A LIST OF IN-DEMAND CRAFTS AND HANDMADE ITEMS TO KICKSTART YOUR AT HOME DIY SIDE HUSTLE TODAY
These are 18 easy things to make and sell for extra money online. Many of these business ideas can be started from home with minimal upfront investment.
And before you panic and click away, I’ve made sure to include handmade items and crafts which even the most non-technical and crafty person can pull off.
Not only are these items in high demand based on Etsy best-selling trends, Pinterest Shopping Analytics and Google Trends data, but they’re incredibly lucrative once you have the technical know-how to scale these ideas.
And if you’ve ever been told ‘you can’t make money as a creative’, just take a look at these incredible success stories.
This 17 year old with his own candle brand turns over close to $1 MILLION in revenue each year.
Mike Pasley, who according to Printify, made $700k selling Print on Demand apparel and merchandise in the first year of business.
Alex Moore, a former teacher, who makes an extra $3,000 a month selling rustic themed, nature jewellery for men.
These teen sisters make $20 million every year selling bath bombs.
There are hundreds if not thousands of people who would pay for what you have to offer; you could be sitting on a gold mine.
And who knows, what starts as a simple way to earn extra cash could become a highly profitable full time business.
THE MOST PROFITABLE AND EASY THINGS TO MAKE AND SELL FOR EXTRA MONEY
1. Bath Bombs
With self care being the new wellness trend, it’s no surprise bath bombs are on this list. Lush, a multi-million dollar company built their empire on them.
Since 2015, bath bomb sales have increased 71%. In 2017 alone, Lush sold 21 million of its handmade bath bombs according to Fast Company.
How did Lush do this? They were able to provide a unique experience that was hard to find anywhere else; from bath bars to bubbly bombs, they created vibrant and highly sought after bath products.
To stand out in this market, you’ll need to put a creative spin on the traditional bath bomb.
Take these DIY beautiful Donut Bath Bombs by a Pumpkin and a Princess for example – these would make great gifts.
And based on this Google Trends data, you’ll want to capitalize on the Christmas season.
Bath bombs can be as simple or as complex as you like, and leave loads of room for creativity. You can make them with glitter, natural herbs or even essential oils.
Bath products that are suitable for sensitive skin are very hot right now (and always will be). Note how hypoallergenic bath bombs are on a ‘breakout trend’ right now for searches worldwide.
Easy craft to create? Bath bombs are one of the most easy things to make and sell for amateur DIYers.
Once you have the bath bomb molds, it’s easy to mass produce dozens of bath bombs a day, and when you consider they resale for $7 and up each, it’s an attractive business idea.
Get Started: How to Make Bath Bombs That Sell
2. Curated Gift or Subscription Boxes
A gift or subscription box business is a great idea for those who are less crafty but have an eye for what looks good together.
In 2020, Google searches for self-care products have risen by 250% percent since 2014.
Self care gift baskets or subscription boxes that can be given as a gift or even bought as a weekly treat saw a HUGE influx in sales according to Etsy’s best-selling data.
People are always looking for quick, yet personalised gift ideas, especially when they’re short on time.
It’s a simple way to say ‘hey, I’m thinking of you!’. The good news? There’s always room for a new product in this field, and you don’t have to provide gift baskets just for humans either.
Searches for pet gift baskets are up by 13% this year according to Google.
Custom and bespoke gift baskets are considered a more premium and high-end product, and so naturally command much higher prices; some way into the $100+ price range.
Make sure to offer this as a service if you decide to run with this idea.
Easy to create? With a small investment you can have your first 5-10 gift baskets pre-made and ready to go.
Assembly of the baskets can be a tedious task, however subscription boxes have their advantage.
Sub boxes are usually packed all at once at the same time each month and in the same size box, making the shipping process fairly simple.
3. Personalized Gifts
Personalized gifts add that special touch you can’t find with a store bought item.
Here’s where it gets interesting, in Segment’s survey, more than 1,000 consumers were less than impressed by the lack of personalization offered by major retailers.
This leaves a unique opportunity for small businesses wishing to mop up all that extra money the big retailers leave on the table.
A simple custom engraving or thank you note with someone’s name can add value to your handmade item.
Remember that case study I mentioned earlier? A 17-year-old was able to make close to $1 million in revenue after only being in business for 2 years.
In the US alone, the candle industry is worth $3.2 billion. Their profit margin can range from $10-30+ per candle depending on the type and quality you’re selling.
Easy craft to create? Absolutely. Candles are one of the easiest handmade crafts to make as a beginner thanks to a wide variety of DIY tutorials on the internet.
Plus, the basic melt and pour methods require little to no previous craft skills.
Pro Tip: Make sure to use safety labelling. Due to the nature of candle use, and the increased risks of injury, be sure to protect your business from civil suits that may result from the use of your item.
