When kids don’t have much of their own to sell, one of the best options for earning some cash is to make craft items, which they then can sell at church bazaars, community fairs and other events. The key is to pick items that usually sell well just about any time, as this reduces the odds that your children will lose money on materials for items no one buys. These are some top picks.
- Hair accessories.
There probably isn’t a girl or lady alive who doesn’t like to dress up her locks once in while. Have your child crochet, knit or sew adjustable headbands or spruce up some plain ones from the dollar store with fun beads or gems. A little fabric ribbon, feathers, buttons, faux pearls, colored costume hair and other items easily can be attached to hair clips and elastics with thread or hot glue.
- Baby blankets.
This is a safe bet as a kid-made craft because just about everyone has or knows someone who has a baby. Knitting or crocheting works, but you also can let your child explore very basic quilting techniques. Either way, the amount of material you need is less, so each finished blanket is not as expensive to make. Always go for machine-washable yarns and fabrics.
Kids can make planters from a variety of items, including old birdcages (you can find them at garage sales, antique shops or for sale online), mason canning jars, oversized cups, shipping pallets and even old Bundt pans, chairs or tires. If you want to stick to regular terracotta pots, think outside the box—stack them in creative ways, paint them up or glue on bits of colored glass or stone. Your child can make a little extra money by selling seed packets, too, which can be dressed up in pretty pouches or envelopes on their own.
- Pet items.
For many items, a family pet is another family member, whether the critter is a dog, cat, fish or a slightly less common pet such as a chameleon or ferret. Crafts such as collar pouches (handy for holding poop bags on walks) and simple pet beds, car seat covers and pillows are relatively easy to sew and can be made from scrap materials. Other easy crafts you and your child can work on together might include catnip pouches (“mice” with tails of string) and large old tins painted to hold pet food.
- Basic bags.
These days, most people understand that plastic bags are harmful for the environment, and they’re looking for eco-friendly alternatives to use for shopping, toting books or lugging other gear such as beach towels. Instead of the fairly boring, branded bags you can buy at department or grocery stores, give them brightly colored, festive and bling-filled options. The only thing to remember here is that durability is key. Consider lining the bags with a layer of burlap or similar material, and make sure your child double reinforces both the base of the bag and the attachment points for the handles. Once your child has her basic technique down, she can modify it and make things like change pouches and purses.
- Air fresheners.
Even though everyone has their own personal scent preferences, most people enjoy a car, home or work space that smells fresh and clean. For a simple freshener buyers can mix with water to spritz in the air or use to revitalize carpet, your child can mix a few drops of any fragrant oil with baking soda. She also can experiment with different mulling spices, such as cinnamon and cloves, as well as dehydrated lemon, lime and orange peels. Both options can go in various sizes of jars, which your child can decorate with ribbons. Another option is to cut various shapes from stiff fabric, treat the pieces with essential oils, and then attach ribbons for hangers.
Children can earn a bit of extra money by making their own crafts, provided those crafts are ones that people buy regularly. Pet items, air fresheners, basic bags, hair accessories, planters and baby blankets are all fairly safe bets, but you’ll also want to pay attention to your specific area. What sells in one community might not be popular at all in another, so a little observation before buying materials goes a long way.