Prefabricated Art Components vs. Hand Crafted

Tree of Life Set WIP 5 - Image: © Briana Blair



Buy it already made, or make your own?

When you’re creating art, especially jewelry, it can be difficult to choose between using pre-fabricated pieces and making your own. This article will help you make the best choice for your work.

When I’m crafting, I usually like to make as much of it my own as possible. I use already made parts when I need to, but if I can make my own without added expense or too much time, I do, because it makes the item even more unique and original. Whether you use prefabricated parts or make your own is a very personal choice.

Cost is often one of the biggest factors to take into account when you’re choosing between pre-made crafting components and parts you make yourself. Let’s say you want to make some chandelier earrings. It is often cheaper to make your own base for hanging the beads with craft wire. Of course, you need to already have a wire jig. If you don’t, the cost of a jig and the wire and pliers might be more than the cost of just buying the base already made.

For things like dolls, it is often cheaper to form the hands and faces and such on your own, where you have the freedom to make each doll completely unique. Molds can be expensive, and they limit you to only making the shapes you’ve bought molds for. However, if you plan on making a large quantity of the same item, the time you save by using a mold might offset the cost of buying the molds.

Ease of production is another thing to take into account. When you buy prefabricated craft components, they’re already done and ready to go, which can save you a lot of time. Fashioning findings out of wire for your jewelry, creating wire skeletons for figures and other such things can take a lot of time, and will add to the selling cost of your item. In some cases, the convenience of premade parts is well worth it.

Adding that special touch is one reason you might take the time to create your own craft components. When you make your own findings or beads or other parts, every one is going to be unique. No two will ever be exactly the same, and that can be a great marketing point for your work. If you use premade parts that can be seen (as opposed to internal components that no one will know about) you can start to blend into the crowd of mass-produced work. When you make your own parts, you’re showing the world that you put extra time and love into the piece, and that the item will be unlike any other.

For many artists who really want to stand out from the crowd, making all their own components, or as many as possible, is the only way to go. If you don’t mind losing that unique edge and you want to be able to produce more at lower cost, buying prefabricated components would be a good choice. In the end, the decision is yours, and neither one is right or wrong.


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