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Blog / Beginner's handbook / How to Sell Art on Etsy: Tips and Tricks for Success

Beginner's handbook

How to Sell Art on Etsy: Tips and Tricks for Success

How to Sell Art on Etsy: Tips and Tricks for Success
Sandra Ķempele

By Sandra Ķempele

14 min read

Etsy has a large global community interested in unique, handmade items. This can be a great fit for artists like you looking to make a sale with your online business.

Besides selling art online, Etsy is fantastic for growing your fan base. This popular online marketplace could be like your own gallery—curated to best showcase your talent. 

Whether you need some encouragement as an artist or you’re looking for ways to make money by selling art online, keep reading to find tips on:

  • Creating an Etsy shop and finding your niche

  • Deciding on the products you’d like to sell and ways Printful can help

  • How to sell art on Etsy, promote your products, and stay competitive

How to sell art on Etsy in 7 easy steps

Getting started to sell art on Etsy is simple. But, it’s a crowded global marketplace with lots of other artists selling their artwork online. To succeed, you’ll need to be passionate about the products you’re creating, keep your audience in mind, and stay on top of trends.

As with all great journeys, they start with a single step. So, let’s get going!

1. Create an Etsy account

First off, you’ll need to set up a shop on Etsy. It’s easy to do—create an Etsy account on their website (or sign up through Google or Facebook), set up your shop location, and pick the currency. 

etsy shop preferences

Source: Etsy

Then, decide on a shop name, create your first listing, and take care of the payment methods. For this, you’ll need to set up a payment method for how you want to be paid, and a billing method for paying your Etsy fees. 

etsy listing

Source: Etsy

2. Define your target audience and research the competition

To maximize your success, tailor your offerings to a specific target audience who you think could connect with your art. Think of factors like age, location, interests, and buying habits. For example, if you create abstract minimalist paintings, you may want to target a younger audience living in bigger cities who have an interest in contemporary art and are looking for interior design pieces.

Research demand for similar products and look for opportunities to fill a gap in the market. For example, if you make art prints of vintage maps, you could target buyers searching for artwork centered around popular travel destinations and major urban centers like London, New York, or Dubai. 

etsy

Source: Etsy

Check out Etsy and other online marketplaces to see different approaches on how to sell art online and make money. Take note of popular themes, styles, and price points. Also, focus on how other artists are marketing their work. This can help you define what sets you apart and what you can do to make your shop more appealing to your target audience.

3. Decide on the products 

Deciding what kind of products to add to your inventory can seem straightforward—it’s just artwork and prints, isn’t it? To stand out, try to expand your product offering.

Think of your store items not just as individual pieces, but as a complementary range. That way you’re more likely to tap into different markets (hello, artsy t-shirt lovers!) and attract repeat customers who love your style.

Original artwork

Etsy is great for selling handmade items, including original artwork. Moreover, it’s an opportunity to show how you create your works of art and celebrate your style. 

If you’re making prints at your studio, take pictures of the printing process, the paint application, and close-up details. Showing a glimpse of the artwork production will help potential buyers see how an individual piece is made and what makes it unique. 

Posters

On Etsy, many people are on the lookout for beautiful pieces to decorate their homes or office spaces. Particularly, students and young people are often searching for affordable decor like posters to hang on the walls and spruce up their home interiors.

Learn more:

Selling prints of your work can be very profitable because you can generate repeat income from a single piece. Also, having a lower price point (versus original art) means you will likely sell more.

With print-on-demand services, it’s never been easier to design posters with your artwork. And you don’t even need your own printing equipment! You can start selling prints online using giclée printing. What is a giclée print? Simply put, it’s a high-quality digital print for a reproduction of your artwork. It’s durable and a great value compared to standard prints. 

etsy poster artist example

Source: Travel By Henry

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Canvas

Having your design on canvas instantly adds a sophisticated, artsy look. Plus, canvas wall art is a trendy interior design choice—a real statement piece that’s found in many homes. 

Learn more: Your Ultimate Guide to Canvas vs. Metal Prints

If you’re a photographer or a digital artist creating colorful, bold images, using canvas is a great product fit for your artwork. 

