The Best Advice for Teens Starting a Craft Business (Book Review)

Share with a friend!

Got an eco-conscious teen? Or one who loves making crafts? Then check out this amazing resource on craft business ideas for teens.

I’ve been knee-deep in entrepreneurship for a while now. Wading through different small business challenges and exploring new ideas and options.

It’s never what I thought I would do (I had visions of being a teacher or a nurse), but it’s offered me so much freedom and flexibility in my life that I couldn’t imagine another job.

Besides gratitude, the biggest thought I’ve had about entrepreneurship is I wish someone had taught me about it sooner.

Which has made it high on the list of things I want to share with my kids. As far as I’m concerned, exposing and teaching them about side gigs, side hustles, and entrepreneurship can only help set them up for success in the long run.

Woman holding a book. Another woman making something out of old jeans. Text says: The Best Advice for Teens Starting a Craft Business

I was compensated for my time reviewing Teen’s Guide to Making and Selling Upcycled Arts and Crafts: How to Start a Creative Reduce-Reuse-Recycle Side Gig by James Dillehay and writing this post. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided.

Why Teach Entrepreneurship to Teens

One of the perks of homeschooling is extra time to teach our children. We get to go beyond academics and teach values, beliefs, and skills to prepare our children for life in the real world vs passing a test.

Entrepreneurship is one of those things we get an extra opportunity to teach.

Here are some reasons it’s important to expose teens to the idea of running their own business:

  • Extra money: What kid wouldn’t mind a little extra cash? Heck, what adult wouldn’t? Running a side hustle or business can give your teen their first experience with earning money.
  • Money for the future: Whether your child is saving up for their first car or college, having a side business can help them reach their financial goals faster.
  • Develops important skills: Owning and running a business requires many skills such as budgeting, marketing, customer service, time management, problem-solving, and many more. All skills that will benefit your teen in any career they pursue.
  • Independence and leadership: When running their own business, teens can gain independence and develop leadership skills. Instead of being told what to do, they get to call the shots.
  • Fosters creativity: Entrepreneurship encourages teens to think outside the box and come up with unique ideas for products or services. It allows them to express their creativity and develop their own personal brand.
  • Confidence and self-reliance: When you know you’re not reliant on someone giving you a job and that you can go out there and financially support yourself, it can be a huge confidence boost.

Most parents encourage their teens to go out and get a job. But if you take it one step further and encourage them to start their own business, even a small one, they’ll develop a range of valuable tools and experiences they can’t get at your local coffee shop down the street.

My New Favorite Resource for Craft Business Ideas for Teens

Considering how valuable teaching your kids how to start a business is, you can imagine how excited I was to hear about the book Teen’s Guide to Making and Selling Upcycled Arts and Crafts: How to Start a Creative Reduce-Reuse-Recycle Side Gig by James Dillehay. It teaches teens (or really anyone!) how to make money selling crafts made from recycled materials.

With a crafty daughter and an eye toward steering her toward starting her own little side gig in the future I couldn’t wait to dive into this book. And spoiler alert, I was not disappointed!

Don’t want to read? Watch my review here:

About James Dillehay

The author, James Dillehay, has been writing books for over a decade about how to make money selling crafts. I was blown away by the amount of information and details he shared in the book, but after looking him up, I’m even more impressed.

He’s written 12 books, been interviewed in The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance, Family Circle, Working Mothers, Entrepreneur Radio, and HGTV’s The Carol Duvall Show, and most importantly, did all of the stuff he talks about in his book.

He doesn’t just share tips he found on Google. He teaches how he built a successful business selling handmade crafts for several years.

James Dillehay also opened his own fine crafts gift shop. So he’s had experience selling and buying handmade crafts for over 20 years.

All that experience made him the perfect person to write a book like this.

