If you’re thinking about how to make money online and stumbled on my little corner of the worldwide web here then I assume that you’re also considering the option of learning a craft in order to make money.
I can also surmise that if you’re considering learning a craft as a way of making money, then you’re also contemplating ways of making said money offline as well (such as in craft fairs, vendor shows, farmer’s markets, etc.).
My plan is to share resources with you, both free and paid, that you can use get to where you’re trying to go as a business owner. Specifically, I will present you with sources of online crafting classes that you can take in order to learn a craft to make money with.
No-Cost (Yes, Free) Online Crafting Classes
Good old YouTube… If you’ve listened to the Etsy Conversations Podcast which I host, then you’ll know that quite a number of the successful Etsy sellers I have interviewed on the show have learned their crafts (crafts which are now making some of them full-time incomes) from free YouTube videos.
I fondly call it “YouTube University” 🙂
Just about any craft you desire to learn is searchable on YouTube and you can find lots of tutorial videos on there.
Are they all good for beginners…? No.
Are they all high-quality…? No.
But the good thing is that the real gems, the genuinely helpful videos and tutorials, are not at all very hard to find. And if you find a good teacher on an active channel you can sometimes even get help from them directly by commenting on their video(s) and asking your specific questions in the comments section.
YouTubers are very interactive so you’re likely to get help directly from the person who created the video or tutorial, and if not (or in addition to them), from other fellow watchers as well.
Best of all, nothing beats free.
Of course there are some disadvantages to “free” stuff. One of the main ones being that you’ll have to “patchwork” your education together. Some channels are well-organized and the videos well-curated so you have a definite starting point and a path to follow.
Unfortunately, for the most part, you’ll have to dig a bit and hop around even more to piece together all the information you’ll need to get you up and running and to get it in an order that makes sense and is most helpful for you.
I’ve done the “YouTube hop” myself to learn some crafting techniques, even for the purpose of making money with an Etsy shop of mine.
Here are some examples of crafting tutorial channels on YouTube… This isn’t a comprehensive list and I’m not vouching for all (or any) these folks. I have used some of these channels to learn some things but others I am just aware of but have not actually used to learn anything.
- Crafts By Two – These guys i.e. George and Ken, are Cricut experts and I’ve used their videos to learn how to use Inkscape to create SVG files which in turn can be used to make a whole bunch of designs on a Cricut or Silhouette machine. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then perhaps you can do a little investigating, and if you’re still trying to find a craft to learn in order to make something to sell on Etsy or elsewhere, then you should give this one a gander. I make no guarantees, but I can tell you that SVG files are a hot-selling item on Etsy and a great moneymaker too! At least, they are as of this writing 🙂
- The Useful Graphic Design Tutorials channel is another one I learned a lot from in my quest to learn the fine art of creating SVG files to sell on Etsy. In particular, their Inkscape tutorials were spot on.
- The Crafts Channel – If you’re open to trying your hands at different crafts until you find one that sticks then you can spend some time on this channel because they cover crafts all across the board. A similar channel that also offers a wide range of crafting tutorials to get the juices flowing is Fave Crafts. I haven’t used either of these channels to learn anything so far because I typically know what craft I want to learn or hone my skills in so it’s easier for me to find tutorials and videos that are more focused on those specific crafts as those will have more advanced topics.
- Other Crafting Channels:
Paid/Premium Online Crafting Classes
If you haven’t yet taken a look at CreativeLive then allow me to introduce you to this virtual Mecca of live, yes, live classes that you can join for free…! But why is it listed in the “paid/premium classes” section you ask?
Well here’s how this unique learning platform works…
If you want to watch a class while it’s being broadcasted live on-air, then it will cost you nothing… Absolutely nothing. The catch…? You have to be available to watch the live stream when it’s happening and that might not always be at a time that is convenient for you.
So how can you get access to a class of interest to you if you’re not available to watch it when it’s live…?
A-ha! That’s why I have classified this site as a paid platform for online learning.
If you miss the live stream of a class you can purchase it to watch on-demand and have unlimited access to the course and its associated materials indefinitely.
They even have a whole slew of classes specifically geared towards Etsy sellers (sellers who already have a shop up and running and a craft that they are making money with). You can check those out here.
Classes you can stream or watch on demand include:
- How to Make a Living Selling What You Make – sounds like the perfect class to sign up for if this article you’re reading right now has held your interest this long 😉
- Paper Craft Classes – if you think paper crafting is right up your alley and this is how you’d like to make money on Etsy or elsewhere
- Jewelry-Making Classes – jewelry is always popular to sell and is a good year-round niche to get into, but be sure you really know how you’ll make yours unique because selling jewelry is quite saturated
- All Other Crafting Classes – if jewelry and paper crafts are not how you envision yourself making money, then check out the other classes on this platform which include Hand-Lettering, Making Greeting Cards in Photoshop, Creating Digital Products, Intro to Calligraphy, Making Bath & Body Products, and many more.
