I Can Make That

This is a topic that may ruffle some feathers, so I just wanted to say upfront this post is not meant to bash anyone. I’m simply curious on what other peoples thoughts are on the subject and I wanted to share my own!

I am a big lover of handmade goods. Whether it’s knitted items, jewelry, bath products – supporting indie shops and small businesses is something I find really important. That being said, I am also a gal on a budget. We are a one income household, and we have bills. Therefore, often in my browsing on Etsy and Storenvy I will come across an item and think, Hey, I can make that!. Which apparently to some crafters is the worst possible thing that can be said about their creation.

I don’t understand this line of thinking. Why is it so bad if someone wants to embrace some creativity and attempt something they’ve seen for themselves? Personally, I’d be thrilled if something I made inspired someone to make one like it! Yes, you didn’t get a sale. But, I feel if you are only creating things for the sole purpose of making money than you may want to rethink why you create in the first place. I have also heard a lot of negativity about peoples items being pinned to Pinterest, and how people shouldn’t do that. Another thing I don’t understand. Isn’t more exposure a good thing?! Yes, it may inspire others to attempt to make it on their own, but again, why is that a bad thing?

Keep in mind, I am talking about this strictly for personal use. There is a world of difference between seeing something you like and making it for yourself or a gift, or seeing something you like, making it and then attempting to SELL it. That is wrong, especially if you’ve completely copied another persons design. And, when using an item as inspiration for something you make, if you post about it I definitely think it’s courteous to provide a link to the original you used as a source of inspiration.

Here’s a personal example: Before I started making the woodland felt plushies, I scoured Etsy and Storenvy looking at different plush designs to give myself a jumping off point as I have very little sewing experience. I finally found a fox plush which I used as a basis for making my own pattern. The final plush did look quite similar to the one I’d used for inspiration. But it was intended as a gift, not as something I was making to sell. Even though I made my own pattern and mine was made of felt while the original was made of fleece, I’d still feel it’s quite wrong if I had tried to sell it since I used another plush as the basis for my own.

I guess my point with all this is what do you think? I’ve been very lucky to be a part of some great art/craft/handmade communities online, and I’ve seen mixed feelings about this subject. Some people embrace it and are all for people trying it on their own, and some people seem to think it’s the world’s biggest insult to hear that someone is attempting to make a product that they offer. I think it’s perfectly okay to try and make things for yourself or for a gift using something you saw online as inspiration (isn’t that basically the entire point of Pinterest?). I think it’s great to encourage the creativity and also to challenge yourself in making something that you think might be tough!

As this is a subject that has a lot of grey area, I’d love to hear your thoughts! But please keep in mind I am not looking for a fight. I have no problem with a differing opinion (in fact, I’d love to hear all sides!) but please don’t be a jerk about it! Disagreeing is completely okay, as long as it is done civilly. 😉

11 thoughts on “I Can Make That

  1. Shawna Miller says:

    I agree with this! People get crazy about it. But as someone who owns a million craft books and likes to learn new things, you’ve gotta start somewhere. Although getting inspired and then selling the similar inspirations is wrong in my book. I think inspiring people to be more creative and try new things is good.

  2. geekyseamstress says:

    I completely understand where you’re coming from. Part of the reason I started sewing for myself is because I saw lots of designs that I liked, but couldn’t justify spending a ton of money on. Like your fox, I never wind up with an exact duplicate. It’s more of an inspirational jumping off point. I do try to support other artists and crafters when I can, though. All that said, I completely agree that it’s only okay to do that if it’s for personal use.

  3. Jessica says:

    I’ve seen things before on Etsy that I think “Oooh I can make that” but I would never make something that looks identical to someone elses item just to sell it and to make money. But if it was for a personal gift or just for myself I think it’d be okay…Maybe the one they are selling is too expensive and making my own is cheaper! 🙂


  4. Jenn says:

    I’m with you on this. I don’t see anything wrong with seeing an item on Etsy, gaining inspiration from it, and making it yourself as long as it’s for personal use. The only time it’s unacceptable is if it’s being used to make a profit.

  5. Rain says:

    I’m totally guilty of doing this, so I have decided that I’m going to shop handmade for Christmas as much as possible this year. I have a blog post that it’s almost time to share again in preparation for the holidays. Shopping local business = more money for everyone. 🙂

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