The biggest mistake every artist makes
When I started off wood burning, I realized that I had no other artists that were making pieces as big as I was or making them with the materials I was using. I learned how to use power tools, how to put boards together, how to sand them down and how to burn something onto them. I went to several different sites and everyone was pricing their wood-burned pieces way too low.
For instance, a wooden slice from Hobby Lobby is usually about $12. There were people on Etsy selling their wood burning for $20! Knowing how long it takes to wood burn and the cost made me realize that they were doing their art for $4.50 an hour.
If you underprice your art, you undersell its value.
After being on Etsy and selling nothing in the first few months, I figured out I needed to stick with my website. These pieces cannot be done for $4.50. Instead, I chose to price them higher and to price them with the cost of materials and time put into them.
The key to pricing my art started when I stopped looking at the other artists and what they were selling their work for. I found something unique, and I needed to price it differently.
I came up with an equation that helped me when I first began:
Cost of Materials + (How much you want to make per hour x the hours to make the art) + shipping = the price for your art piece.
Later on, I started pricing my pieces differently:
Cost of Materials + the price amount for a certain sized piece + shipping = the price for your art piece.
So there was a shift from hourly to the size of the piece. I also realized that my mentality towards art was different. I asked an "art business" group if they continued to make pieces even if the others hadn't sold yet. I got the "laughing" emoji and they basically said that they couldn't stop making art if they wanted to and that it was in their soul.
That made me feel pretty lousy because I look at art differently. I don't look at art as something that is in my soul, I look at it as something I enjoy doing and something that could earn extra income for living expenses. I mean, I have a one-year-old that wants to go to college one day. Ha!
I guess it comes down to your "why." If your "why" for doing art is to do it for enjoyment and simply because it's a part of you, then you can open an Etsy shop and sell your pieces for a lower price. If your intention is to do what you love and make an income from it, then make your own website and sell your art according to what it is worth.