Name a craft and I’ve undoubtedly dabbled in it. While I love writing about all things entrepreneurship, I find true happiness in making, building, and creating.
However, there are many crafts that require little experience or innate artistic ability to get started. If you’re looking for a hobby you can monetize, let’s get crafting! Anyone can make and sell crafts from home, often with little investment.
Experts agree that working with your hands offers many mental health benefits, especially for those who work in a typical nine-to-five desk job. DIYing and making crafts can be almost meditative, allowing your brain to log off and recharge. The sense of accomplishment in creating something from scratch can also improve your mood and reduce stress and anxiety.
Further, exploring your creativity may even spark a business idea. Once you’ve found and perfected your craft, you can diversify your income by making and selling handmade goods in your spare time.
QUIZ: what’s your creative calling?
New to DIY crafts and unsure which category would suit you best? Answer a few quick questions to get tailored ideas for crafts to make and sell, based on your personality, abilities, and interests.
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10 trending crafts to make and sell
- Resin and polymer clay jewelry
- Tufted rugs and mats
- Textile dyeing
- Paper flowers
- Home fragrance
- Ceramic or clay plant pots
- Face masks
- Vintage up-cycle
- Tote bags
- Woven and knotted home decor
If the global pandemic taught us anything, it’s that anyone can learn to make things with their hands. (It was a very good year for sourdough.) DIY content on platforms like TikTok, Pinterest, and Instagram exploded, offering tutorials for anything from embroidery to woodworking. Of those, some trends emerged. To inspire your creativity—and maybe your next business idea—we’ve compiled a list of crafts you can make and sell, based on what crafty folk are searching, making, and buying in 2021.
1. Resin and polymer clay jewelry
Both resin and polymer clay jewellery creations began trending a couple of years ago but are still popping up all over the internet—like in this recent tutorial—because of their versatility and appeal as DIY crafts. Resin jewellery is often characterized by items like dried flowers “preserved” in a hard clear substance, while the most common polymer clay jewelry is composed of opaque geometric shapes in bold colors.
Both require some upfront investment for the materials but have a low learning curve with plenty of online tutorials. Great as a hobby, jewellery is also an easy craft to scale into a side gig, as you can produce multiple pieces in each batch.
- Resin jewellery is slightly more complicated, as it involves mixing chemicals and can be messy. Trial and error will help you avoid bubbles in your creations.
- Polymer clay jewellery can be made by cutting freehand shapes, or using mini cookie cutters, then assembling the pieces with jump rings. Invest in a rolling pin designed for this purpose for a more professional finish.
2. Tufted rugs and mats
Another trend that’s still going strong after a surge in searches in late 2020 is rug-making, using a hooking or tufting method. Whether you hook by hand with a punch needle or use a mechanical/electric tufting gun, you can create unique rugs, mats, or textile wall art based on your own designs. The top creators are often fetching hundreds of dollars for one two-by-three-foot rug. It can be a lucrative business if you find your niche.
- Offer a custom or made-to-order service, creating tufted rugs to your customers’ specs.
- Starting out in this space will cost you a few hundred dollars for materials, especially if you opt for the tufting gun method. Try a class, if one is offered in your area, to see if you enjoy it before investing.
3. Textile dyeing
Tie-dye cycled back in popularity (again) in 2019 and is holding strong, popping up in fashion retailer collections on everything from sneakers to underwear. Tie-dyed goods are easy to make and sell from home, requiring very few materials and skills. You can buy and dye bulk blank t-shirts or tie-dye fabric to sew into one-of-a-kinds products, depending on your skill level. Also try traditional Japanese shibori, a trending method of resist-dyeing using natural indigo dye.
- Fabric dye, both synthetic and natural, can be purchased commercially. You can also experiment with making your own dyes with ingredients from your pantry, like avocado skins, turmeric, or teas. Etsy identified eco-conscious fabric as a home decor trend for 2021.
- Tie-dyeing typically can be done using string or elastic to resist dye. But anything can be used for this purpose—try bulldog clips, clothespins, or a wax-resist method like batik.
4. Paper flowers
Paper flowers are simple crafts to make and sell and potentially can be a fruitful small business idea. The wedding services market, though hit hard by the pandemic, is bouncing back and expected to be worth upward of $50 billion in the US alone in 2021. Marketing paper flowers as statement-making decor for weddings and events could score you a piece of that very big pie. Tons of free online paper flower tutorials and templates make it easy to get started.
- Find or create designs that can fold down and be unfurled by your customer to save on shipping costs.
- Why not try making and selling craft kits for kids or adults, assembling and cutting elements of paper flowers that customers can assemble at home?
