Ever been fascinated with paper? It's such a simple thing that we take for granted in every day life. If you think about it, paper is rather a miraculous creation that meets our common needs and purpose every single day. That said, paper is also a great medium to create some amazing crafts.
The concept of paper craft might seem simplistic but it has a huge, even if selective, appeal throughout the world. Some functions of paper craft are so commonplace in our lives that we probably even fail to recognise them as an art form.
Examples of Popular Paper Crafts
- Paper Flowers
- Card Making
- Paper Cutting
- Paper Making
- Paper Model
- Paper Sculpture
Most of us have been introduced to some form of paper crafts as children. They are a favourite choice as an introductory class for the young ones because they are basic, simple, have less potential of creating a mess and need very little management of inventory and raw materials.
However, in spite of this simplistic aspect of paper crafts, they have a huge commercial appeal as well. There was a time when paper-making was done by hand but now the machines do a great deal of producing a wide variety of paper. However, handmade paper is still a thing and we will talk about that more in detail further on ahead in this article.
Speaking of making paper, different kinds of paper are used to make different kinds of paper crafts. Listed below are six different kinds of paper and the crafts they are used in making.
6 Different Kinds Of Paper Used In Crafts
- Card Paper
- Corrugated Cardboard Paper
- Italian Crepe Paper
- Scrapbook Paper
- Découpage Paper
Card Paper. Thinner than cardboard and thicker than the usual printing paper, card paper is used for scrapbooking, making handmade cards, boxes, amongst many other things. It comes in many variations of colours and patterns. Try to use acid free paper in your craft whenever you can.
Corrugated cardboard paper. You have seen cardboard all around you forever. It is brown in colour and is constructed by sandwiching a fluted sheet of paper between two outer layers of a thinner paper. Corrugated cardboard paper is ued most commonly for packaging because it is an incredibly strong material while being lighter than other options. It is also cost-effective and can easily be recycled.
Cardboard is also a great medium to create robust and resilient crafts like dolls houses, paper models of houses, cars, aeroplanes and other interesting objects. You can even make functional furniture out of it, provided that you have enough cardboard available. Furniture construction with cardboard is done by layering and attaching multiple cardboard sheets together to make a strong unit of construction.
Italian crêpe paper. Flowers of the most popular crafts to make not only as a hobby but commercially as well. They can be made from paper or cloth. The caveat to selling paper flowers is that they have to be made in excellent quality and finish.
The more realistic the flowers the better, and the way to do that is do use high quality craft paper combined with an expert hand, honed by a lot of practice and knowledge of good technique.
Italian crêpe paper is one of the best paper that you can use to make paper flowers as it results in very realistic looking flowers.
Crêpe paper is a thin tissue paper that is coloured and wrinkled because of the gathers on it. It also comes in other inexpensive varieties other than the Italian crepe which are used for many kids crafts and party decorations like streamers.
Scrapbook paper. Scrapbooking is a more popular hobby than you might think. It is so popular that people offer it as a service and others are ready to pay for it. Scrapbook paper is available in a huge varieties of designs, patterns, textures and colours. New variations are being created all the time.
Even though specially scrapbook paper is available you are only a limited by your own creativity. Scrapbookers also commonly use craft paper, mulberry paper, tissue paper, Washi paper along with other kinds of paper craft such as calligraphy to enhance the presentation of their scrapbook.
Découpage is a craft that transforms ordinary objects into objects of interest and beauty . It can be used to sell a variety of common objects like boxes and furniture.
You must have come across boxes and furniture with an interesting print on them that looks like matte paper. That is découpage work.
Découpage is the art of sticking paper prints or cut outs on other objects.
Usually sheets of Découpage paper are used nowadays. But you can use get cut outs of your choice as well, as long as they as the paper is thin enough and sticks without crinkling. Cutouts from most glossy magazines usually work for this.
Découpage paper is not necessary all paper. It can be made from synthetic polymers that give it the sooth finish and make it resilient to liquid spills.
Newspaper is actually a pretty useful medium for building all sorts of paper crafts. It is used most commonly as papier-mâché. It has several other uses specifically when making recycled crafts like handbags, pen stands, mats etcetera.
10 Best Selling Paper Crafts For A Craft Business
Paper crafts are commercially viable depending on what you create. Categories like stationary are mostly large-scale businesses and are heavily commercialised. Even then, the smaller and more niche players do exist and thrive.
