artist gallery : tips on selling your artwork

Tips on Selling Your Artwork

Overview of Selling Your Crafts

Turing Your Passion into Profit Delphi knows many artists who have turned their passion for crafts into profit. Whether you want to sell a just few pieces or start your own professional business, Delphi is here to help you succeed. Selling Online Selling online might be one of the easiest and quickest ways to find customers for your art. Selling online is very flexible and allows you to work as much or as little as you want to. It also saves you from craft fairs with their expensive tabling fees and long hours that take up your entire weekend. Besides the convenience of selling from your own home, you can join an established online marketplace that will help you set up your virtual store, or you can create your very own website and design it any way you wish! What to Expect When Getting Started Don’t get frustrated if you do not start selling right way. It takes a while for people to discover you. Have realistic expectations when starting out. In time, you will also become more adept with making, marketing and shipping your handmade art. Once you have a history of satisfied customers, your sales will take off. For More on Making a Living in Crafts Delphi suggests Making a Living in Crafts, Sell Your Crafts on Ebay, How To Start a Home-based Craft Business, and The Crafts Business Answer Book.

Pricing Your Craftwork

General Pricing Suggestions Pricing your art is often the hardest part of the entire selling process. Pricing an item too high might mean the item never sells, but too low and you do not recoup your costs. A quick formula to help you is:

Cost of Materials + Cost of Labor + Cost of Selling + Profit = Price of Item

Remember not to undervalue the cost of your time. This is especially important for artists selling crafts as part of their income. A good rule of thumb for experienced and professional artist is estimating $10 charge for every hour of work you put into a project.
Lampworkers and other artists who specialize in small items may want to bundle some of their projects together. For example, instead of selling one glass bead at $5 sell five for $25. You’ll save time and money listing and shipping items that are sold in groups. You may also consider selling your beads already strung on a necklace or bracelet you think complements your work. Your customers will enjoy receiving a jewelry ready to wear. For More Advice on Pricing Delphi suggests Pricing Your Craftwork, Make it Profitable and Marketing and Selling Your Handmade Jewelry.

Creating a Successful Listing

Photographs That Sell A picture is worth a thousand words. Four pictures are worth even more! Try to use multiple pictures of an art project you are trying to sell online. The main image should be a good overall shot of your handmade art. The additional photos can be close-ups of details on your work or pictures in different angles and lighting. For jewelry, try having at least one photograph of the piece being worn to display how it looks on. For dichroic glass, try to capture it in different lights. If you make three dimensional projects like glass boxes, make sure to capture it from different sides. Digital Photographs Digital cameras are one of the easiest ways to get pictures ready for the web. When saving pictures to your computer save them in a .JPG format. You might also want to crop or resize your picture, which most image software can do. Typically, if you are uploading images to the internet, choose an image resolution of 72dpi (dots per inch or pix/inch) or higher. Pictures should be about 1,000 wide by 1,000 tall. Traditional Photograph Most photo-developing locations can take photographs taken on traditional film or even slides and create a disc with your digital images ready to transfer to your computer. You can also take pictures with a regular camera and scan them in using a scanner. Save images all in a .JPG format. How to Write a Compelling Copy Writing good descriptions of your artwork is a skill that you perfect over time. One way you might start is with a compelling first sentence. Grab people’s attention right way. Then, go on to give them a complete description of the piece, including all relevant information such as its size and the material used to make it. Make sure to use descriptive language. Also, if the artwork has a story behind it, share it with your customers. People love to hear what inspired you to make a project or how you got involved in your particular craft. Finally, let your customers know if you are running any special offers like free shipping or free in store pick-up. For More Advice on Creating Successful Posts Delphi suggests Sell Your Crafts Online, Photographing Arts, Crafts and Collectibles and Sell Your Crafts on Ebay.


