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Let’s face it:
To make a living as an artist, you will need to create more than just art—you’ll need to turn your artwork into actual products.
This is why so many artists, illustrators, and graphic designers have created multiple streams of income with their own merch shops or art products.
Not only is it a great way to diversify your income, but it’s also one of the most effective ways to monetize an audience of art lovers and elevate your art.
So, if you’ve been looking for a guide on how to create and sell art products, then keep on reading. In this article, I’ll share ideas on how to put custom art on products, open an online store, and start selling.
As a bonus, you’ll also get some great marketing tips!
What custom products can artists make?
So, you’re probably wondering:
What can I make with my art?
Here’s a list of some of the most popular products that artists can make and sell:
- Digital products: graphics, fonts, filters, logos, wallpapers, backgrounds, portraits, album cover templates, eBook cover templates, etc.
- Print-on-demand merchandise: graphic tees, sweatshirts, hoodies, tote bags, phone cases, stickers, art prints, posters, etc.
- Physical products: jewelry, paintings, handmade items, etc.
Regardless of what you’re selling, one thing is for sure—you’ll have no shortage of buyers because art will always be in high demand.
4 great product ideas for your artwork
To give you some art product ideas, I’ve put together a list of at least four different examples of items to put art on! You can use this as a source of inspiration, or put your own unique spin on an art product to sell.
Put your art on clothing
Here’s why you should put your art on clothing (such as print-on-demand t-shirts):
In 2021, the global print-on-demand t-shirt printing market size was valued at 3.9 billion USD. And, it’s only going to grow bigger! The market value is expected to reach 7.57 billion USD by 2028.
That tells you that there’s a huge demand for branded clothing—people absolutely love buying merch from their favorite creators or artists. So, why not turn one of your paintings into a shirt, or put your artwork on fabric?
For instance, graphic designer and visual artist Marc Aaron Senoner uses Sellfy’s built-in print-on-demand service to sell artwork on clothing. In his Sellfy store, you’ll find t-shirts, tank tops, sweaters, and other types of merch products with his designs.
Aside from t-shirts, oversized unisex sweatshirts and hoodies are also among some of the best-selling custom items to put your art on. In fact, unisex clothing is projected to grow by 65.6 billion USD in 2022.
You know what else is a major best seller? A tote bag.
A tote bag is also one of the best products to put your artwork on. Forbes has even called it the new must-have luxury item!
But, will people buy it from you? In a 2021 survey, 27% of respondents said that they tried out a new product for sustainability reasons and 25% spent more money on sustainable fashion items.
Luckily for you, it’s possible to sell organic tote bags with Sellfy—they’re perfectly versatile and eco-friendly, and anybody can use them as reusable shopping bags, or street fashion accessories.
Follow this link to learn more about selling custom merch online.
Other products that you can sell:
- Silk scarves
Take the easy route & create art stickers
Turning art into stickers is one of the easiest ways to make money from your artwork. Stickers tend to be popular because you can put a sticker anywhere you like: on laptops, guitar cases, bags, hats, coffee tables, etc. It’s a fun way to personalize your accessories!
Apart from being popular, smaller items like stickers are much cheaper than t-shirts or hoodies. This makes them a great option for fans who might be short on cash but still want to support you.
So, an art sticker pack is pretty much a must-have product for any artist wanting to sell online. It may not only boost your art sales but also help promote and spread the word about your artwork business.
Go creative with art prints & other home decor items
The rise in remote jobs over the past few years has transformed a lot of homes into work-from-home offices, pushing people around the world to make their living and working spaces as cozy as possible.
We’ve never spent so much time indoors as we have in recent years. So, it really doesn’t come as a surprise that home decor has become such a big deal for everyone—it’s been trending on social media apps like TikTok for a while now.
And, the best part about selling home decor? It has zero seasonality! This means that you can easily sell home goods all year long.
So, here’s another profitable product idea for you: wall art. Most people love decorating their walls with aesthetic art prints, so wall art is without a doubt another best-seller that you shouldn’t miss out on!
It takes a simple Instagram or Pinterest search (#walldecor, #wallart, #artprints) to see how many people are actively hunting for quality wall art.
With a print-on-demand platform like Sellfy, you can easily turn your art into prints.
For example, Colleen Reynolds is a watercolor artist and a small gallery owner who also teaches watercolor techniques on her YouTube channel. Apart from selling her paintings offline and online, she sells posters and canvas prints with her works on her Sellfy store.
Follow this link to learn more about selling posters online.
Aside from selling prints, you can also turn your art into a blanket, a mug, or any other type of home decor.
Speaking of mugs, in a survey done by the Heinz company, nearly 60% of people said they had an emotional attachment to their favorite mug! And, it is hardly surprising—there’s simply no better way to start a morning than drinking coffee out of your favorite mug. This is why so many artists sell coffee mugs in their stores.