With around $200 in start-up fees, you can set-up a blazing business of your own.
Get Started: How to Make Candles into a Blazing Business
More and more people are turning to handmade items, and jewellery is no exception.
With a rise in popularity, gemstone crafting wholesalers offer tools, beads, wires and even crystals at an extremely affordable price. It’s never been easier to produce professional looking jewellery at home.
Fashion is fickle so it’s always best to validate your idea by following fashion influencers and blogs before investing in stock.
Easy to make? Jewellery can be as complex or simple as you want it.
Remember your target audience at all times – are they more likely to purchase something small and dainty or large and showy?
That will help you think about how much time you need to create your one of a kind collection.
Ceramics are always a firm favourite! Whilst they’re not the quickest product to make, the love and desire for them is undeniable.
Take a look at Sea Goat Ceramics. Her mugs have SOLD OUT and it’s easy to see why. She appeals to a spiritual audience, without being too over the top with it.
To stand out in this market, it’s best to come up with a unique design rather than a run of the mill pattern.
Think quirky quotes, hobby based mugs and keepsakes.
Easy craft to make? Not the quickest, but you don’t need a big crafting workshop to make ceramics.
For a low barrier to entry, consider working with air clay, polymer clay, or poured concrete. A work station works great in the beginning.
7. Printed Merchandise
Don’t feel like physically making anything or housing inventory at your home? This is a solid business idea for the non-maker.
Believe it or not, there’s a thing called Print on Demand. Print on demand allows you to create custom merchandise (think t-shirts, water bottles, mugs, home furnishings etc) without ever buying the stock or owning a printing machine.
Companies such as Printify create the product for you based on your design (which can be created in Photoshop or even Canva) and then they print and ship it for you.
It’s a very hands off process and still nets you an average 20-40% profit margin on each product. Pretty neat.
Print on demand is also an excellent way for teens to make money without requiring a bank account too.
Easy to make? Yes. Printed merchandise can be one of the most easy things to make and sell.
All you need is some basic graphic design and digital skills. You’ll still need a good deal of creative ideas to make your designs stand out though as competition can be fierce – the more unique a design, the better.
8. Cupcake & Cake Decorating
Fancy yourself a whizz in the kitchen? Sweeter edible items such as cookies and mini cakes are always a crowd-pleaser.
There are so many people who prefer to eat homemade items as these often contain less preservatives than factory produced products.
Tap into the niche markets; holidays, celebrations, novelty, catering and gift baskets and you’ve got yourself a targeted product.
One word of caution – this is one item that comes with some unique complications – shelf life, legalities, labelling etc.
Make sure to investigate the viability of selling your food item online, especially if it uses fresh ingredients that need refrigeration.
Better yet, use your baking skills to teach other amateur bakers how to create delicious goods right from their very own kitchen.
Host a course on an online teaching platform such as Teachable and offer gift cards during peak gifting seasons such as Christmas.
Get Started: How to Start An Online Food Business
Not sure there’s money to be made in this niche? Sarah Lynn of Sweets in the City not only won the backing of Lord Alan Sugar, a famous business tycoon, and became his business partner on TV’s ‘The Apprentice’, but she’s making a killing with premium mark-ups on her retro sweet jars.
If you can cater for a specific market e.g. vegan, even better as this narrows your competition, and you can easily charge more for greener, plant-based food items! Be sure to check out your country’s national laws on selling edibles.
10. Pet Supplies & Items
The global pet market is estimated to top $269 billion by 2025 according to a George Mason University case study.
Yes, you read that right. Snag a slice of that pie by crafting dog treats, catnip toys, and even pet collars, all items that can be easily made from home.
People all over the world are searching for new and unique ways to treat their canine chums and furry pets, and the market shows it.
With more and more pet owners turning to natural, raw and healthy pet treats, you’d do well to tackle this ever growing market.
As always, if you’re selling treats or toys—basically, anything that can be ingested—be sure to do your research and triple check the ingredients and materials you’re using are safe for pets.
11. Murals, Arts & Print
Love creating your own murals or pieces of artwork? Are you a whizz at photoshop or digital design? You probably already have tons of products to sell.
Consider niching down or even blending two categories together to create your own unique collection of prints.
Not only can you sell directly to clients at art fairs, local gatherings and on platforms such as Etsy, but you can also sell your images as stock photos, card art and more.
12. Digital Products
Love graphic design? Have basic photoshop or Canva skills? Then you can make money selling digital printables.
Think wedding invitations, children’s wall art, printable party games. Added bonus? You don’t need any physical inventory, and once you’ve made them, you don’t need to keep making them.
If you already have a website, you can purchase a cheap and reliable software such as SendOwl to send your printables to your customers for you.
Or list your products on Etsy or Shopify.
