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Recommend me a New Craft to Take Up?

 
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Hi all,

I am keen to take up some kind of craft/skill that will be useful both for myself and potentially as a source of income. It would be something  I would do in my free time, with not so much space or money to dedicate to it.

I live in the suburbs  of Brisbane, Australia, and have started converting my back yard into a veggie garden. As regards crafts/skills, I have learned the basics of electronics and building circuits, as well as net making and basic DIY, such as changing taps.

Any ideas would be much appreciated .
 
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its up to you, find something you enjoy doing, it will be pure pleasure, not like a job with a boss.
if wanting to make money figure out what will sell, find a market first
just an old pharts suggestions
 
Posts: 22
Location: Southwest Ohio (Currently)
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I have so many things I would like to try I don't know where to start... fabric weaving, basket weaving, rope making, blacksmithing, wood carving, leather stamping and staining, re-binding old books, calligraphy, painting vestments (-Catholic priests wear very ornamental vestments that are often painted), clay pottery, building with bamboo, etc.

Things I have done include: painting and repairing plaster statues (mostly religious), making jewelry, crocheting, sourdough bread-baking -which is an art mind you-, playing unusual instruments -harp, accordion&  working on the hammer-dulcimer-
rock painting, good ol' fashioned sewing, DIY graphic design notecards, etc.      

Whew, does anything spark your interest? ;)
 
pollinator
Posts: 1279
Location: 4b
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Propagating and selling plants is the easiest way I know to make some extra money and it's fun.  Also, very little to no cash needed.
 
pollinator
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Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Beekeeping is my next bet for sweet, sweet profit and fun. In addition to pollinating what you've got planted, they provide honey, which can be made into mead. Mmmmmmm...mead...*drools*...

Plus, raw honey rarely sells for less than $20/kg around here. And it's a somewhat permaculturally aligned practice, as well as not being too demanding on your time in any constant fashion. You have hundreds, perhaps thousands, of tiny employees that work for the pollen that your garden produces, along with whatever they can forage for three kilometres in any direction.

I don't see a downside.

-CK
 
Trace Oswald
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Chris Kott wrote:Beekeeping is my next bet for sweet, sweet profit and fun. In addition to pollinating what you've got planted, they provide honey, which can be made into mead. Mmmmmmm...mead...*drools*...

Plus, raw honey rarely sells for less than $20/kg around here. And it's a somewhat permaculturally aligned practice, as well as not being too demanding on your time in any constant fashion. You have hundreds, perhaps thousands, of tiny employees that work for the pollen that your garden produces, along with whatever they can forage for three kilometres in any direction.

I don't see a downside.

-CK



I agree with part of your post Chris, but as someone who has done it, I can tell you the downsides.  Buying hives is expensive, so I make mine.  They still cost money if you don't have scrap lumber lying around.  In addition to that, homemade hives often don't meet the criteria for ability to be inspected, as required in most places.  Mine can't be inspected, because they are Perone hives.  So you can hope you don't get caught, but fines are a possibility.

Next is mites.  You can chemically treat, or you can have heavy losses, or both.  any of those possibilities cost money.  I have an acquaintance that lost all 18 of his hives this last winter, and he treats.  A package of bees costs $150-$300 in this area, so that cost him several thousand dollars.  I have a number of friends that raise bees, some that treat and some that don't.  I know of two hives that survived last winter here out of maybe 100.  If you decide to catch wild swarms, it can take years before you catch any.

Russell said he lives in the suburbs, and many places here you can't have bees within a certain distance of neighbors, so this may violate his criteria of a small space, and if it doesn't, it may violate the low cost part, low cost being relative.  

Many people are allergic to bee stings, so someone in the family may be, and someone in the neighborhood almost certainly is.  

Bee suits cost money.  I don't smoke my bees, but many people do.  Smokers cost money too, as do brushes and hive tools.  You can make most of these things, so I consider those costs minimal.  I don't smoke my bees or wear a suit, so those things don't apply to everyone.

I will still keep bees and I do it because I love bees.  I wouldn't say it's necessarily a money maker though.  I have certainly spent far more money than I have made from my bees, and that is taking into consideration that I make my own hives.  I think of beekeeping as a hobby, and as such, I'm willing to pay out of pocket to do it.


 
Posts: 103
Location: zone 6a, ish
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After watching a bunch of Grandpa Amu YouTubes, I really want to learn to work with bamboo.  And I want to grow some bamboo to work with.  I really want one of those bamboo wok brushes.
 
pollinator
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Gathering free wood from landscapers and city workers, then turning it into a combination of green woodworking projects and firewood. You need a cordless electric chainsaw and not much else.

15 years ago, I became quite proficient at carving wooden bowls and selling them to tourists. Within two weeks of starting, I got to where I was able to consistently earn $200 Canadian per day, but it only worked on sunny days during the tourist season. I did it on the beach.

Side note. I'm married now, so probably not supposed enjoy this aspect of it. You will meet dozens or hundreds of women each day. At least 80% of my customers were women.
 
pollinator
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Location: Nara, Japan. Zone 8-ish
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If you're into electronics already, people will pay a pretty penny to have their nostalgic electronics fixed. The older it is the simpler the design. And a lot of times it's just one component and it's fixed. My dad did this for a while.

