verb – reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.
A great example of upcycling:-
The item that is being upcycled here is a page of text taken from an antique book. The seller has overprinted the page with an Alice in Wonderland image and quotation to create a desirable wall hanging that is proving extremely popular on ebay!
click on the images to enlarge them
As you can see, this item has sold 329 times! (7 times in the last month) That is total revenue of $3888.78
Of course, this resourceful seller didn’t stop at creating one design – here is a screenshot from Terapeak that shows their sales activity during the last month:-
The most important numbers are indicated with a red arrow:-
The time period is 31 days
Total sales = $4848.32
Items sold = 428
Not all of the seller’s designs are based on Alice in Wonderland although this is their most popular line but every item they sell is printed onto a page taken from an antique book. (Please note that the frame in the image is included for display only and is not included in the sale)
Very! but the most impressive thing for me is that the designs used to build this multi thousand dollar monthly revenue business are all based on freely available public domain images!
The seller has used copyright free images just like this one:-
This is one of John Tenniel’s original illustrations created for Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There published in 1871 (sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland 1865)
If you look back to the image at the top of this post you’ll see that they have cropped the image of Alice, added a dash of color, a handful of butterflies and a quotation (taken from chapter 5 of the same book) and voila, they now have a unique design that only they can reproduce!
Copyright protection has expired on both the book and Tenniel’s illustrations so anybody is free to use this material to create their own products for whatever purpose (including commercial) without paying a penny to do so!
As I said earlier the designs aren’t confined to Alice in Wonderland in fact, there are thousands of different niches that this idea can be applied to – if you run an ebay search for the keywords “prints on antique pages” you’ll see what I mean.
And EACH design, once created, can be sold over and over and over again.
In this business, there’s also no need to carry any inventory as you can just print off orders as they come in!
The profit margin on this business model is extremely high!
After the initial design work is done all you need is an ink jet printer, antique book and rigid envelopes.
I buy rigid envelopes (cardboard backed) in boxes of 125 for £18.85 including shipping which is $29.57 (at today’s exchange rate) which equals 23c per envelope.
You can easily source suitable antique books containing several hundred pages for $20 – say – 4c per page!
The cost of your printer ink is nominal – maybe 5c per page.
Your biggest cost is your selling fees which amount to approximately 15% on ebay and around half of this on Etsy.
Your total costs on a $10 ebay sale equal $1.82 and on a similar Etsy sale $1.07 (estimated) which leaves you with a net profit margin of well over 80%!!
This is such a profitable and exciting business model that I just had to share it with you!
I have been researching this idea for months and have decided to use what I have learned to put together a step by step guide so that you can grab a slice of this very lucrative pie for yourself!
My New Course!
My brand new course is going to teach you……..
* How to identify HOT niches to see what’s profitable and what’s in high demand. This research will pay for itself many times over because just ONE niche can provide the basis for the creation of DOZENS of products that we can create virtually for FREE and then print and sell for high profits over and over and over again!
* Where to find popular public domain art images to satisfy the demand in your hot niche(s) – These images can be modified in various ways to create some spectacularly popular products.
* Where to get and how to use FREE software to import, size and crop your images. You will also learn how to add additional images, how to add color and text – you’ll even learn advanced techniques like adding text along a path and adding a color gradient to your text – all simple to do!
* Where the best places are to source your antique books – what features to look for, what keywords to search for and the maximum price points.
* Finally, the pièce de résistance… we will print our designs onto antique book pages to create unique, one off art works that cannot be copied by anyone else.
YOU will automatically have exclusive copyrights to everything you create!
You’ll learn all this and LOTS MORE!
Competition to win my new course for FREE!
I’d like to hear your thoughts on this business model – what do you like/dislike about it, what challenges do you think it will present to you, what niches excite and interest you and all of the feedback received will be used to inform the content of the course.
To encourage your questions and comments I am going to give away free access to the course to 3 lucky readers chosen at random from everybody who leaves a comment on this post with their thoughts and/or question(s)
Your questions will be answered and your name will be added to the draw which will take place on the 28th of May with the lucky winners being announced on my blog shortly after!
So do get involved and help shape this great new course!
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I’d like to say “Thank you!” to everybody who has contributed to this post!
Please see my follow up post https://stuart-turnbull.com/ebay/upcycling-competition-winners/ for the answers to your questions plus a list of the competition winners!
I am in – this can follow so many niches – I love it. Especially with your easy style of teaching it should be a winner.
Peter Fong says
I’m extremely excited about you new project! I hope it works well for newbies and experience people alike. I look forward to your training on this business opportunity. Will it include video instructions as well?
Reg B. says
Well you got a big job of selecting a winner… I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes.
I am looking forward on this new e-book…
Have a great day…
Hi Stuart this is just ripe for your expertise,can’t wait to learn what equipment and inks will be best. Alice images are easy to find but where do the stunning Foxes etc. come from? Bri
Great idea Stuart. I’d like to use this model to create something in the automotive niche. The best part is mentally creating something from discarded materials.Glad to be on your list.