Annie’s Catalog offers video classes in knitting, crochet, quilting, card & paper crafts, needlecraft, beading, upcycling, etc.
What I like about the classes on this site is that they get very specific, very niched-down… So if you know you can or want to crochet but don’t want to add to the sea of crocheted infinity scarves, on Annie’s Catalog you can learn very specific crafting techniques or how to make very specific crafted products that immediately put you in a smaller, less-crowded niche.
Classes like how to make…
- Wet Felt Fanciful Flowers
- Shuttle Tatting
- Swedish Weaving & Huck Embroidery
- Creating Art with Copics – Beginners Guide
- And lots more…
Now when you first land on the site it might not be as glitzy and glamorous as some of the other sites I direct you to in this article but don’t let that put you off. Remember, your goal is to find a place where you can learn a craft that will make you money.
For this online learning portal, I suggest that you look first at the downloadable tutorials they offer before you dive into the video classes. The great thing about the option of having downloadable tutorials is that if you’re not into video learning, you can simply print these out and follow along with a physical guide.
I’ll be honest… Though this site looks like it got lost in the 1980s and someone called off the “search and rescue operation” and just left it back there… Please don’t discount it right off the bat.
Hopefully, the folks who run the site will soon bring it into the 21st Century. However, regardless of all that… there are some gems on here as well.
If you’re on a budget and would like to test drive different classes before committing to one craft you can do that with one of the many free classes Craft Art Edu offers.
They offer lots of niche-ey classes so it’s easy to let your imagination run away with you because of all the possibilities. Remember to keep an open mind. If you can learn a craft well enough and you believe you can scale it such that your product sales volume can earn you a nice living then go for it.
Examples of classes you’ll see on this site include…
- Basic Bead Embroidery Stitches (free)
- Artisan Embellishment Pendant & Earrings (paid)
- Decorative Monogram Card (paid)
- Upcycling Neckties Into Bracelets (paid – downloadable tutorial) – how cool and unique would it be to sell upcycled necktie bracelets? Think about it… You can buy lots of neckties at thrift stores for next to nothing so your startup costs for materials will be minimal… I just might snag this one for myself 😉
- And many, many more…
Craft University or “CraftU” as it is fondly called all around this site is another repository of video-based online crafting classes.
Unlike the other sites mentioned in this roundup, CraftU’s classes focus solely on the crafts of quilting and sewing… And they dive really deeply into each of them.
Okay, they say they have courses on jewelry-making, beading, and crochet, but I couldn’t find them and from the looks of it, it’s not the main part of what they do. That’s okay though, because what they specialize in, they do really well 🙂
I would recommend CraftU for you only if you already know how to sew or quilt and really are looking to expand your skills set in either of these crafts so that you can offer more unique items to sell and rise above the crowds in these niches.
CraftU also offers some creative and handmade business classes which, if you want additional tips for growing a handmade sewing and/or quilting business, might be pretty useful for you. Another very unique offering is that you can take certain certification courses in these niches and become a certified instructor in some sewing techniques like Sulky, Islander Sewing, etc.
They even offer a webinar on how to grow your Etsy business.
What’s really nice about this is that, not only can you niche down, but you can also learn to earn more money from your craft by teaching these techniques to others, and in some cases, be approved to resell these companies’ products once you’re certified as an instructor.
One thing I should point out here about CraftU is that, unlike most of the other online crafting platforms that give you “lifetime access” to the courses you purchase, classes at CraftU are available to you for a limited amount of time – one (1) year from the date of purchase – so I recommend that once you buy a class you jump right in and start learning. Don’t waste time dilly-dallying.
In a way, I think that’s a good thing because you can’t afford to be lazy about learning once you pay and know that if you don’t use it you will eventually lose it.
- Learn to Knit: My First Hat and Glove Set
- Terrific Table Toppers
- DIY Leggings for Adults & Kids
- DIY T-Shirt Quilts
- And many, many more…
Before I jump into my assessment of the next two online crafting course sites, now’s a great time to say that if you haven’t yet read my side-by-side comparison of them i.e. Craftsy and Creative Bug, then you should do that… Check it out here.
Creative Bug has come quite a long way since I first discovered them. Okay, so I know aesthetics aren’t everything and I also know that first and foremost you want good quality classes, but these folks have really cleaned up quite well over the past 2-3 years.
Creative Bug works on a subscription model. Unlike the other sites I mention in this article, on this platform you pay one monthly fee and that gives you access to all the courses on the platform OR you can buy them a la carte. Whereas the other paid sites I discuss operate on an a la carte model, in that you buy each class you want individually and you’re given access to only that class.
