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Gift-Worthy Print-on-Demand Products to Sell This Holiday Season

Gift-Worthy Print-on-Demand Products to Sell This Holiday Season
Laura Mikelsone

By Laura Mikelsone

13 min read

At last, the holiday season is here. And while the winter holidays are indeed magical, really any holiday is the most wonderful time of the year. Holidays give us the opportunity to bond with our family and friends and show them how deep our feelings go by carefully selecting special gifts.

What does this mean? ’Tis the season to shop. Since more and more of us prefer shopping for gifts online, expanding your business or starting a side-hustle selling print-on-demand products online is an idea worth pursuing. It’s a highly effective way to establish your brand, without having to spend time on the technical side of things or investing any money upfront.

This blog post will cover products with the most potential to attract holiday shoppers to your store. And after that, I’ll introduce you to Printful’s secret weapon—the Design Maker—for designing products with ease, as well as give you some tips on making sure your designs come out just right.

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The wonderful world of wall art

We all want to make our living spaces feel like home, and that’s why home decor has always been a best-selling gift category. High-quality, trending wall art can also be on the pricey end of things, so there’s a high profit margin for this category if you play your cards right.

Wall art in an antique setting
Source: Printful

Wall art has the power to completely change the atmosphere of a room without taking up any space. You can use it to spice up your empty walls, or even to cover up some holes or other imperfections (I’m speaking from experience here, unfortunately).

eclectic interior design with geometric wall art

Source: Architectural Digest via Instagram

Here are a couple of trendy wall art styles that I’ve absolutely fallen in love with lately. They’re stylish, really popular, and most importantly, easy to design—consider trying your hand at them!

Combine shapes and colors with geometric art

Geometric art is a form of abstract art based on the use of various shapes and colors. In geometric art, a simple design can look just as stunning as a complicated, multi-layered one.

wall art depicting faces with lines

Source: Glyphs Design Studio via Pinterest

The first thing you need to do is pick your color palette. There are many ways to mix colors, but in geometric art, it’s common to choose between colors that are either complementary (opposites on the color wheel) or analogous (similar hues). Go for a set of complementary colors for a bold, stand-out look, a set of analogous colors for a more soothing vibe, or mix the two together.

Color wheel showcasing all colors
Source: Canva

Next, pick one (or several) shapes and start designing. If you’re struggling to come up with a pattern, play around with symmetry. The whole piece doesn’t have to be symmetrical, but mirroring individual shapes will help you map out a unique pattern. 

Try out the line art style

My go-to choice for wall art? Definitely line art. It’s exactly what the name implies—drawings made up of one or several lines and nothing else. It’s great because it’s uncomplicated yet makes a statement, and goes well with different vibes. This type of art has increasingly gained popularity in the last couple of years and would be a great addition to your store 

Multiple pieces are often placed together, and their minimalistic look can be paired with almost any style of decor.

Line art wall art in a homely setting
Source: Nordic Wall Decor via Pinterest

I’ve noticed that recently, the majority of line art posters depict faces and body outlines in black and white, but you can draw virtually anything in this fashion: plants, animals, architecture, you name it. 

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My favorite type of line art, however, is posters with single-line writing. If you have some favorite phrases or quotes, you can make a great poster just by choosing a cool typeface and background, and writing that phrase in a single line. 

Tip: There are plenty of hand-written fonts in our Design Maker—make sure to give them a try!

line wall art in a cozy room

Here's my take at a line art poster 

Mugs: the gift that keeps on giving

I have yet to set foot in a household that doesn’t have a single mug in it—they’re essential, and we use them multiple times a day. Plus, there’s something special about enjoying your beverage of choice in your favorite mug, which makes them a great gift idea for anyone, and a must-have for your store.

Make holiday-themed mugs

When it comes to last-minute holiday gifts, holiday-themed mugs often come to the rescue. Whether it’s Mother’s Day, Independence Day, or St. Patrick’s Day, you can tailor your mugs for any holiday to create year-round demand.

Christmas mug
Source: Printful

Tip: Making holiday designs several times a year doesn’t have to be time-consuming: learn more about quick and easy ways to design holiday mugs in the Design Maker section.

We also have Christmas, Halloween, 4th of July, and Valentine’s Day mockups that you can use to add a little extra holiday spirit to your store

Appeal to the moody morning people

You should also consider designing mugs that can be gifted at any time of year. 

There’s a running joke that people aren’t in the best mood before having their morning coffee. I’m one of those people and it’s no joke to me. Many people can relate, especially on Mondays, so mugs with edgy and sometimes even tongue-in-cheek texts are pretty popular as gifts.



Mug with printed text
Source: Printful

The softest home decor: pillows and blankets

Cozy coverings and plush pillows are a great gift idea for grown-ups and kids alike. In the cold winter months, most people just want to snuggle up with their favorite blanket or rest their heads on a soft pillow after a long, hard day.

