We love how selling on Etsy has opened up our lives to have a ton more freedom. It has brought a level of flexibility that allows us to spend more time with our kids and less time in an office. Our focus has been selling woodworking items but luckily there are tons of simple ideas for things to make and sell.
Our Etsy business started out as purely a hobby and luckily was there when I lost my job. As my focus quickly shifted to ramping up the shop I was grateful to be in a position where the shop was already established. This made it easier to start bringing in customers quickly and ramping up our supplemental income.
So if you have an idea of something you have always wanted to make and sell on Etsy, or maybe you are interested in getting started but need some DIY ideas, now is a great time to get started.
Here are some simple ideas of things to make and sell online or around town.
30+ Things to Make and Sell
Printables are an amazing “set it and forget it” option for people who want to get started selling their crafts but don’t have the time to dedicate to managing crafting, orders, shipping, etc. Once you create a printable and list it for sale then it becomes a pretty hands-off process. On Etsy, for example, the customer automatically receives the digital files as soon as they have paid.
Printables are a fun way to show off your creativity and organization skills. They can take on a serious, minimalistic approach or a more whimsical, fun look to cater to a variety of audiences. Programs like Canva, Excel, or Word are all a great way to get started creating your own daily planner printables.
Keep up with seasonal and aesthetic trends with inexpensive prints customers can switch out throughout the year. We always have a few frames laying around the house and these are a great way to make use of them as the seasons change.
Building up a portfolio of designs can ensure that you always have business coming in all year round.
Wedding invite printables are one of our FAVORITE things to make and sell as a side hustle! Selling them both as a printable and through a print on demand service such as Zazzle is a great way to set up multiple streams of income from one design.
Patterns and Plans
Woodworking is obviously our forte and favorite in this list of things to make and sell. If you have a wood shop or want to get one set up to start making money then these are some great items to get started with.
Wooden or acrylic pens are always great sellers either online or locally.
Clock mechanisms are an easy way to turn an ordinary piece of wood into a sellable product. Let your creativity flow by using unique offcuts, epoxy, or CNC designs to make your clock stand out.
Many people will say that cutting boards are the right of passage for any new woodworker. We have definitely made our fair share of cutting boards over the years but for good reason. They are always popular, especially around the holiday, with friends and family.
Once people find out you are a woodworker you will inevitably start getting requests for custom orders for cutting boards.
Wooden signs are incredibly popular right now and a great way to make use of a CNC router…if you have one. Luckily there are plenty of other creative ways to make wooden signs to sell such as hand carving, painting, or using a handheld router.
Cell Phone Stands
Now that we are fully entrenched in the Zoom meeting era, cell phone stands have become an even more important home accessory.
These are a great projects to use up small offcuts of wood. Walnut is especially popular right now and makes a great accent piece in any home workspace.
Serving trays or tea trays are both popular items on Etsy and can be made with a minimal amount of tools. The most simplistic approach would be to purchase presurfaced lumber and attach serving handles to the sides.
Of course these trays can be upgraded as well with custom engraving, sides and internal dividers.
Jewelry is one of the best things to make and sell from home if you are tight on space. A small jewelry crafting setup can easily fit into the corner of a bedroom or even on the dining room table. Most of the pieces and tools are small and can be easily packed up and stored away when not in use.
Earrings are one of the quickest ways to get started making jewelry to sell. Earring making kits are an inexpensive option to get started with everything you’ll need. As your skills progress you can begin acquiring more specialty tools to expand your jewelry making abilities.
Charm bracelets are a fun way to get your kids involved in making and selling things from home. These fun projects are popular with both kids and adults and can be customized in an endless variety of ways.
Wood wedding bands are a fun mashup of both jewelry making and woodworking. This is a space we have dabbled in a bit and has a ton of potential as an extremely profitable niche.
Check out our post on wood lathe projects that sell to learn more about how to make wooden rings on your lathe.
Getting started making clothes can be easier than you think. There are plenty of plans readily available to help you take the first steps to begin making clothes to sell.
Masks are here to stay and there are plenty of opportunities to make and sell your own mask ideas. Fun fabrics, quotes, or designs are all ways to carve out a niche in this space.
If cutting and sewing fabric isn’t your thing then shirt design may be another viable option in this space. Using print on demand companies like Printful lets you sell your designs without having to worry about fulfilling orders or creating the shirts yourself.
With shoppers looking for more high-quality, handmade items why not offer costumes that replace the cheap versions from the Halloween shops that pop up in strip malls every fall?
This can be an especially popular option for toddler and baby costumers as they are often simpler to design.
Bath and Beauty
This niche is an absolutely massive seller on online marketplaces. Despite the competition with shops that have tens of thousands of sales there is still plenty of room to carve out your own niche.