For example, I know a few crafters who make and sell some very amazing envelopes. They create fantastic prints and also do seasonal/festive flavours. They are regulars at many local exhibitions and do pretty nicely in terms of sales every time. Their online retail also does very well because:
- It's a niche craft.
- It's not bulky or heavy and therefore easy and inexpensive to ship all over the world.
- It's reasonably priced with a large profit margin.
- It's not time-consuming to make, can be made in bulk and can easily meet the demand.
The above advantages can apply to most paper crafts as well. So here are just a few categories of best selling paper crafts.
- Paper Sculpting / Paper Modelling
- Paper Making
- Paper Cutting
- PDF Templates
(1) “Paper Sculpting / Paper Modelling” | An advanced paper craft with distinct appeal
There are some lesser known paper craft that are exceedingly popular with people. Paper sculpting is one such example. Paper sculpting or paper modelling is a difficult craft to master and the models created with it can be quite stunning, intricate and realistic in detail.
If you add to that the fact that they are light and delicate in build, you have an exclusive craft on your hands.
Owing to the malleability of paper as a material, models of all shapes and sizes can be constructed as paper models. Some examples of paper sculptor are buildings, automobiles, miniatures et cetera.
Paper sculptors are also very popularly used for wedding decoration and home decor. They can make stunning objects to adorn the walls of your home.
The distinction between paper sculptor and paper modelling is that paper sculptor tends to be bigger in size and also more robust. Paper models on the other hands are usually miniatures of large size objects such as aeroplanes.
Thee happen to be quite a few fine artists working with paper models and paper sculpture and paper modelling. It is a challenging and yet enjoyable field to work in. Not only does it provide a wide field of play for your creativity, but it also happens to be one of the best selling paper crafts.
(2) “Scrapbooking” | A favourite hobby and high selling craft supply
Before I speak more about scrapbooking as a profitable paper craft I want to reiterate that being in a niche craft is great for business. It's not necessarily a bad thing if your craft is not a mainstream craft. If less people are doing it that means less competition for you.
Plus, with the advent of online platforms it's easier than ever before to reach an interested audience nationwide and worldwide.
A niche audience tends to be a very focused one. They are well informed about the product, interested in the niche and ready to buy. Even if the numbers are small, the conversion rate to sales is high. That is the power of working in and targeting a niche.
Scrapbooking materials such as scrapbook paper are one of the highest selling paper supplies.
You can be forgiven for thinking that scrapbooking is done only as a hobby by people. In fact, there are also several professional scrapbook is out there who extend their services to interested people for a fee. The most common business model is making a scrapbook for an occasion, for family or friends, using the photographs supplied by the client.
Skilled scrapbookers are in great demand because they can capture and create a lot of drama, feeling and expression in their work.
They can make memories more special and create expressive storylines. That's why people love scrapbooking to begin with.
(3) “Calligraphy” | A Niche And High Paying Paper Craft
Calligraphy is also considered a paper craft. Skilled calligraphers are highly in demand and are usually booked with more assignments than they have time for. Calligraphers can sell their services to others as well as sell their own art.
A full-time income estimate for a calligrapher may come as a surprise to you. The Art Career Project estimates that a full-time calligrapher makes $50,000 on an average per annum, excluding the independent earnings from their own art.
It doesn't take much investment to begin with calligraphy. As a hobby it doesn't take very long to learn but to master it can take much longer. Expert calligraphers are highly in demand which explains the very healthy annual average income.
These are just some of the fields where the skills of calligrapher are required: greeting cards, graphic design, developing typeface and fonts, publishing, digital design, screen-printing, manuscript design, illustrations, sign-making, teaching and many more.
The scope of calligraphy is a lot more than one might imagine from an outside view. Calligraphy is also considered a form of art and many calligraphers are known to sell independent works of art of their own.
It's important to understand that calligraphy is not just about writing and alphabets. Drawing patterns and shapes and designs is also a part of it. It finds its way into body art in form of tattoos.
Calligraphy has existed for centuries. It has been used to create beautiful motifs, images and symbols. Keep in mind that the modern calligrapher needs to increasingly work with the digital media and design software as well.
(4) “Découpage” | Very beautiful and timeless paper craft
Do you découpage is a very effective way of turning plain objects into something a lot more attractive. Découpage is the art of sticking paper cut-outs on the surface of objects like boxes, furniture, household objects et cetera
These days découpage is mostly done using sheets and rolls of specially made découpage paper. But you can always use your own creativity and make your own paper cut-outs. You just have to pay attention to the kind of paper you use. It should be thin enough to adhere well and not crinkle up with the adhesive.