Psst – This can quickly become a passive income source meaning you can make money whilst you sleep (as long as you promote and market your digital products the right way!).
Get Started: How to Sell Digital Products
13. Enamel Pins
Enamel Pins remain incredibly popular, especially amongst the millennial and Gen Z generation, and are surprisingly seeing a hefty upward trend in sales.
Creators usually work with a manufacturer to make enamel pins, but in terms of the design element – you can be as hands-on or hands-off as you want.
Design the art yourself or work with an illustrator on Fiverr to bring your vision to life.
When searching for manufacturers, be sure to ask some key questions before working with them: Can you send me physical samples? What are your material and clasp options? What is the minimum order spend?
Soap has always been a popular handmade product that sells extremely well. Easy to batch make, handmade soaps (depending on the size and quality of the bar) can retail for between $5-$25+.
The best news? It’s a growing market! According to Fortune Business Insights, the value of the worldwide soap industry is currently $34 billion, with a surge to $55 billion expected by the year 2027.
As with bath bombs, make sure to check out your raw ingredient sources to ensure they’re beauty grade and safe for skin.
Also, make sure your production facility (even if it’s your own kitchen) meets local government health standards.
15. Natural Cosmetics
With more and more chemicals and nasty preservatives being added to our high street cosmetic brands, more people are turning to natural, fewer ingredient brands.
Simple Skincare built their cosmetic empire on this ‘simple’ idea.
Making your own natural cosmetics and beauty products does take a little time as you will want to create your own beautifying recipes, but if people love what you offer, you can easily create a super loyal following.
Making stickers can be an incredibly lucrative DIY side hustle for beginner crafters. Not to mention, it’s a simple way to dip your feet into the world of paper crafting.
Often you’ll only need a cricut machine, sticker printing paper and a simple design software such as Canva or Cricut Design Space to get started.
You only need to check Pinterest to see that searches for digital and cricut stickers in particular are on an upward trend.
People everywhere are looking for unique ways to decorate their laptops, notebooks and even water bottles with something meaningful to them. Stickers are the perfect way to do that.
17. Woodwork Items
Woodwork, whilst a more intensive form of craft, still holds strong in a buyer’s market. Items such as coasters, woodworking kits for children and even small wooden Christmas trees often float to the top of the best-selling list on Etsy.
As woodworking is a time intensive skill, naturally, customers expect to pay more for unique gifts not found on the high street.
I’ve left this idea for last. Courses are an art form in themselves, and the E-learning industry is hot right now, with more and more people turning to online learning platforms to enhance their knowledge and skills.
If you can break into this market, you can make a fortune quite quickly, however, this is one market I will say is VERY saturated, and comes with a major trust tag; i.e. people have to trust you to buy your course.
It might take a little more time than the other ideas to establish a trustworthy, personal brand, but it definitely can be done.
Liesel from Mommy Labor Nurse helps new moms-to-be know what to expect during a natural birth and sells courses on Teachable.
According to Liesel, she made $13,000 during her first launch.
Again, I’m emphasizing this was not an overnight success story but rather months of steady building. Slow builds are often the more reliable sources of income.
WHAT THINGS CAN I SELL TO MAKE MONEY FAST?
This is the million dollar question (quite literally). As with any business, it’s wise not to expect thousands of dollars hitting your bank account overnight.
That said, it’s not unheard of for a craft business to start generating 3 to 4 figure profit margins within the first 6 months of operation.
There are 2 key things that lead to an at home side hustle making money fast:
- Choice of product (Is it quick to make? Can you bulk create?)
- Pricing structure
As an Etsy seller myself who runs two stores, I know firsthand that it is entirely possible to start making money within the first 1-2 months of setting up your shop. If you can bulk-make your products, you’re onto a winner.
Try to stay clear of items that will take you weeks to create. As you begin to grow, you’ll want an item you can create fairly quickly.
The last thing you want to do as a growing business is to turn away customers because you physically can’t make your product quick enough.
In terms of pricing your products, it’s absolutely okay to price higher than your competitors, especially if you offer something unique that your competitor doesn’t (i.e. personalization). People WILL expect to pay a premium for this service.
Where I see most craft businesses go wrong with pricing? They undercharge and burn themselves out creating those products with very little monetary reward.
Ideally, you’ll want to calculate how much it costs you to create each product (factoring in the cost of added extras such as website hosting, business licences, one off etc), and mark your profit margins from there.
The percentage you take home will be dependent on the item you create, but a good profit margin to shoot for would be in the 30-40% range.
If you can get that higher, even better.
This handy guide created by Crafty Base will help you to calculate the pricing mark-ups for your handmade products (as I’m terrible at maths!).
HOW TO START A PROFITABLE ONLINE CRAFT SHOP
1) Pick Your Product
Take a look at your creative skills and see which product business idea suits you best.
