Need extra cash? No problem! With a little creativity, you will discover that there are lots of ways to find free things to sell on Etsy to bring in extra income to help your family. Who knows? You might be able to turn it into a home-based business!
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Why I needed to find free things to sell on Etsy – My Story
After my second child was born, I was in a panic. Our finances were a mess. My husband was in sales, paid strictly on commission. With the country smack-dab in the middle of a recession, sales were down and my husband’s paychecks were falling steadily week by week.
It was getting to the point where we were struggling just to pay our bills. For the first time since my kids were born, I was looking at having to get a job outside the house.
The thought of going back to work and putting my kids in daycare was depressing to me. I didn’t like the thought of childcare workers spending more time with my kids than their own mother. Then you have the fact that daycare for two kids is ridiculously expensive.
When I crunched the numbers, I realized that after I paid for childcare from my income, there wouldn’t be a lot of money leftover to be of much help to our family. Which made spending all that time away from my kids kind of pointless!
So in desperation, I scrambled to find anything I could to sell to make some quick cash. The problem was I didn’t have any extra money to buy things to sell online.
Then it occurred to me that I had an impressive stash of scrapbooking supplies already. If nothing else, I could sell those supplies online for extra money to help my family get by for a little bit.
I listed a lot of my supplies on eBay. On a whim however, I made up a few handmade scrapbooking embellishments and listed those on Etsy. The above Easter tags were my very first Etsy listing. There was nothing special about those tags when I look back at them now, but to my complete surprise they sold.
Encouraged by that small success, I made up a few more embellishments and listed them. Those quickly sold too. And that is how my work at home crafter journey began!
So if you are in a place today where you are wanting desperately to find a way to work from home, I can totally relate. But I am here today, on the other side, to let you know it’s not hopeless. You can get through it! Even if you have nothing to invest in starting a home based business, there are ways to find free stuff to sell on Etsy.
All it takes to get started turning your financial situation around is a little creativity!
Where to look to Find Free Stuff to Sell on Etsy
If you are looking for free things to sell on Etsy, look no further than your own home! In particular the basement or garage is a good place to look for craft supplies or materials that can be sold on Etsy.
A home’s basement or garage is where we tend to stash things we aren’t using. I know I have gone through storage areas many times and discovered things I’d forgotten I had. Like the old saying goes – out of sight out of mind.
Etsy allows you to list finished crafts, craft supplies, and vintage items. So you might already have lots of things in storage areas of your home that can be resold on Etsy.
Next go out in your backyard. Believe it or not, there are probably several items right outside your back door that can be sold to other crafters. Look around and see what natural materials you have access to in your yard. Brainstorm about the ways they could be used in crafting. Chances are if you can think of a way to make crafts out of them, then you can probably also sell those items to other crafters.
In the meantime, here are a few specific ideas for things to sell on Etsy that you can get for free….
Etsy Shop Idea #1: Pressed Flowers
If you have an abundance of pretty flowers growing in your yard, you might want to consider starting an Etsy shop to sell pressed flowers. Larkspur Hill is an Etsy shop that has been quite successful selling pressed flowers for wedding decorations and for use by crafters. She grows all the flowers herself using earth-friendly methods.
If you enjoy flower gardening, starting an Etsy shop filled with beautiful pressed flowers might be the perfect home based business for you. Pressed flowers are quite in demand for use in wedding decorations. In addition, crafters also use pressed flowers to make jewelry, home decor items, nail art, and more.
Etsy Shop Idea #2: Marbles
Sometimes finding free stuff to sell on Etsy is as easy as raiding your child’s toy box. Surprisingly marbles are a good seller — sought after by collectors and crafters alike. Figtree Creations does quite well selling both single marbles and lots.
There are all sorts of crafts that use marbles from jewelry to home decor projects. When I was a little girl, I remember baking glass marbles in the oven with my mom. They cracked internally, but stayed smooth on the outside. They were so beautiful! We used them to make some really cool jewelry and crafts.