One unique thing about Creative Bug which you might find tips the scale in their favour in your eyes, is that they’ve collaborated with JoAnn the craft supply store. Here’s how it works… If you sign up for their 1-month free trial offer, you’re able to unlock one free class and you get 30% off your total purchase of class supplies when you buy them at JoAnn.com.
Phew… That was a mouthful… So here’s a quick link to the detailed JoAnn/Creative Bug promo information page 🙂
Okay, but if you’re learning a craft so that you can make money from it, let’s face it, buying your supplies at JoAnn’s is going to kill your profit margin. You need to find real wholesale suppliers (after you’ve received your seller’s permit of course) but that’s another article for another day.
On Creative Bug you’ll find all the “regular” crafting classes, but again, if you want to set yourself apart make and sell a product that’s pretty unique, you’ll need to niche down so here are some of the more niche-ey classes you can take on this site:
- How to Make Tassel Necklaces – you can even take this skill a step further and specialize in making tassels, just tassels, for jewelry, home decor… You think it up… You make it…
- Shrinky Dink Jewelry – as I mentioned before, getting into the jewelry and accessories space is competitive but here’s a niche you can try your hands at. Research the market to see what the demand for these is first though.
- How to Make Cross-Stitch Pendants – yet another jewelry-making class, but again, this is a nice small niche that you can take on and conquer.
- Lettering & Calligraphy Classes – if writing is more your thing then you can carve out a nice living by finding your sweet spot in the decorative writing space… Think wedding and anniversary invitations, memorializing special heirlooms and keepsakes, etc.
- And of course, many more…
One thing to be aware of is that on Creative Bug, it seems that there is an underlying assumption that you already have skills in a craft so a fair amount of the classes are more for skill-building rather than beginner-level from scratch.
Okay… Last but certainly not least, is Craftsy.
I saved this one for last because, ironically, this was the first online crafting class site I found way back when I first started looking for resources like this and I feel that perhaps I talk about it more than the others, so to be fair, I decided I’d touch on it last.
As with Creative Bug, you can get crafting supplies in connection with Craftsy but on this platform, you get them right from Craftsy rather than an outside vendor.
If you already have a craft you’re well-versed in, you can get free patterns (or buy some) right on the Craftsy site as well… Bonus: you can also sell your own patterns on this site too!
Here’s a sample of classes on you can buy on Craftsy…
- Woodturning & Woodworking Classes – these can help set you up nicely in a not-so-overcrowded niche and if you pick just the right product line, you could really set yourself up to succeed
- Speaking of niches, on the podcast I’ve often said that if you can set yourself up as an “Etsy shop photographer” i.e. taking product photos for Etsy sellers, you’ll be golden. That said, a good place to start would be taking a Basic Photography Class and then go deep by taking one or more of these Product Photography Courses
- Cross-Stitch Basics & Beyond – cross-stitching is somewhat of a renaissance craft and if you can get really creative and learn how to combine this “seasoned” craft with some modern-day and trendy twists, then you could really potentially knock it out of the park (okay, I’ll be honest, I don’t really understand the reference but I’ve heard it used a lot and I think it applies here… 😉 )
- And of course… lots more courses than those mentioned here…
Other Online Learning Platforms
I think these are worth a notable mention because you can go onto them and learn some crafting skills, however, I am not giving them as much “play time” in this article simply because their primary focus is not on crafts, so for the purposes of this article, they are a bit “diluted”.
Call me a crafting snob…
These other platforms are:
- Udemy, Lynda, and SkillShare – these platforms excel when it comes to business-focused and technical courses but they each have a fair offering of crafting classes so they’re worth taking a peek at if you really can’t find anything you like or that suits your style on any of the aforementioned sites above.
Suggestions From Readers Like You!
I obviously don’t know it all… Here are suggested sites for learning crafts or honing your crafting skills from other readers like you.
Thank you so much for your suggestions… please keep them coming! 🙂
- Handmade Seller – offers both free and paid courses and for a low monthly fee – $3.99/month you can get access to all their magazines and additional training
- Brit & Co – from How To Sell at Craft Fairs to learning how to use your DSLR camera (and you’ll need to know this in order to take product photos that sell your products) there’s a nice variety of both professional business courses as well crafting classes.
And there you have it…
Now it’s your turn… I’d like to know if you found this roundup of online crafting class resources helpful.
- Do you think you’ll use any of these platforms to learn a craft so you can start using those skills to make money?
- Which of the platforms do you think will best serve your needs?
- If you’ve already used any of these platforms in the past, what was your experience? Are you now making money with what you learned?
These aren’t rhetorical questions folks… I really would love to hear from you in the comments section below.
Join the conversation and tell me your thoughts!
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