Remember to think about what makes you happy too! This list is by no means exhaustive either. The best product takes into consideration these things:
Create a product your audience wants but are struggling to find elsewhere;
Or create a product that they absolutely would fall in love with based on their interests (not necessarily solving a problem);
And make sure to:
- Do it in your own unique style;
- Create something you love to make;
= this is what makes a successful base product.
2) Choose a Creative, Catchy Name
Brainstorm a creative, catchy and memorable name for your business.
Don’t be afraid to choose something more distinct and outlandish. Often the weird and wacky names stand out!
3) Register Your Shop With a Selling Platform
When you’re just getting started, every penny counts. Shopify, Etsy, Sendowl and of course your own self-hosted website all make excellent choices for selling your products.
With Shopify, it’s free to set-up your seller account and incredibly easy to use.
When you’re ready to sell, only then do you need to start paying Shopify’s monthly fee.
Etsy charges around $0.20 per listing as well as additional VAT and taxes per item, but already has an existing audience of over 300 million people so once you’ve got Etsy SEO down to a T, you’ll start making sales quicker.
4) Start Selling
You’re ready to go! Once you’ve picked your creative idea, set up your store, and started advertising, you’re ready to start selling your beautiful handmade creations.
WHERE TO SELL YOUR CRAFTS & HANDMADE ITEMS ONLINE
- Teachable – they are one of the best platforms for selling online courses. Very user friendly and intuitive.
- Etsy – the go-to familiar for all things handmade and craft related.
- Amazon Handmade – tap into Amazon’s existing customer base and list your products here to make extra cash online.
- Hyena Cart – this platform has a focus on eco-friendly products.
- Zibbet – a relatively new online marketplace, Zibbet is becoming the place to discover up and coming artworks, crafts and designs by creative sellers like you.
- Aftcra – limited to US sellers only, Aftcra caters to handmade items.
- Handmadeology Market – an online marketplace that features anything well, handmade.
- ICraft Gifts – best suited for personalized items, crafts and gifts.
WHERE TO SELL YOUR CRAFTS AND HANDMADE ITEMS OFFLINE
Selling online is your best bet for reaching more engaged customers and expanding your audience size, but you may wish to flaunt your creations locally.
These are perhaps some of the best places to sell your crafts and items locally:
- Art Fairs
- Local Galleries
- Craft Fairs & Retailers
- Small Shops Looking to Stock Local Brands
PROS & CONS OF STARTING YOUR OWN DIY CRAFT BUSINESS
Before you jump into starting your own crafts business, you should know that any form of entrepreneurship requires some serious dedication and effort (even if those ‘gurus’ make it look easy).
There are some incredible pros to running your own DIY business, but you should absolutely be prepared for the cons too.
- You establish your own working hours
- You don’t answer to anyone (except your customers)
- You have total control over your own brand and line of products
- The amount of money you can make is unlimited, especially if you’re selling batch-make items
- You can make extra money at home or even replace your full time income
- You get to be creative and come up with new ideas all the time
- Owning your own business can be seriously rewarding and a self-esteem booster
- It can get a little lonely if you’re working by yourself
- There will be some upfront investment (as with any business)
- It can be more time consuming and tedious than you think
- Knowing tax-laws isn’t a nice to know, it’s an absolute must
- The entire success of the business is down to you (some people don’t like that pressure)
- You will have to keep generating enough money to pay for labelling, website hosting, renewal fees, inventory etc
- You will have to deal with unhappy customers or even scammers from time to time who always want a refund
HOW DO I MAKE THINGS TO SELL WHEN I’M A BEGINNER?
Nowadays you’ve got all the information you’ll ever need at the click of a button.
Before you select your products, I highly recommend heading to Youtube and checking out a few ‘how-to’ videos to see if your item is something you want to and more importantly, can make.
For example, if you absolutely HATE working with small, finicky details, any items that involve sewing probably aren’t the best fit for you as a creator.
But, if you LOVE graphic design, creating digital prints using Photoshop or even Canva might be just the business idea you’ve been looking for. Play to your skills.
WHAT HANDMADE ITEMS ARE IN DEMAND?
To check what things you can build at home to sell that are popular and are in demand, check out Google Trends, Pinterest Trends as well as the best-sellers on platforms such as Etsy and Amazon Homemade.
Pinterest in particular has clear and accurate data graphs which you use to spot key buying trends within the year.
There you have it, the ultimate guide on what handmade items sell best online.
I hope this guide has helped you to determine what business idea will suit you as well as ruled out ones that definitely wouldn’t.
Remember, you’re absolutely not limited to choosing just one item.
Some of the most successful craft shops out there sell both a blend of digital and physical items to ensure they’re making money all year-round.