11 Arts and Crafts That Make Money While You Sleep
Are you looking for a passive way to make money with your art and crafts? You are a crafter and feel burned out from the constant creation? This article is for you! I will show you 11 different ways to make money as a crafter passively. You can make these crafts once and sell them over and over again, even when you are in bed, on holiday, or spending time with your family and friends.
I’ve been creating crafts for years. I’ve started when I was a teenager; I made handmade jewelry and sold them to my friends, family, and my mom’s colleagues.
I enjoyed creating beautiful stuff and make money on the side, but when I considered making a living from it, well, there were several things I didn’t like.
First and foremost, I didn’t like creating the same stuff over and over again. Some of my creations never sold, so I ended up with a bunch of jewelry I didn’t wear, and nobody wanted to buy (I still have a box of them). I did make some pocket money, but to make it profitable would mean a lot more work, going to craft fairs, selling online, packing, shipping, handling returns, etc.
I’ve found it overwhelming and time-consuming. I almost started a craft business with polymer clay jewelry, then embroidered earrings and bookmarks, etc.
And then I discovered blogging and all the awesome stuff you can sell online, passively.
These craft ideas or tips are suitable for both skillful crafters (yes, even if you already have a craft business) and for those who are considering getting into crafting for a living or as a side hustle.
But now, let’s get to the fun part.
How to make money as a crafter?
The most common way to make money as a crafter and artist are by selling your work and handmade goodies.
But there is another, more passive way to make an income with your crafts and art.
I’m talking about digital products or digital downloads (PDFs, videos, images, etc.) that you create once and then sell multiple times.
What are digital products?
Digital downloads are products that you sell online and don’t have a physical form(images in various formats JPG, PDF, TIFF, etc., documents in PDF, DOC, XLS, etc.).
Several creative platforms support this type of content. And it’s a fantastic way to make money from home or complement an existing craft business.
Let’s say you already create and sell beautiful crochet toys (amigurumi).
On the side, you can make:
- a PDF with the pattern of certain animals and sell that on Etsy. You can reuse this pattern for multiple purposes.
- Expand the PDF into a tutorial so that it would include the design but also the instructions. For this, you can charge more.
- You can also have this combo in a crochet kit (the PDF + yarn + accessories + tools + and an image with the final product).
This will not only save you a ton of time but also maximize your earnings.
You would ask, isn’t it cheating in some way?
It’s not at all!
You will severe different needs.
You sell the finished product for those who may buy it as a gift, the pattern with instructions for a beginner, the design for a skillful crafter who wants a new crochet project, and the kit for someone who either wants to give it to a friend who loves crafts or someone who doesn’t like to keep a big stash of craft supplies (yes, they pile up pretty fast and takes up a lot of space).
Crafts that make passive income
I have another article if you are looking to sell digital downloads on Etsy with 200+ product ideas.
Printable patterns are an excellent way to make money on the side if you are already a crafter.
What to sell:
- knitting patterns (clothes, accessories),
- crochet patterns (amigurumi is very popular, but also clothes and accessories),
- sewing patterns (clothes, bags, accessories, dolls, toys, home decor, etc.),
- embroidery patterns,
- macrame patterns.
Learn how to make and sell crochet patterns from this article.
Another great way to make money on the side is selling templates.
What to sell: Here are a couple of popular template ideas on Etsy: tumblers, bows, labels, envelope, invitation, card (business, thank you, birthday, get well soon), box (gift box, pen box), planner, banners, display cards, stickers, paper flower templates, etc.
Make them customizable, and they will sell like hotcakes. You can create fillable PDFs with a free online tool PDFescape or create editable designs in Canva (free).
Here is a tutorial on how to create editable designs in Canva.
And another tutorial on how to make your digital products fillable using PDFescape (great for planners).
3. Youtube videos and tutorials
If you are sort of familiar with making money online, you’ve definitely heard of making money on Youtube.
Start your own Youtube channel! The only thing you need is a camera or your phone, and start creating craft or DIY tutorials.