Other products that you can sell:
- Duvet covers
- Original paintings
- Shower curtains
Earn big profit margins with digital products
Some of the most appealing reasons for selling digital products are the high-profit margin and the huge potential:
According to Statista, digital art purchasing skyrocketed in 2021. In the US alone, the art market was estimated at $13.3 billion. So, it’s safe to say that the positive trend of selling artwork online will definitely continue.
Selling digital products is simply one of the easiest ways to earn passive income—you can literally make money while you sleep! You’re also never limited to how many digital art products you can sell online.
Take Sellfy creator SilverLyons. This California-based digital artist offers premade emotes and bit badges—some for sale and some as freebies—for streamers on Twitch. If you love graphic design and gaming or streaming, why not sell something similar?
Other products that you can sell:
- Procreate brushes
- iPhone screen app icons
- Digital wallpapers
- Branding kits
- Graphic resources
- Clip art
- Custom logos
- Digital portraits
- Youtube banners
- Twitch overlays
Follow this link to learn more about selling digital art online.
How to turn your artwork into actual products
To sell your art products online, you will need to have your own website or an eCommerce store like Sellfy.
Sellfy is an easy-to-use eCommerce platform for creators and artists looking to start an online business. You can sell anything with Sellfy (not just artwork!)—digital products, subscriptions, physical goods, and even print-on-demand merchandise.
So, what print-on-demand merch can you sell?
Here’s the full range of our print-on-demand merchandise:
- Men’s, women’s, and kids’ clothing (jackets, t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, tank tops, long-sleeve tees, bodysuits, etc.);
- Hats (custom print and embroidery on caps and beanies);
- Bags (backpack, laptop sleeve, fanny pack, and tote bags);
- Home & living (embroidered apron, water bottle, spiral notebook, canvas, posters, mugs, and stickers);
- Phone cases (iPhone and Samsung).
And, the best part? It’s all free! Yes, you heard that right—unlike online marketplaces, you can start selling merch for free with Sellfy’s Free plan.
Not only does Sellfy offer a free plan, but it also comes with powerful sales and marketing tools, beautiful pre-made store themes, an intuitive store customizer tool, and built-in analytics.
Here’s a full list of what you’ll get from a Sellfy store:
- Fully customizable storefront
- Built-in marketing features & SEO
- Effortless & quick setup
- Mobile-first design
- No hidden monthly fees
- Instant access to earnings
- Advanced VAT & tax settings
- Multiple payment options
- 24/7 customer support
- Complete control over your own store
- App integrations
So, if Sellfy sounds like a good fit for you, let’s move on to the next step!
1. Open a Sellfy shop to sell merch or digital products
I’ll show you how to build and customize your shop in less than 5 minutes.
Here’s how to start selling art products with Sellfy:
- Sign up for one of Sellfy’s paid plans (to sell digital products), pick the Free plan (to sell merch), or start a 14-day free trial. All you need is a valid and verified email address. If you need access to more features, you can always upgrade to a paid plan later.
- Choose one of our premade store themes, or use Sellfy’s Store Customizer tool to design your store.
2. Create your art products & generate mockups
Now that you’ve set up your own website, you can start uploading your artwork! Locate the option to create products under your dashboard’s PRODUCTS section. Then, click Add new product and start uploading your product files.
Creating mockups with Sellfy is pretty easy—we provide product images that you can preview and download on the Edit product page.
3. Pick a Sellfy plan (free or paid) to start selling
Are you ready to get serious with your art products and start selling? Then it’s time to pick a subscription plan and upgrade!
Sellfy has four different subscription plans for artists like you:
- Free—for artists who want a fully customizable storefront for 10 physical products, and get access to print-on-demand, discounts and coupon codes, and a store embed feature.
- Starter—for artists who want to sell an unlimited number of digital products, get access to 2000 email credits, and use a custom domain.
- Business—for artists who have high sales volumes and want a white-label store, store design migration, cart abandonment, product upselling, and 10,000 email credits.
- Premium—for artists who have the biggest sales volumes and want product migration, priority support, 50,000 email credits, and extra tools to promote their digital products.
4. More options: embed or connect your domain
If you already have an existing website, you can connect your domain or use one of our Embed options to integrate the Sellfy checkout, specific products, or the whole store into your existing website:
- Buy now button—allows you to add a call-to-action button that can be paired with your own site design, product images, and description.
- Single product—allows you to feature a single product along with the description, Buy now button, and uploaded images. You can customize it on Sellfy and embed the code on your site.
- All products—allows you to add the whole Sellfy storefront with all of your digital products to your site.
How to promote your art products with Sellfy’s marketing tools
For starters, let the whole world know about your online store! It’s always a good idea to cross-promote your art store on all of your socials.
