3 Clever Ways to Earn Big Money With Your DIY Skills
From creating quilting tutorials to flipping furniture to making personalized masks, these crafty women found ways to earn money with their knack for DIY. Learn their secrets so you can start earning too!
How to Make Money Quilting
“When the market crashed in 2008, my husband lost his retirement savings, so I started to look for a way to make money. I was 50 and an empty nester, so I wanted to spend the next chapter of my life doing work that mattered. Quilting had always been a hobby, and when my kids gifted me with a quilting machine, my son suggested I post tutorials on YouTube. Even though I had no idea what I was doing, I decided to give it a try. My son shot the initial videos using a small video camera and edited them with basic software. To my surprise, my channel, Missouri Star Quilt Company, took off, and when I realized I could make money from ads, I was thrilled.
“My videos are geared toward beginner quilters and include tips on how to make a confetti star quilt and a disappearing four-patch weave, for example. I post one every Friday and I have 704,000 subscribers. Anyone can DIY a quilt, so I make sure everyone can follow along. When I post the videos, I don’t hide any mistakes I make. I just try again, and people like that I’m genuine. Many even reach out to tell me how healing quilting has been for them, and that’s rewarding. Plus, I make a full-time income — money that goes back into the business and toward retirement.” — Jenny Doan, 63, Hamilton, MO
How to Make Money Reselling Furniture
“I used to work as an elementary school teacher, and I’ve always been into crafts and DIY projects around the house. When my son, who has a heart defect, had to have surgery, I had to find a way to make extra money to pay the bills. A friend of mine, who knew I was good at refurbishing furniture, gave me several pieces to paint. I then set up shop on my front porch and sold them through Facebook Marketplace. I continued to flip more pieces, and eventually, in order to also support other local women business owners, I opened a storefront, Honeycomb Creative and Co., where we could all sell our furniture.
“I buy old furniture at estate sales, garage sales, the Salvation Army, and at Habitat for Humanity ReStore shops. Then before reselling, I paint them, change the hardware, switch out the backing and add new legs so they’re more sturdy. Customers also hire me to refurbish their own furniture. During the pandemic, our business has really taken off because people are at home and looking for a creative outlet. As a result, I host live virtual workshops and sell DIY kits so people can learn to repair and paint their own furniture.
“To market the business, I use social media, email, partnerships with other businesses and with Habitat for Humanity, and I host events. I love taking old furniture and making it new again, and I love that I can inspire others to do the same. The process is rewarding, relaxing and fun. I make between $100 and $500 on a piece of furniture, depending on the size and style. The money I make pays the bills, goes back into the business and pays for my home renovations.” — Dayna Oldenburg, 47, Monroe, MI
How to Make Money Selling Face Masks
“I’m a single mom of two and a writer, but in May, I was laid off from my company due to the pandemic. One of my friend’s boyfriends owns a fashion company, and he started selling masks and asked me if I would help him. I have never been into DIY or crafts, but I thought it would be a great, flexible way to make money.
“The masks come in two-ply and three-ply, have a space for a filter and they don’t fog up your glasses. I made some of the masks tie-dye and then decided it would be fun to add patches. I found a printer to help me, but I also purchased a heat press so I could do them myself. The patches can be for different holidays, health awareness days and for companies, hotels and restaurants who want their company logos. I can also add personal initials. The masks sell for $15, and I deliver and ship them.
“I started marketing the masks on my Facebook page and on Instagram (@maskmamasofla). I also attended a pop-up event at a flea market, which only cost $25 for the entire day. But a lot of business has come through word-of-mouth referrals.
“I like running this business because I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and I get to make a product people need. It’s my new creative outlet and a great stress reliever as well! I make between $500 and $700 a month — money that helps pay the bills.” — Jennifer Levey, 50, Boynton Beach, FL
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.