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Christmas setting with personalized mugs and a couple in the background
Ecommerce holidays

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

By on October 27th, 2021 Reading Time: 8 minutes

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

More and more people, myself included, prefer shopping for gifts online. So expanding your business or starting a whole new side-hustle selling print-on-demand products online is an idea worth pursuing. It’s an extremely 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—mugs, pillows, blankets, and wall art.

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 design comes out just right.

The wonderful world of wall art

Home is where we can come to escape from the outside world and just relax in our own zone. Many of us find it important to make our living spaces feel like home, and that’s why home decor has always been one of the best-selling gift categories. High-quality, trending wall art can also be on the pricey end of things, so you can achieve a high profit margin for this category if you play your cards right.

Wall art in an antique setting
Source: Printful

A staple category of home decor is wall art. It 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).

Lots of wall art combined
Source: VSCO via Pinterest

There are a couple of trending wall art styles that I’ve absolutely fallen in love with. They’re stylish, highly popular, and most importantly, easy to design, so do 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.

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 complementary (opposites on the color wheel) and analogous (similar hues) colors. 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 artwork 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, though, is line art, and it’s exactly what the name implies—drawings made up of one or several lines and nothing else. This type of art will be a great addition to your store, as it has increasingly gained popularity in the last couple of years

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. 

My favorite type of line art decor, however, are posters with single-line writing. If you have some favorite phrases or quotes, you can make a great poster just by writing that phrase in a single line! 

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

Line art poster with writing
Here’s my take at a line art poster with writing

Mugs: the gift that never disappoints

I have yet to set foot in a household that doesn’t have a single mug in it—they’re an essential household item that we use multiple times a day. 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 have 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 which 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 (although I prefer tea), and it’s not a joke to me. Many people can relate, especially on Mondays, so mugs with edgy and sometimes even tongue-in-cheek texts are still very popular as gifts.

Mug with printed text
Source: Printful

The softest home decor: pillows and blankets

Last on my list, pillows and blankets are a great gift idea for any grown-ups and kids alike. In this time of uncertainty caused by the pandemic, most people just want to snuggle up in their favorite blanket or rest their heads on a soft pillow after a long, hard day.

Printful blanket
Source: Printful

This spike in demand for cuddly evenings has led to massive growth in the furniture and homeware ecommerce revenue, so there hasn’t been a better time to add pillows and blankets to your store.

Stick to the basics

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

Picture of a color palette of trending colors
Source: Pantone

Like with colors, pattern trends are constantly changing, but there are some patterns that will never grow old. Among those are classic takes like floral prints, animal prints, polka dots, and others.

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 which 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.

The Design Maker

So, are you excited to try designing yet??

Designing products might seem like a daunting task, especially if you have yet to try it for the first time. I thought so too, but that was before I started working at Printful and found out about our Design Maker.

Yes, you can create designs in a program like Photoshop or its free alternatives and upload them to the product, but it turns out that you don’t need to be a photo-editing wizard to get started with designing—the Design Maker 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 from Thanksgiving to 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 too bad for 5 minutes’ worth 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 pattern design using the pattern tool. In just a few clicks, you can turn a single image or several into a pattern, but if you’re looking for an even simpler option, you can always give our free sample designs a try.

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

Getting your designs print-ready

Now that you’re familiar with the Design Maker, you might feel like going straight to designing products (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 tiptop form.

Mind the resolution

Design resolution should be treated with 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 tiny 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 which 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 increasing 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 best-seller, 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!

Source: Printful

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 it to 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 free shipping to select destinations, but 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 in the holiday season depends on your level of preparation and how many gift-worthy items you have in your catalog.

Wall art, mugs, and pillows and blankets all have the potential to attract holiday shoppers to your store.

You can make some truly extraordinary designs solely with our Design Maker: just make sure 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 that worked out for you. Good luck in preparing your store and have a great holiday season!


Daniel is a Content Marketing Specialist at Printful with a Bachelor's degree in Business and Management. Coming from an international background, he developed a passion for languages and writing, tackling anything from research articles to song lyrics.

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