DIY business ideas: things to make and sell from home

Customisable business insurance
03 February 2022
5 minute read

Whether you’re looking for a hobby-with-benefits, or considering a complete career shake-up, in the age of Instagram, Etsy, and simple-to-use website builders, it’s easier than ever to turn your creativity into cash.

Over the past couple of years, craft-based small businesses have boomed. In fact, the UK’s side-hustle economy is now estimated to be worth over £346 billion (we had a lot of spare time after all).

From the consumer point of view, interest in handmade goods and independent makers is also on the rise. According to a recent Crafts Council report, online craft purchases grew from 5% of buyers in 2006 to 33% of buyers in 2020. That’s huge.

So, if you fancy yourself a crafty entrepreneur, but you’re not quite sure where to start, let us provide the inspiration – here are 10 things to make and sell from home.

1. Candles

Scented candles will never go out of style, and they’re relatively easy to create with thousands of potential theme and scent options. This is probably why they’ve become one of the most popular things to make and sell at home.

To do this yourself, you’ll need to gather a few basic supplies, experiment with various perfume combinations, and decide on your USP. This could be your branding, the shapes of your candles or choosing outlandish aromas.

While there are no legal requirements for making and selling candles at home, The British Candlemakers Federation has a helpful guide on product safety best practices in partnership with the Trading Standards office.

As a business that’s selling products to people, candle companies (and any other craft business) should consider buying business insurance. In terms of cover, it’s likely you’ll need product liability, public liability, cyber insurance and equipment cover. Check out our craft insurance cover to learn more.

2. Crochet accessories

Didn’t you hear? Crochet is cool again. Granny’s favourite craft is having something of a renaissance, and the good news is it’s super simple to learn. Grab a hook, stock up on yarn, and make anything from coasters to cushion covers.

Platforms like Etsy and Not On The High Street are great places to start selling your wares while you build a name for yourself. Depending on the styles you pick and how unique your pieces are, you’ll likely gain quite a following on Instagram and peer-to-peer e-commerce platforms like Depop and Vinted, too.

3. Quote art prints

Write it. Print it. Sell it. Quote prints are trending in the world of décor, gracing Instagrammable gallery walls up and down the country. You can get poetic, say something #inspirational, or just have fun with it.

Start out with a simple design tool like Canva, choose an eye-catching font, and let the words do the talking. You can then showcase your art professionally using a visualiser app like Canvy, which places your pieces in various room settings. This helps customers see what your art will look like in their space and the photos look great for websites and social media.

4. Soap

Of all homemade things to sell, soap scrubs up pretty well – it’s simple, satisfying, and cost-effective.

First, you’ll want to choose a method that works for you, i.e. melt and pour, hot process or cold process. Then, start small with a handful of ingredients and scents.

Natural additions like citrus peel, flower petals or poppy seeds will dial up your rustic, homemade appeal. The boring bit? Before you sell your suds to the public, you’ll need to be squeaky clean on the legal stuff.

5. Illustrations

How about tapping into your inner Frida Kahlo? Dust off your art materials and let your creativity flow.

Custom pet portraits and personalised home illustrations are among Etsy’s best selling products (hint, hint), while botanical paintings of flowers, fruits and vegetables make for beautiful decorations.

If you’re looking to make a bold and unique impression, expressive and abstract styles can really make you stand out from the crowd.

6. Clothes and accessories

You can stitch yourself a side hustle with a little help from your needle and thread. As more consumers move away from mass-produced products, charming handmade accessories like scrunchies, scarves, cushion covers and napkins are gaining popularity.

If you’re a dab-hand with a sewing machine, many sellers have found success following a surge of anti-fast fashion consumers by making made-to-measure clothing for customers using deadstock or secondhand fabrics.

Put your own unique spin on your pieces with tailoring, embroidery detailing or experimenting with natural dyes for one-of-a-kind colourways.

7. Jewellery

Are you a fan of the finer things? You could have a go at designing and making your own jewellery collection. Don’t worry – there’s no silversmithing necessary.

Beaded necklaces, bracelets and anklets are some of the easiest things to sell from home (and you’ll spot them on some of Instagram's most-stylish names). Choose cheery colours, spell out words or initials, and offer personalised designs for your newfound customers.

If beads aren’t your thing, there’s a huge market out there for polymer clay and resin pieces, too.

8. Clay homewares

Take your destiny into your own hands and get to grips with clay.

From trinket trays and pinch pots to mugs, bowls and vases, there are so many household objects that you can learn to sculpt. Just be sure to know how to make your items food safe through varnishing and glazing before you sell them.

No kiln? No problem – many types of clay can be effectively fired from your own home oven. Some clays, like earthenware, can be fired at low temperatures, so you can avoid big energy bills. Or you could use air-dry clay, but keep in mind this will add a few days onto the lead time of your products.

9. Wall hangings

Learn the art of macramé or tapestry weaving and create your own bohemian-inspired wall hangings. As with everything on this list, a little practice makes perfect. Once you have decided on your patterns and become a weaving expert, you can offer your creations on a made to order basis, leaving options like colour and size down to the buyer.

10. Stationery and paper items

From wedding invitations and save the dates, to note cards and thank you letters, beautifully designed stationery will always be in demand. Design your own with an online tool, or make them by hand with some decorative illustrations and calligraphic details.

Feeling inspired yet?

We hope so. Remember, there really is room out there for everyone, so it’s never too late to get started. Once you do find your feet, one of your best marketing tools will be word of mouth – here are 9 ways to get better customer reviews so you can build trust and boost your sales.

Before you begin

As with any business, there are some preliminary steps you should take before beginning to build your craft empire.

Our 12-step guide on how to start your business from home gives you all the tips you need, from supercharging your WiFi and getting the right equipment to writing a business plan and checking your legal implications.

You may also like:

This content has been created for general information purposes and should not be taken as formal advice. Read our full disclaimer.

Share this article

We've made buying insurance simple. Get started.

Related posts