Everyone loves their pets, therefore pet products are extremely marketable at craft shows, I will go over the process I use for making hand-sewn catnip toys along with other notes and some ideas for them.
My pictures are not the best as it’s 1:00 am in the morning and I only have my tablet, but they will serve the purpose needed.
To begin, you will need supplies, very basic I know but it’s always good to have a checklist.
- Felt is a good fabric to use, appealing color schemes are always a plus.
- Stuffing (I use old pillow stuffing)
- A basic hand sewing kit
- Packaging (which will be shown later)
I always like to pick out a unique theme to use, I generally do not use the same design more than three times unless it is a very good seller or my default pattern (such as square pillows with hearts).
If there is a simple pattern you guys would like me to make into a free printable please let me know! All my patterns will be available for commercial use (even the purchased ones) so you can use anything you make with them in craft shows and edit them however you like. The design I am showing in this article is a simple rice ball shape.
I start by making a simple triangle, band (or leaf) and then I cut the pieces out.
I generally use a strong blanket stitch for my cat toys to prevent the cat from being able to rip the pieces apart, you can also machine sew the pieces together before hand-stitching for decoration. Ignore the horrible stitching I did on the rice ball shown (I was being creative or something lolol)
The following two images show the steps in which I sew the rice ball.
For my packaging, I do a simple vendor style plastic pack.
You will need the following for this packaging type:
- A fat paper strip
- A plastic baggie (preferably without writing)
- A stapler
- A printed safety warning sheet(which can be found here) https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7290lEQ0qArcmdKQUk4Ql96Rm8/view?usp=sharing
- Some sort of label
Then set them up like this! <3
Some ideas for catnip toys!
- Stars and moon
- Cute shapes
- Little monsters
- Use old Christmas ornament or pincushion patterns
- Clear Silhouettes
- Quilted cat toys
- Astronauts and planets!
Tips and things ‘v’
- Never leave small or loose parts on a cat toy, cats are scary beasts who will automatically go for any loose parts that they can rip off and swallow, felt is not good when swallowed :I
- Small or loose parts includes buttons, bows, small felt decorations, or just badly sewn areas where you were being lazy and didn’t want to fully attach something.
- A ribbon can be sewn into the seam of the catnip toy but must be secure, this folded ribbon can be used to tie a string to because cats like to chase things that flail around randomly.
- Try to always include a safety warning because crazy people exist who might sue you (it’s unlikely but save your assets plz).
- Provide a variety of products and discuss what kind of crazy cat creature your buyer has, recommend toys accordingly (suggest sturdy simple toys to insane cat beasts and more intricate toys to ones that just like to lick and snuggle with it, cats that throw things up in the air might prefer a mouse, ones that just carry a “baby” around- like my cat- generally like simple shapes they can fit in their mouth easily, like rectangles).
- Experiment with different sturdy fabrics, I have noticed softer felt can look nicer and is easier to hand sew but rips easy.
- These are very simple while sitting at your booth at the craft fair you could be working on them, this is super appealing to buyers, although you won’t be charging a lot for them this will gain interest to other areas in your booth.
- I suggest charging $2.50 – $5.00 for each toy, you can adjust the price depending on complexity but remember that most people are looking for stocking stuffers- not $50 masterpieces when going to a craft fair.
- Eyecatching packaging and quantity is very appealing to buyers, having small trinkety items like cat toys in all different shapes in a big bowl on your table will bring a lot of people looking, it’s also a good conversation starter honestly because if you have a camera shaped one they’ll probably mention a friend who has a cat who also likes photography (cats can see pixels right?), engage your audience.
- Offer custom orders if you can, if someone is just coming into the craft fair offer $7.00 customs work on it until they come back around, remember that some people might not come back though so do this at your own risk, it is, however, a cool way to come up with new ideas for toys.
- I usually do three of each design I have and mix it up in a big bowl because people like variety.
- Pick attractive color schemes! Neon yellow cheetah print might be fun but it does not go with olive green.
- EFFORT – Put effort into everything you do, no matter how minor, it will show, people will compliment it, and it’s very uplifting to constantly hear how much detail and skill has been put into things you’ve made, even if it’s just a cat toy.
- As said previously in this article make sure to use a strong stitch such as a blanket stitch, and fabric that won’t fray, because animals will be using your product, and generally they are not gentle just because the toy is super pretty.