Printful blanket
Source: Printful

Since the pandemic, there’s been massive growth in furniture and homeware ecommerce revenue, so there’s no better time to add pillows and blankets to your store. Tap into that need and offer standout designs for customers looking to gift custom couch potato gear. 

Stick to the basics

Pillows and blankets can come in solid colors or have some sort of pattern design. If you have trouble picking the right colors for your collection, consider looking at recent color trends. For example, peaceful, hushed tones are in right now, so sticking to similar shades might help these products appeal to a larger audience.

Picture of a color palette of trending colors
Source: Pantone

 

Similar to colors, pattern trends are constantly changing, but there are some patterns that’ll never grow old. Classic takes like floral prints, animal prints, polka dots, and others are evergreen.

Printful throw blanket
I designed this floral printed Throw Blanket by using Printful’s free sample designs!

Don’t stumble on these hurdles

For pillows specifically, avoid designs that need to align perfectly, like stripes or blocks. It’s very difficult to guarantee precise alignment in the production process, and even a small discrepancy can be super annoying to look at.

Blankets don’t share that problem, but be sure not to place any important parts of the design at the very edges of the print file when designing them. The edges of the design can get cut off, so keep the important details closer to the middle.

Accessories for tech lovers

Selling tech accessories is a smart move all around. One beautiful winter morning many of us will wake up to new phones, headphones, and maybe even gaming setups under the tree. It shouldn’t end there—the new gadgets need protective cases and other accessories that you can offer on your online store.

woman holding a matching phone case and headphones case

Source: @burgaofficial via Instagram

You can even create matching sets to cross-sell your products. An iPhone case would look neat paired with a matching AirPod case

Color has entered the chat

Looking into trending design themes for phone accessories, I quickly realized that colorful visuals mixed with a Y2K aesthetic are in—big time. It looks like people want colorful cases to combat the monochromatic makeup of the phone design.

colorful 90s themed phone cases

Source: Casetify

Here’s how you can approach this trend and offer phone case designs with explosive color:

  • Think about what makes us nostalgic for Y2K style—maybe it’s Lisa Frank’s iconic Day-Glo art or the vintage look of early Internet graphics? Create designs inspired by these motifs that’ll make your customers reminisce about the beginning of the century. 

  • Explore Printful’s Design Maker—it has countless patterns, backgrounds, and clipart that’ll help you create designs featuring the whole rainbow. Jazz patterns, squiggly lines, butterflies… you name it, it’s there.

phone case depicting butterflies

It took me 5 minutes to make this phone case using Printful’s Design Maker

Grant the ultimate gaming experience

No gaming setup is complete without a killer mouse pad

I’ve noticed that a lot of gamers use mouse pads with references to the gaming world or tech-inspired designs. Determine where you feel the best creatively—would you prefer drawing your own fantasy monsters or working with tech-y vector graphics? Pick your poison.

gamer mouse pad with a custom design

Source: Printful

Hot trend alert: embroidered clothing

Even though embroidery’s been around for a minute, it’s making a big comeback in the fashion world. You can definitely understand the appeal—embroidered details add a chic and polished dimension to otherwise casual clothing. 

man standing in embroidered shorts

Source: Printful

Spook’em with horrifyingly nice embroidery

Halloween, the opening act of the holiday season, is so close that you can’t escape the smell of pumpkin spice lattes everywhere you go. The occasion is a gold mine for all online sellers and embroidery can help you monetize spooky season designs to the maximum. 

The great thing about embroidery is that you can appeal to people who want to rep Halloween but not go all in with flashy designs.

embroidered sweatshirts in a pile

Source: Copper Fox 1998 via Pinterest

And there are so many possibilities with Halloween designs! Pumpkins, magic potions, black cats, ghosts, and zombies are just a few of the characters you can play with in your designs. 

For more spooky season ideas, check out our post on 12 Halloween Shirt Ideas to Creep It Real This Fall.

Cheer’em with winter holiday designs

Embroidery is versatile—you can use it for your winter holiday designs too. Choose designs that’ll look great on winter staples like beanies, sweatshirts, hoodies, and even joggers.

woman wearing a warm holiday beanie

Source: Printful

 I don’t know anyone who doesn’t own at least one holiday-themed piece. Am I right? People are always looking for holiday gear around the holidays, so it’s your chance to capture these customers.
  google trends depicting holiday clothing searches throughout the year

Source: Google Trends

 

Say more with postcards

Selling postcards during the holiday season (or any time of year) is a no-brainer. Many people add it to their gifts or just send them to loved ones that they won’t be able to see in person. Below are some of the trends for holiday card designs that I’ve noticed this year. 

Keep it simple

Not all greeting cards need to be overly complex. Minimalistic designs with simple visuals and text are often just as popular. This is especially handy for sellers who haven’t yet dabbled in complex graphic design programs—you can easily make greeting cards with Printful’s Design Maker.

different design holiday cards

Source: Printful

Add four-legged friends to the mix

In the last few years, holiday cards with animal designs have become more popular. We just love to see our animals in cute little Santa hats, don’t we? Dogs and cats are the most common for such designs, but here’s an idea to capture a specific niche: offer designs with exotic animals. I’m sure people would love to see their underrepresented pet on your online store!

holiday card designs with exotic animals

Source: Printful 

The Design Maker

So, are you excited to start designing?