Etsy art listing of a painting canva print on a wall above a couch

Source: LandscapeWalls

Postcards 

Once you start noticing which designs are selling the best, it’s a good idea to highlight these to sell separately as postcards or as add-ons to other purchases. Consider putting together sets of 4 or even 8 postcards to showcase your best-selling designs. 

People who enjoy sending handwritten notes and greeting cards will be interested in getting some original postcards.

a group of cards with flowers on them

Source: LunaetNoctua

Stickers

Stickers are one of the most versatile products for artists to play around with—think custom shapes, colors, text, and more. Made from durable vinyl, this is a good product to have on offer for customers who opt for a smaller purchase before committing to getting a larger canvas.

Want to get started but looking for some sticker ideas? Check out our blog post for design inspiration.

artist stickers on etsy

Source: Muriel de Mai

Mugs

Mugs are both a beloved personal item and a great gift for all hot drink lovers. So, adding your artwork to coffee mugs could bring in customers who are keen to add a creative twist to their morning routine.

Although there are many popular mug ideas, having cheerful, original artwork is sure to be fun and uplifting!

artist mug design

Source: eightytwodesign

Apparel

T-shirts and hoodies are popular wardrobe pieces that many potential customers would be interested in. Art buffs or anyone looking for an original design would surely like to get their hands on custom clothing that stands out from the crowd. 

For inspiration, check out this hoodie with artistic patterns in bold, vibrant colors on a black background. Or if you’re into illustration, consider selling tees with your artwork like this t-shirt with original drawings inspired by the universe.

For more examples of creative custom hoodies, check out our blog post. If you’re looking to sell t-shirts instead, we’ve got you covered—browse through 50 t-shirt design ideas for every occasion.

Of course, art-inspired clothing goes beyond t-shirts and hoodies. If melting fashion and art into one is your calling, check out our guide on how to start a clothing brand.

Accessories

Accessories take up a large market share on Etsy, so it’s a good idea to tap into this market and place your design on fun everyday accessories like phone cases

We tend to spend a lot of time on our phones, so many shoppers are looking for distinct, eye-catching designs for their phone cases. If your artwork is bold and funky, check out this “always looking at u” original artwork design for inspiration.

artist phone case design example

Source: b3naqua

4. Create a Printful account and connect it to Etsy

Once you’ve decided to set up your online store on Etsy, connect it to Printful to get the most out of the vast product range. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. If you don’t already have one, set up a Printful account

  2. Go to “Connect an ecommerce platform” and select Etsy

  3. Press “Connect your Etsy store”

  4. You’ll be directed to Etsy and asked to authorize the Printful app’s access to your store; press “Allow Access”

  5. Connect your existing Printful account and start adding or syncing print-on-demand products

And that’s it! Now you can create print-on-demand products in your Printful account and they’ll be automatically added to your Etsy store as listings. 

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5. Design products

By now, you probably have some ideas about what kinds of products you’d like to sell. Now it’s time to start designing. As an artist, you might already have lots of design ideas and sketches ready, so let the fun begin! 

With Printful’s Design Maker, you can upload existing designs and create mockup images of your products. This way you’ll see how your design looks across different products like custom t-shirts, mugs, and phone cases. You can then save mockup images and ask friends, family, or social media followers for feedback on your product designs.

printful mockup generator

Source: Printful

And remember that details go a long way. Having custom packaging can increase the value of your brand, so try designing custom pack-ins, stickers, postcards, or thank you notes to give a personal touch.

6. Perfect your Etsy listings 

Etsy is a crowded marketplace, so perfecting your listings is a must for a successful Etsy shop. To increase your online visibility and capture attention, add attention-grabbing videos and product photography together with accurate listing descriptions.

Also, research relevant keywords and tags. Incorporate them in your Etsy listings to increase the chances that they’ll appear at the top of Etsy search results.

Title

When deciding on a title, include some descriptive keywords that sum up your product. If you’re selling a print of your artwork, for example, mention keywords like “art print,” “home decor,” “wall art,” or similar.  

