Print on Demand: Turning Your Paintings Into Gifts and Profit

Greeting card of sunflowers in a field, painting by Lisa Marder
Greeting card of painting, Sunflower Field, by Lisa Marder, made from Zazzle Print on Demand service. © Lisa Marder

What do you do with an inventory of paintings? Or when you sell a painting that many people have expressed interest in, so you know is one that you could have sold many times over? Apart from continuing that theme in your work as well as trying to sell the original paintings you have, there are many things you can do on a smaller, more economical scale to create opportunities to sell and promote your work.

 You may have an inventory of paintings that you don’t know what to do with, but you know that many of your close friends and family would love but can’t afford to buy (and you can’t afford to give them away). You can use that inventory to save yourself some costs on holiday, birthday, or special-event gift-giving, and simultaneously create a revenue source and marketing tool for future use. You need to spend some money to have these special items made, but it would be money you would spend on gifts, anyway, and eventually you should recoup more than you originally invested. 

With many Print on Demand services readily available, there are endless opportunities to create gift items using an image of your work. It is up to you how many of these you want to use before you feel you are crossing the line from professionalism to kitsch but here are a few good ideas for what you can do with your paintings that the people nearest and dearest to you will absolutely love, and that will make those who don’t yet know you and your work glad to have made your acquaintance!

Notecards and Greeting Cards

Notecards of your artwork can be a great source of extra income and a good way to promote yourself as an artist as well as making nice gifts. They can be sold individually or packaged as an assortment. Although much of modern communication is done by email, there is something about a handwritten notecard that is still valued and is even that much more special when the image is of an original work of art by an artist known personally to the sender or recipient.

Notecards make a particularly meaningful gift to someone who has purchased an original painting from you to let them know how much you appreciate their business and support.

Read Turn Your Paintings Into Notecards or Greeting Cards  to find out more about the professional benefits of creating notecards from images of your paintings and how to go about this process. 

Calendars

Although many people use their mobile phones and computers for their daily calendars, the printed calendar with images is still a popular item to have readily accessible in the home or office, and is a common marketing tool for many nonprofit organizations. Also, calendars of images of paintings of famous artists make popular gifts, so why not a calendar of your own paintings? 

If you are making a limited set for family, you can also add important dates - birthdays, anniversaries, etc. as helpful reminders of meaningful events.

Magnets, Bags, T-Shirts, Keychains, Aprons, and More

From Print on Demand sites such as Zazzle.com, the merchandising opportunities are vast. You can make as few or as many of an item as you want, so you can tailor your gifts to the recipient - a t-shirt for your nephew, a tote bag for your mom, magnets for hostess gifts and thank you gifts.

 

Giclee Prints

A giclee print is a special high-quality type of inkjet print in which the inks are made from pigments rather than dyes. The prints are made on an archival surface such as an acid-free paper or canvas from a high quality reproduction of your original image by scanning or digital photograph. You can make the reproduction any size you want. When printed on canvas, giclee prints can often look very much like the original painting. 

You can print these out in a limited edition, in which case you need to number them, or you can just print them out as demand arises.

You can take your work or images to a local printing shop that does giclee printing where you can establish regular business, or order prints online at any of a number of  places like iPrintfromHome.com, Fine Art America, or Fine Print Imaging, to name just a few, or invest in your own giclee printer if you have the space and want to get into the requirements and particularities of printing.

 

Also read:

Making Giclee or Art Prints 

Selling and Marketing Your Giclee Prints 

10 Best GIclee Print Firms, May 2015 

Book and/or Catalogue of Your Artwork 

Make a book or catalogue of your paintings to give to relatives, friends, and collectors, as well as to have available to sell. You can make it as basic or as complete as you want, depending on your purposes. It can be a retrospective for your family, friends, and posterity, including paintings from the beginning of your career, or it might include just your newest paintings from the last year to show galleries and collectors. Include a biography and an introduction by someone who knows your work well. Also make sure your images are of high quality and that you have reviewed the manuscript thoroughly for grammar and spelling errors since you are solely responsible for the content.

Many artists use Blurb.com, Lulu.com, or Bookbaby.com to self publish a book of their artwork. 

A Note About Copyright 

According to the Art Law Journal, as the creator of the original work, the artist has the exclusive right to reproduce, modify, and distribute copies of the original work of art "in any fixed form, a digital copy or a printed one." (1)

Further Reading

Turning Your Kids Artwork Into Gifts  

How to Merchandise Your Art: Expert Advice 

Print on Demand: A Primer for Artists, from The Abundant Artist

How to Photograph Paintings Using a Digital SLR Camera

How to Photograph Paintings Using a Compact Point and Shoot Camera

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REFERENCES

1. Schlackman, Steve, Creator or Buyer: Who Really Owns the Art?, Art Law Journal,  http://artlawjournal.com/visual-art-ownership/, accessed 10/25/16.

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Your Citation
Marder, Lisa. "Print on Demand: Turning Your Paintings Into Gifts and Profit." ThoughtCo, Oct. 25, 2016, thoughtco.com/your-paintings-as-gifts-and-profit-4106099. Marder, Lisa. (2016, October 25). Print on Demand: Turning Your Paintings Into Gifts and Profit. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/your-paintings-as-gifts-and-profit-4106099 Marder, Lisa. "Print on Demand: Turning Your Paintings Into Gifts and Profit." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/your-paintings-as-gifts-and-profit-4106099 (accessed November 17, 2017).