Making money as a blacksmith is something that’s more possible than ever nowadays. A few decades ago, you would have needed to become a blacksmith’s apprentice for a few years, getting paid a relatively low wage before getting the chance to open up your own shop.
Even then, blacksmiths – while an important part of the local town – was far by the wealthiest job out there. However, it was good, steady, honest work. However, everything’s changed now that we’re in the 21st century.
The idea of being a local blacksmith in your small town is vanishing evermore by the year. Instead, with more people living in big cities – where the idea of going to your neighboring blacksmith is not realistic – most people now shop online for their custom metalwork needs.
What this means is that its easier than ever for budding beginner blacksmiths to start making things that people want to buy and that are fun to make! With online platforms, such as Etsy, beginner blacksmiths can easily make a part-time income that surpasses what you would have made working as a traditional blacksmith apprentice or journeyman.
In many cases, if you can make something that people want to buy, you can quite realistically make a six-figure net income selling your metalwork online.
Of course, this takes time. You can’t just do it overnight. However, with some effort, hard work, and the willingness to put yourself out there, 2021 is the perfect time for you to start your own online blacksmithing shop.
Of course, coming up with ideas isn’t necessarily easy. That’s why were going to show you ten beginner blacksmithing projects that sell incredibly well and are simple enough for beginner blacksmiths to start within a week.
So Where Do You Sell Your Products To Make Money?
Before I get started on the actual things you can make, I just want to make a note about where you might want to sell your products. There are plenty of places where you can sell your blacksmithing projects, but I always recommend Etsy. There are benefits and disadvantages, of course, but I know plenty of blacksmiths and metalworkers that have made a full-time income running a part-time blacksmithing operation with Etsy as their main marketplace.
In many ways, this is the exact opposite of traditional advice you’ll often hear around forums and older blacksmiths. The “old” way of putting yourself out there meant going to trade shows, setting up a stall, or going to various events and trying to show off your work this way. As you’d imagine, there are all sorts of problems with this approach.
The main issue is that you need to be there physically, which greatly limits your maximum potential exposure to clients.
Instead, online platforms like Etsy are filled with millions of potential customers every day, many of which are more than willing to look at new items they weren’t considering before if it looks well and is well-reviewed.
Again, while this sounds great, I do want to re-emphasize that it’s going to time some time before you get to the point where you’re making a five-to-six figure online business. If you want to make a large, full-time income, expect 12-24 months of steady growth on any platform before you start making it big.
When you start off, expect to make a small side-income as you grow your customer base and win positive reviews from those that love your products!
What to Sell?
One of my favorite blacksmithing projects that sell incredibly well is rings. Now, if you go on Etsy, you’ll find many different types of rings on the market. Some of them are incredibly elaborate and sophisticated, far beyond the skill level of most beginner blacksmiths.
However, you don’t need to do anything this complicated.
In fact, there are many different types of rings that sell incredibly well; some of them remarkably minimalistic. For example, let’s take a look at one of my favorite examples on Etsy, as well as one of my favorite blacksmiths on the site;
Look at this minimalistic titanium ring being sold by Riverdale Ironworks. This ring isn’t anything super complicated. It’s not overly elaborate with crazy, intricate parts. For the most part, it’s a relatively basic metal band.
Of course, it’s a high-quality band, and someone certainly put a lot of work into it in order to be able to sell it for over $200 per ring! However, the point I’m trying to make is that there’s a strong demand for even more minimalistic styles of jewelry, which is great news for beginner blacksmiths that might not have the raw skill level to make something more elaborate and intricate.
Not to mention the fact that, at a price point of around $200 per ring, assuming three-quarters of that is profit, you’re looking to make a pretty solid $150 for what could be around three to four hours of work, maybe less. Once you get the hang of it, it wouldn’t be surprising if you can make this type of ring even more quickly.
Of course, there are examples of similar rings that sell for even more on Etsy. You’d be shocked at just how much some people are willing to pay!
Some people might look at all the different competitors out there on platforms like Etsy already and think its simply too crowded for them. However, it’s actually not necessarily the case.
For one, plenty of competition is a good sign. It means there’s significant demand for this area. It also means that many other people are making money from selling these types of products.
As such, you don’t need to be the best or second-best in your niche in order to make a profit. In comparison, if you’re competing in an extremely narrow niche, where there’s only a handful of people making these types of items, demand is already fairly small. As such, you might not be able to break into this new market if your skills aren’t up to snuff.
Again, if you’re a serious blacksmith that knows what he’s doing, then go ahead. However, for the beginner blacksmith that’s looking to broaden his or her skillset while selling his handiwork, sticking to areas where there’s a lot of demand is the best approach.
