Costing out the Reindeer Resin Ornaments

Handmade resin reindeer ornaments painted natural and blue

I sculpted the Reindeer Ornament last year as an impromptu present for a friend and I’ve only now gotten around to finishing more. But with Christmas coming up it can’t hurt to have a little more shiny in the Etsy store!

Much like the Fat Pony magnets, I’m planning to offer these as raw casts, prepped for painting, and finished ornaments.

Note: Image links below are Amazon affiliate links, so I get a kickback if you buy the materials using them. It won’t change the prices for you and it helps me keep the website up and running! ๐Ÿ™‚  (Links in the text are not affiliate links.)

Casting Material Costs

OOMOO 30 Reindeer Mold Casting Legos

The very first step in the process of making the resin ornaments… is making the molds!

Well, okay, really it’s sculpting the original using Super Sculpey or Super Sculpey Firm, but I only do that once so I don’t bother to include it in the cost. The Legos and release spray also aren’t included in the math.

I buy a lot of my stuff from Michaels, Lowes, and Walmart but the OOMOO 30 I always buy online. Looking at the prices for the resin, I may have to swap to Amazon for that as well! (They used to be more in line with the local prices.)

I use OOMOO 30 to make the molds and the 2.8lb test size is what I normally get. You have to use this stuff almost immediately after opening and a larger size would just go bad.  It costs $28.57 with tax and Prime free shipping.

Note: If the pink side doesn’t mix and pour easily, it has probably started to go bad. This stuff has a VERY short shelf life. While I have a post about using near-expired product, it’s best to let the vendor know you got a bad batch so they can replace it.

I’m just going to work from the estimate that I can make eight molds from a bottle ($3.58 each) and that I can get 20 ornaments from the mold before I need to make another one.  So that would be a cost of $0.18 per reindeer to cover the mold.

Right now I am using Amazing Casting Resin that I got from Michaels for $24.99. There are two bottles of 8 fl oz, so this makes (in theory) 16 oz worth of resin. I also use one set of good cook dispenser bottles, which I get from Walmart for $2.00.

When I’m working with the casting I use ml to measure things, not oz, so there’s a little more math to do. 1 fluid oz = 29.5735 ml (round down to 29). So my 16oz is actually 464ml. There is always some loss when using resin, so we’ll add 10% estimated loss which brings us down to 415ml. Which works out to $0.06504 per ml.

The ornaments are roughly 30ml each, so that’s $1.95 per reindeer.

So raw casts have a material cost of $2.14.

Prepped Ornaments

Acrylic Paints, Brushes, and Sealers
Behold, the Hoard!

Prepping the resin consists of using an exacto blade and sandpaper to clean up the edges and the back of the cast. I won’t be using epoxy to resculpt anything for the raw or prepped versions, I’ll save those bad casts for my own customizing.

If I’m selling prepped casts, I use Liquitex White Gesso ($14.99). It’s not easy to estimate how much is used, but accounting for the multiple layers of gesso and the wear on the prepping brushes, I’m going to go with $0.72.

So a prepped model would be $2.85, but that will also include an uncosted labor element that the raw casts won’t have.

Painted Ornaments

Painting resin reindeer ornaments
A painting we will go…

If I’m selling painted ornaments, I also use approximately $0.20 worth of a variety of acrylic craft paints like Apple Barrel ($0.99, 2oz), Craftsmart ($0.70, 2oz), FolkArt ($1.69, 2oz), and Americana ($1.19, 2oz) paints.

Note: I would not recommend getting the craft paints online unless you are buying them in sets since the individual prices are a bit crazy.

Then I use $0.85 worth of Liquitex Gloss Sealer ($16.99) to seal them up. This also looks to be a lot cheaper through Amazon now, so my next bottle will come from them! ๐Ÿ™‚

The ribbon I use for the hanging loops is $2.00 per 10 yards, so 360 inches at $0.005 an inch. I need about 10 inches of ribbon which is another $0.05 cents.

