How to Find Crafts to Make and Sell
I wrote this article to save you time finding ideas for crafts to make and sell as a home business. You will find sites listed below to open your imagination to hundreds, if not thousands, of handmade items being promoted online. You will also find a list of the most popular crafts being made by hand. For example, one of the best craft business ideas to start is making woodworking products because they are so popular.
Now before you start going through the various resources here, let me be clear that I am not encouraging you to copy other artisan’s work. In most cases, copyright infringement applies to online images and craft designs. It is both illegal and unethical to copy and reproduce other’s designs for handmade crafts. Doing so can cost you legal fines and worse.
The ideas below are for jumpstarting your own creativity, not for copying others’ work. And if you read through the whole article, you’ll discover the best selling craft idea of all.
How to find crafts to sell online
- http://www.etsy.com/treasury. Treasury listings indicate popularity so you can use items you find here as sample pieces to jumpstart your own creativity.
- http://www.craftcount.com. On craftcount.com, you can view the top sellers on Etsy by category. Clicking on the seller’s link brings up their store. However, the sellers listed may have made the top-selling list by marketing themselves well and sending customers from other sites to their Etsy shops.
- http://www.sundancecatalog.com. Sundance Catalog is among the most popular mail order catalogs featuring handmade items. They mail copies to millions of shoppers.
- http://www.artfulhome.com. If you want to sell to interior designers, this site lists many high priced craft items. Some pieces listed here sell for thousands of dollars.
- http://www.indieme.com. This site lists craft items for sale to wholesale buyers like stores and galleries. Although it won’t tell you what items are selling, it will give you an idea of prices other artisans are asking.
- http://www.qvc.com In the “search” box, type in a craft you would enjoy making, or get your imagination rolling by trying, search terms like “birdhouse”, “quilt”, “ornament”, “decor idea” or just type in “handmade”. You’ll get back ideas for high-priced and inexpensive craft items to make and sell based on what is already selling on TV. Note, some of the results you get are not handmade crafts, unless they are described as such. Those that are handmade, may not be handmade in the U.S. Write down the prices these craft items sell for. Figure out if you could make the craft for 50% or less of the selling price. If so, these are ideas or designs for handmade crafts to make and sell at a profit. Why is QVC a good research tool? QVC buys items in quantity and then resells them at a marked up price. QVC has been around on TV since 1986. They’ve become very good at buying items that sell.
- http://www.ebay.com. On the left side of the page, under “categories”, select “crafts”, then look for and click on “handcrafted & finished pieces”. Then look for “preferences” and choose “completed listings.” The last time I did this search, I got over 19,000 listings (ideas for crafts to make and sell.). On the right side of the results page are completed auction listings of products, some of which are inexpensive crafts to make and sell. You can sort the listings. When sorting, choose “price: highest first.” There are three things to look for. (1) Craft items that are actually selling — ask yourself is this a craft you would enjoy making? (2) Number of bids — this shows whether people are anxious to buy these crafts. (3) Price — shows the highest bid (ignore “Buy It Now” items) or how much people are willing to pay. Write down the prices these craft items sell for. Figure out if you could make and sell the crafts for 50% or less of the closing auction price. If so, you can make and sell these crafts for a profit. Why is eBay a good research tool? The market never lies. By following the steps above, you will discover what designs for handmade crafts items people buy and how much they are willing to pay.
- http://www.amazon.com/handmade/ and search for the name of an item that most closely describes the product you want to sell. When the resulting display list has loaded on the page, look to the sidebar on the left of the page and choose the category that appears to have the most items. Once you choose a category, you can then sort items by most popular, which tells you what is selling online at Amazon.
How to find popular crafts to sell at craft fairs
If you are looking at doing craft shows, expos and festivals, you need a way to research which are the best selling crafts for craft fairs. Unfortunately, there’s no fast answer. This one requires some legwork.
Visit well attended craft shows. You can locate fairs and festival in your area at one of the guides of crafts fairs here. After you’ve compiled your list of events, visit them and walk around.
Be discreet when looking at craft booths at fairs. Sellers don’t care much for folks checking out what they are selling for the purposes of starting their own business.
