Crafting for cash

Everyone is looking to score some extra coin these days. But there is no need to slip into Code Red panic, especially if you have a creative mind. Now more than ever, we have to think of the word “crafty” in a different way. When it comes to paying that electric bill or funding Missy’s orchestra trip to Catalina Island, you can’t wait for people to shop on your web site. you have to go out and get the business.

As someone who has made a living from thinking crafty, I’m going to share ideas of how you can put your artistic skills to work. I want you to keep your main business going of your one-of-a-kind designs – but consider my tips as a part-time gig. I’m not saying they will fund that entire Catalina trip for your kid, but maybe help with the spending money.

1. Mixed Media and/or Fabric Goodie bags.
This is something I figured out recently when overhauling my art room. Get some clear Ziplock bags and set them out in a row. Go through your papers, beads, trims, pictures, etc and sort them in the bags by color or theme. Give them each a name and make a colorful label for each bag. Once you have a nice array, put them up for sale on eBay or Etsy. You could even visit local indie craft stores and sell wholesale to them!

2. Scrapbooks.
If you are a big scrapper, make samples layouts that fit different types of businesses. Approach those businesses and offer to make a gorgeous scrapbook for them. All they do is supply the pictures. Sure, you can hit weddings and birthdays, but why not try hair salons, restaurants, dance studios too? It will be a great promo tool for them to show their customers. Video companies do it all the time, why not scrapbook artists?

3. Promo videos and banner ads.
Are you a whiz with techy stuff? Look for book authors or bloggers who could use a nice promo video for their site, or a blog banner that pops. Offer a flat rate for your service. I’m inspired by Dale over at Sea Dream Studio. She is a genius!

4. Write bios for people.
If you are a colorful wordsmith, check out crafty web sites and the artist bios. If you think they could use sprucing up, offer to write a fabulous bio for them. Think of it like a blog banner design, except with a paragraph.

5. Passing out postcards or mini-art samples at local artwalks.
This is for people who are out and about a lot, especially at First Fridays. Work with local businesses or artists and have them (or you) design a postcard and have them printed. Charge a flat fee to hit a variety of locations where you will leave postcards on community counters, bulletin boards, or straight handing them out. I WISH I knew people who would do this for me!

6. Teach an online class.
Do youhave a wealth of techniques? Set up an inexpensive online video class where you can share one of those tips in detail.

7. Refresh and resell.
Visit your local secondhand store and buy up the cheapie retro wood stuff from the bric-a-brac section. Paint it in colors that are on-trend and offer them for sale to local businsses either for resale or for decoration in their shops. I once did this and ended up making a 50 napkin holders for a mom-and-pop eatery!

8. Home staging.
Check out local home staging experts in your area and show them your work. Maybe they will buy some of your pieces for their business!

I’ll leave the rest up to you!

Love & light,


15 Responses

  1. This kind of falls under #7 but you could upcycle, like when people make used shopping bags into a larger market bag! The bags are free and you can sell the larger bag for a profit!

  2. Contact and leave your info at your local community education center. They are always looking for someone to teach a class and you don’t have to have a degree, just the knowledge in your craft.

  3. Go to a yard sale/thrift shop and find some small wooden containers or old pottery. Paint and otherwise decorate them.

    Plant some herbs (like parsley, cilantro, basil, etc…) from seed before summer (planting from seeds are super cheap) and then when they are just blooming, go to local nurseries and garden centers to sell your crafty “herb gardens.”

  4. Hello Kathy and Everyone,
    I’m not sure if this is what you meant or not, and I apologize that this is long.
    Make crafts/sell your art work on Ebay/Etsy sell for example cards, stationary. Take pictures of pets for people, do face painting at parties and gatherings, take Polaroid pictures of the facepaint, premake frames for the pictures.
    Make a CD of pictures that you take and sell them, write reviews/blogging. Write ebooks and tutorials on things you know well, and make on net selling courses. Make how to booklets, and zines to sell.
    Make and sell party and wedding crafts in the newspaper and other places. Make up theme baskets to sell. Design and sell aprons. Design Novelty clocks. Make calendars, pet beds, and bird houses. Paint store windows for holidays. Make costumes, rent or sell them.
    Design and decorate children’s bedrooms and play rooms, design and print menus for restaurants and pubs, and make miniature gardens.
    Thank you for a chance to win.