What to make: step-by-step craft tutorials, reviews, product recommendations, guides, craft tips, and hacks, etc.
How to make money with Youtube tutorials?
First, you have to build an audience to meet the Youtube Partner Program requirements (minimum 1000 subscribers, and 4000 hour watch time in the previous 12 months).
When you’re in, you can monetize with: your own products, affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, ads.
Youtube videos and tutorials complement a craft blog like a charm. It’s easier to grow a Youtube following, and you can send people to your blog, sales page, shop, etc. Also, including your videos in your articles has multiple benefits for a website.
If you’re interested in making money with Youtube, check out this article with effective money-making strategies.
4. PDF tutorials
If you’re already selling patterns, creating PDF tutorials a great way to take your business to the next level. For a high-converting PDF, you have to make stunning images and write detailed instructions. You can also include a video tutorial (make a Youtube video unlisted or private).
What to sell: craft tutorials of all kinds of crochet, knitting, papercraft, doll making, toy making, sewing, jewelry making, embroidery, patchwork, beading, quilling, and more.
5. Craft ebooks
Ebooks are similar to PDF tutorials, but they are a lot longer and cover a lot more. They don’t necessarily have to include tutorials or instructions. They require a lot more time to make, but you can charge more.
If your craft e-book becomes popular, you can also turn them into print books and sell them on several platforms or in bookstores.
What to sell: beginner’s guides (for example ‘Embroidery Basics,’ ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Hand Lettering,’ ‘Get Started in Pottery,’ etc.), a collection of craft projects (for example ’25 Concrete Planters for a Modern Home’, ’24 Christmas Crafts for Adults’, ‘The Clay Craft Book: 50 Air Dry Clay Crafts’, etc.)
+PRO TIP: ebooks can be further monetized with affiliate links to maximize income potential.
This is a helpful resource on how to self-publish a book that both covers ebooks and print books.
6. Craft Courses
Online courses are trending! You can do a course on anything.
The significant advantage compared to ebooks is that you can include videos and all sorts of other media.
It takes time to create an excellent course, but the income potential is a lot higher. Whilst people don’t really pay more than 15$ for an ebook, they are willing to give 100$ and more for an in-depth course.
You can either create a course and sell it yourself (you can charge more) or submit them on an online teaching site.
What to sell: any craft macrame, candle making, soap making, knitting, crochet, embroidery, felting, cross-stitching, etc.
For more tips, check out this article on teaching online.
+PRO TIP: when thinking of course ideas, take a look at other online courses that are popular. For example, on Udemy, you can predict the popularity and demand by check reviews and how many students enrolled in a class.
7. Prints, graphics, and designs (digital art+)
This tip is for artists and those who like to make illustrations and graphics. Selling digital prints, clipart, graphics, designs is a fun and profitable way to make an income with your talent.
For example, watercolor clipart is trendy. I’m in the middle of opening my own shop with small vectorized illustrations and clipart.
You can either hand-draw, scan, and vectorize clipart and graphics. Or create them with Photoshop, Procreate Corel, and free tools like Gimp, Powerpoint, Picmonkey, or Canva.
You can sell your work in itself for others to use in their projects. Or create a fantastic design, list them on a site where people can order custom T-shirts, notebooks, mugs, and more with your art.
What to sell: clipart with animals, flowers, botanical, etc.; coloring pages, doodles, digital wall prints, affirmation cards, stickers, gift tags, bookmarks, small illustrations, frames, fun birthday designs for T-shirts and mugs, card illustrations, personalized downloads, patent prints, custom map digital downloads, etc.
Where to sell:
- for art and prints: your blog/website, Creative Fabrica, Etsy, Creative Market, DesignCuts, Shopify, Big Cartel, The Hungry Jpeg, Design Bundles (when you already have an inventory)
- to sell items with your designs: Zazzle, Society6, Redbubble, Inprnt.