Put yourself in their shoes because you might soon find it happening to you. Don’t take photos (an obvious giveaway that you’re spying) and don’t start a conversation saying “I was thinking of making stuff too. What sells best?”
Discreetly observe what’s going on; note how many people come into a booth, is the vendor making many sales, etc.. Again, you are just looking for ideas to jumpstart your own creativity, not to copy someone else’s.
How to find the best selling craft ever
Below is a list of the different kinds of crafts you can make, followed by a list of market categories and the kinds of items that will sell to each. It’s okay to pick a handicraft that looks like a good seller. But you will do much better with one that you enjoy doing.
I’ve produced items because they seemed like a good idea — and people did buy some of them. In the long run though, I dropped those in order to focus on creating items I really loved making.
I sold so many more of the items I was passionate about that it was like a whole different kind of business; a magical business where life became a flow and most days, I couldn’t wait to get up and start creating.
This is the sweet place you want to get to in your own business — doing what you love. It pays off in so many ways:
- you will sell more because you are more enthused
- you will put more into your product, your display, and your packaging because you care
- you will learn more, plan better, work harder, work longer, get more done and enjoy all of it more, because you love doing it
- you will find more repeat business because customers are influenced by the love you put into making the items; they will love your work, too.
Types of Crafts
- Art Glass
- Basket Weaving
- Candle Making
- Ceramics / Polymer Clay
- Cross Stitch
- Doll Making
- Folk Art
- Gift Baskets
- Jewelry / Lapidary
- Mosaic Tiles
- Paper Crafts
- Plastic Canvas
- Rubber Stamping
- Rug Hooking
- Soap Making
- Stained Glass
- Tole / Decorative Painting
- Wrought Iron
Home & Garden Crafts to Make and Sell: candles, placemats, napkins, curtains, towels, potholders, coasters, fire screens, baskets, pillows, quilts, room dividers, coverlets, throws, wall hangings, carvings, floor rugs, lamps, chairs, swings, stained glass, birdhouses, wind chimes, clocks, mirrors, cutting boards, pottery, plant holders, window boxes, potpouri
Clothing Crafts: dresses, shawls, blouses, aprons, suits, kimonos, childrens clothing, mens and womens: shirts, vests, ruanas, sweaters, jackets, coats, painted sweatshirts, t-shirts
Accessories You Can Make and Sell: handbags, purses, belts, sashes, babushkas, mittens, mufflers, house slippers, mens ties, mens and womens: scarves, hats, caps, bandannas, boots, sandals, moccasins
Interior Design Ideas: paintings, wall hangings, rugs, upholstery fabric, throws, curtains, passementeries, pillows, room dividers, screens, window frames, furniture
Corporate: rugs, tapestries, wall hangings, sculpture, furniture, stained glass, paintings, batiks, folk art, carvings, flower arrangements
Kids Crafts to Make and Sell: stuffed toys, dolls, puppets, animals, teddy bears, wooden trains, puzzles, building blocks, toy boxes, kaleidoscopes
Special Occasion Things to Make and Sell: bridal gowns and shawls, baby blankets, greeting cards, Christmas ornaments, stockings, Easter bunnies, heart pillows for Valentines day, wreathes
Religious Crafts: altar objects, vestments, tapestries, chalice palls, baptismal towels, banners, stoles, stained glass, candelabras
Jewelry Crafts: earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings, anklets, headbands, jewelry cases, leatherwork, nose rings
Other Inexpensive Things to Make and Sell: tote bags, duffel bags, backpacks, garment bags, saddle-blankets, musical instruments, dried flowers, book ends, confectionaries, keyholders, seatcovers
Here’s an often overlooked tip for those who have read this far into the article: you don’t have to sell your crafts only at craft shows. Each of the marketplaces listed has it’s own public events and expos that draw many thousands of customers and sometimes, fewer competitors from the handmade arena. I’ve found many shows that were not specifically craft fairs yet great venues, expos and festivals for selling here.
Sometimes doing what you love takes doing what you don’t like enough that eventually the right thing is all that’s left to choose.
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