Artists, Makers, Crafters - what do you do with your "extra" creations?

Like most on this forum, I love making things just for the fun of making them. I have a little Etsy shop (sorry, have to plug it: where I’ve sold enough items to make me feel like a “real” artist. I’m not in it for the money. The biggest kick I get out of my Etsy shop is seeing real people actually using and liking what I’ve made.

I was thrilled to sell my first lamp, and the day it arrived at the purchaser’s house, she loved it so much she bought two more! woooo hoooo! I was so thrilled, that I was tempted to quit my day job, until I realized that my hourly wage, even if I sell everything I make, would be about ten cents an hour.

In preparing the Glowforge “nursery” I’ve been cleaning out my studio, and I’ve found tons of items that are too good to throw away, but either not quite good enough to sell, or just don’t fit my shop anymore (ex: I used to make necklaces, but I don’t want to sell them anymore.)

I’ve foisted lots of these “extras” on friends and family, and they accept them graciously, but I hate the thought that what I intend to be a gift feels to them like a burden, as in, “oh, no, not another necklace from my aunt! I’ll have to wear it in front of her just once before I can throw it out.”

I’d love to give some of this stuff to charity, but I don’t know if Goodwill or The Discover Store really wants/needs this stuff.

What do you do with the things you make by hand but don’t want to sell when they’re just too nice to throw out? I hate to have them collecting dust (and taking up future GF space) when there might be someone out there who might want them.


I have donated a couple pieces to local charity auctions and donated a “gift pack” as a prize for the local PTA’s annual road race.


I checked out your shop–very cool polymer clay items!

Another possible avenue of donation is your church’s trivia night–they are always looking for prizes and such.

There may well be others in the same situation as you. It would be nice if there was an art exchange where folks could trade their excess art for something different. Maybe such a thing already exists!


You could make new friends, like the glowfolk here, and they may be interested to receive/trade/buy for your things.


You probably have a local buy nothing facebook group for your area, you could offer them there.


I really like the idea of art trading.


That’s some gorgeous colors in your lamps. Do you make your own canes? :relaxed:


Thanks. Yes, I make the canes. I’ve learned a lot from Meg Newberg’s monthly tutorial, “Cane Builder.” Here is her etsy shop - gorgeous stuff. That woman is a genius!


good idea - there is a FreeCycle in town. I could post some items with them. :slight_smile:


Your work is beautiful!


Some people in nursing homes and assisted living places would probably love to receive some of these.


Charity auctions and raffles are often a great idea, because the pieces can raise something close to their true worth. (When my spouse was quilting seriously, she donated some quilts in that way – typically raised in the four figures).

For lower-value stuff, kids may be a good outlet. (Right now all my 3d-printed test pieces and calibration cubes go to the 8-year-old and his friends as game counters and bits to be integrated with playmobil and lego…)


I third this, I’ve had great experiences with charity auctions in my community.
I usually take metal sculptures that weren’t a big hit, give them a mini make over to amp up their appeal and then donate.


First, your work is beautiful!

I tend to be fairly prolific and have been at it for many years, so I have an abundance of extras. Sometimes I give them away to friends, or even (with smaller doodads) add them as bonus gifts of freebies for larger orders. Sometimes I use them as Giveaway items for social media promotions, and I’ve also donated my extras to charity.

At the end of last year I decided to cull my mask inventory, since I have a handful of older pieces that have been hanging around for too long, as well as designs that I’ve decided to quit making. When I get home, I’m going to bundle them all up and donate them to a Clown Camp. They’ll be loved and enjoyed by a bunch of kids, and I’ll get a nice tax write off. Win/win :grin:


Most of what I make is very purpose-driven and so I don’t have a lot of extras or experimental items hanging around. If it doesnt turn out quite right, it goes into the trash. Usually these things are for my own projects and nobody else would have interest or need for them.

The exception for me is chocolate and candymaking. Some items can be re-melted and re-used or re-purposed like turning salted caramel candies into a sauce for ice cream or apple dipping. Other items (or mistakes) can be eaten. :slight_smile:


I’m so glad you posted this! I have SO. MANY. pieces that came from times when I was learning a specific medium or combination of media, and now they just really feel like “student work” when I look at them. The pretty much just take up studio space. I would definitely have suggested charity auctions, but art trading is such a great idea. Most of my friends are artists in one way or another, and I’d love to share their work. I’m now picturing hosting an art party (with that huge amount of free time and energy I’ll have between now–8.5 months pregnant–and when I’m recovered from having the baby, cue horrible laugh).


I now intentionally save pieces like that when I’m learning a new technique. It’s a lot of fun to compare those first tries to items made after a lot of work years later. (congrats wrt baby!)


(this really goes for everyone on the site) - if you ever need to get rid of excess chocolate, I will happily take it off your hands! :grin:


ditto! There is an amazing number of chocolate-delicious artists in here. If anyone has extra chocolates to get rid of, let me know and I’ll help you out :wink:

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Started jewelry making with silver and turquoise 4 decades ago and gifted lots to friends. When I see one of those pieces today I want to remove it from existance. :grimacing: