If you love crafting, cooking, and making things at home, it’s easy to make money selling what you do. Read the steps below to get ideas for inexpensive crafts you can sell for profit.
Wrap candles to make them fancy . Starting with tall, plain pillar candles, it’s easy to end up with beautiful and desirable home decorating items that are likely to sell well. Choose unscented white candles for the most versatility, or make scent and color substitutions as you see fit depending on the items you intend to wrap the candles with.
Take a vanilla or unscented pillar candle and some twine or a thin leather thong. Prop sticks of cinnamon up against the candle and tie them to the candle with the twine or thong. The cinnamon will warm up and smell lovely when the candle is lit.
Take a rectangular strip of sack cloth and a scrap of patterned linen. Cut the scrap down so that it’s about as tall as the strip is wide, and then cut a simple shape out of it with fabric scissors. (Fold it in half and cut out half a shape to get a symmetrical piece.) Use a bit of hot glue or another strong adhesive to glue the colorful shape to the sack cloth, and then tie the ensemble around a pillar candle with some twine.
Take a squat Mason jar with a wide mouth, such as a Ball wide mouth pint canning jar, and glue the bottom of a plain glass-cup candle inside it. Fill the space between the candle and the Mason jar with flattened glass gems (“dragon tears”) in combinations of one or two colors. The colors will light up beautifully when the candle is lit.
Make artsy frosted glasses. Buy cheap wine glasses or brandy snifters in good condition from thrift or discount stores. Wrap a few rubber bands around them, stuff the insides with newspaper, and then carefully and evenly apply a coat of frost-finish spray paint to the exterior. Once the paint dries, remove the paper and rubber bands to create a cool etched effect. The glasses look neat, but they aren’t dishwasher or microwave safe. Besure to let your customers know.
Experiment with adding small shapes underneath the rubber bands, such as a leaf or cross. Consider using irregular natural shapes, too: a cup “etched” with a unique river stone’s shape is an easy sell, and river stones are free.
Make a recycled fringe scarf. Start with any soft T-shirt. Use fabric scissors to carefully cut the shirt off just below the armpits. Take the tube-like bottom part of the shirt and lay it flat, then use your scissors to cut vertical fringe up from the bottom. Space your cuts an eighth to a quarter of an inch apart, and cut up. Once the entire bottom of the shirt has been fringed, carefully twist and pull each fringe to stretch and loosen it. The resultant scarf is worn with the fringe pointed down. This craft is easy to complete, but it will take a bit of practice to get good enough to sell it. Buy shirts from garage sales and dollar stores to practice on until you feel comfortable selling them.
Search secondhand shops for cool old designs and patterns to make one-of-a-kind scarves that’ll sell like hotcakes.
Make pretty decorative soaps. Although making high-quality, luxurious soap requires a fair amount of effort, simple decorative soaps can be made in less than half an hour and sold for use in guest rooms and gift baskets. Visit a craft store and purchase a block of glycerin soap, as well as a set of color dyes, a few scents (such as lemon, lavender, or mint), and some soft silicone or plastic molds. Cut a piece of soap from the block and melt it in the microwave, then use a Popsicle stick to stir in a few drops of coloring and scent. Pour the mixture into molds and let them set, then pop them out and trim them.
Go easy on the scents. A little goes a long way.
Use a spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol to lightly spray your molds before you pour, and the bottoms of your soaps after you pour them into the molds. The alcohol will prevent unsightly bubbles from forming on them.
Use a craft knife to carefully trim any extra lip from the edges of the soaps after you remove them.
Slightly More Involved Crafts
Make a bird feeder wreath. This craft requires a bundt pan and several ingredients, but the results are well worth it. You’ll press a birdseed mixture into the bundt pan and let it set, then finish it with a festive ribbon for a pretty item that’s ideal for birdwatching enthusiasts and family backyards.
Mix ¼ cup warm water with a packet of plain gelatin, such as Knox, until the gelatin dissolves. At that point, whisk in 3 tablespoons of corn syrup (like Karo) and ¾ cup of flour until you get a thick paste.
Stir in 4 cups of mixed birdseed and keep stirring until everything is worked in well together.
Spray a bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray, and then press the birdseed mixture in evenly around the ring. Let it set for 10 minutes, then shake it out onto a clean surface.
To make the wreath a little more symmetrical, you can replace itupside-down in the bundt pan and press it gently, which will smooth the back edges somewhat. Be careful not to damage the shape of the front of the wreath.
Let the wreath sit aside in a dry place for 36-48 hours. You can make more wreaths during this time if you want.
Once the wreaths are set, cut a long length of thick ribbon and tie it in a loose bow around the wreath to make a hanger.
Make a glass jug lamp. Start with a large glass bottle or jug. These can be found in junk and antique shops, as well as from thrift sellers and garage sales. Pick something big enough to make a decent table lamp. Next, buy a bottle lamp kit from a craft store; these vary in price from around $12 – 35. You should at least get a lightbulb assembly with a cork (to fit into the mouth of the bottle or jug) and an AC cord with a plug. Install the kit and finish with a cheap thrift-store lampshade.
