Sellable craft things

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Forum topic by macin posted 02-10-2012 10:46 AM 7676 views 1 time favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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78 posts in 2565 days

02-10-2012 10:46 AM

I was thinking what kind of things (small or medium size) are most sell-able ? Is it children´s toys or something else ? I want to make some things to sell

17 replies so far

View Danpaddles's profile


573 posts in 2337 days

#1 posted 02-10-2012 02:07 PM

Don’t we all.

where you going to sell it?

What is your skill set? Are there some projects you have finished that suit you, things that turn out better than the things I am trying to sell? Gotta warn you- I am pretty good! (Not really, just making a point-)

What materials do you have available? Do you have a buddy with a woodmizer? or can you snag offcuts of hardwoods from a cabinet shop? Or are you stuck buying at the BORG?

-- Dan V. in Indy

View William's profile


9949 posts in 2868 days

#2 posted 02-10-2012 02:18 PM

That’s a very good question.
It all depends on your area, what people want at any given moment, the economy, your prices, your quality, and a myriad of other selling point. Finding what sells in any given area is trial and error.
You may build things that you think will sell and haul them all over the place. Then you may build one item that you aren’t sure will bring anything and you’ll be making so many of them you’ll get tired of looking at them. That’s the nature of retail.
Good luck though. I hope you make plenty of sales.


View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3334 days

#3 posted 02-10-2012 03:03 PM

I make only boxes and sell them at various shows. Alot of woodworkers go for the lower priced market and do quite well with it. It is just a matter of what you are comfortable with making and what markets you go after.

I don’t get any of the low end customers who want to spend under a few hundred dollars but I somehow seem to find alot of customers with the $$$ to buy my work. The next two shows I am doing have a $425 and $1100 booth fee but they attract larger numbers of people.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3100 days

#4 posted 02-10-2012 03:23 PM

For several years my wife owned a Flower Shop. I set up a display of my woodworking there. It was a pretty good venue for selling certain woodworking items. It’s easy to sell stuff if you price it so low that you make no profit. The challenge is finding something that you can sell at a profit.

I seemed to have the best success with pens. With experience and with some quasi-mass production techniques, I can make them pretty fast (15 – 20 minutes each). With $7 – $9 dollars in material and 15 – 20 minutes of effort and I could sell them for $20 – $40. People seemed to be very receptive to the exotic woods. Stay away from the more difficult pens and focus on the wood. FYI – I was set up to make them in batches of 10.

Wine bottle stoppers and cork screws also sold well. I also did quite a few vases, but they seldom sold on their own – but they were sold in conjunction with a small flower arrangement.

You will note that all of these items are small turning items. I tried a few non-turned items (e.g. clocks) and did not have good luck with them.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2701 days

#5 posted 02-10-2012 03:36 PM

I knew a man that did well with his small inexpensive items. He made pie trivets and the like. something he could make 50 sets of in an evening and sell them for a couple of dollars. He bought his materials at a side of the street lumber place that bought overstocks and seconds and sold that cheap. It was not fine wood working but he made a lot of money doing this. He took on a gun cabinet once. He called me to come and look at it. He told me he enjoyed it but he would not do it again. I asked why and he said it cuts into my money making time. this takes hours and hours for a couple of hundred. I could have make 2 or 3 times that amount making the little things.

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3673 days

#6 posted 02-10-2012 05:16 PM

Rustic little nailed-up “birdhouses” sell well because you can sell
them cheap and people don’t have to fret about where to put
them inside the house. When you sell furniture “but where will
we put it?” kills a lot of impulse buys.

You can sell birdhouses and yard things at inexpensive local
outdoor shows. Doing this is not fine craftsmanship but you
can make a few bucks at it.

Pens can be a good seller if you are set up to do fancy ones
efficiently: clean lines, figured exotic materials, high-gloss buffed
finishes. People buy them as gifts. Outlay to set up for making
salable pens is $500 or more in tools and supplies.

View Puzzleman's profile


417 posts in 2969 days

#7 posted 02-10-2012 05:48 PM

You can make money at selling children’s toys and things. I do it. I also know several people who did make children’s items but no longer do as they couldn’t make money at it.

As mentioned above, you can go into high quality or low quality. You can do one of’s or you can multiples of the same item. There is many ways to go.

What no one has mentioned is that no matter what you make, you have to sell it. You have to have the ability to sell your product to the customer. Engage the customer, talk with the customer, get the customer to stop and explain your work to them so they understand. These all fall under salesmanship.

