by Liberty Stembridge, Money Columnist
Published in Money on 19th July, 2018
Wouldn't we all just love to make a little extra money on the side, doing something we enjoyed? You probably know someone who's got an Etsy shop, or who makes hand-knitted scarves or sews their own clothes, while it went "out of season" for a while, crafting is back with a vengeance, and sites like Etsy and Pinterest are growing every day as more and more people create their own hand-made wares to sell. But for those of us who scroll through Instagram watching punch-needle tutorials and wishing we could do that, what is there for us? Well, truth be told, there are plenty of crafts available to the everyday person, and you don't have to have to have studied textiles or be particularly gifted to learn to make and sell them. So here's just nine crafting hobbies you can pick up to make you a little extra income.
Macrame is an ancient middle eastern crafting technique that requires only your hands and some rope and is possibly one of the most versatile crafts out there. It can be traced back to the Babylonian times, so this tried and tested technique has been around for a while. However, it's only recently that macrame has been coming back, with wall hangings and plant holders showing up on sites like Etsy and Ebay. This means that there's still a gap to fill. Necklaces, wall decor, bracelets, weavings, belts, rugs and much, much more can be made with macrame knotting techniques.
Macrame is a very easy craft to learn, as it requires only the use of your hands to make certain types of knots, all of which are fairly easy to grasp. Starting with the basic macrame knots, you can create large or small wall hangings fairly easily. Moving on from that, you can branch out into more complicated pieces like jewelry and plant hangers. What's awesome about macrame is that not only is it easy to learn, it's also incredibly versatile but there's still a lot of space for macrame artists to sell their wares online.
Soap making is one of those odd things that you associate with your grandma, definitely not something that you could make and sell online, but surprisingly to some, there's actually a growing market. A new, fresh millennial take on soap making has emerged and revitalized the craft, with new shapes like gemstone soaps and new ingredients like activated charcoal. Once you've learnt the basic soap-making process, it's easy to start experimenting and branching out to create your own niche that you can market and sell. There is some investment involved however, you'll likely need molds and soap cutters, as well as the materials to make the soap itself, which can get pricey.
In a similar vein to soap making, candle making was once dead, but is now on the rise. Scented decor candles are in and if you can find new ways to put a spin on this classic craft, you might be able to find success in the online craft world. There's no guarantee that you'll be selling out, but if you can follow in the footsteps of other successful sellers and create a quality product with something new to give, you may just be able to make a side-income. However, much like soap making, there is some investment involved.
Weaving is another craft that we associate with days long gone, but in reality, weaving is happening on a commercial scale every day, and hand-woven items are growing and growing on sites such as Etsy, and doing very well. People are no longer limiting themselves to making rugs and blankets. Necklaces, wall hangings, yoga mats and more are cropping up as people explore how versatile weaving can be. It can also be very cheap to start. If you've got some old wood and some nails lying around, you can make yourself a makeshift loom, throw in some yarn and you're ready to go. It doesn't require a lot of time or skill to learn, meaning you can get creative making beautiful pieces pretty quickly and with little cost.
Metal stamping has been and remains a very popular craft. Metal stamping is used to make jewelry, invitations, cutlery, straws, signs, keyrings, and much much more. It's also pretty fun. Getting to stamp words and symbols into metal has some sort of primal appeal to many people, and because it requires a good level of concentration in order not to hurt yourself, it can be very therapeutic. Obviously, there are some start-up costs. You'll need to purchase a metal stamping kit and the metal itself, as well as other tools depending on what you're making, and the learning process can take some time and be frustrating. However, once you've got the hang of it you can get creative and start selling.
What is wire wrapping? Well, technically it can refer to wrapping literally anything in wire, but generally we're talking about making jewelry. It's a craft that's growing in popularity as the hippy movement makes a comeback and crystal jewelry is back in. Once you've gathered your materials and tools, which usually aren't that expensive, it's fairly easy to start learning how to wire wrap from YouTube tutorials, and from there you can start making necklaces and more.
Another craft that everyone tends to associate with their grandma's. Crocheting has got a bad reputation as a craft for elderly women to make ugly baby clothes with, but it's actually growing in popularity as the younger generation have started to adapt it. Now there's an abundance of crop tops, boho bags, crowns, necklaces and loose tops, all made with crochet hooks and a quick search on Youtube will give you an bunch of modern crochet tutorials. Really all you need to set up is some yarn and the right sized crochet hook, and once you've got the hang of it, they're not hard to sell, so it's worth trying your hand with it to see if it fits.
Acrylic pouring is a pretty new craft / art form. It involved thinning out acrylic paints with some sort of medium, often PVA glue so that you can pour it out from a cup onto a canvas. Step back and voila, you have a piece of art. It's easy, simple, pretty cheap and gaining popularity. You can create necklaces, art pieces, tiles or whatever you can think of.
Sounds weird, and to be perfectly honest, is kind of weird. Punch needling is like a mix between sewing and embroidery, which uses a special tool called a "punch needle" to stab and thread yarn or thread through fabric. This technique can be used to create all sorts of amazing products, from wall hangings to cushion covers, to patches for clothing or elaborate embroidery. It's pretty easy to learn to punch needle as the tool itself eliminates the need for fine needlework precision placement, plus if you make a mistake, you can pull the thread out super easily.
By far the most important thing to consider when trying to make and sell crafts is whether or not you enjoy it. If you don't enjoy your crafting, your customers will be able to tell and what was supposed to be a fun hobby for you to relax will become a bore, and you'll slowly start to forget about it. So try oaut different techniques and tools, and find what works for you, soon enough you'll be promoting your Etsy shop to all your Facebook friends too.