If your children have outgrown their toys, why not make an Etsy listing to sell their old marbles?
Etsy Shop Idea #3: Sea Shells
If you live near the ocean and are looking for ideas for things to sell on Etsy, you might want to consider sea shells. Seashells by Seashore is an Etsy shop that sells all sorts of beautiful seashells for use in home decor and crafts.
Whenever we go on vacation to the ocean, we love walking along the beach collecting seashells. The above picture was of my two youngest daughters’ first trip to the ocean. They had a blast filling that bucket with all the seashells they found!
I have used so many of our vacation seashells for crafts. People who don’t live near the ocean have to resort to buying seashells for use in crafts.
Larger seashells (if you are lucky enough to find them) can be used for interesting planters and home decor pieces. Smaller shells can be used for making hair accessories, jewelry, and much more. The shells can be left as is, or you can paint or glitter them for extra bling.
If you enjoy long walks at the beach and hunting for unusual shells, this might be the perfect idea for an Etsy shop you can start!
Etsy Shop Idea #4: Photos of Messages Written in the Sand
Every time we go to the beach, my kids love to write silly messages in the sand and take pictures of them. The picture above is of my son being a goofball on our recent trip to Indiana Dunes National Park.
Writing in the Sand is an Etsy shop that has turned writing messages in the sand into a clever business idea. They go to a local beach and write personalized messages in the sand for their customers. Then they photograph the messages with the beautiful ocean waves in the background. The resulting photos make wonderful gifts for weddings, anniversaries, and other special occasions.
If you live near the beach and have decent photography skills, it wouldn’t cost you anything at all to start an Etsy shop selling keepsake photos of messages written in the sand.
Etsy Shop Idea #5: 4 Leaf Clovers
When I was a kid, I loved hunting in my yard for 4 leaf clovers. It was always so exciting to find one. If you love nature and don’t mind a treasure hunt, you will enjoy this next idea for free things to sell on Etsy.
Monica’s Clovers is an Etsy shop that offers real 4-leaf clovers to bring a bit of luck to her customers. Each clover is pressed in plastic and can be used for scrapbooking, jewelry making, and other crafts.
Monica’s Clovers is a fairly new store, but she has already had quite a few sales. That tells me selling 4 leaf clovers is a promising idea for an Etsy shop.
Etsy Shop Idea #6: Pine Cones
Here’s another idea for things to sell on Etsy that you probably have right in your own backyard. Pioneer Homestead sells pine cones to use as fire starters, place card holders for weddings, as well as for autumn and Christmas crafts.
We’ve got a big pine tree in our backyard and frequently gather the pine cones to use as fire starters for when we go camping. However, I would have never thought to sell the pine cones. That’s a clever way of using the resources you’ve been given!
If you have access to a large amount of pine cones, then this might be a great Etsy store idea for you!
Etsy Shop Idea #7: Empty Toilet Paper Rolls
Everyone uses toilet paper, right? And most of us throw the empty roll into the trash without any thought. But did you know that you can sell the empty toilet paper rolls to other crafters? They can be used to make pillow box party favors, party poppers, seed starting pots for the garden, toddler crafts, and much more.
Monica Stamps is an Etsy shop that does quite well selling empty toilet paper rolls! She sells them in lots of 40 to 50 and if you check her sold item page, you can see that she has sold quite a few of them.
If you are looking for free things to sell on Etsy, you can’t get much easier than this! Just keep a box in your linen closet to collect the empty toilet paper rolls and when you have a bunch of them, get them listed on Etsy.
Etsy Shop Idea #8: Game Pieces
If you have kids, you probably have a ton of games that are missing pieces. I know my family does! Instead of throwing them out, pull out these random game pieces and sell them on Etsy. Game pieces are a hot seller that Etsy shops like Found Alchemy Art capitalize on.
