Handmade That Doesn't Suck: The Coolest Items On Etsy Right Now

Handmade That Doesn't Suck: The Coolest Items On Etsy Right Now

Chad Schroer
Feb 23, 2012

I'll admit that I was a little late jumping onto the Etsy bandwagon. For me, the term "handmade" brings to mind crocheted toilet paper roll cozies and hot glued seashell frames. And while you will still find a wealth of, um, amateurish items on Etsy — many of which are curated for the aptly named Regretsy — Etsy remains the world's largest marketplace of goods crafted by both fledgling hobbyists and skilled artisans. Here is my pick of the best handcrafted items currently available for your home.

So what were my criteria for this list? Well, many bloggers and online magazines regularly compile Best of Etsy lists — in 2009 and 2011 AT showcased our own. And on Etsy, members are able to choose a topic and curate their own list of favorite items fitting that theme. For this "Best of," I went back to Etsy's roots and stuck to handmade-only items. To be considered for this list, the item must be crafted by the seller (not necessarily by an Amish woodworker in Pennsylvania or a knitting grandmother in Boise, but not mass-produced or available at a chainstore), needed to be for the home (as in furniture or home d├ęcor items) and had to be cool/unusual/something I would buy. Here are my picks. Share with us your favorite home item or shop on Etsy!

Row 1, Left to Right:

  • This bed rocks! Be lulled to sleep by its gentle sway or use the supplied rubber stoppers to keep this steel and hardwood beauty peacefully still. Mood Rocking Bed by ShinerInternational; twin size, $2050.

  • Expertly crafted from single sheets of heavy duty paper, these lamps beautifully pair bold geometric angles on the outside with soft, smooth interiors. Chestnut Paper Origami Lampshade by Nelliana; about $120.

  • Discarded and neglected dishes are given new life as whimsical portrait plates. Flow Blue Frankenstein Portrait Plate by BeatUpCreations; $110.

Row 2, Left to Right:

  • Based on a vintage poster of an actual police practice target, this felt pillow will wake up the sleepiest of rooms. Target Practice Pillow by PillowPalloza; $110

  • I'm smitten by the modern geometric shapes of these vibrant quilts. Diamonds and Dots Modern Baby Quilt by PippaPatchwork; 42" x 42", $192; larger and custom sizes available.

  • Resembling a ghostly, white fabric draped form, this unique stool is constructed purely from sustainably harvested poplar and windfell douglas fir. Ghost Table/Stool by TallyLocke; $998.

Row 3, Left to Right:

  • Discarded bicycle tires, cranks and gears are reimagined into modern clocks with masculine sensibilities. Recycled Bike Wheel Clock by pixelthis; $129.

  • These tiny earthenware pots are smoke-fired to produce uniquely charred exteriors and are then lined with luxurious 24k gold leaf. Smoked Little Pot of Gold by SymaSmallWorks; $90 each.

  • Crafted from organic wool, these crocheted and felted placemats are too beautiful to cover up with dishes. Felted Placemat by the YarnKitchen; about $40.

Row 1, Left to Right:

  • A fresh take on a classic design, this coffee table rests a slab of solid American black walnut on a square steel frame finished in bright red enamel. Lounge Table in Traffic Red by IndustryMfgCo; $1125.

  • Crafted from 100% wool and available in a range of chunky designs and muted colors, these pillow shams can add just the right amount of handmade charm to that sleek couch or tailored bed. Chunky Braided Cabled Knit Pillow Sham by PreciousKnits; $125.

  • This clock combines rustic birch woodgrain, modern neutraface numbers and sleek hands in cool white and cherry red. Modern Wall Clock by uncommon; $59.

Row 2, Left to Right:

  • Made from scratch using reclaimed pipe, these bookshelves and lamps can be custom designed in any size and configuration. Each piece of pipe is cut, threaded and welded by hand per order, and all designs use pipe from local salvage yards and demolition sites. Bookshelf Industrial Pipe Level 2 by stellableudesigns; $119.

  • This limited edition poster print from the Mid-Century Tweet Series is printed on archival quality, 100% cotton rag, acid-free paper using UV-stable pigment inks to maintain its rich, vibrant color. Bird Poster Print by deedee914; $20.

  • Made from 100% wool felt, these rugs are available in heather or dark grey and in custom sizes. Extremely durable, these thick rugs are able to withstand heavy traffic and can be vacuumed or spot-cleaned. Felt Block Rug by feeldesign; 8' x 13', $1200.

Row 3, Left to Right:

  • The beams used in these rustic end tables were rescued from a Pennsylvania barn before demolition. They were then cut, sanded and sealed; and then attached to a perfectly rusted piece of recycled steel. In addition to being the perfect height for resting a drink, the design offers a clever space for storing reading material beneath the beam. Reclaimed Wood and Farm Metal End Tables by TheSteelFork; $980 for a pair.

  • This long and low coffee table is made from solid walnut and maple, with a contrasting stripe running the length the piece, drawing attention to the geometry of the beautiful structure. Bucks Coffee Table by wrenandcooper; $950.

  • Hand-cast in porcelain, these vases display an intricate and realistic knit pattern that you'll have to touch to be sure they're not fabric. Porcelain Knitware Vase by alyssaettinger; $150.

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