What’s Inside Teen’s Guide to Making and Selling Upcycled Crafts

So what awesomeness does James Dillehay’s 20 years of experience offer us? Here’s a breakdown of the chapters included in the book:

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Things to Make to Sell
  • Chapter 2: What a Side Hustle Might Look Like
  • Chapter 3: Setting Up to Do Business
  • Chapter 4: Preparing to Market Your Hustle
  • Chapter 5: How to Price Upcycled Art and Crafts
  • Chapter 6: Your Marketing Plan
  • Chapter 7: Crowdfunding
  • Chapter 8: Selling at Art & Craft Shows & Other Events
  • Chapter 9: SEO Tips, Search Engine Optimization
  • Chapter 10: Selling on Etsy
  • Chapter 11: E-Commerce Alternatives to Etsy
  • Chapter 12: Blogging
  • Chapter 13: Introduction to Social Media
  • Chapter 14: Facebook Best Practices
  • Chapter 15: Pinterest Best Practices
  • Chapter 16: Instagram Best Practices
  • Chapter 17: TikTok Best Practices
  • Chapter 18: Selling Wholesale
  • Chapter 19: Upcycled Arts in Public Art Programs
  • Chapter 20: Your Customer List
  • Chapter 21: The Success Pattern
  • Appendix 1: Product Photography
  • Appendix 2: Find Events
  • Appendix 3: Where to List Online Around the World
  • Appendix 4: Recycled Art Contests

When I first read the table of contents, I won’t lie, I was a little intimidated. It’s a lot of information for one book.

However, it was a quick read. The book is only 149 pages and I flew through it in a few days.

The Best Advice for Teens Starting a Craft Business (Book Review) - Craft Business Ideas for Teens

What I Thought This Book Was Going to Be About

When I first picked upTeen’s Guide to Making and Selling Upcycled Arts and Crafts and read the title, I had some ideas of what I thought the book would be about. I expected a basic rundown of how to start a business.

I figured it would focus on craft ideas, basic principles of how to get started, and maybe a chapter on social media or something. And I thought it would all be at what I call “kid level.”

The information would be more broad overview, but light on the finer details. I already know the basics of starting a business, so I didn’t expect to learn too much new information.

I had hoped for a few good nuggets to share with my daughter and maybe tips on starting in a way that would be more accessible for a teen rather than an adult.

Boy was I wrong…

Related posts:

What You’ll Actually Learn From This Book

This Teen’s Guide to Making and Selling Upcycled Arts and Crafts blew me away! It had way more information, tools, and resources than I anticipated.

The best word to describe it would be comprehensive. And when I say comprehensive, I mean it covers everything your teen needs to know about starting a craft business from the ground up.

The author has thought of every possible aspect and provided valuable insight for each one.

Throughout the book I highlighted sections, took notes, and marked so many pages to go back and reread later it wasn’t even funny. This is more than an informational book.

It’s a resource your teen can refer back to time and time again as they build their crafting business.

The Best Advice for Teens Starting a Craft Business (Book Review) - Craft Business Ideas for Teens

What I Enjoyed About This Upcycled Crafts Business Guide

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It will definitely be a re-read for me. I already let my oldest read through some of it and I plan on handing it off to my younger ones once they get old enough.

Here are my favorite parts of Teen’s Guide to Making and Selling Upcycled Arts and Crafts:

So many checklists

I know it’s Type A of me, but I love checklists. They take abstract information and turn it into easy-to-do steps.

And this book is full of them!

Almost every chapter with actions steps has checklists. This approach makes it easy for teens to stay organized and focused as they get started.

Details for success

James Dillehay shares so many little details throughout the book to help your teen sell their crafts.

He includes things like:

  • Checklists for making products stand out.
  • Creating a production logbook.
  • Product photography tips.
  • The difference between retail vs wholesale and which might be better for you.
  • And more!

A few hours on Google could tell you how to start a business. This book teaches you how to start a successful and profitable business.


I’ve probably mentioned this word 4 times already, but it’s worth its own section. This book covers so. much. information.

It might only be 149 pages, but it’s jam-packed with useful tips and resources. I appreciate that the author doesn’t waste time with fluff or filler information.

Everything he writes has a purpose and is relevant to helping your teen start their craft business.

Personal experience

The last thing I loved about Teen’s Guide to Making and Selling Upcycled Arts and Crafts is how much James Dillehay’s personal experience shines through. Throughout the book, he shares tips and information from his experience selling recycled handmade crafts.