Business idea checklist:
1. Is there ready demand in an accessible marketplace? Check
2. Are there successful established suppliers? Check
3. Do finished products sell at a profitable price point? Check
4. Are raw materials readily available and cheap? Check
5. Is the production process simple and repeatable? Check
6. Are production costs low? Check
7. Are inventory costs low? Check
8. Is a good mentor / training available? Check
Hmmm, could be on to something here. Just add your own USP and stir!
Reg B. says
If you go to Etsy and look atthem for sale there is a person been selling them since 2013 and sold over 8,875
Now that awesome…
Les Durham says
From what I have read and seen on your site, it sounds very interesting, and with some thought , this could turn out to be another winner.
Hey, hay WoW Stuart,
Fantastic business possibilities and another stream of income. We appreciate your golden nuggetts and super tips, especially this one… The quotations are eye catching with the matching images. My wife is excited with creative ideas after I told her of your findings.
Stuart, doing something very good for others is well stated in all these posts. Were happy to be here….
Diz n Lyn “Lhyndizzy”
Dave Conner says
Winning a free copy would be nice, but I’m not counting on that. Please let me know when I can buy it.
This looks like a wonderful niche to add to everything else you’ve taught. I enjoy everything that deals with world history as many know we can learn from those things that have happened in the past… because they usually repeat themselves in one way or another. This particular niche can be used with almost any copyright free publication and can catch a broad audience. Learning to produce these kinds of products is intriguing because I’ve always wondered about over-printing with good quality. Keep up the great work, it’s very thoughtful to include us in your finds.
OMGosh…..Why haven’t I thought of this…..Such a cool idea. Thank you for this post and a chance to win this new course you. pick me, pick me, please.
Christine Holroyd says
I love this idea. VERY creative. I particularly enjoy the Natural History niche, but I can picture beautiful patterned papers with a Japanese flavour to them on top of the antique paper maybe with a Haiku written on, but my mind can go wild with ideas on this. Thanks for sharing and pick me! lol
Good luck to everyone in the draw.
And thanks again Stuart!
Looks great Stuart! Excited!
I have seen these prints on Ebay (there are two big sellers there) and on Etsy.
The main one as you say doing Alice in Wonderland, so it would be trying to find as popular niche and coming up with the ideas, that I would most struggle with.
One of the sellers states they use a laser printer with pigment inks for richer colours that do not fade. Will a inkjet printer be just as good or is a laser a must have?
Todd Lyons says
Sounds interesting and possibly lucrative.
I’ve actually bought a couple of similar images from etsy. I’m looking forward to your course on how to do them myself. Thanks for always sharing such great information!
I like this original business model creating exclusive prints that can be sold on ebay, the part of the course that interest me is the manipulation and colouring of the images.
I have enjoyed your previous products – and I look forward to this one!
Sounds like a great idea.
I’ve actually seen these on both Etsy and Ebay over the last few months.
Always wondered how they got the images and also the best way to print these bad boys off!
All the best
Graham Hughes says
looks like another great course you have there ! What a brilliant way to fully justify purchasing a vintage book. Now you don’t have to feel bad about throwing out the rest of the book after removing the plates. It seemed such a shame having to do that.
I’m really looking forward to gleaning from your knowledge yet again. Your other courses are very practical and above all, very doable.
Tricia C says
I have been interested in this for a while but was unsure how to produce a professional-looking product without the cost of expensive equipment. Can this be done with ordinary home printers and still give a professional finish?
Eleta Parris says
I am just starting to use your Etsy Profit Machine that I bought last December, and I think it’s going to be great. I was delayed due to family illness, but I am really getting into it now. This new one looks wonderful and very profitable. I am particularly interested in the book sourcing, but I need it all. I can hardly wait for it to come out.
I have seen hundreds of the prints on Etsy and thought it was a great idea but difficult to duplicate. I love the idea and think it would be a fantastic challenge to venture into this new niche. My main concern was how to add the images, text and color to an existing vintage print page. I think it would be a great challenge for me. I’m in.
Willy Musoke says
I am looking forward to the course as it will fit well with the Print selling model. I am however wondering whether printing on antique paper requires a very special and expensive printer?
william eagan says
stuart when will course start- and how much i am very interested. i have purchased your other course prints make profits.- sincerely william eagan
Love the idea of upcycling, Will you be covering marketing your printables on Etsy.
Got to be another hit from Stuart,
everything he does is first class and a marketer you can trust,
This program looks like a great opportunity that my children and I could do together.
I’ve purchased a lot of your content and this really reinforces that you system can work. Not that I’ve had doubt in the system. My biggest falling outs are writing my listings so that they are optimised. So that would be my question. How do I optimise my listings to reach as many possible buyers as I can? I’m a designer and can make many of these in a short period of time but I struggle with SEO and optimisation.
Thanks again. Always doing good work 🙂