8. SVG cut files for Cricut
Are you a Cricut lover and user? Many people use Cricut Machines to make their crafts and DIYs as a hobby and for profit.
You can make money as a crafter by selling SVG cut files. Take it to the next level and make tutorials with your designs.
What to sell: signs, quotes, earring templates, simple graphics, monograms, logos, clock faces, wreath designs, etc.
9. Planners and calendars
Do you already create digital illustrations? Use them and create planners and calendars! You can also specifically design planners for crafters.
What to sell: yearly or monthly calendars, family calendars, calendars with coloring pages, weekly/daily/yearly planners, habit trackers, daily sheets, wedding planners, budget or meal planners, fitness trackers, etc.
10. Party printables
Creating party printables is a wonderful way for artists to make money on the side. They are popular because people like to make fun, themed parties for their loved ones, and this is an inexpensive way.
They sell for almost any occasion birthdays (general or for the ’30s, ’40s, ’50s, and more), baby showers, gender reveals, bachelorette and groomsmen parties, and other themed parties (wine tasting, football, game party, Super Bowl, etc.)
What to sell: printable hats, signs, planner, games, banners, favors, photo booth props, invitations, cupcake toppers, labels, tags, cutlery wraps, popcorn boxes, water bottle wraps, T-shirt iron-on, treat boxes, snack boxes, or holders, chocolate, and candy wraps, etc.
11. Start a craft blog
This is my favorite! Starting a craft blog is so much fun but also hard work. It takes time; you won’t get instant results (money) like you can with the other passive income ideas.
But it can be a fabulous way of making an income by making crafts. Sharing craft ideas, how to-s, guides, tutorials can make you money in several different ways.
You can make money on a blog with ads, affiliate marketing (recommending products), sponsored posts, selling your own physical or digital products, offering services, creating a membership.
Connect it to your Youtube channel. Your video tutorials can make an income on Youtube and also benefit your blog when you include them in the articles.
A significant advantage of creating a blog is building an audience, loyal readers that trust and like you, so they are more willing to buy your stuff over and over again.
How to tell if your digital downloads will sell:
Before jumping in and creating lots of fabulous printables, you should know a couple of things.
Just because your design is beautiful and helpful, it won’t necessarily sell. You can make sales here and there, but you won’t get the return you are hoping for.
So, I recommend doing some research on what people want, what’s popular, and looking at the competition.
How to do digital product research?
For graphics, designs, printable sheets, planners, and everything you can sell on Etsy:
Creators sell thousands of printables on Etsy, so it’s a good place to start your research.
Alura is an Etsy product research tool that will help you find the perfect product. It helps with pricing and to optimize your listings.
You can sign up for free and do 10 keyword research for free. After that, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee.
It’ll provide you a helpful spreadsheet with the competition, revenue estimates, average price, favorites so you can make the best decisions.
Check out this video tutorial on how to use it.
For craft courses:
The best way to come up with a good course idea is by researching Udemy. You can see how many students enrolled and what ratings a course has. You can also look at the course material to see what you should cover.
On Skillshare, you don’t get reviews, but the number of participants and the course curriculum will also help you create a winning course idea.
Domestika is also a goldmine. You’ll not only get the number of people signed up for the course but the content, ratings, and written comments too (NOTE; many of them are in Spanish).
Look up your craft book idea on Amazon. If someone is selling an ebook/ print book about your topic, that’s a good sign.
Also, check the pricing, how many copies have been sold, and the reviews. Reviews can be super helpful because you can add ideas from the comments. You can make the book more complex and target the customer’s needs.
Final thoughts about making passive income with arts and crafts
Selling digital downloads or printables is an easy and inexpensive way to make money passively. You put in the work once, and they bring you money for years.
You can make them from scratch, no need for an investment or expensive tools. You may want to buy design tools when you already earn an income to make your products more professional, but with free tools like Canva, PowerPoint, Gimp, you’re good to go.
Have you ever tried selling digital products with your art or crafts? Leave a comment!