Découpage craft is a profitable craft to sell because of its transformational ability that doesn’t cost a lot to make. By turning a simple object into something special, you can create high profit margins. These simple crafts can look stunning after the makeover, which is why people are usually ready to pay a good price for simple objects that have been decoupaged.
(5) “Stationery” | Who doesn’t love good stationery?
Paper making and stationery hours pretty much industrialised.
But there are still many small niche segments for the artisan that are ripe for business opportunity. I have a few artisan friends who run a business making and selling stationery like notebooks and envelopes.
They make the notebooks from good quality handmade paper, that they don’t necessarily make themselves. They source the paper from others manufacturers. They then bind the paper between very attractive hard covers that are either printed or découpage. These notebooks are also a ver good example of découpage craft, as these covers have a huge impact on the perceived value of the notebooks and the final selling price.
The envelopes that they sell are nothing like what you will find that is commercially manufactured. They are made from different kinds of paper, many times hand paper and have creative prints and patterns. The designs are also thematic and follow seasons, festivals, culture and traditions from all over the world.
If you know how to tap into the online market and access interested buyers, you can sell your crafts all over the world. Stationery is perfect for online selling because it is not bulky and it’s light, which makes it easy and inexpensive to ship.
(5) “Paper Making” | A classic craft
Handmade paper is still quite popular and one of the better selling paper crafts. If you get into paper making you can Either supply to other manufacturers or sell it yourself.
If you are going to sell it yourself the presentation will matter. The best bet is to make it into finished craft like notebooks, pads, envelopes and functional objects like coasters, pen stands, table mats et cetera.
There are many techniques of paper making and many kinds of paper that you can make. If you intend to dive deep you can experiment with and create a lot of different kinds of interesting papers.
Selling on your own will give you the freedom to create according to your inspiration. However, supplying to another manufacturer may provide you with a lucrative income, with regular large-scale orders . You can always do both.
(6) “Paper Flowers” | An evergreen best selling paper craft
Paper flowers are one of the highest selling paper crafts. The more money you want to make, the higher the quality needs to be. Begin with using a high-quality paper for making flowers such as the Italian crêpe paper. Then work on your techniques, learn new methods and practice a lot.
Flowers, as you are aware, come in diverse forms and shapes. So this paper art has endless possibilities with the only limitation being that certain kinds of flowers are not possible to make with paper.
(7) “Paper Cutting” | A versatile craft with many possibilities
Paper cutting has some really great options and potential for creating high selling crafts. I am looking at a listing on Etsy right now and it's called “paper lace”.
Basically, it looks like lace, but made of out paper. The cutouts can be used for other things like decorating scrapbooks, lamp shades, while the plain notes with a lace like border can be used as tags, notes, letters, greetings, and more.
As I see it, it is one of the best selling crafts with over 7000 reviews, and even more sales to the tune of thousands of dollars.
It's a simple Paper-craft to make and it is for under five dollars. Plus, the process of making it can be mechanised. That means that through a singular effort, multiple quantities can be made.
Automation and mechanisation is a desirable thing to have when making handicraft. It means you can make more things in less time, giving you more stuff to sell and make you that much more money. Another advantage of the ‘paper lace’ craft is that even though it is a low price product, it has a high profit margin.
(8) ‘Paper Printing’ | A B2B Craft Business
Paper printing is a great business to get into because it allows you to tap into the B2B sector. Which brings us to the next point. Some sellers seem to be doing really well on Etsy by supplying printing stickers, labels and organisers specially made for other Etsy sellers.
Stickers and labels, in general, are very popular and can get pretty pricey as well. Tap into your creativity and popular themes to land yourself a hit craft.
(9) ‘Paper Construction’ | An advanced and popular craft
You can construct a lot of popular objects from paper from party decorations to even dresses. Granted, to make dresses out of paper you will need to know a thing or two about garment construction first. Using techniques like people moulding, papier-mâché et cetera you can make objects of every day use like coasters, paperweights, boxes, pen stands and much more.
A lot of home decor items can also be created using paper construction.
The more you explore paper construction the more surprised you will be at the choices in front of you and the market available for it. Paper constructions are niche crafts and can sell very well if you can create a good brand around them.
