How to Make Money Selling Art on Etsy: Guide for Beginners

how to make money selling art on etsy

Last Updated on April 11, 2024 by Katie

Many savvy artists learn how to make money selling art on Etsy and turn their creative passion into profit. The platform offers a global marketplace for a diverse range of art styles, from hand-painted canvases to digital prints.

And, with Etsy being known for its creative goods, you have a ready-made audience looking to buy new and original artwork.

But, as we all know, getting started as a new seller is the hard part!

If you’re an artist, you likely enjoy the creation process but get all stressed when you think about setting up an online store and marketing what you create.

But, don’t panic – this guide is going to give you all the exact steps and with the average yearly earnings of Etsy craft and fine art sellers being $49,960 (in 2021), it’s well worth your time!

To be successful on the Etsy marketplace you need to prepare, make your store stand out and get it found with the right marketing.

Here’s an overview of what we’ll cover in this guide:

  1. Digital or physical prints
  2. Target market and research
  3. Decide how to sell your art on Etsy
  4. Start creating your art
  5. Create a memorable brand and shop name
  6. Setting up your Etsy store
  7. How to start marketing and getting customers
  8. Offer excellent customer service
  9. FAQs

Sound good?

Let’s get started.

 

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How to Make Money Selling Art on Etsy: Digital Prints or Physical Prints?

how to make money selling art on Etsy

To start an Etsy shop with no money, you first need to decide whether you want to sell digital art prints or physical prints.

Each has its own set of logistics, costs, and customer expectations to consider, but the most important thing is to choose what you’re most comfortable with producing.

 

Digital Prints

Digital prints refer to artwork that you sell in a downloadable format such as digital files.

Advantages include no inventory, no shipping worries, and lower upfront costs.

You create your art once and can sell it infinitely without additional production time or material costs.

Examples include:

  • Digital images
  • Illustrations
  • Graphics

Customers can then print these themselves or use them as digital assets.

Profit margins tend to be high with digital prints since you’re not paying for printing or shipping—after initial setup costs, your sales are almost pure profit.

Etsy allows you to automate the selling process, increasing the efficiency of transactions.

 

Physical Prints

Physical prints are tangible copies of your art that you send to customers.

The benefits of selling physical prints on Etsy include the ability to offer a tangible, premium product that can be held, framed, and displayed.

how to make money selling art on etsy

Customers often value the physical connection to art. However, you will need to manage inventory and handle shipping, which adds additional costs and logistics.

Examples are canvases, posters, or framed art.

Potential earnings can be higher per item as you can charge more for the physical goods, but you must also account for the production and shipping expenses, which will cut into your profit margin.

 

How to Make Money Selling Art on Etsy

When learning how to make money selling art on Etsy you must first research your potential customers and the market. 

Your success hinges on identifying a target audience that resonates with your art and analyzing competitive offerings to position your products effectively.

 

Define Your Target Market

Identifying your target market is critical in the art world. Consider factors like age groups, interests, and purchasing power to define your audience.

For example:

  • Age Groups: Are your pieces more appealing to millennials or baby boomers?
  • Interests: Does your art align with certain hobbies or lifestyles?
  • Purchasing Power: Are your potential buyers looking for affordable art pieces, or are they collectors seeking high-value items?

 

Conduct Market Research

Once you’ve identified your target market, analyze what sells well on Etsy and how your art fits into existing trends.

market research

Follow these steps:

  1. Browse Etsy: Do an Etsy search and look at top-selling artwork and unique products and notice patterns in style, price, and presentation.
  2. Google Trends: Another great research tool is Google Trends and you can use this to find out what’s popular in the moment.
  3. Competitor Analysis: Evaluate other shops targeting the same audience. Look at their pricing, branding, and customer reviews.

Remember, your unique style combined with strategic market understanding can pave the way for profitable sales with your own Etsy shop.

 

Decide What Art to Sell

how to make money selling art on Etsy

To start a successful Etsy shop, its important to choose a niche that resonates with your artistic skills and market demand is vital. 

The high-quality products you decide to sell should reflect your unique style and cater to the interests of your target audience.

Here is a breakdown of various art forms you can consider for your Etsy store.

 

Stickers

Stickers are a popular item on Etsy due to their affordability and variety.

You can design them using digital illustration software and have them printed by a professional sticker printing service or use a home printer and sticker paper.

Stickers cater to a wide audience, from laptop decoration to planner enthusiasts.

You can expect to sell individual stickers for $2-$5 each, depending on size and complexity.