Designing products might seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. I thought so too, but that was before I tookPrintful’s Design Maker for a spin.

Yes, you could create designs in a program like Photoshop or its free photoshop alternatives and upload them to the product. But with the Design Maker, you don’t need to be a photo-editing wizard to get started with designing—it has everything you need.

Printful's Design Maker
A screenshot of Printful’s Design Maker

 

For starters, check out the Quick Design options. There are many themes to pick from including holidays (like Thanksgiving and Christmas), and you can create a unique product within minutes by experimenting with the images or combining them with some text.

My personal favorite feature is the extensive collection of clipart. There are thousands of funky clipart designs to choose from, and you can easily find the perfect one for any occasion using the search option. Here’s a mug that I designed using Christmas-themed clipart. Not bad for 5 minutes of work!

Christmas mug with clipart made in Design Maker
Source: Printful

You can also use the clipart or any other images to create a fun pattern design using the pattern tool. In just a few clicks, you can turn a single image (or several) into an original pattern. 

You can also use the new Background fill tool. I personally love it—you can fill the design with solid colors, graphics, patterns, or even images. It has backgrounds for every occasion, including different holidays.

Last but not least, you can make use of over 80 million ready-for-design images from the Premium Images database. Just find a picture you like, see how it looks on your product, and make it come to life for just a buck extra.

Getting your designs print-ready

Now that you’re familiar with the Design Maker, you might feel like going straight to designing products (and I don’t blame you). However, there are certain tips that you need to keep in mind when making your designs so they come out in a tip-top form.

Mind the resolution

Design resolution should be treated with the utmost importance, as it has a direct impact on the quality of your products. When you add an image to your product, its print quality (dots-per-inch) shows up next to the image in the design tab.

For most Printful products the recommended DPI is 150, but for paper products, our suggested resolution is 300 DPI and above.

To help you understand the difference between low and high DPI, take a look at the penguins below. Sticking to the recommended DPI will make sure your product prints look like the penguin on the right, and not like the penguin on the left:

Be careful with the details

I’m somewhat of a perfectionist, so I know that it’s tempting to tend to every tiny detail of your design to make it look flawless. Try not to get carried away with that, though, as those details may end up blurred on the final product if they’re too small.

Explore your existing designs

If you already have some existing designs for t-shirts or other Printful products that your customers love, you can try applying them to your other products. Adding similarly-designed products across various categories can help with cross-selling and upselling, and increase your average order value. 

When doing so, pay attention to how the texture of the product and the dimensions of the print area might affect the look of your design. Transferring your t-shirt design onto a poster could turn it into a bestseller, but the same design might not work for mugs due to the significant drop in product size. 

Find out everything you need to know about transferring t-shirt designs to wall art and other Printful products in the video below!

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Order product samples

When designing, the colors you see on your screen may slightly differ from the colors on the final product. This happens because there are 2 main color spaces: RGB (red, green, and blue) and CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). RGB is the color space that’s used to create print files, while CMYK is used for printing them, but CMYK has a narrower color spectrum than RGB.

RGB and CMYK comparison picture
An approximate preview of what our eyes can see and the colors recognized within the RGB and CMYK color spaces

If your design has colors outside of the CMYK color space, then our printing software matches those colors to the closest ones in the CMYK color space.

Comparison of RGB and CMYK colors on a photo
The original photo taken within the RGB color space is on the left. The photo on the right is the same one, converted into the CMYK color space.

This can be avoided by color matching, but a foolproof way to make sure your product comes out the way you intended is by ordering a sample product.

Every registered store owner at Printful gets 1 sample order per month of up to 3 products. The order comes with a 20% discount, and the more your store grows, the more samples and other perks you qualify for.

Now that you know what to do, go have some fun designing your own products!

Wrapping it up

Your store’s success this holiday season depends on your level of preparation and how many gift-worthy items you have in your catalog.

All the products we’ve discussed have the potential to attract holiday shoppers to your store.

 

You can make some truly extraordinary designs solely with our Design Maker—just remember to follow the print design tips.

Check out our BFCM ecommerce guide to boost your chances of success even further, and use the search bar to find answers to any questions you might have. On the off chance that you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can always contact our customer support team (just don’t tell them I sent you).

Try some of these product ideas out and let me know in the comments how it worked out for you. Good luck in preparing your store and have a great holiday season!


Read Next: Top 10 Trending Products to Sell Online

 

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By Laura Mikelsone on Oct 10, 2022

Laura Mikelsone

Laura is a Content Marketing Specialist at Printful. She speaks 5 languages and her professional passion lies in translating, copywriting, and the overall art of marketing.

Laura is a Content Marketing Specialist at Printful. She speaks 5 languages and her professional passion lies in translating, copywriting, and the overall art of marketing.