Typically, to get the best-looking lamp, you’ll have to drill into theglass to run the cord through. Doing this properly requires a power drill and some patience. Be careful to follow all safety instructions and work slowly to prevent shattering the glass.
You can spice these lamps up even further by decorating the interior of the jug before you fasten the lightbulb socket. Try adding pretty stones, or use thin glue and glitter to make the lamp sparkle from the inside. Using colored glass is also a great idea.
Knit accessories. If you can knit, you can earn. Well-made knit items like hats and scarves fly off shelves during the fall and winter months, especially if you make them with luxurious yarn. Find basic patterns and guides at any yarn store, or all over the Internet; practice until you can knit some classic items without any trouble. Be sure to use premium wool, and produce items in a wide range of colors for the best results. Around the holidays, try knitting some cute ornaments and selling them fora few dollars each. You can use cheap, brightly colored yarn for these, and finish them with a loop of thread or a metal clamp fastener for easy hanging.
Make specialty foods. If you’ve got a culinary inclination and a willingness to cook in big batches, you can make tasty food with a long shelf life and sell packages of it at public events. Bear in mind that to do this, you generally need to clear your cooking facility (your kitchen) with local health authorities first; laws may vary depending on where you live, but always do your research before you start selling food to people. Pay for any required licenses.
Homemade fudge is often a big hit. It’s easy to dress up with different types of chocolate, nuts, and food coloring, and it keeps for quite a while. Wrap it in cling wrap by the quarter pound, put a jam jar sticker on it with your name and the name of the fudge, and watch it fly off the shelf at your next bazaar or craft fair.
If you’re a meat eater, get in touch with your local meat market and buy a nice big piece of lean meat to turn into jerky. Cut the meat into ¼ inch strips and prepare a marinade on the stove top. Boil the marinade, and drop your meat strips in a few at a time for a minute or two to set the marinade. Remove them with tongs and place them across a clean wire rack in the oven at a very low heat (around 150 degrees Fahrenheit) for 3-4 hours. Turn the strips, then repeat for another 3-4 hours. Once you’re done, use a home vacuum sealer to seal your jerky in packages that will keep for many months. Depending on the meat and the marinade you use, your jerky can have many different possible flavors. Find a few you like and sell them. If you’re not sure when you’ll be able to get a particular cut of meat again, market it as a “limited time special.”
Get the leanest meat you can. Fat doesn’t do well in storage.
Keep track of your expenditures. When determining what to charge, it helps to know what you spent. In addition to material costs, be sure to account for the time you spent making your items, and the cost of setting up displays to sell them. This will help you come to a reasonable minimum price you can set to be sure you don’t feel cheated when you sell.
Shop around. If you’d like to get a better idea of what to charge, investigate the competition. Try to get a sense for what the average selling price for similar items is. This will give you a range to work with, one that might very well increase your profit margin considerably.
Offer samples. If you make anything that can be consumed, such as soap, bath salts, wine, or food, offer small samples to customers who pass by. If your wares can speak for themselves, customers are much more likely to come back and buy them later.
Offer set discounts. No matter what you make, follow the rule of three to keep your customers happy: Each item costs a certain amount, but if you buy three items, you get a decent percentage off. Typically, the discount is between 20 and 30%, but you can decide for yourself based on the profit margin you’ve already set for yourself. You can also offer discounts for specific sets of items, such as “two jars of jam and a box of homemade cookies for $10 instead of $12.”
People love to buy in gift sets. Have gift packaging ready for all your items, and larger specialty packaging for groups of two to four items.
Market aggressively. These days, with the Internet everywhere, it’s easier than ever to learn how to make your own crafts. Stand out from the pack by establishing a presence in the market and making yourself known. Make social media accounts for your business, and give it a memorable name. Post regular updates related to the items you sell.
Speak with local business owners about carrying your products oncommission, or helping stage a community event to generate business for all of you. Be proactive and establish yourself as a businessperson to get the support of the business community.
Provide relevant supplies to community causes. If a local children’s organization is planning to make gift baskets, offer to supply some basic homemade soaps; make a weekly donation of home-canned (and properly licensed!) soup or jerky to a soup kitchen or regular church meal. The more you attach your name to positive actions, the more highly people will regard you and your crafts.
Vary your craft offerings. Repeat customers will want to see something fresh and new when they return.
Avoid cheap craft materials that will age poorly over time. Speak to an expert at your local craft store about finding higher-quality items when you need things like glue and paper.
Purchase supplies and materials off season to get the best prices and help keep your cost down. Better yet, do the appropriate paperwork and get a tax ID number so you can buy wholesale and/or without paying tax.
How to Make Recycled Crafts
How to Sell Your Crafts at Home Parties
How to Build a Profitable Content Site
How to Sell Homemade Cookies
Sources and Citations