 

Digital Planners

Digital planners appeal to the organized and tech-savvy shopper.

Create your planners using graphic design tools, offering customizable templates and interactive elements.

These planners have no physical inventory, allowing for higher profit margins.

They typically sell from $10 to $30, based on their features and design sophistication.

 

Print on Demand Apparel

print on demand

By partnering with a print-on-demand service, you can sell different apparel on the Etsy platform featuring your unique artwork without managing inventory.

You design the graphics, and the service handles printing and shipping.

This niche attracts fashion-forward customers seeking unique clothing pieces.

Each item could sell from $20 to $50, depending on the garment and design complexity.

 

Greeting Cards

Greeting cards are a mainstay for holidays, birthdays, and many other occasions.

You can create handcrafted cards or design them digitally and print them on high-quality paper.

This market is vast, and uniquely designed cards can fetch anywhere from $3 to $10 a piece.

 

Decorations

Home decor items range from textiles to small sculptures.

Base your decorative items on current trends and your unique style. These pieces often attract individuals looking to add a personal touch to their homes. Prices vary widely depending on the materials and time invested, with smaller decorations starting around $15.

 

Watercolor Paintings

flower watercolor painting

Watercolor paintings offer a soft and intricate look that appeals to art lovers and those decorating their living spaces.

Sell original pieces or high-quality prints based on your work.

Original watercolor paintings can sell from $25 to hundreds of dollars, while prints may range from $10 to $50.

 

Personalised Portrait

Custom portraits and family portraits are popluar unique items sold on Etsy that are always in demand.

Create these portraits from customer photos using traditional mediums or digital tools and offer various sizes and different types of customization.

Personalized portraits can be quite lucrative, selling from $30 for simple designs to $200 or more for detailed works.

 

Posters

Posters can include anything from fan art to original designs, funny pictures, quotes or something quite unusual.

They can be digitally designed and printed on high-quality paper and you can use a print on demand service to get this done for you.

Posters are sought after by those wanting to decorate their spaces on a budget and can sell between $10 to $50 depending largely on size and print quality.

 

Digital Prints

Digital prints allow for endless reproduction with minimal overhead costs.

Create unique artworks digitally, and sell the files for printing at home. This caters to art buyers looking for instant and affordable options.

The product price for digital prints can range from $5 to $20 a download.

 

Abstract Art

Abstract art provides aesthetic flexibility and can attract a wide range of art enthusiasts.

Whether you’re creating paintings, digital art, or mixed media, abstract works can sell for $20 to several hundred dollars, depending on size and the reputation of the artist.

 

Art Deco

art deco picture

Art deco is a style marked by geometric shapes and bold colors.

You can create paintings, prints, handmade items or digital illustrations in this style.

Fans of the roaring twenties and sleek design often seek out art deco pieces.

Items can sell from $20 for small prints to over $100 for large, intricate works.

 

Motivational Quotes

Typography art centered around motivational quotes is a consistent seller.

You can design these digitally and offer them as physical prints or digital downloads and another option is to sell motivational bundles, to increase your sale price.

Buyers looking for inspirational decor often go for these, which can sell for $5 to $30 depending on presentation and exclusivity.

 

Oil Paintings

Oil paintings are for art shoppers looking for traditional and potentially high-value artwork.

Sell originals or make prints of your most popular pieces which can be sold over and over again.

Depending on the size and the reputation of the artist, prices can range from $50 up into the thousands.

 

Photographs

High-quality, artistic photographs have a wide appeal and many people look to have their favorite photos framed as a gift for a loved one.

ou could offer digital downloads or physical prints on photo paper or canvas and offer customiztion as an added extra to boost your profit.

Pricing varies greatly depending on size and medium, with prints typically starting around $15.

 

Pet Portraits

how to make money selling art on etsy

Pet portraits have a dedicated customer base, as many love to commemorate their furry friends.

Use traditional art mediums or create portraits digitally based on customer-supplied photos.

You could even offer to print pet photos onto apparel such as mugs, journals and hoodies.

Custom pet portraits can sell for $40 to $200.

 

Wall decals

Wall decals are a modern way to decorate without commitment and are extremely popular sellers o Etsy.

Designs can be created digitally and produced by a professional printer. This product appeals to renters and parents of young children.

Decals sell from $10 to more than $100 depending on size and intricacy.

 

Graffiti Art

graffiti art

Graffiti art brings an urban edge to any space and is often popular with the younger generation.

It can be sold as original wall canvases or digital prints. Fans of street culture and bold, vibrant colors are often drawn to graffiti art.

