We have space, materials, and tools here at our MOI Labs site. There are a lot of things we could do to make crafty items on a small-scale (hundred-lot) basis. We could then market them on the internet. This is similar to the idea of collecting craft items from the community and selling them, and we probably ought to do both if we do either.
Always there is the problem that we would be selling our own time, at whatever wage, rather than building up a business that can run itself. So as much as I like these ideas, I think I can do better for society by sticking to the green chemistry business. But, perhaps there are people who need jobs for which this would be a good option.
Here are some projects we’ve toyed with.
– Picnic table and bench construction. We have lots of tools and stock wood, but would need hardware. I’ve made some custom extra-high benches for an odd table (once an air hockey table) on our back deck. This design is solid as a rock (I credit my Papa Ted for this one).
– Glitter Pinecones for Holiday decoration. We have huge pine trees in the back and they drop bushels of perfect pinecones. One year we wired them up with hooks, dipped them in the magic spar-varnish/mineral spirits mix we used to preserve our barn, and shook glitter all over them. We made about 300 and sold several on the internet. Gave more away. The varnish makes the pinecones very solid, and the glitter hardly ever comes off, unless you rub the things together. And they’re beautiful.
– Glass Icicles – very realistic – for Holiday decoration. I have the glass blowing setup and Pyrex tubing in stock. Cost is time and gases (mainly oxygen). I made quite a few – maybe 10 minutes apiece – and sold quite a few on the internet.
– Glass Candles. This is a sort of sealed terrarium concept. You put dried evergreen, flowers, mini juniper pinecones, holly berries, etc. inside a glass test-tube like a ship-in-a-bottle. You can spray-paint items gold or red or silver in advance. You give the top a pointed flame-tip and market it as a safe substitute for candles in holiday arrangements for table centerpiece or mantle. I sold a few of these at craft fairs but the internet sales never clicked. I have the glass-blowing setup and tubing in stock – these are about 20 minutes apiece, and are a little trickier than icicles.
– Sewing projects. A lot of simple ideas just needing marketing.