Here are a few social media strategies that have worked amazingly well for successful Sellfy artists:
- Showcase, don’t tell. Honestly, there’s no better way to announce your art business than wearing your art products in your photos or videos. A visual demonstration of your product can increase sales by 50%.
- Don’t miss out on the latest TikTok trends. If you have the app, be sure to use TikTok’s popular sounds or filters in your videos. TikTok’s algorithm is so beginner-friendly that you could get a million views in just a week!
- Generate leads with social proof. 90% of people tend to trust social proof more than anything else, so why not let your family, friends, and customer base do you a favor and spread the word?
- Launch your art store with a sale. There’s nothing like a time-sensitive campaign to drive urgency and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Almost none of us can resist a good deal—research shows that 90% of online shoppers use coupons.
- Share your art store link in your bio or captions. This goes without saying, but don’t forget to let your audience know about your Sellfy store in your captions or profile bio. Add links to your store on all apps or platforms where you can reach art fans.
- Create a branded hashtag for your art store. Create a hashtag for your brand, add it to your profile bio, and encourage fans to tag you in their content, e.g. “use my #brandedhashtag to get featured in a post!”
Once you’ve covered your social media, you can start playing around with Sellfy’s marketing tools.
Here’s a brief breakdown of the marketing tools that Sellfy offers:
- The discounts & coupon code feature for creating enticing offers.
- The upselling feature for offering exclusive additional materials or “behind the scenes” clips as soon as your customer buys one of your artworks.
- The email marketing feature for running email campaigns, sending “thank you” emails, notifying your audience about product launches, special deals, and more.
- The cart abandonment feature for retaining more customers by sending cart recovery emails.
- The pay-what-you-want (PWYW) pricing scheme for letting your customers decide how much they want to pay for your art.
- Advanced SEO settings for updating your Search results preview, Page description, as well as uploading Social sharing images for each page of your store.
To learn more about how to use Sellfy’s marketing tools, head over to our blog post on 12 effective marketing tactics from Sellfy’s top creators.
Use your email list or start building one for art lovers
Having an email list is one of the biggest assets of any online business—it’s the most direct communication channel that connects you to your customers without social media!
With Sellfy’s powerful email marketing tool, you can send out custom newsletters and run email marketing campaigns.
Here are some strategies to keep in mind for your art store:
- Get your audience hyped for launch day by letting them know that brand-new designs will be coming out soon.
- Send the announcement on launch day to let your audience know that your art is now live in your store.
- Send premium email content to increase audience engagement. For example, behind-the-scenes stuff, interviews, online quizzes, infographics, etc.
Sellfy’s email marketing tool also includes four customizable campaign templates: product launch, product discount, product update, and custom message. Plus, you’ll be able to see statistics about each campaign that you run, like the open rate, click rate, and so on.
Run an exclusive art sale or commission
Research shows that nearly 90% of online shoppers use coupons! With Sellfy’s coupons and discounts feature, you can issue as many promotional discount codes as you need. This feature allows you to create special discounts, run sales, and so much more.
For instance, if you’re mainly interested in selling digital products, you can do art commissions on Instagram.
To make your art sale even more enticing for fans, you can combine it with Sellfy’s upselling tool. Upselling is a sales tactic where the customer is offered an additional item after adding something to their cart, often at a discount.
So, with the help of Sellfy’s upselling feature, the customers who buy art during a sale will also get another exclusive offer that they normally wouldn’t get. Research shows that people are more likely to spend more when they’ve already received something from you—take advantage of that!
Give out art freebies on social media
One of the most effective ways to grab your audience’s attention is to announce a viral giveaway! People love free stuff. Giving out something for free is an amazing way to grow engagement. And, the good news is that you can easily do that with Sellfy!
There are essentially two different ways to do that: you can either upload freebies in your store or use Sellfy’s coupons and discounts feature to make it a time-sensitive giveaway.
Not only will this boost your store traffic, but it will also encourage more people to try out your art products and tag you in their social media posts.
For example, Sellfy creator Kaiwan Shaban managed to drive an enormous amount of traffic to his store by giving out freebies:
“I collected around 100,000 emails by giving out freebies. This helped me get more than 1.3 million visits to my Sellfy store, so I think that’s a great marketing strategy.”
Another Sellfy creator, Jack Cronin, has successfully used the same marketing tactic. He recommends giving out freebies to easily build an email list and grow your business:
“Don’t be afraid to post stuff for free! I’ve gained thousands of emails from just sharing free stuff over the years. Later on, you can always start pushing products that cost money and get some sales.”
Earn extra money with artwork!
I hope you find this article helpful! Now you know exactly how to launch an online store, turn your art into products, and grow your business. To learn more about making money with digital, physical, and print-on-demand products, make sure to check out our blog for useful tips and tricks.