Prices can start from $30 for smaller prints to several hundred for original canvases.

 

Wrapping Paper Patterns

Your original designs can be used for wrapping paper, an item especially popular during the holiday season.

Design these patterns digitally, and have them printed on high-quality paper. Wrapping paper typically sells in sets or rolls ranging from $5 to $20.

 

Start Creating Your Art for Etsy

A colorful array of handmade art pieces displayed on a virtual storefront, with a variety of paintings, prints, and sculptures. The artist's signature is prominently featured on each piece

If you plan to sell physical artwork on Etsy, be mindful of your inventory. 

You need a sufficient collection of artwork ready to sell to maintain consistent store activity and customer interest.

For digital downoads, you just need to create your design once and save it in a relevant format ready for download.

Your art should reflect a unique style or theme, as this helps establish your brand’s identity.

Quality is paramount, so ensure each piece reflects your best work, as this increases the likelihood of positive reviews and repeat customers.

 

Key Considerations When Creating Your Art:

  • Consistency: Build a cohesive body of work that tells a story.
  • Originality: Offer original pieces that showcase your unique skills and perspective.
  • Quality: Use high-grade materials to ensure durability and customer satisfaction.
  • Product Pricing: Factor in material costs, shipping charges, time, and effort to price your art appropriately.
  • Photography: Prepare to present your art with high-quality product photos, in natural light, as visuals are crucial on Etsy.

It’s essential to pace yourself and maintain a balance between creating new pieces and managing your Etsy store.

Remember, your art is the cornerstone of your business, and its craftsmanship and presentation directly impact your success.

 

Create Your Brand and a Memorable Shop Name

A colorful storefront sign reads "Artistic Treasures" with a palette and brush logo. Customers browse unique artwork displayed in the window

Creating a strong brand begins with understanding your art’s unique attributes and the story behind it.

Your brand encapsulates your art’s style, the emotions it evokes, and your personal narrative as an artist. It should resonate with your target audience and distinguish you from competitors.

When choosing your Etsy shop name, aim for something short and memorable. It should be reflective of your brand and easy for customers to recall.

For example, if your art is whimsical and light-hearted, a name like SunnySketches might be appropriate. On the contrary, if your work is more abstract and contemporary, a name like ModernMuseGallery might better suit your style.

Here are a few guidelines for your Etsy shop name:

  • Length: Keep it under 20 characters.
  • Spacing: Use capital letters to differentiate words, as spaces are not allowed.
  • Uniqueness: Ensure it’s distinctive and not already in use on the platform.

Popular Etsy art brands like TheColorfulCatStudio or DreamyMoons exemplify strong name choices that align with their brand aesthetic and product range.

Your shop name is your first impression, so make certain it accurately reflects the essence of your art and brand personality.

 

How to Make Money Selling Art on Etsy: Set Up Your Store

how to make money selling art on etsy

Creating an Etsy store is a strategic step towards selling your art online successfully.

First, sign up for an Etsy account on their website to commence your selling journey.

Once your account is ready, proceed by setting up your store which involves several crucial elements.

  • Choose a Shop Name: Select a unique and memorable name for your Etsy shop like detailed above.
  • Create a Shop Banner and Logo: A visually appealing banner and logo can make a significant first impression.

Take special care in crafting your shop’s visual identity. Presenting your art professionally is vital, so invest time in taking high-quality photographs from various angles, ensuring your products are well-lit and clearly represented.

Bullet-point your shop’s setup process to keep track:

  • Add a profile picture that resonates with your brand.
  • Upload a custom logo and shop banner for brand consistency.
  • Craft comprehensive Shop Policies covering shipping, returns, and payments.

When listing your products, detailed descriptions are key. Incorporate relevant keywords to improve searchability, staying descriptive yet precise to catch both Etsy’s search algorithm and potential buyers’ attention. 

Providing complete information, including materials used and product dimensions, can significantly enhance the buyer experience and aid in decision-making. Convey your artistic process, the story behind each piece, or the inspiration to foster a connection with your audience.

Remember, transparency and a personal touch can distinguish your store amid the competition on Etsy.

 

How to Make Money Selling Art on Etsy: Start Marketing

social media marketing

To effectively market your Etsy art shop, it’s imperative to understand and leverage Etsy’s built-in search engine optimization (SEO).

Read about how to improve Etsy shop SEO here.

Your goal is to ensure that your Etsy listings for new products appear at the top of search results when potential buyers are looking for art like yours. Keywords are at the heart of SEO; use relevant and specific terms in your title, tags, and description.

