you’ll need to start a small Button Badge business with a nifty Online Button Badge Design Tool.
- TheButtonGuy.net is a nice website with lots of resources from videos to button making tutorials to design templates in you can download and use immediately in all the available button sizes.
- Badge/Button/Pin is a paperback book available on Amazon.com with loads of button badge designs, written by Gavin Lucas.
5. Handmade Paper
Hand-made paper is valued more for its beauty and artistic qualities, but it also has many practical uses, including stamped calling cards, folded favor boxes and bags, envelopes, bookmarks, stationery sets, greeting cards, place cards, notecards, invitations, guest books, scrapbooks and framed art. Many artists use handmade paper as their canvas for calligraphic projects.
Making your own paper is not difficult, although it is an art that takes a lifetime to master. There are many inticacies that go into making the perfect sheet of hand-made paper. However, thanks to books and websites that teach you the art of hand-made paper, you can fast-track your learning. Contact your local art store or crafts shop. They sometimes conduct paper-making as part of their short skills courses. The theory is pretty simple, but it may take a while to get the hang of turning your paper into what you want it to be. Your hand-made is limited only by your creativity and experience. It’s not a multi-million dollar business – most folk produce hand-made paper for the love of it, but with the right marketing and creativity, you definitely could make money with your hand-made paper.
- Learn How To Make Paper : Excellent one page introduction (with images) to make your own handmade paper.
- Make Your Own Home Made Paper : Video that teaches how to make beautiful paper with embedded flowers.
- www.PaperAlice.com : Rich resource for teaching paper making and also supplies and kits to start you off on your home-made paper adventure.
- Home Made Paper on Pinterest : Great home made paper ideas on Pinterest.
- Home Made Paper Crafts : A few more craft ideas made with home made paper on Pinterest.
6. Cross Stitch
Cross stitching is the oldest form of embroidery and can be found all over the world (Wikipedia on Cross Stitch). The designs that can be produced are limitless and can be absolutely amazing, which is why some people pay a lot for complex completed cross stitch works. However, you don’t have to have years of experience to start making money with your finished cross stitch works. You just need to be a little creative in how you use your finished works.
If you’re an experienced at cross stitch and can produce large art pieces, then you can frame them and sell them for quite a bit – either on eBay, etsy, your local art stores or to friends, family or companies that see them as a nice touch to their interior design. However, you can still make money with simple, small designs, by turning them into bookmarks, book covers, pillow cases, key chains, button badges and a host of small gift items. You imagination is all that you need to turn your cross stitch works of art into saleable gifts and souvenirs. Just think out of the box!
- How To Cross Stitch : Excellent WikiHow introductory video on cross stitching.
- Cross Stitch Techniques : A few quick overviews on cross stitching techniques.
- Learn To Stitch In Half The Time : A video teaching the half stitch technique to save time.
- Cross Stitch Gift Ideas : Excellent resource of cross stitch gift ideas on Pinterest.
7. Recycled Denim Jeans
Some denim jeans makers say their jeans last a lifetime. Well, even if they don’t last a lifetime as jeans, they CAN last a lot longer when they’re recycled into other items that are equally useful and practical. There are hundreds of items that you can make from recycled denim jeans including bags, bookmarks, throw pillows, phone pouches and the list goes on and on.
Your raw material is obviously the jeans. You can get them from friends, family, yard sales, thrift shops – anywhere they’re going cheap – but better if they’re free. You’ll also need a sewing machine – a quality one is best, because you’re going to need to sew some thick and tough denim material. Embellishments can be created with leftover ribbons, cloth and craft items in your house, but you can easily get them cheaply at your local craft shop.
There are loads of pages on the web that teach you how to recycle (or some people call it upcycle) old denim jeans. We’ve included just a small list in the resources section below, but you can easily create your own items with a little bit of planning and hard work. You can sell your finished products at your local flea market or to knick-knack shops or online via Etsy or eBay. Another great way to promote your new found denim products is to use them yourself and show them off to your friends and family, especially before Christmas!
- Amazing Recycled Jeans Bags : Some sample jeans bags to inspire you.
- DIY Fashion Jeans Bag : Video tutorial on how to make a denim jeans bag.
- Beautiful Denim Crafts : Pinterest pin collection of denim based gifts and crafts.
- Denim Jeans Recycled : Absolutely beautiful gifts, crafts and items made from recycled denim jeans.