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5. Home fragrance
One of the easiest crafts to make and sell online, home fragrance products like candles require no prior crafting experience. And, craft queen Martha Stewart identified them as a top craft to try in 2021. You can purchase a basic candle-making kit to experiment with the process of adding essential oils to melted wax. But the possibilities are endless: get creative and stand out with unique containers/shapes like those by Yui Brooklyn, great branding like Boy Smells, or unusual scent combinations like Frostbeard candles.
- Other home fragrance crafts to make and sell include room and linen sprays, custom essential oil blends, and natural diffusers.
- If you plan to make and sell candles online, be mindful that they are products susceptible to breakage and melting. Factor this into your packing and shipping strategy.
6. Ceramic or clay plant pots
The plant-parent population grew like a weed at the onset of the pandemic, and businesses selling plants and plant accessories harvested the benefits. And, with plant care being a long-term commitment, tangential businesses will see benefits for years to come.
There is often a higher barrier to entry to pottery due to the need for specialized ovens (called kilns) to fire the clay. These are often cost- and space-prohibitive, but you can generally find community centers or clay studios that rent kiln time. Pottery-like plant pots can also be made from air clay or cement (poured into moulds) and do not require firing.
- Take a pottery workshop or class to learn how to work with clay and get access to a kiln.
- Consider other plant accessories like garden markers, hanging planters, watering spikes, or window boxes that can be made from a variety of materials.
7. Face masks
It’s true that as more vaccines are put into arms, the closer we are to the end of masks. But with much of the young global population still unvaccinated, and the unpredictability of variants, face masks aren’t going away anytime soon. Plus, in some parts of the world, face masks are widely used for combating the spread of colds and the effects of smog. If you have basic sewing skills, you can make and sell fabric face masks using online tutorials or by designing your own pattern.
- Face masks are available everywhere you turn. Why should someone buy yours? Consider how you can improve on the average mask, either through design or function. The founder of Second Wind gained traction for her face mask line that helped popularize masks as statement accessories, earning her celebrity clients like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and J.Lo.
- Face masks are flat enough to ship through lettermail. Offer free shipping and build the minimal cost into the retail price.
8. Vintage upcycle
If you’re looking for a sustainable idea for a craft you can do from home, vintage upcycling might be for you. The process involves sourcing vintage clothing—maybe pieces that have rips, stains, or dated shapes—and repurposing parts into new products. Usable fabric from a torn maxi-skirt could become a tote bag, a faded vintage sweatshirt could be cropped and redyed.
- You don’t need to have sewing skills to upcycle vintage clothing. Try distressing denim or cropping and dyeing tees. Etsy identified ’90s revival as a trend for kids’ products in 2021.
- Consider what’s in demand. Which fashion trends from the past have cycled back? How can you convert less-desirable cuts into modern silhouettes?
🎨 Learn more: How to Sell Vintage Clothing Online: The Ultimate Guide
9. Tote bags
This is one of the most versatile craft ideas on our list, with options for every level of skill and creativity. At the low end, you can buy blank cotton tote bags and personalize them with silkscreening, beading, hand painting, textile dyeing, or embroidering. For more advanced crafters, sew tote bags from scratch from your own pattern—add pockets, closures, and other details to make yours unique.
- As a sustainable option, upcycle vintage clothing or fabric into a usable tote bag. Consumer trends continue to tip toward businesses with a sustainability slant.
- Consider finding a niche in this crowded market. What about: tote bags just for wine bottles, totes that convert to backpacks, bags that fold up to fit in a pocket, or totes screen printed with memes and pop-culture references?
- If you truly don’t have a knack for crafting, consider uploading your designs to a print-on-demand partner and have them shipped directly to your customer.
10. Woven and knotted home decor
Woven and knotted textile art has made a big comeback in tandem with midcentury home decor trends. These crafts have a range of options for every skill set. Macramé is a knotted technique popularized in the Victorian era and revived in the 1970s that can be used to make belts, textile art, and hanging planters. Searches for “hanging planter” spiked in 2020 along with the increase in interest for plant care, and Etsy identified them as a home decor trend this spring. It’s an easy craft to learn and requires little to no equipment.
Other textile crafts like hanging wall art can be made with a weaving technique using a loom—these can range from a simple wooden frame or hand loom to large electrical power looms.
- A beginner weaving kit can cost as little at $30 and contains all of the supplies you need to weave a trial project.
- What other woven crafts can you make and sell? Consider placemats, bathmats, soft baskets, or jewellery.
Crafts to make and sell FAQ
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Illustrations by Sophie Gullbrants