If you are thinking of selling your art as prints or downloadable PDFs on Etsy.com, you should consider how exactly you want to go about it before beginning.
There are many ways to sell art on Etsy, whether you’re selling the true original painting, a copy, a graphic design print, or a digital PDF or file, and you do have a lot of things to consider.
For example, are you printing, packing, and shipping them yourself? Or are you hiring a company to do it for you?
If you do it yourself, will you be able to work full time to meet potential demands?
If you don’t know the answers to many of these questions, maybe we can help you out in this article.
Is it a Good Idea to Start an Etsy Store With Printables?
Let’s start with the “Why” in this topic. Why should you sell Etsy prints or printables?
Well, Etsy printables and downloads are incredibly popular! In fact, arts and digital downloads are one of the top-selling categories on the whole site!
There are many stores that have had great success creating instant downloads or PDFs of their designs, stationary, images, and other printable pieces online.
Not only that, but Etsy printable and instant download items don’t require any inventory. You never run out of stock and can spend your time on your computer or tablet designing new ones!
As long as the files are working and don’t have bugs or issues for your customers, you can pretty much leave your design alone and let others buy and download to their heart’s content!
If you do decide to sell prints that you ship to customers’ houses as well, you may want to consider using a service or manufacturer to help you out!
Printing At Home & Paper Quality
If you do decide to print at home and use your own home office to print and package your stuff, consider the paper quality and printing materials you’re using to do so.
For example, no regular printer is going to get the quality across that your shop deserves to show its customers.
Furthermore, any low-quality paper isn’t going to hold up to travel, bending, or anything that might rustle it around before it reaches your client.
It should still be strong when your client or customer gets it, too, in case they want to frame it and mess around with it.
If you’re curious about what kind of printer, paper, ink, or materials to purchase, consider going to a store such as Staples, Best Buy, or any other major store of the like and get good ideas from them.
You want to make sure that you don’t make any mistakes – otherwise, your star-ratings and customer complaints will reflect that early on and stunt your business’ growth.
Here’s How You Get Started the Easy Way:
If you are an artist who is interested in selling your art, prints, designs, or creations on Etsy, you’re in luck!
Even with thousands of shops that sell all similar products and objects, there is still a huge demand for art prints and downloads on Etsy.
There are many shops who do everything by hand on their own and have a lot of steps that go between design and customer, but there are a few easier ways to go about getting started:
Hiring A Manufacturer Partner
If you’re not able to, don’t have the time, or can’t afford to print and ship everything yourself, hiring a printing manufacturer is the next way to go!
There are so many businesses out there that print and ship your items for you, sending them to customers on-demand. This means you won’t have to have a huge inventory running out of your home, and you’ll never have too many products since on-demand printing is done whenever a purchase is made.
For more detailed information on how to use a third-party Manufacturer for shipping and printing your items, you have to check out our article, Does Etsy Print for You (On-Demand)? 6 Facts to Know
This also means that you won’t have to invest in ink, printers, paper, cardstock (for protecting the image or print), or silicon sleeves to ship them in.
Popular third-party printers:
These manufacturers give you a price for what your item will cost (whether it is a 5×7 design or a mug with a cute cat drawing on it) and how much shipping will add to that price.
Etsy sellers take those numbers and then tailor their Etsy prices to cost enough to fill that need so that they can still make a profit.
Once you do, those companies take care of the rest, printing and shipping it on your behalf!
(Note: see reference links below for all links to Etsy shops and Print-on-demand manufacturers)
The Easiest Way
The absolute easiest way is to create digital downloads of your designs or images.
Instead of having to print products yourself or enlist the help of a third-party manufacturer, you can simply post the digital file to your Etsy shop and watch the sales roll in.
Many shops that create planner pages, fonts, small cartoon designs, or digital stamp designs simply post their designs with a price (usually between $12-$29), and the customer has access to the digital download.
The download never runs out in most cases, so the customer doesn’t have to purchase the design again. Furthermore, customers are able to purchase many different designs and keep the files forever!
If the download does expire, the customer would only need to buy it again if they completely lost all access to their files after purchase – so buying twice is unlikely.
This is a super-easy way to sell art and prints online without having to do any work yourself. Even better, you get to keep all the proceeds, and you don’t have to pay a manufacturer to print and ship your products out to customers after every purchase.
7 Print-on-Demand Partners to Check Out:
There are so many online printing options to choose from.
Each one has a different fulfillment of needs, pricing, materials, audience, and requirements that you should look into and take into account when you consider using them.
We’ve listed some of the most-talked-about and popular print options out there on the market right now:
- Lulu Xpress
(see reference list for links to all sites)
Having a third-party manufacturer that you trust, is fast and efficient is crucial to the success of your print-on-demand Etsy shop.
If your supplier isn’t working as hard as you are, you need to make sure you find someone who will.
Late packages are going to earn you lower reviews and angry comments, so make sure you test out all products, shipping, and handling with each manufacturer you like before making a decision.
Most Popular Sites
Of the top printing companies, Printful, Gooten, and Printify is the most-used by Etsy sellers.
These companies are used to on-demand sales from Etsy and have been working with shops for a long time.