So that’s out base materials cost for each version, but we’re not done yet!  There are still packaging, shipping, and selling fees to get through…

Gift Boxes

Making a Paper Box for the Dolphin
Sittin’ Pretty

My handmade cardstock boxes are $0.50 each and while raw and prepped castings would not normally be packed in a box, the painted items would need to be.

Instructions and costs can be found in the link in the paragraph above! ๐Ÿ™‚

Shipping Fees

Cardboard shipping boxes
Totally not actually ‘free’ shipping…

Since Etsy has gone full bore with their push for free shipping, I’m now including shipping in all listing prices.

That means I have to figure out the average cost of a box.

  • Cardboard Box (5x5x5) $0.38
  • Scotch Shipping Tape (36 inches) $0.37
  • Packing Paper (24 inches) $0.04
  • Boise Multi-Use Copy Paper (Label and Packing Slip) $0.04
  • Brother Toner TN-630 (2 pages) $0.08
  • Great Value Paper Towels (16 inches) $0.03

So the box and packing materials cost me $0.89 and now we need to figure out the average weight of the package.

  • Total weight of the box and materials 3.6oz
  • Average weight of a single ornament 0.8oz

So a box with one ornament would be 4.4oz and with four would be 6.8oz. I always round up one ounce, just to be safe and the USPS First Class mail fees for boxes up to 8oz is $3.75.

The cost of the box plus shipping is $4.64, so we’ll round it up to $5.00 to account for all the little things like gas and material waste.

Selling Fees

I sell primarily on Etsy, since it saves me headaches in tracking sales and printing shipping labels. That’s probably not the most cost-effective way, but it works for me! ๐Ÿ™‚

Etsy listing fees are $0.20 for four months. The relisting costs are really only applicable to the painted items, so until I know how popular the reindeer are, I’m going with $0.20 in listing fees.

Etsy selling fees are 5% transaction fee and 3% and $0.25 selling fees. So combining those and the listing cost gets another $0.45 and then 8% of whatever I set as the list price.


Listing Price Square Dance

An easy way to bring down the costs for the raw and prepped would be to sell them in sets of four. That way the listing and selling fees are split across four items instead of one.

Note: I’m rounding a bit with these numbers, so things may be a few pennies off.

Reindeer Ornament Raw and Painted

4 Raw Casts = 8.52 (materials) + 5.00 (shipping) + 0.45 (fees) + 8% (fees), or $14.20 + 8%

If I list the set of four at $20 that means 8% would be $1.60 and my total out of pocket costs would be $15.20 leaving me with a net profit of $4.80, before taxes, or $1.20 per ornament.

4 Prepped =  11.64 (resin and prep) + 5.00 (shipping) + 0.45 (fees) + 8% (fees), or $16.72 + 8%

Prepping items can be time-consuming, but we’ll assume for now that any hard to prep casts will be kept for full customizing and I will only be doing the easy preps here. Still, this is where labor costs start to figure in a bit (even if this is only a hobby)!

If I list the set at $30.00 then 8% would be $2.40 and my total out of pocket would be $19.12 leaving me with a net profit of $10.88, before taxes, or $2.72 per reindeer.

Four Resin Reindeer Ornaments being painted

1 Painted = 3.96 (resin and paint) + 0.50 (box) + 5.00 (shipping) + 0.45 (fees) + 8% (fees), or $9.54 + 8%

These guys take a lot longer to paint than the smaller magnets, but this is where ‘value of art’ comes in. Right now I can’t see asking $20 for them, even with the shipping included, so I’m going to try them out at $15.

At $15.00, 8% would be $1.20 and my total out of pocket would be $10.74 leaving me with a net profit of $4.26, before taxes.

Considering minimum wage in Virginia is currently $7.25… that’s only 35 minutes of work and that’s before taxes.

The sad part is that this is a hobby, not a proper business so I have to claim gross income and not net for the hundred or so dollars I make a year. That means the income taxes are against the full value that I’m paid and those pretty much wipe out any actual profit I make. Oh well… that’s why it’s a hobby! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

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