Do you tend to over-produce woodworking projects? People work with wood for a variety of reasons, but those who enjoy the process of creating are often left with an excess of product. It’s not a bad problem to have, but piles of finished items take up space and may even keep you from creating new things. If you are running out of space, but don’t want to stop creating, try these ideas for sharing your love of crafting with others — and for finding great homes for your finished woodworking projects.
Give the gift of handmade:
Folks spend millions every year at craft fairs and online buying handcrafted items. Help your family and friends skip the middleman by giving them your fine woodcrafts. You don’t have to wait for a special occasion, and most people are delighted to receive handcrafted pieces any time of year. Not sure who to give your woodworking projects to? Choose someone you like who also creates fine handcrafted items, they’ll recognize and appreciate the amount of work and care that went into your gift.
Sell your finished crafts:
One of the best ways to reduce your inventory of completed woodcrafts is to sell them to people who will appreciate them. By selling, you not only ensure your hard work finds a great home, you also earn some extra money for your hobby. Have an eye on some exotic hardwoods? You may be able to earn enough selling your finished woodworking projects once or twice a year to splurge on that tiger maple you’ve been eyeing. Look for craft fairs at local churches and community centers. Booth fees are typically minimal.
A single busy craft fair a year can help you pass on your finished items. Photo by: danbruell (own work) [CC BY-NC 2.0], via flickr
Donate finished items to a good cause: Every community has dozens of worthy causes that would love to receive your finished items. From donating your woodworking projects to an actual recipient, such as a toy drive for needy children, to donating to an organization, there are plenty of charities that would appreciate your help. Check with the organization first to see what their actual needs are and what they can accept. Recent changes to toy labeling laws mean some organizations can no longer accept toys for children under the age of 12. Consider the following situations, and keep an eye out for donation requests in your own neighborhood:
• Donate a finished piece to your local pet shelter for their annual silent auction
• Give to your local school; depending on what you make, items could be used in classrooms, common areas and to raise funds for trips and events
• Show your woodworking projects at the local library, then donate to a nursing home or elder care group
Barter with other crafters:
People who create handmade items generally love to buy handmade as well. Save some money and make a deal with another crafter and you’ll both come out ahead. Consider swapping your fine cutting boards with the cupcake decorator, your hand turned pens with the freelance writer or your display cases with the jewelry artisan and you’ll receive a variety of useful and beautiful items in return.
Recycle into something else:
Have a few completed woodworking projects that you began before your skills improved? Whether you’ve made changes to your style, learned some new skills or simply don’t care for a completed item, you can recycle it into something new. A coat of paint, newly turned legs or added decorative accents can make a piece that has been sitting in your workspace for ages seem new again. Consider giving your completed pieces a new look; you’ll get a fresh project challenge and you may find additional uses for the newly improved piece.
Keep your workshop clean and orderly by finding new homes for your finished projects. Photo by: Chaz (own work) [CC BY-NC 2.0], via flickr
There are many benefits to finding new homes for your finished wood crafts, from the satisfaction of seeing
a woodworking project go to a loving home to the joy of helping others. One of the nicest hidden benefits of
clearing out your finished pieces? You’ll have lots of room for new tools, new lumber and new projects!
I do woodturning as my hobby. Rather than charging for an item, I ask people to donate the cash to the local food bank. I also donate bowls, vases and Christmas ornaments to our local Habitat for Humanity Restore.
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I love making Intarsia wood art but I don’t know how to find contacts for craft shows?
can you help me find local craft show contacts, I live in Sterling Heights Michigan.
Hi Alfred. I would suggest going online and searching for craft shows in your area.
Woodworkers Guild of America
As a woodturner bowls started accumulating in our house. We had company visiting us, and without consulting me, my wife announced the institution of a new policy. Anyone visiting, had to leave by selecting a bowl and taking it home. We talked about it later, and I confessed I wasn’t entirely comfortable with her new policy…I really liked a couple of the bowls that left the house that night. She said, you hadn’t looked at any of those bowls for months…all they were doing was sitting in the house, gathering dust. Wouldn’t you really rather know that someone took it home, really treasures it, feels it’s really special, and likely thinks of you every time they use it.
It really caused a dramatic shift for me. I became much more generous, and willing to share what I’ve made. I can’t tell you how many comments I’ve gotten, even years later from friends who talk about how special that bowl is to them. They either use it frequently, or one talked about the place of honor in the house where they display it.
How can you price that?
I routinely make items to donate to my Church’s silent auction and for friends and family. A word of caution if you intend to sell anything. Doing so may void your homeowner’s insurance as it applies to your means of production. My home owner’s insurance will not cover fire, theft or liability on my detached shop building and it’s contents if I sell anything. Freebies for friends and family or donations to charity are OK so long as they don’t pay you for it.
Hi all. I was wondering if there is a way to donate money? My family and I are doing donations in someone’s name as our secret Santa gifts this year since COVID is making things difficult. My grandfather passed about a year and a half ago and he loved working with wood. I am looking to donate in his name to share it with my grandmother. Thanks in advance.
Thank you for contacting us.
Sorry for your loss. I would recommend contacting some guilds or clubs in your area. There are some great ones to donate to. I’m sure you will find some in your area.
Woodworkers Guild of America Video Membership
What a wonderful way to honor your Grandpa. I see that you first published your comment over a year ago. Hope it went well.
I cut out wood names for an organization that works as an advocate for foster kids. I do it in honor of our grandson. I do take small donations of and for wood, but mostly wanted to thank you for sharing your love❤️
A friend of mine makes small toys and other objects that he sells at his church’s craft fair each fall and the money goes to the church’s outreach projects. I have made a bunch of scrap wood toys and jig saw puzzles (for little kids – animal shapes) as a donation to grandkid’s Little League team fund raiser. It is always fun to see things used for good and supplies a break between furniture projects and honey-do projects.
My solution is to invite colleagues/friends who are interested to come to my shop and I will teach them how to build the project they would like. They learn new skills and they take their project home with them.
Yes, normally I give out my woodworking works as gifts or token to my friends
Donation to various non-profits for their fund raising events is the outlet for turnings and other small (boxes) projects that I find I have more than my family can use
Should I deduct or should I go non-profit?