Handmade to Sell

It used to be easy to set up a fundraising stall – just bake some lemon slices, roll out the chocolate crackles and the honey joys and watch the money come in. Today, with stringent rules in relation to food labelling and handling, a stall selling handmade and sewn items can be an easier option to set up and run.

For sewers, small-scale projects can be a breeze. Off-cuts from bigger projects can be used effectively to create great products, or small lengths of gorgeous fabrics can be purchased to create a few ‘limited edition’ items.

Spotlight’s Get Creative Studio doyen, Kaye Wolf, is a dab hand at such projects; she creates them daily in her job working for Spotlight’s own magazine, GET CREATIVE QUARTERLY, as well as supplying projects for the craft pages of mainstream magazines.

“I think the best thing is to concentrate on simple, well made items when it comes to fundraising,” says Kaye.  “I like things like easy fabric or felt brooches using scraps of fabric. Small amounts of fat quarters which you can get from the quilting department are great for these too.”

A stall selling handmade items is an excellent idea in a time when it’s become cool to love knitting, sewing, recycling and personalising. Ideas in this area include turning denim jeans into great denim mags, adding emblems and embroidery to t-shirts, pillows or handtowels, and revamping old dresses by changing hemlines, necklines and more.

For fundraising events you can look at making shopping bags and totes, made even easier because there are plenty of free bag patterns on the Internet. The internet is a great source of patterns for gorgeous, retro aprons and the like.

Kaye Wolf also likes beaded jewellery and bracelets with little charms for these events … although you could also put kits together for children to make their own jewellery as a gift for someone.

“Crochet is great too,” says Kaye, “because it’s a lot quicker than knitting and you get good, fast results. Consider making small items – little creatures or crocheted jewellery – or even market shopping bags.

“I think handmade items for school supplies are cool – pencil cases, art smocks, library bags and sports swimming bags – these can be highly personalised to the user, featuring favourite cartoon characters, flowers, colours etc. I’d go for small simple items in great eye-catching fabrics as well as things like mobile phone cases, journal covers, pen caddies.”

Other cool ideas you see around currently involve covering picture frames with fabrics or covering notebook covers. There are products that allow you to print photographs onto fabrics for the highly creative and, for those with nimble fingers, hand-decorated headwear – from simple headbands and combs to full-blown fascinators – is really appealing. Hat basics tend to be on sale at places like Spotlight so you can just buy the ribbons, feathers, beads etc. Imagination is one of the only limitations.

TIP: Talk up the makers!

Create gorgeous handmade swing tags (just on the back of old greeting cards, playing cards or the like) with a note about which ‘artist’ – from your school, church or community group – made the item on sale.

Happy Fundraising!
xMandy Weidmann
aka the Fundraising Whisperer

Originally published 6 December, 2011

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