It will also be the guiding philosophy for the remaining nine best blacksmithing projects that sell well.
Continuing on with the jewelry motif – which I’m doing for a good reason – necklaces are also quite similar to rings.
Just as there are many different types of rings, some more intricate and elaborate and others more minimalistic, there are also quite a few different types of necklaces out there that have strong consumer demand.
You’d be surprised at just how simple some of these can be for beginner blacksmiths to produce, provided they have a basic understanding of jewelry-crafting.
This basic, iron necklace from SteelToeStudios is an excellent example of what I’m talking about.
Of course, the challenge with making something like this is that you’re going to be working with a particularly small object. Unlike forging a knife or a sword, which is larger and fits on a traditional anvil, forging something small like this requires a delicate hand and some more specialized equipment.
However, it’s still very much within reach of the average beginner blacksmith looking for a project that sells well.
Most jewelry-style necklaces also cater towards women rather than men, so you’re going to have to take that into consideration when you’re making these things. However, there’s one particular type of “necklace” – if you can call it that – that has significantly more demand from men as well.
Let’s get to that now;
3. Icons and Symbols
Have you thought about making a Christian Cross? Well, that’s just one example of the type of icons and symbols that beginner blacksmiths can make and see a remarkable profit on.
When it comes to spiritual and religious beliefs, people are often willing to pay out significantly more for something that’s custom and man-made rather than a cheap trinket you can buy from your local dollar store. This is even more true for people who practice less mainstream spiritual beliefs.
Think of someone who’s a pagan or a wiccan. These are markets that might be a tad more specialized than catering to a mainstream spiritual or religion, like Christianity or Islam, but still have a lot of demand. However, that’s not to say that you can’t produce symbols for any religion that has a reasonable amount of demand for it.
The reason I say this, however, is that you can charge significant amounts for high-quality symbols, such as a necklace of Thor’s hammer, for example.
In terms of jewelry, that pretty much sums it up. Let’s move onto something a bit more exciting.
Yes, you guessed it, you can make a lot of money selling custom made knives as a blacksmith.
However, it’s not something I necessarily recommend all beginners to do.
Unlike jewelry, where a minimalistic style is often preferred, knifemaking tends to be more intricate. You’ll find all sorts of elaborate knives of various styles that are competing for attention. At the same time, people don’t necessarily buy tons of knives.
Although there definitely are plenty of knife-enthusiasts out there spending thousands on high-end knives, and I can definitely relate with them. However, once a regular person has one or two, high-end knives, they tend not to buy that many more.
Again, knives are primarily bought by men. Jewelry, on the other hand, is more commonly bought by women, and buying multiple different types of rings tends to be more common.
That’s not to necessarily discourage any prospective knifemakers out there. I understand it might seem that way. Let me make myself clear. If you want to sell knives, and you are willing to put in the work to become good at it, you can make a very large sum of money doing so.
It’s just that it might take more work than some of the other items mentioned on this list.
Additionally, making a high-quality knife also will commonly involve making the sheath as well. Depending on what you’re planning to do, this could mean needing to learn some leatherworking skills as well.
It’s up to you, but if you’re a relative beginner, knifemaking might not be the first area I’d check out.
If we were going to dive into the area of weaponry, I might as well mention axes as well.
My thoughts on axes are similar to what I mentioned when I wrote about knives. You can make a lot of money selling axes, but they require a significant amount of skill to make something that will sell reasonably well.https://amzn.to/3kGVxl9
However, there are a few reasons why I’m a bit more willing to recommend axe smithing to beginner blacksmiths over knife smithing, especially if you’re trying to make something that will sell.
For one, axes are bigger than knives. This might seem like it’s more work, but it doesn’t need to be. Axe heads, being bigger, means you can use a regular anvil and hammer to do your work, rather than requiring smaller, more intricate tools to make sure your knife comes out alright.
Axes tend to be less intricate than knives, for example. Where most consumers want to have an elaborate, special knife with all sorts of markings and engravings on it, axes can get away with a more minimalistic approach.
Throwing axes, for example, don’t need to be super crazy. They can be simple, and as long as they work, they will sell reasonably well. Of course, I’m just using this as an example since throwing axes need to be crafted extremely carefully for aerodynamic and weight reasons.
Axes are slightly less competitive than knives, which is worth mentioning. Whereas everyone and their grandfather thinks about selling knives, making and selling axes is a bit rarer.
Besides axes and knives, I can keep going with hammers, arrowheads, and all sorts of other things that blacksmiths can create. However, I think you get the general concept.
Besides, I want to go back to something that’s a bit more promising for beginners.
6. Pots and Pans
Didn’t expect me to go in this direction, did you? Cooking sets, mainly pots and pans, can be incredibly lucrative for beginner blacksmiths that sell online.