Soaps offer a million and one options for creativity and customization. From whipped soaps to bars to powder with any combination of ingredients imaginable there is something for everyone.
Let your creativity fly and add a touch of elegant branding and you can get started making and selling soap quickly.
Sugar scrubs are an easy craft to make at home and make for excellent gifts. Offering them in local gift shops or on local online marketplaces are a great way to get started.
Bath bombs are another great project for kids to get involved with. They are great for marketing to their friends at school and are a fun way to start teaching them about running a crafting business.
The home decor space is always evolving which means there is always room to begin creating your own style and niche. As one trend begins to fade another one steps in to take its place. If you keep a finger on the pulse of what is in style in the home decor sector then it is a great time to get started making things to sell.
Wreaths aren’t just a Christmas decoration anymore. This hot selling space picks up traction in the summer with 4th of July themed wreaths and stays strong all the way through Christmas.
If you’re new to sewing then making decorative pillows can be a great project to start with. Once you get the hang it if they are quick to make and sell.
By rotating in seasonal designs you can keep your listings relevant all year long.
Candles are another huge seller on online platforms like Etsy. Many sellers have found their niches by adding witting saying to the candles or creating gift box bundles with soaps, succulents or other goodies.
Soy candles are especially popular and can be made with minimal supplies. Inexpensive candle making kits are a great way to get started.
On Etsy right now chunky knit blankets are the hottest item in this category. While these blankets do take time they photograph extremely well and are strong sellers.
Luckily there are tons of other niches within this category as well such as fleece blankets, baby blankets, etc to choose from that are easy to make and sell from home.
Nursery decor, along with wedding supplies, are often the two most popular categories for buyers looking for unique, handmade items. Because of this many buyers are more willing to pay the higher prices associated with handmade goodes.
Some fun nursery decor ideas you can make from home include mobiles, painted name signs or animal prints.
One of the fun subcategories of Etsy are sellers of handmade supplies specially for other sellers to make their own handcrafted goods. We have purchased speciality wood and ring blanks, among other items, for our own shop.
For anyone who has experience or access to unique materials or other crafty items that other sellers may be able to use then you can easily have a viable business opportunity on your hands.
Specialty wood items such as burls, resin impregnated wood, or highly figured woods all sell well on Etsy in their raw forms. Another great option are cutoffs from larger projects that can be used by pen makers, whittlers, jewelry makers, etc.
Wood staves from wine or bourbon barrels are another extremely popular item as the finished products provide a unique marketing opportunity given the wood’s origins.
Antler is another popular raw material for markers to work with. If you have access to decent amounts of antler then it can be sliced into smaller sections and sold to jewelry makers, woodworkers, etc.
Glass beads are a great DIY craft to make and sell from home if you have a small garage space. It only takes a small corner to set up a bead rolling station.
Establishing yourself as a creative bead maker is a great way to build a customer base that will keep coming back over and over.
Practicing art is a great creative outlet for many people but can often be hard on the wallet as you progress further and further into a specific craft. By finding a way to market your work you can help to offset some of the cost or even turn your art into a profitable business.
Stickers are a super easy project to design and sell on Etsy. You can easily use online tools like Canva to design them and then have them printed by online printing shops. Here is a great guide if you want to get started making stickers to sell.
Photography is a fun hobby that we personally enjoy immensely. It also isn’t cheap once you start adding on higher end cameras and lenses. Luckily for us we put the setup to good use for product photography shots for our Etsy shop.
Another great way to make some money from your photography is to sell prints. While online marketplaces may be an easy choice we prefer the local route for this option. Local coffee shops and restaurants are always looking for unique ways to decorate and often will feature artist’s work for a small fee or even for free!
Next time you’re browsing Instagram, take a look into some of the more popular watercolor artist accounts (drawntohighplaces, hellolovelypeople_, or raedunn for example). You may be surprised by just how loyal of a following they have for their small, quick to produce prints.
Watercolor painting is a great option for artists living in small spaces who don’t have room to set up a shop for creating larger crafts. There are a ton of watercolor ideas for beginners online if you want to get started.
From there, it is pretty easy to create prints from an original watercolor (here’s a handy guide), and once that is done, shipping prints is an easy process.
Outside of woodworking, pottery has always been a hobby that we wish we had the time and space to explore further. There is something about a well made pottery bowl or mug that just feels so…right.
While many craft shows and art galleries feature a ton of pottery colanders, pitchers and other assorted items we love the idea of simple, well made plates, bowls and mugs. Really being able to nail a unique shape and glaze design can turn your hobby into a legitimate pottery brand.
Derek grew up woodworking in his father’s shop and has since gone on to start up a successful woodworking business on Etsy. In his spare time, you can find him mountain biking, skiing, or writing.