For example, if you’re selling watercolor landscapes, incorporate phrases like “watercolor landscape painting” or “original watercolor art”.

Social media marketing is also a cornerstone of successful Etsy selling.

Use platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook to showcase your artwork and behind-the-scenes processes, which can help you build a following.

Make sure to:

  • Post regularly to keep your audience engaged.
  • Use hashtags to increase the visibility of your posts.
  • Connect your social profiles to your Etsy shop.

Your marketing strategy can also include Etsy Ads. By paying for ads, you can get your listings in front of buyers who are actively searching for art.

etsy advertising

Start with a modest budget, analyze the performance, and adjust as necessary to ensure a good return on investment.

Lastly, consider offering sales and coupons to entice buyers. A time-limited discount can create urgency, prompting customers to make a purchase.

To create a sale, go through the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the ‘Shop Manager’.
  2. Click on ‘Marketing’.
  3. Select ‘Sales and coupons’.
  4. Choose the type of discount you’d like to offer.

Remember, consistency is key. Regularly review your strategies and make adjustments to hone in on what resonates with your target audience.

Learn more In this guide on Etsy shop marketing.

 

Offer Excellent Customer Service

cusomer service

When selling art on Etsy, your success hinges not only on your creativity but also on the strength of your customer relations.

Prompt responses to inquiries signal to customers that you value their interest and time. 

By answering questions swiftly, you demonstrate professionalism and foster trust—key elements in encouraging repeat business and positive reviews.

  • Be available: Monitor your Etsy messages actively.
  • Respond quickly: Aim to reply to customer inquiries within 24 hours.
  • Provide clear and concise information.
  • Customize your responses to show genuine engagement with the customer’s needs.

Efficient communication is vital in resolving any potential issues customers might encounter.

Acting quickly can turn a challenging situation into a positive experience, reflecting well on your customer service. 

Your attentiveness can set you apart in a crowded marketplace, making your shop the go-to destination for repeat customers and advocates for your art.

Read more about how to become a successful Etsy seller.

 

How to Make Money Selling Art on Etsy: Frequently Asked Questions

how to make money selling art on etsy

In this section, you’ll find concise answers to common questions about launching and growing your art-selling venture on Etsy.

 

What are the best practices for selling art on Etsy successfully?

To thrive on Etsy, present your art professionally with high-quality, natural-light photos and ensure your Etsy store stands out. Utilize tools like the Mockup Generator for a realistic presentation of your products.

 

How much does it typically cost to start selling art on Etsy?

Starting costs for an Etsy shop are relatively low. Etsy charges a $0.20 listing fee per item, a 5% transaction fee, and a 3% + $0.25 payment processing fee. Initial setup, including materials and marketing, varies by seller.

 

Which type of art makes the most money on Etsy?

Original paintings and limited-edition prints often have higher price points and can make more money. However, the most profitable art type can vary based on trends, quality, and niche markets.

 

Examples of the most successful art sellers on Etsy

Top sellers who know how to make money selling art on Etsy, often specialize in unique, high-quality images and art pieces that cater to specific buyer interests.

A few popular and successful Etsy shops for unique art include:

 

What can you expect to earn each month selling art on Etsy?

Earnings can range widely, but successful Etsy sellers average between $43,000 and $46,000 per year. Monthly earnings will depend on factors like product type, pricing, and shop visibility.

 

What is the easiest type of art to sell on Etsy?

artist creating digital art

Printables and digital art are considered the easiest to sell due to low production costs and high demand. These categories also allow for passive income as they can be sold multiple times without additional work.

 

Is it hard to be a successful art seller on Etsy?

Success on Etsy requires dedication, market research, and a customer-focused approach. Competition is high, but by employing best practices and maintaining consistent quality, you can build a successful art business.

 

Can you sell AI art on Etsy?

Yes, you can sell AI-generated art on Etsy as long as you adhere to the platform’s guidelines, copyright laws, and disclose the nature of the artwork to potential buyers.

 

Final Thoughts on How to Make Money Selling Art on Etsy

As you can see, if you learn how to make money selling art on Etsy there is huge profit potential.

Etsy offers an excellent creative platform for new and experienced artists to show what they can do to an audience that is waiting to buy.

However, due to the large amount of competition, it isn’t always easy to get customers to your Etsy store.

Create a stunning brand that stands out, shoot great pictures of your products and spend time writing keyword rich descriptions and marketing your store.

Alongside having beautiful art to sell, these are the tasks that will help your Etsy art store get customers and sales!

 

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*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.

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