A lot of my early product development was something I fell into because I wanted to make my house prettier and more huggable. We didn’t have much money though, so I was creative with the materials and funds we had and made my own handmade variations that filled my needs. Coming up with the best ideas for handmade products can be as simple as filling a need, or you can ask yourself questions that will help you brainstorm unique product ideas. I love the SCAMPER method since it’s close to what I did all the time, and I think it would really benefit anyone to know about it. AND to make this super helpful, I created a Handmade Product Ideas Cheatsheet that you can grab from my Free Library.
How to Never Run Out of Handmade Product Ideas Again
“What if?” It’s truly the one question that has been responsible for the greatest innovations, the biggest discoveries, and the most impossible attainments throughout history. When we ask “What if?” we are opening ourselves to inspiration, but don’t just leave it open-ended. Instead, ask “What if I…” or “What if it…” When you ask these questions, you are in the first phase of creation, so don’t let the thoughts of what’s possible or impossible, the amount of work, the amount of time, or the amount of money constrain you in this stage.
Right now you’re just imagining and anything is possible. Author Anatole France said, “To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream; not only plan but also believe.”
Too often, we look for a solution before we do the work and ask the questions.
So dream often – ask “What if…” And then write the ideas down in a sketchbook, your notes on your phone or even post-it notes. My art room door is covered with post-it notes and has an idea for a tutorial written on it.
Find the Opportunity and Create Solutions
I totally get that you may think it can be intimidating and overwhelming to start with “What if?” It can happen to me too. So thinking about the context helps alot. For instance, if I wanted to brainstorm ideas for home decor, I would begin by walking through my house.
I would try to look at my environment as a designer, an inventor, or a customer. I would try and consider what I could envision for different spaces. Are there blank walls that I could use for display or as cool shelving? Is there a dark corner that could use an overhanging lamp?
Before long, I’m looking at the rip in my jeans and thinking, “Wouldn’t some doilies patch that up nicely?” It’s an unrestrained mindset that takes you on a creative flight of fancy to places you never thought you’d go. But the impact of those flights echoes through your everyday life and is reflected in your present surroundings. Design can inspire big things through little things.
The SCAMPER Method Cheatsheet for Handmade Product Ideation
I promised you a Cheat Sheet though, and on it, you will find the SCAMPER technique for creative ideation. It’s a series of brainstorming questions that you can tweak to really any product area. These are the same questions I ask myself whenever I’m doing creative product brainstorming. So here you go – IDEATE!
The Acronym SCAMPER Stands for…
How, who, or what could you substitute that would change an idea or product you have, without really effecting the whole of it?
Are there ways to combine parts of the whole with something else that would significantly change the product or idea for the better? Can you bring together disparate elements in a pleasing or surprising way?
Is there something else you could use to create the product? Can different supplies or a different process change the result, making it better?
Modify, Minimize, or Magnify
Could you change the size – make it bigger or smaller? Could you play with people’s expectations by changing the scale of an object? For instance, make it smaller, so its function is more adaptable, portable, or impactful? Someone I know created defibrillators that are small enough to hang on a wall, making the product more accessible, affordable, and portable (saving more lives). A slightly different example is the large-scale interpretations of a blue rooster and a cherry with a spoon in a sculpture garden near us. Believe me; people look twice.
Put to Another Use
How else could you use this? Is there a way of up-cycling one product and creating another that has a more timely or valuable application? Can you look at something differently and reimagine its purpose or place? Old books that won’t be read can be used again if you turn them into a notebook, jewelry, or a shelf.
Elaborate or Eliminate
Is there a way to replace part of the creation process to make it simpler? Can part of the product be replaced to make it more effective or more impactful? It’s helpful for me to think of this as similar to the editing process.
Can you change the order of the creation process or look at the elements in a way that switches up their order? Can you reverse engineer the product? This could be as simple as leaving the seams on the outside when sewing a garment or revealing the inner workings of a product or space. Think exposed beams or shiplap. Both are elements that of the design typically covered, but if left visible, can really add to the composition of a space.
For more info about the SCAMPER METHOD check out this post at designorate. They go into it with a lot more depth and have some pretty neat graphics.
SCAMPER Away and Create Your OWN Handmade Product Ideas
So those are some quick and easy ways to ideate (my new favorite term) new handmade product ideas I hope it helps to inspire you to make your own awesome and unique handmade products. If you missed any of the other posts in this category, you could click on the Crafty Business category on my homepage.
Get Your Free Download!
Here you go! As promised, I created a free cheat sheet for imagining creative product ideas. You can download it from my Free Library to help you remember the SCAMPER process any time you need some fresh ideas. In addition, it has a ton of really cool (and free!) downloads, printables, and templates. Take a look! You can unsubscribe at any time.