(10) PDF Templates and DIY Kit for Paper Models
A very popular ‘digital’ paper craft that sells online is the PDF template of a craft. This is not just limited to paper crafts but also to sewing, woodworking etc. What the artisan sells is not the actual craft itself but very precise instruction on how to make the craft yourself.
You can actually make some amazing paper sculptor and models at home by printing out the digital craft template. It consists of numbered tabs and instructions as to how to go about putting all the pieces together.
I am a big fan of selling digital products.
PDF templates are an amazing product to sell because it’s like selling one craft limitless number of times. There are no shipping costs involved and it can be downloaded instantly. Every time that a template sells, it’s pure profit for no extra work.
(11) Business to business paper crafts
A very clever and successful stream of income is when you get into a B2B business. What that means is that you sell to other businesses what they need.
So in case of Paper-craft that would be selling things like ‘paper’ itself. You can make, print or source all kinds of paper to sell to not only other hobbyists but also to other crafters. If you are so inclined, you can also consider selling other craft supplies related to paper crafts. Supplies are one of the highest selling craft categories online.
Follow good business acumen..
Remember that any craft or art business also needs the business aspect to be taken care of. There are many posts on this blog that help with topics like creating a brand, targeting a niche buyer, launching online ad campaigns etc.
Best selling practices for a paper craft business
At the end of the day, you have to know how to market, promote and sell your wares. If you don't know how to do it it will not matter how good your craft is. These are some steps that I will outline in brief to help you sell your paper crafts .
Build a brand
Think of any good brand and think what they are synonymous with. A good brand is known to do a certain thing well. They have an identity and theme that they want to be known for. You have to do the same.
Give your paper crafts an identity. Be known for making a craft or a collection of crafts. Ideally if you make multiple craft they should belong to the same family. Even if they are loosely connected. For example, you can get specific and make only miniature models for automobiles and aeroplanes. Or you can cast your net wide and build a brand around everything to do with people craft.
You will create your brand name as well as the promotional messages to reflect what you do. Branding is important because it tells potential buyers a lot of things about you as an artisan as well as your craft.
A good brand image says that you are a professional. It's speaks of quality and expertise in your craft, builds confidence and increases the perceived value of the craft in the buyers mind.
Think about this in terms of any brand you like and you will realise that these very same things apply to you as well .
Specialise and work in a niche.
It makes sense to have a speciality for many reasons. Once you discover a profitable niche it's easier to target an interested audience. It goes a long way in creating a great brand image. The end result is that you will find it easier to work and sell more crafts.
Discovering a niche makes it possible to harness your creativity and developing new ideas more effectively. It helps you make targeted efforts at selling your craft which results in a higher conversion to sales as well as better selling prices.
Learn about online advertising
Online presence has become a very powerful medium. It's not like the way it was 10 years back when most businesses thought of having a website as an afterthought.
Today, you don't need a website to have an online presence. You can advertise and promote yourself through paid advertisements on social media websites as well as search engines.
Learning how to do this effectively is a bit of a learning curve. Facebook and Google ads make it very simple to get your first advertisement online. It is very simple to choose the automate option and let the system take care of everything.
However, the better way to do this is to learn yourself what works. Learn how to write a good ad copy, which demographics to target and everything else that makes for a good advertisement. You can find a lot of information online written by experts in the field on how to adapt good practices when it comes to advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Google ads.
Once you learn all this, you can literally apply the same principles on every other online advertising platform.
Selling online can mean that people can actually buy your paper crafts online, or it can mean that you promote your business online. We highly recommend selling online because you open your business up to the entire nation and even the entire world.
This is enormous and so powerful. Not many people might buy your craft from outside your country because the shipping costs and customs often add prohibitive costs to the selling price.
However, selling paper crafts is advantageous since they are mostly light and non-bulky and therefore inexpensive to ship. If you explore an online marketplace like it's Etsy you will find that people buy crafts like paintings, knits, scarves and other lightweight items from all over the world.
Research, experiment, repeat.
Do your fair share of market research. It is the key to success and not very difficult, specially if you are selling online. To begin with, open a free account with Google ads and use their keyword research tool to get an insight into what people are searching for online. Visit popular craft selling sites and see what craft are popular.
Discover ways of being unique. That is important. You do not have to reinvent everything every time. But make the craft your own. Keep experimenting and keep creating. Good luck!