They have great reviews, are quick, easy, and generally have good pricing. However, if you want to branch out from these common sites, you need to make sure you are doing your research and perhaps speak to a customer service representative.
If you aren’t looking into that beforehand, you may run into problems printing for your Etsy shop – not all print-on-demand sites out there are set up for Etsy like the sites we listed are.
Furthermore, these sites are good at linking your Etsy sales directly to their print requirements and getting things sent out immediately.
Other sites require manual ordering.
Specific Materials & Product Sites
Almost all print-on-demand sites will have products that range from basic paper prints for art to clothing, mugs, pillows, coasters, bags, backpacks, and more!
Whatever you need printing, they will usually have it.
However, that’s not always the case. Sites like Lulu Xpress is solely for stationary and book printing, including comic books, magazines, and calendars.
This isn’t a bad thing if your shop is dedicated to your comic art, creating calendars, or if you have a book you’d like to sell to fans and readers.
Just make sure that you know exactly what all products each website has before you decide to make it your primary manufacturer.
Sites Great for Clothing
T-Pop, Teelaunch, and Custom Cat are three other great sites for clothing and T-shirt customization if you’re looking to get something printed from your store.
They print and ship on-demand after you place an order with them, and they have it packaged and sent to the customer per your request.
While other sites like Printful have options to connect your Etsy sales to their site directly, some require manual ordering and saved designs on your profile in order to get your products out quickly.
How Popular is Print-on-Demand on Etsy?
Print-on-demand is one of the most popular ways to get your art, printables, or custom items!
While there are shops on Etsy that have their printables stored as inventory, most work through a third-party manufacturer or simply print-on-demand once a customer has made a purchase.
This is a great way to prevent clutter in your home office and to make sure that your product is high-quality. Sometimes you need really heavy-duty machines to make the prints you want to look as fantastic as they do in your shop photos.
If that’s the case, you’ll need to partner with a manufacturer, or else learn to do it yourself.
Popular Shops that Print-on-Demand:
There are hundreds of amazing Print-on-Demand shops on the Etsy site, but we don’t have time for them all.
Instead, we looked at popular shops that have over 15,000+ sales to their name and offer both print-on-demand and digital download products.
Here are a few that you should check out:
Just by taking a quick look at these shops, you start to see how much time, effort, and talent go into creating these amazing products.
Even their product listings are done in such a way that they emphasize the gorgeous creations they are offering in different varieties, styles, and customization.
Once you have gotten your own style and brand down pat, you will be able to come up with amazing product listings of your own!
(Note: we are not endorsed by Etsy or any of its shops, which would influence using these shops as examples. Instead, these are family-friendly shops that we thought would be good examples to show you in this article!)
How to Get Started:
Getting started as a print-on-demand shop on Etsy is all about knowing what your product is and how the end result should look and get made.
For example, T-shirt print shops are going to require different things than a shop that only prints small digital art. If you are going to handle clothing, you will require much more in the way of measurements and materials.
Alternatively, some shops will sell mugs, stickers, bags, or other accessories. These items (like all items) will need to be tested and shipped to yourself to make sure the end product is accurate to what you are advertising.
Here are a few steps to help you get started:
- Settle on a product or design (art prints, T-shirts, mugs, etc.)
- Ask yourself if you are printing it yourself, or if you need help
- Research printing (if on your own) and get the materials you need
- Research third-party printing (if using help) and test-print any and ALL products first
- Test print AGAIN if it doesn’t come out right
- Collect measurements & lists of materials (paint, ink, cloth, paper, etc.)
- Draft product descriptions with all materials, measurements, etc. included.
- Take AMAZING photos! (or use photoshop to create replicas of your product’s end result.
Once you’ve completed these steps, consider beta-testing your products and shop on family and friends.
If anything is off, wrong, or confusing to friends and family, make changes!
Furthermore, if you need help – get help!
Shops are hard to manage alone, especially if you have so many moving parts.
Once you’ve done all of this, consider yourself ready to go!
What Are the Most Popular Types of Printable Products?
There are so many different kinds of products that you can print – it is quite overwhelming!
Don’t try to sell all kinds of products when you’re first starting out. Instead, pick something you are comfortable working with for the foreseeable future and items that do well to accentuate your designs.
Once you’ve nailed that first product, move on to new things!
Here is a list of the most popular types of printable products:
- Stickers & Patches
- Greeting Cards
- Business Cards
- Canvas Art
- Digital Paintings
- Clothing (T-Shirts, Sweaters, Hoodies, etc.)
- Tote Bags
- Phone Cases
and many, many more!
To learn more about the popular items on sale right now, consider checking out Etsy and those popular shops we’ve listed above!
What Other Places Should I Consider for Selling Printables?
Shopify is one of the other top-selling sites for printables.
They even have their own on-demand services that they offer to shops who are looking to partner up.
You can also sell items on sites like Wix and Squarespace! (see reference links below)
As long as you are researching beforehand, many sites and programs are great for selling your art!
Just don’t forget to get the word out to your social media platforms and update fans and customers when you change platforms or choose one to sell your stuff!