Salesmanship is just as important as your product. You can have the best item at the show but if you can’t sell it, it is worthless. Also you can have the worst item at the show and you can sell it, it is valuable.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler,

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10535 posts in 3454 days

#8 posted 02-10-2012 06:10 PM

Some one once said (I think it was JC Penny) “If you want to live with the masses, sell to the rich. If you would live with the rich, sell to the masses.”
I’ve had good luck with tops, toys, trivets, and small band saw boxes. Always made money above the show fees. But, I hated the hassles of packing and setting up and repacking etc., and the drive was always a long one. Also, I really got tired of making the same things every day.
It did help with extra cash for the shop and at tax time.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Vince 's profile


40 posts in 2525 days

#9 posted 02-10-2012 06:36 PM

I have often thought of selling a few items. Then I try to figure out the actual cost to make the item and then how much is my time worth, then what are the fees that go into renting the space to sell them etc. etc. etc. Finally, I think making something from my own two hands and giving it as a gift to someone who truly loves it is much more satisfying than selling it. I will never get rich like that but man it sure makes me feel good inside.

-- "Putty and paint make the carpenter I ain't"

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3673 days

#10 posted 02-10-2012 06:48 PM

Not to be a sourpuss, but a problem these days with selling
handcrafted goods “to the masses” is the masses have
become accustomed to rock-bottom prices on everything
due to the glut of cheap imports. There are price points
that can be worked to that can yield perhaps a $15-$20/hr
shop rate with marketing and selling time paying nothing.

In terms of making more for your time, you’ll have to move
up market to the affluent clients whose eyes aren’t bugged-out
by the price tag on a $5000 table or a $300 cutting board.
That’s why the high-end shows cost what they do; they
attract people with surplus money to spend on art.

View joshtank's profile


224 posts in 2999 days

#11 posted 02-10-2012 06:50 PM

i made some candleholders out of scrap for etsy. nothing much, and so far no sales.

i probably priced them too high. i sort of hate having to mail things after doing a mailorder record business for 10 years. eh

-- Josh - Jacksonville, FL -

View Danpaddles's profile


573 posts in 2337 days

#12 posted 02-10-2012 06:55 PM

Vince said- “Finally, I think making something from my own two hands and giving it as a gift to someone who truly loves it is much more satisfying than selling it. I will never get rich like that but man it sure makes me feel good inside.”

Vince, I think you have it right. I’ve always felt that way. But times is tough, I need to make a few dollars somehow or another.

It has also occurred to me that doing this sort of stuff for the money takes away from me the best, most enjoyable hobby I have had. All of a sudden my shop is not my place to have fun, but now, I need to look at it as a place to make some money from. “Hey son, get out of here with your carving, I have work to do!” or- “Hey daughter, don’t try to paint that piece of maple, I might be able to sell it one day”.

-- Dan V. in Indy

View macin's profile


78 posts in 2565 days

#13 posted 02-10-2012 07:57 PM

Thanks for all your answers :-)

My skills
Beginner and now I got a garage to play with my tools

Misc. handtools, circularsaw, mitersaw, jigsaw, scrollsaw, handplaner, router, planer and these powertools are the cheap Einhell tools. Then I got an very old machine Emcostar combimachine from 1975 which is bandsaw, tablesaw, two types of sanders, lathe and some more.

Cheap wood and pine, also leftovers from a cabinets maker.

My projects so far
Footrest, chair, back scratcher and building one stool/chair now on a woodworking course.

What to sell, where and at what price ?
My thought was to make something different. I want people to see my things and say to them self ok I´m willing to buy this because it is not too expensive.

I was thinking of kids toys like Balancing stackers from, back scratcher, winebalancer, birdhouses, trivets,

Where to sell, at the local out/in door shows and perhaps on Facebook.

Like woodworking in my garage

View Vince 's profile


40 posts in 2525 days

#14 posted 02-12-2012 06:53 PM

i wish wood wasn’t so damn expensive. Pine is one thing but where I live (southFlorida) everything else is so costly. A dream would be to have a shop in the back and the gallery in the front. But like Loren said , people are used to spending so little on mass produced garbage.

-- "Putty and paint make the carpenter I ain't"

View cathyb's profile


793 posts in 3269 days

#15 posted 02-12-2012 08:49 PM

My experience is that people who attend an art show or craft fair still value handcrafted goods. This is the technique I use to bump up sales: I have beautiful big ticket items, rocking chairs, cabinets and other case goods. I also have boxes, small benches and lamps. They know that you can make beautiful things and want something that YOU made, but can’t afford it- so they’ll buy the benches, boxes and lamps. Even if you have no intention of selling a piece of furniture that you made for your house-take it to the fair as a prop. As for what to make, boxes always sell. I’ve made children’s toys, but was always concerned about the liability there. If you make lamps and include a shade they might be a little too expensive. Also consider joining Etsy. I’ve had good sales there.
Good luck

-- cathyb, Hawaii,

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