Not only do custom pots and pans sell for reasonably high prices, especially if you have a unique style that sets you apart from the competition. At the same time, pots and pans aren’t anywhere as demanding in terms of skill as knifemaking.
You can make a relatively simple frying pan that sells for a reasonable amount of money, especially if it has a unique style, as I just said.
In terms of blacksmithing projects for beginners, I’ve recommended pots and pans before. They aren’t really that complicated to make, nor do they take all that much time, either.
The biggest problem for pots and pans, as well as cooking utensils in general, is the fact that people are going to use in contact with food. This means whatever you’re using for your work needs to be safe to be ingested.
This also means you need to be careful as to what type of metal you use when you’re making these things. Certain metals, such as galvanized steel scrap lying around, can be potentially dangerous when repeatedly heated up. On the other hand, while many blacksmiths enjoy using finishes on their projects, you need to be careful that the type of finish you use isn’t toxic either.
There definitely are some unique pros and cons with pots and pans, but it’s definitely one area that sees a lot of dedicated traffic from buyers.
7. Cooking Utensils
Cutlery such as forks and spoons can sell reasonably well, although they are not the most expensive things out there. At the same time, you have various spatulas and other cooking utensils that can be made by blacksmiths and sold online as well.
The big issue with cutlery is that it involves making many small objects, rather than simply working on one larger piece of metal and being done with it. As such, if you’re trying to sell cutlery online and want to do something a bit more fancy, it can become a little time inefficient for blacksmiths to be working on each, individual fork, spoon, and knife.
However, there’s still demand for cutlery, and you can make a solid income from selling things like spatulas as well. It’s undoubtedly something worth looking into.
Perhaps the number one most recommended project that beginner blacksmiths are told to make, it’s also not surprising to see why there’s a fair bit of demand for hooks. J hooks, S hooks, whatever the type, they are reasonably easy to make, while still selling quite well as makeshift coat hangars or mounted to a wall to hang something.
While it might not be nearly as fun as some of the other projects on this list, if you’re are a literal, complete beginner blacksmith with only a month or two of experience under your belt, starting off making tons of hooks is a pretty good way to go about improving your skill
In fact, I’d say it’s maybe the single best project for beginner blacksmiths out there.
All the basics about blacksmithing that you need to know, all the rudimentary skills you need to master, are containing within the humble hook. The fact that you can sell them online for a reasonable penny rather than just throwing them out of giving them for free should also help motivate you to become better at making them overall.
With all that being said, there are hundreds of potential products out there that you can make.
For the purpose of this article, I’ve kept to some of the more generic categories that blacksmiths should consider if they want to sell something online. However, even looking outside these broad categories, you can find all sorts of unique niches that sell remarkably well.
Of course, not every niche is as profitable or as in demand as you might originally have thought it to be, but that’s not to take away from super-niche blacksmithing projects either.
Here’s one unique example I stumbled upon while browsing Etsy. My friends have recently persuaded me to try a board game with them, Arkham Horror. Long story short, it’s a role-playing game with lots of little tokens and models and stuff like that.
While the default tokens you get out of the box do the job, they are made out of cardboard and are relatively basic. As such, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I saw blacksmiths on Etsy selling unique, metal tokens online – often for astonishing prices.
These gorgeous tokens made by LuxuryPlaystyle are handmade, solid iron and gold finish coins. As you can see, they are incredibly high quality, with thousands of people having bought these already.
You might be looking at the price tag of $7 per token as if it’s not a lot, but that’s actually quite expensive. You see, for a single board game player, you’re going to need at least 10-20 copies of this particular token, let alone the four or five other tokens out there the board game uses.
Do the math. It’s going to cost me several hundred dollars to replace my ordinary cardboard tokens with these beautiful, high-quality ones instead.
Am I going to do that? Probably not, since the game itself cost only $60 or so. However, many people already have.
This might seem like a weird little example, but I’m sharing this tidbit with you as one of the many niches out there that can make you a killing if you can become a little creative.
Ending this off, I want to just say that more than anything, you should strive to have fun while you’re working on your projects.
I know that the idea of making tons of money is appealing; with many beginner blacksmiths working on projects that sell well but they don’t really enjoy, it’s not a good idea in the long run.
If you aren’t enjoying what you’re doing, then what are the chances you’re going to make it in the long run.
That’s why you should try to at least strike a balance between making things you enjoy, and making things that sell well online. The more you turn a hobby into a job, the less you will enjoy it.
That’s also why I’ve included eight different examples for you to consider and further branch out from there. Be creative, and you’ll find there’s a fortune for blacksmiths looking to sell products online, if only they know how to find it.
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