1800's Craft Ideas to Sell at Historical Club Fair

I am needing some ideas for craft items to make and sell. The items HAVE to be 'old time'. Our family just joined a historical club. Several times a year they have events were we can have a booth and sell our crafts.


Rules are simple-we must stick to the period, which is 1750-1900, and we have to dress the part. My daughters thought it would be fun to have a 'Little House on the Prarie' booth. But what can we make and sell? The only idea we have so far is bonnets, and possibly some gingham skirts.

This is a 3 day event usually, out at the fair grounds with around 150 booths. Schools even bus their children in for this. It happens 3 times a year. We will not have electricity, and since it has rained at the last 2 we went to, we already learned we will need a tent. The first one is next April.

My questions are:

What mid 1800's items can we make and sell that would be fairly inexpensive to the buyer?

Any booth tips?

April from Northern Missouri

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Go to sewfunpatterns.com. They have vintage sewing patterns for pillows and stuffed toys. There is one for a circus elephant which was published in Lady's Home Journal in 1905. They also have a pattern for Uncle Wiggly and Nurse Jane doll. If you like to sew this is the perfect place. For wood toys I would google historical toys...I don't think the time period for Uncle Wiggly or the elephant would be exact but the elephand does call for shoe button eyes so you might be able to use that. This sounds fascinating! Have lots of fun for me.

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I just got back from googling "toys from the 1800s" .... I was directed to about.com... You will find lots of goodies there.

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Preserves and home made candy, you can put them in the old style mason jars. Home made butter, home made fire place sweeper made of twigs(broom). Fire starter kits, Pin cushions.Aprons. If you think of the domestic life women used to have at this time,and think of the tools they would have used in the house, and produce some of these. Old stye boot remover- the piece of wood you stuck your heel into and them pulled the boot off with.

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I would make bar soap and candles since both items would be extremely common and useful in that time period. If you get stuck just look on Google for craft projects from that time period.

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I'm anxious to find out where in northern Missouri the fair is at. We are not too far away and I'd like to know where and when this Historical Club Fair is. That would be fun to go to.

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Do you know what quilling is? That was popular back then I think. It is kind of time consuming but some really pretty pictures can be made with this craft. Basically it is gluing narrow strips of paper together into designs........I know it sounds kindergarten but it is not...it is really very pretty. I am sure they could help you at the craft stores.

Of course any kind of embroidery or quilting was popular then too. Good Luck!

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cornhusk dolls are simple from that time era


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Fans would have been very popular then, here's a good example of what one would look like (http://www.1860-1960.com/z0732p0.html), and you could just have the kids draw on them instead of handpainting them.

Small purses, (google "bell purses" for examples) were the most popular - a lady didn't carry very much! They're like little pouches you could sew, knit or crochet.

Basic capes are easy to make out of polar fleece, as well. Same with muffs - knitted, crocheted or sewn.

Marbles and jack sets would be quite popular in the period as well. If you wanted something you could make your own, the "game of graces" is simply hoops and sticks.

You could also make "hopscotch kits" with a few flat stones or marbles, some chalk and directions (which you can find on the google)

Table top 9 pins would be great if you have a woodworker - super simple to make. Same with Jacobs Ladders...very popular!

Ring toss was also a popular game, except it was called quoits.

I did a girl scout project on the period years and years ago, so I hope all this helps you! Feel free to message me if you have any more questions.

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How about candles?

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tell us where in MO it will be I live in

Northern MO also and this sounds like a fun

thing. I love to go to craft fairs and things.

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It is in Lathrop MO.

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Don't forget that they also pressed flowers, leaves, and ferns, then made pictures, stationery, and notecards with them designed and glued onto the papers, trimmed in doilie paper, or stuck them beneath picture frame glass and made pictures, often hung by slim chain loops or wide ribbons and a bow. Fans were sometimes made of feathers.

They made/carved soap, decorated hand mirrors, glued string to bottles, pierced tin, cloth-covered tin cans tined together as a footstool, and used a lot of laces and braid, if they had money. They made doll clothes, paper dolls/clothing, painted glass/bottles,

collected hair, made jewelry out of hair, treasured basketry, bottles, buttons for all sorts of crafts, from trimming to pulltoys. Let us know what you decide to do? God bless and help you. : )

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What about quilted potholders or oven mitts? (I don't know if they'd be historically accurate, but I'm sure quilting was around at that time)

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My son is in the Shawnee Trail Assoc. They have events around 3 times a year in our area. I have seen several vendors selling things like, beaded jewelry using beads that look older, homemade soaps, wooded spoons and forks and plates, too. That sounds like a lot of fun. Hope you have a great time.

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I don't know a whole lot about this time period, but I believe this is when the women wore sachets for scenting themselves and that's what was in some of those purses back then. i make homemade potpourri and it is easy and inexpensive and if it doesn't sell you could always use it. Dry types of flowers, weeds and grasses. break into small pieces and put either in spray painted and decorated cans, or make those little purses and use some fiberfill or feathers to puff them up. on the day your going to sell use some essential oil in the mix. you can Buy online or in the local dollar stores, you can also use dollar store perfumes to scent them. Very low cost and useful! Hope this helps.

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You could make some sock dolls or rag dolls...doll blankets, even cradles for the dolls...

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I am a Civil War Reenactor so I know your problem well. Have you thought about making church dolls? Some call them confederate baby dolls, or sugar babies? Its just a simple baby doll made out of a mens hanky. They were called church dolls because little girls could take them to church and play with them and if they where to drop the doll it wouldn't make a sound hitting the floor. The name sugar baby came from putting a block of sugar in the head section of the doll. But rag dolls in general would be a very popular thing.

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What about "grubby candles", and soap balls made from the slivers of leftover bar soaps that were always saved by frugal women back then. Clothespin bags, and replica vintage aprons which could be made from muslin. There is always the quilts made from scraps! (crazy quilts)

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Gunpowder horns were aways needed back then. Of course, it's illegal to use real animal horns these days, so I would just take a bit of wood and carve it out. Good luck!

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Crafts AdviceDecember 18, 2007
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