Monthly Archives: October 2012

Etsy, a DIY Marketplace

Let’s take another look at a resource we introduced in our Supporting Small Businesses, Online post.

What Is It?

Etsy logoEtsy is a crafter’s dream come true, an online craft fair with artists and suppliers from around the world. Everything from handcrafted jewlery to dollhouse miniatures, from custom dresses to funky towels for your bathroom – you can find pretty much anything crafty on Etsy.

Etsy was created to help individual artists and crafters sell their work online. Etsy provides the online store and conducts the payment transactions, letting the crafters focus on making their work and shipping it to the people who buy it. Later, sellers started offering supplies like yarn, beads, fabric, patterns, and even vintage pieces for altering. It’s truly a DIY one-stop extravaganza!

Buying and Selling on Etsy

In order to buy or sell anything on Etsy, you do need to sign up for an account. Signing up is easy – just choose a username and type in your email address – and free. It’s only when you actually buy or sell anything that you need to enter credit card information or use your PayPal account. (Make sure to check out our Tips for Safe Online Shopping.)

You can find things to purchase in a few ways:

Once you’ve found something you like, read through the notes from the seller to see the details. Sometimes they need measurements to make something custom to your size, sometimes you need to let them know what colors you’d like, sometimes you need to pick and choose from a variety of pieces listed in the same place. Read everything, give them the information they need, and then you can purchase your item and enter your shipping information. The seller will ship directly to you, usually within a week for ready-made items and longer for custom work. Once you’ve gotten your item, you can leave feedback about the seller about how wonderful (or not wonderful) they are.

If you’re crafty and want to set up an Etsy shop to sell your stuff, it’s just as easy as setting up an account to buy. You can set up your store for free, then Etsy will charge you fees as you list items for sale and as people use the site to make purchases. You do need to choose what kind of payment you can accept – PayPal and credit card purchases are the easiest for your potential buyers.

How Is It Useful?

Etsy isn’t ‘just another place to buy crafts online.’ They are trying to help independent crafters and small businesses of all sorts to be part of the global marketplace, pushing their reach around the world. As Etsy’s About page says, “Etsy is the world’s handmade marketplace. Our mission is to empower people to change the way the global economy works. …We are bringing heart to commerce and making the world more fair, more sustainable, and more fun.” If how and why an item is made is important to you, then Etsy is the place to go.

Help & Resources

DIY Month at Learning for Life Online – MAKE Magazine

For the month of October, we’ll be looking at DIY – “do it yourself” – tools and resources available online. We’ll start with the biggest and best: MAKE Magazine and Instructables.

MAKE Magazine

MAKE logoMAKE Magazine is one of the best online and print magazines for handy folks. Every issue is full of suggestions for projects, from decorative pillows to a LEGO record player. Many projects are practical, and many more are just for fun. Their Halloween issue is good for decorating, snacks, costumes, and more.

MAKE also helps to organize MakerFaires around the world. MakerFaires are gatherings of makers and DIY-ers and inventors of all sorts, where you can learn the basics of building a robot, welding, or sewing your own fantastical costumes. If you’re local to Boston, check out MakerFaire Somerville on October 13th, 2012 from 3p – 7p in Union Square, Somerville. It’s a good way to get a taste of makering.

Check out everything from MAKE:

 

Instructables

Instructables logoInstructables.com is a place where anyone can share their favorite projects and the instructions on how to create it. First, explore the projects already on Instructables, including a recipe for Oreo Nutella Brownie Bites, replacing the vinyl cover on a car armrest, or making rubberband helicopters or a spin art machine! Each project or idea has step by step instructions complete with photos, going through the entire project from start to finish.

Then, if you’ve got a project you want to share, read the instructions for uploading and contributing your instructions and photos. No project is too big, too small, too silly, or too easy to share. Everyone needs new ideas and new ways of doing things, including yours.

And, of course, Instructables is currently featuring Halloween projects for house and tomb.

Next week, we’ll take another look at a few sites we introduced this time last year in the post on supporting small business online. Stay tuned…!