  5. not just classes but classes that make the project easier. I always had a hard time reading sewing instructions but my mom would just help me to think of the end result so I could then understand them better. Does that make sense. you could have classes on how to’s made easier. Maybe through Michaels or something.

  6. I haven’t been able to work in over a year so this hits home for me, big time. The mortgage still has to get paid, right?

    I am about to give my first ever workshop…Visual Journaling…over the course of 6 weeks, once a week. I am also offering private or semi-private (2 friends come together) workshops in my home during the day or one evening a week. Weekly income! YEA!

    I’ve began destashing tools and supplies that I no longer use out of my studio and listing it on my Art Fire shop. Some of it is still in the original packaging.

    Just a couple of my ideas and what I’m doing to help contribute during these tough times.

    Peace & Love,
    ~Barb~

  7. I craft for myself for fun as sort of a therapy to keep me away from negative behaviors (like shopping for stuff I don’t really need and can’t really afford or overeating) and it saves me money in that way.

    One of my son’s friends Mom’s used to “dumpster dive” and pick up things from the curb (especially around the end of the month at apartment complexes when people are moving and are quick to discard unwanted, good, useable items just because they don’t have the time, space or inclination to deal with them) or hit garage sales at the end of the day and get giveways then re-fashion them and resell them at her own garage sale.

  8. Here’s an idea my friends & I have had fun with: we go to a paint-your-own pottery place on Thursday nights for “Ladies Night”, armed with snacks & drinks. We have a blast, and whatever we make can either be sold or given as inexpensive (but thoughtfully customized) gifts!

    –MaggieBelize
    Designer, kNotes for kNitters

  9. Go to the local community centers and submit proposals to teach what you’re good at! Keep fees low, but also let students know what else you do – get their emails & put ’em on your mailing list – maybe they’ll see how difficult it really is to do what you do & hire you (or buy your stuff) anyway!

  10. Make stuff that is sale-able, and sell them in the manner of a garage sale or yard sale. Put up colorful fun fliers explaining that you’re selling new fun handmade goodies. You might want to have lemonade and cookies available for the kids, and maybe a “free box” of small junk toys to keep them entertained. Have a clothes rack and a mirror if it’s clothing.

  11. Love all the ideas. Besides the one’s you already know here online-if you link all of your information to all of your other networks I think your bound to get some follows and emails. Also,dumpster diving is awsome I recomment it, you CAN find things like night stands, then re vamp it and take it into your local consignment shop. Also some of the little thrifty stores might let you have a little sidewalk sale on a saturday if you give them a proceed or mention them with photo on your web site and blog. If you know of anyone who works in an office give them a flyer listing your services. Branch out to allow yourself to be the docorator on a budget for party’s or rights of passage. Teach an easy but artsy scrap book class to your church lady’s. Tell them to just bring what they own, you will work with it! Offer to clean houses for a good price and leave a little crafty gift with brochures and links when your done…Organise a local Handmade Art event at your local music store!!!Add other peoples art links to your site in exchange for them doing the same. Tell people you make invitations for events for a fantastic price and it can be so very personal!Search your local free add sites online and post your company.. Ie craigslist (just to name one) choose a charity, provide something Artsy of value, have a live auction, get contacts that way. and you do something cool for your community. Go to your local small business association meetings get to know everyone. Become a member of your local art organizations and network. Start a community on Ning. Do online classes. But try to use your own ideas, dont steal, unless you ask and give credit where credit is new. Wheeeeew!!! now I need to take my own freekin advice, right!

    http://papermoonies.blogspot.com

  12. I save a lot of money per year by making the presents I give. It is especially important to be thrifty at Christmas-time and my friends and family look forward to recieving the items I have made throughout the year. Big savings!
    Also, I send some of the smaller items I make to the school lounge with my teacher friends. It is a quick way to make a couple of dollars! I love all your great ideas.

  13. Hi, I save money by making all of the presents I give throughout the year. Also, I send some smaller items to the teacher’s lounge with my teaching friends. The teachers love to look at them during lunchbreaks and I always make a few $.

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Kathy Cano-Murillo

Let’s connect!

Hi, I’m Kathy, The Crafty Chica! My specialty is creative motivation. I’m an artist, author, and speaker and this is where I share my craft tutorials, artwork, articles, books, product lines, and workshops!

Let’s work together! Check out my services page HERE.

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