8. Polymer Clay Jewelry
Polymer clay – essentially PVC, polyvinyl chloride, a very malleable material – is by far the most popular art clay in the world. Until it is cured, polymer clay can be shaped and reshaped a multitude of times to resemble just about any other jewelry-making material and can also be used in combination with any other jewelry supplies to create a limitless variety of jewelry pieces for your desired project. Artists and hobbyists alike love polymer clay for its brilliant colors, its ease of use, and the incredible range of possibilities it offers. The clay can be formed into any shape imaginable-from detailed miniatures for doll houses, to striking vessels and wall hangings, to beads of every description.
Your creations are limited but if you have an eye for what sells, then your polymer clay pieces will always have a ready market. You can price your jewelry pieces according to their complexity and design. There are lots of places where you can sell your polymer clay jewelry : eBay, Etsy, flea markets, knick-knack shops, via your own website or simply bringing your samples to the office or parties to show them off and take orders. You might not make tons of money just selling your polymer clay jewelry, but it nice to get a little extra money doing something so fun!
- Types of Polymer Clay : Your first read should be this because your there are lots of types and brands available.
- How to buy Polymer Clay : Excellent read on what to look for when buying polymer clay.
- www.TheBlueBottleTree.com : Excellent resouces for all that you need to know to begin polymer clay sculpting.
- 5 Basic Polymer Clay Charms : Wonderfully made video showing you how to make 5 easy polymer clay charms.
- Cute Kawaii Charms Video Tutorial : A little video to spark your creative juices. Have fun!
9. Personalized Hand Painted Shoes
Hand painted personalized shoes start out as simple white shoes but in the hands of a creative artist, can be transformed into a one-of-a-kind personalized pair of fashion or personal statement.
You’ll need white shoes (white is preferable because they make your colors and designs pop), acrylic paints or permanent colored markers and lots of steady handed patience. Stick with plain canvas material with lots of blank space to design. Shoes with lots of seams and stitching or patches of leather and synthetic material make it hard to design over them. The base price of your shoes will probably be the bulk of your cost, so you’ll want to scout around for sales or find a wholesaler online. You can get lots of cheap blank white canvas shoes from wholesales in China, but the obvious drawback it the cost of buying in bulk.
Once you’ve made a few hand painted shoe masterpieces, you can sell them to your friends and family, local marketplace, flea market or fashion accessories shops. The designing is the fun part. Selling them requires some home work. If you’re supplying to a shop, you’ll need to work out an arrangement on the sizes and designs you’ll supply. If you plan to sell them yourself, you’ll also need to work out how much stock you need to keep on hand, or you could create a pair in every available size (so your customer can choose the size), then select a design from your catalog of designs, put a downpayment, then have your customers collect them in a few days. Another way to sell your personalized hand painted shoes would be eBay or Etsy. Great way to make money as you make others look good!
- Giving Shoes A Funky Look : Time lapse video that shows you the art of hand painting shoes.
- Personalizing Shoes With A Marker : Using just a black marker, see the how plain white shoes become a work of art!
- DIY Galaxy Shoes : Fantastic Shoe Art Project – turning your shoes into a galaxy of stars!
- Hand Painted Shoes : Pinterest board showing you the limitless number of shoe art creations possible!
- More Hand Painted Shoes : Another Pinterest board with loads more art on shoes to inspire you!
10. Personalized T-Shirts
One of the most popular items to make and sell are personalized hand-designed tshirts. Not only are they a fashion and personal statement, they’re practical. You’re only limited by your imagination when it comes to creating designs for your tshirts – from funny quotes to colorful graphics to political statements to random splashes of color. Anything and everything sells. The trick is to find the niche where your designs belong and to work at it.
Tshirts can be designed in many ways. From the traditional silk screening which is the most common method, enabling you to print thousands of copies of the same designs even if you’re operating from a garage to other methods. These methods include tie and dye, embroidery, hand drawing, iron-on transfers, stenciling, reverse stenciling, stamping, batik and using print-on-demand websites.
There are lots of places where you can sell your self-design tshirt creations. The most common are at flea markets, or supplying your designs to stores, opening your own kiosk at a mall, via online marketplaces like eBay and Etsy. Zazzle is a print-on-demand website that allows you to upload your tshirt designs and place them on a wide variety of tshirts, then put them up for sale in their marketplace.
- How to Silk Screen : Great instruction page on silk screen printing.
- Screen Print Your Own TShirts : Great detailed video on screen printing.
- Tie Dye TShirts : Video on making tie dye tshirts.
- Using Fabric Markers On TShirts : How to get a watercolor effect on tshirt using fabric markers.