It’s like having a mentor walk your teen through what they’ve learned works well and how to apply it to their own business. I doubt you could get much more information unless you sat down with an experienced seller and interviewed them.

Which, 100% my daughter would never do, so I’m happy to be able to hand her this book lol.

My daughter reading "Teen's Guide to Making and Selling Upcycled Arts and Crafts"

What my daughter loved about it

I started my daughter off with a few chapters and here is what she said about it so far:

  • Well-written: She used this word like 4 times so I took it as a good sign. She’s not a fan of non-fiction, so the fact that it’s an easy read is a plus.
  • Useful: She learned a ton just from the few chapters she’s read so far.
  • Good information: My daughter felt like she learned a lot about what she would need to do to start her own Etsy shop. (Chapter 10 was one of the chapters she read.)
  • The examples: The final thing she liked was the examples of other recycled craft businesses sprinkled throughout the book. They helped her see the potential of a selling handmade crafts.

What I wish it covered

As much value as James Dillehay packed into Teen’s Guide to Making and Selling Upcycled Arts and Crafts, it’s hard to find stuff to pick at. If I had one complaint it would be that it might have too much information.

If your teen is easily overwhelmed by big projects or intimidated by the idea of selling their products, this book might leave them feeling like there’s a lot to do.

My daughter falls into that category, so I plan to take have her read a few bits at a time. We’ll work through each step in small chunks so it doesn’t feel overwhelming.

As someone who has started businesses before, I love how this book walks you through everything you need to know. However, in the beginning, it doesn’t all need to be done right away.

For a teen reading the book who is brand new to entrepreneurship, it might be helpful to have parts of the book broken down into (1) what’s needed to get started, (2) how to pick up steam, and (3) taking things from side hustle to making an income.

A breakdown like that might help people feel less overwhelmed when first starting. But, honestly, if the worst thing I can say about this book is that it has too much helpful information, you know it’s a pretty fabulous resource.

The Best Advice for Teens Starting a Craft Business (Book Review) - Craft Business Ideas for Teens

Who Should Read Teen’s Guide to Making and Selling Upcycled Crafts

So who would get the most out of this wonderful resource for craft business ideas for teens? I’ve made a list!

  • Anyone looking to start a craft business. The book might have been written for teens, but I still found loads of useful information. Adults will also get a lot out of this book.
  • Teens who want to start a side hustle. The book has several craft business ideas for teens to go along with the practical tips.
  • Parents who want to teach their kids about entrepreneurship. Even with zero experience, a parent could use this book to help guide their child through starting their first business.
  • Eco-conscious folks who want to explore new ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Even if you haven’t thought about making and selling crafts before, this book has great ideas for reducing waste and trash.

Where to grab your copy

Ready to grab your own copy of Teen’s Guide to Making and Selling Upcycled Arts and Crafts, you can find it with the link below.

Want More Resources for Selling Handmade Products?

If you want more information about making money with a craft business, James Dillehay has a free resource you can check out. It’s an ebook called Blueprint for Selling Handmade Products.

It’s full of great resources and tips from top sellers to help you make more sales and more money.

You can find it here:

Woman holding a cell phone that says: Blueprint for Selling Handmade Products

Final Thoughts on Teen’s Guide to Making and Selling Upcycled Arts and Crafts

Whether you’re interested in craft business ideas for teens, teaching your child about entrepreneurship, or just tired of them asking for money every weekend, Teen’s Guide to Making and Selling Upcycled Arts and Crafts is a wonderful resource.

Even if your teen isn’t specifically interested in selling upcycled crafts, this book is a goldmine for anyone looking to start a craft business. Its step-by-step approach can help your teen go from idea to full-blown side hustle in no time.

Do you have any recommendations for craft business ideas for teens or teaching entrepreneurship? Let us know in the comments or email me at

Pin this for later!

Book on a table. Text says: How to Sell Your Handmade Crafts: Teen's Upcycled Business Guide

Share with a friend!

Leave a Comment