General Packing Advice It has happened before that a beautiful piece of art breaks during shipping. See these tips to help prevent it from happing to you.
  • Fragile pieces must be individually wrapped using newsprint, foam, bubble wrap, tissue paper or a combination of these materials. When combining, put the softest material closest to the piece.
  • Very fragile pieces or fragile parts (like the handle of a ceramic cup or delicate extensions to a piece of fused glass) can be protected by bubble wrap or soft tissue.
  • Wrap fragile objects like glass art in multiple layers.
  • Each piece of jewelry should go into its own box or bag.
  • Fragile pieces should be placed between layers of foam and soft tissue for extra padding as needed.
  • Fine jewelry with precious metals or stone should always be presented in a box with cotton of fabric or attached to a card to prevent movement.
  • Padded envelops work well for sending most jewelry.
  • For jewelry that is being sent in a box, make sure the box is the appropriate size. There should be a bit of room for packaging materials to help cushion your work.
Glass Art & Ceramics
  • Every project needs to be individually wrapped using newsprint, foam, bubble wrap or a combination of the three. When combining, put the softest material closest to their piece.
  • Tissue paper can be used to wrap small, extremely delicate pieces, to pad corners or jutting pieces, or protect small pieces that can break during shipping (like the handle on a ceramic cup).
  • For small glass panels, place them between cardboard sheets. Use plastic binding wrap to keep it in place.  Bind it from the top and the bottom. Wrap it top to bottom twice and then around the center twice.
  • Do not pack more than a few projects per box.
  • Boxes should be small enough that the padded projects fit snugly against the walls of the box.
  • Make sure the box that you're using is new, since a reused box will have already lost much of its integrity if it has gone though shipping even once.
  • Any box that is showing signs of ballooning out on the sides is not a good box to ship in.
  • Consider adding arrows indicating which end is up, and a fragile sticker or marking on the outside of the box.
  • Pack your box with the thought in mind that box get bounced, or dropped, or even squished while in transit.
  • Pour in foam peanuts or fill any empty gaps with crumpled news paper.
  • Seal the box well, especially for heavier pieces.
For More Advice on Packing Delphi suggests Making A Living In Crafts


Choosing Your Shipping Policies Its a good idea to be very clear about your shipping policies before you ever sell an item. It’s best to give people several different shipping options if possible. Some artists decided to charge slightly more for shipping to cover packaging and time expenses. Other people take the opposite approach and don’t charge any shipping, but recoup the costs by slightly higher item prices. Most people, however, charge the buyers close to the actual price of shipping. Shipping Heavy Pieces For very heavy products it’s impossible to know the cost of shipping before you have the recipient’s address. What we suggest is telling customers in your item description that once you receive their mailing address you can calculate shipping. Most customers serious about buying your artwork will provide you with their mailing address or at least their general area. In Store Pick-up Another option is have your customers pick up the item from your store or studio. This is an excellent option for anyone with a storefront. If the buyer is fortunate to live nearby, they can save money by driving to your store. While visiting, they might sign up for an art class or find additional items they would like to purchase. Delivery Confirmation & Insurance Delphi suggests always using some form of delivery confirmation. One of the most inexpensive ways to insure shipment is requiring a signature upon delivery. For overseas packages you can send item through registered mail. You may also want to offer insurance for very fragile or expensive items. FedEx offers up to $100 insurance per package. For More Advice on Shipping Delphi suggests Making a Living in Crafts and The Savvy Crafters Guide To Success.

Marketing Your Crafts for the Season

Great Holidays to Consider Everyone loves decorating their home for the holidays or giving handmade gifts. Some great holidays to consider include all the winter holidays, as well as Easter, Passover, Valentine’s Day, Graduation Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving and The Fourth of July. Also, you can theme your projects for the different seasons or special life events like weddings or baby showers. Timing It Right for the Holidays Items geared for a specific holiday typically starts receiving attention weeks or sometimes months before the actual holiday. This is especially true for the winter holidays. So start planning your projects in advance and give yourself plenty of time to finish your projects. For More Ideas for the Holidays Delphi suggests The Crafters Design Library: Celebrations, Making Gifts in Polymer Clay, and 4 Fun Seasons: Stained Glass Patterns

Additional Resources

Ready to take the plunge and start selling your craftwork. Delphi has a wide range of resources to help you!
  • Get Inspired - Read about other Delphi customers who have created successful businesses
  • Buy Art Business Books - Besides having all the tools and supplies your studio will need, Delphi has a wide selection of business books and resources
  • Sign-up for Delphi Wholesale - Delphi offers a range of professional services and wholesale pricing to qualified businesses and professionals
  • Sell at - The marketplace for artisan crafts. Have your work seen by thousands of potential customers with a FREE or Verified account. Delphi is proud to be a Common Good Partner of ArtFire.


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