A good title should make it easy to find and understand your product, so research keywords potential customers might use when looking for similar items.

Description

Descriptive keywords are also crucial for perfecting your listing info. The keywords you use across your listing titles, descriptions, tags, categories, and attributes are all essential when it comes to query matching, the first phase of Etsy SEO (Search Engine Optimization). 

Try adding the relevant keywords in the first couple sentences of your product description, but avoid simply naming them in a row of text. You don’t want to appear indifferent, so instead work on creating a connection with your artwork. 

Remember—a captivating and accurate description will create a positive opinion about your product. Make sure to include information about the materials, size, technique, packaging, and any extra details that make your art unique. 

For example, this artist describes the materials, printing technique, and dimensions of their art print, while also highlighting a special mention by a local design festival. 

artist poster example on etsy

Source: GosiaHerba

Product photos 

When people look for items on Etsy, the product photos are what they notice first. So high-quality images are crucial in making your artwork stand out. 

As an artist, product photography needs to be a top priority to showcase your style and make a good first impression. Neat, aesthetically pleasing images that are well-lit, in focus, and with a clear background are a must.

Try to also add images with visual cues like a cozy home interior setting. This way, potential buyers can instantly imagine how the artwork would fit into their home decor. 

Product videos

Posting a video with your listing can help capture the attention of potential buyers and keep them engaged for a longer period.

What’s more, a high-resolution video that zooms in on important details can help customers get a better sense of color, texture, and dimensions.

There’s also a visibility advantage—Etsy’s search algorithm gives priority to listings that have multiple photos and videos, making them more likely to appear in search results. 

Tags

Everything we’ve covered in this list so far can help your products rise in the search rankings. But the most important thing for Etsy SEO? Tags!

Etsy tags help buyers discover similar products through search and navigation. You can add up to 13 tags for each listing, so add keywords that are descriptive and popular among your target audience. 

For example, if you’re selling a watercolor painting of a landscape, go for keywords like “panoramic landscape,” “watercolor wall art,” and “large watercolor painting.” 

Make sure the keywords are varied and hint at the piece’s material, size, technique, subject, and use, like “rustic interior” or “dark green painting.”

giclee print exampleSource: HeliosGiclee

7. Market your Etsy store

If you want to learn how to get more sales on Etsy, have a look at the built-in Etsy marketing tools (like Etsy Ads) and optimize your listings by making the most of Etsy SEO.

Creating art-related content on social media platforms is also great for showing off your work, building a loyal customer base, and growing your audience.

Etsy Ads

To show up at the top of search results, you could use Etsy Ads, also known as promoted listings. It’s simple to set up—choose which listings to boost and decide on a budget you’re willing to set aside for promotion. 

Etsy charges anywhere between $0.20 to $0.50 per ad click. You’ll be charged only when someone makes a purchase. So, it’s a better deal to promote pricier items like original artwork or a large print, as the ad will be a smaller percentage of the cost. 

If you decide to place ads, make sure to monitor and adjust your campaign as you go. Use data to assess what’s working and what’s not, and learn from this to improve your marketing strategy.

Etsy ads

Source: Etsy

Etsy SEO 

Etsy provides a range of built-in SEO tools, like the Etsy search bar, the “related items” section, and the “shop sections” feature. Having a good understanding of Etsy SEO can help you market your shop and attract more customers. 

By researching and using relevant Etsy keywords in your product titles, tags, and descriptions, you can make your products more discoverable to potential buyers.

As with any marketing strategy, it’s important to stay up to date with the latest SEO best practices and algorithm updates. By doing so, you can ensure that your shop is optimized to perform well in Etsy search results over the long term.

Etsy Explore videos

Etsy’s Explore feature is a vibrant platform for showcasing your shop. Currently, Explore is only available to a limited audience. 

It’s simple: create videos between 2 seconds and 3 minutes long using the Etsy Seller app. These clips can be anything from glimpses of your creative process to showing off the final product.

Each video should grab attention with high-quality visuals and an engaging start. Remember, the first few seconds are crucial to keep viewers watching. Use SEO-friendly captions to boost your shop’s search presence.