Many thrift stores, here at least, have a junk section in the electronics department that is meant for parts. You could by old radios, turntables, gaming consoles, gadgets, etc. and fix them up and sell them online to nostalgic buyers
 
Dale Hodgins
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Making those little pieces of cloth covered in beeswax, that replace plastic wrap.

Phenomenal markup.
 
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I enjoy green woodworking - spoons, bowls, rustic furniture etc...   Little initial investment needed for tools.  Plant propagation is probably the least restrictive activity to start, but it takes awhile to see results.
 
pollinator
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Location: British Columbia
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This one would be easier if there was a local guild but I find pottery to be the artistic balance I need in my life. I can sell pieces that I didn't love or make planting pots or garden stakes for my own use. This is a much easier task if you can use a wheel and kiln that is shared with others. Getting into it on your own can be expensive.
 
pollinator
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Location: northern northern california
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yeah i say pottery /ceramics, but agree it is pricey...unless you join a collective.

but there are lots of co op studios where you can get access to ceramics studios. and usually have classes/ sell clay and tools. most of them will even fire things for you, which is helpful as thats the tricky part...

its my favorite of all my crafts skills, but i don't do it as often anymore without a current studio space.

then again it's very individual, what you enjoy. you gotta love it to really go far with it, and keep at it to get good...

print making can be profitable if you have some ideas for printing, and because you can work in bulk pretty quickly...if you market stuffs like that online that can be low investment, high pay off ....in terms of time and money needed for supplies...
 
leila hamaya
pollinator
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some other fun crafts to take up but can get pricey are metal smithing and working with glass.

both of these have big costs though, BUT get really good at it and there's definitely a market for this work, just welding alone can be a profitable skill. glass too...people really want awesome glass art and metal work, and will pay for high end pieces. there's demand.

well my craftwork that i have done for $$ that worked better than some of my other crafts are -
paper making and book binding, making hand made books. i found this was somewhat profitable for me, and still would like to do more of this for sale...

also-
sewing and Batik, drawing designs and dyeing with wax, you can use stamps or hand Batik on bulk purchased white clothes...we used to do a lot of onesies, which was a good seller, all kinds of funky baby clothes, silk scarves, hoodies, tees of course...stuff like that and i made a somewhat OK living with this...for an artist! but yeah better than min wage slave slinging coffee or washing dishes in food service, anyway =)

and well i do all sorts of feather craft, work with beads and stones and other stuffs like that.
 
master pollinator
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Leather craft...
 
Dale Hodgins
pollinator
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I had reasonable success building garden furniture from old growth cedar driftwood. Supply of that is fairly regional.

Scrap metal. This is a hobby that will more than pay for itself. You run an ad saying that you will pick up people's scrap metal and other recyclables that have value. This puts you in front of a whole lot of people who have more than just scrap iron to get rid of.

You can make artsy pieces from the scrap iron or the other stuff that you are given. Try to drop off 99% of it at the scrap yard and collect your money. Have regular yard sales to get rid of all the other stuff. This was my full-time business at one time, and I was pretty good at it. I was constantly dropping off used clothing and art supplies to my younger siblings, but also to the Salvation Army and anybody else who would take it. It was great being in line for anything that came through the waste stream. The greed on the faces of my young brothers, was something to behold, as they clawed through all the junk, with gusto. One man's junk...

Of course I'm still involved in the waste stream, but now it's buildings. I'm often first in line for anything that a tenant or other person leaves behind in a building that is slated for demolition. Provides enough craft supplies and crappy supplies for several lifetimes.
 
Russell Cook
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Hi everyone, thanks for the food for thought.

One idea that has come into my head has been to learn how to make a William Kamkwamba style wind turbine and battery set up. It's brings together a lot of different skills, and whilst not so marketable now, who knows moving forward.

I love the idea of making something out of stuff from a scrapyard, "Zero waste" after all .
 
Posts: 21
Location: Central Arkansas zone 7b
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Marie Repara wrote:I have so many things I would like to try I don't know where to start... fabric weaving, basket weaving, rope making, blacksmithing, wood carving, leather stamping and staining, re-binding old books, calligraphy, painting vestments (-Catholic priests wear very ornamental vestments that are often painted), clay pottery, building with bamboo, etc.

Things I have done include: painting and repairing plaster statues (mostly religious), making jewelry, crocheting, sourdough bread-baking -which is an art mind you-, playing unusual instruments -harp, accordion&  working on the hammer-dulcimer-
rock painting, good ol' fashioned sewing, DIY graphic design notecards, etc.      

Whew, does anything spark your interest? ;)



We could be twins! Except for repairing plaster statues, your list is pretty much mine. I even play and love hammered dulcimer! I was featured playing it on a National Geographic film back in the days of film, lol, and friend and I made a Christmas cd a few years ago. She had the idea because our names are kind of Christmasy. Her name is Holly. :)  And you are right that sourdough is a total art.

On the income stream stuff, I'm a fiber artist and have sold hand spun yarn and other fiber products, felted, knitted and woven. I used to make and sell upcycled funky clothes. It's amazing what people will pay for recycled clothes with a few artsy bits added.
 
A timing clock, fuse wire, high explosives and a tiny ad:
Edible Landscaping With a Permaculture Twist by Michael Judd
https://permies.com/wiki/31938/Edible-Landscaping-Permaculture-Twist-Michael
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