Wooden Scrabble tiles sell extremely well as they are used to make wall art and jewelry. However other game pieces sell equally well – like Bingo numbers, domino tiles, and Monopoly pieces. Playing cards (especially those with vintage images) also sell well as they are used by mixed media artists and paper crafters.
If you are looking for ideas for things to sell on Etsy and have a bunch of old board games laying around that are gathering dust, why not list them today and turn your trash into cash?
Etsy Shop Idea #9: Letter Art
Sometimes the everyday things can become art if we look at them with a different eye. You can see letters everywhere in architecture and nature if you take the time to look for them. Creative Letter Art is an Etsy shop that specializes in personalized photo art that spells out a family name or special message.
If you have an eye for seeing letters in your surroundings and a decent camera, you can start an Etsy shop selling letter art wall decor which is perfect for wedding or housewarming gifts.
Etsy Shop Idea #10: Pressed Leaves
I don’t know about you, but each fall I grumble about the amount of trees in our yards as I am busy raking leaves. Nature Happy is an Etsy shop that has turned an abundance of leaves into their advantage. They sell pressed leaves for crafting purposes.
If you enjoy long nature walks among the changing leaves, than opening an Etsy shop selling beautiful pressed fall leaves might be right up your alley. It wouldn’t take long at all to gather enough for your first shop listing!
Bonus Etsy Shop Idea: Stampin Up products
Sign up for the Work at Home Crafter mailing list and learn how to get Stampin Up products for free that can be re-sold on Etsy for 100% profit.
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Coming up with other ideas for things to sell on Etsy
I hope this list of free stuff to sell on Etsy has inspired you to look at things you already have around you in a whole new way. You probably have access to a lot more potential Etsy shop items than you thought.
- Use the craft supplies and kits you already have on hand to make finished items to sell.
- Look around your yard or go on a nature walk to discover other natural items that could be sold like acorns, pretty colored rocks that could be tumbled and polished, etc. (If you are gathering from a nearby park, just be sure to verify that you have permission. Some parks don’t allow natural material to be removed.)
- Raid your crafting room and sell any supplies or tools that you are no longer using. Vintage craft kits sell particularly well.
- Go through your craft patterns. Sell any of the patterns that you have already made or won’t be using in the future.
- Before you throw something out, consider whether that item might still be valuable for its parts, or if it might have other uses. For example, pieces of broken plates are used by artists in mosaics. Pages from old children’s books can be framed and sold as artwork.
- If you love to take pictures, consider selling digital prints of your best photos. Think flowers, beautiful scenery, unique architecture, and tourist locations.
- If you like to crochet or knit, design your own patterns and sell them online. You can sell digital downloads on Etsy. You just upload the pattern in PDF and Etsy takes care of the delivery automatically each time it sells.
Quick Links to Info on This Page
- 1 Why I needed to find free things to sell on Etsy – My Story
- 2 Where to look to Find Free Stuff to Sell on Etsy
- 3 Etsy Shop Idea #1: Pressed Flowers
- 4 Etsy Shop Idea #2: Marbles
- 5 Etsy Shop Idea #3: Sea Shells
- 6 Etsy Shop Idea #4: Photos of Messages Written in the Sand
- 7 Etsy Shop Idea #5: 4 Leaf Clovers
- 8 Etsy Shop Idea #6: Pine Cones
- 9 Etsy Shop Idea #7: Empty Toilet Paper Rolls
- 10 Etsy Shop Idea #8: Game Pieces
- 11 Etsy Shop Idea #9: Letter Art
- 12 Etsy Shop Idea #10: Pressed Leaves
- 13 Bonus Etsy Shop Idea: Stampin Up products
- 14 Coming up with other ideas for things to sell on Etsy
- 15 Pin this Money Making Idea for Later:
Pin this Money Making Idea for Later:
So tell me… do you have any additional ideas for free things to sell on Etsy? If so, be sure to leave a comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!