How to Calculate How Much Something Costs You to Make

Occasionally it may be necessary to calculate just how much you are spending on your crafts and projects. Perhaps you want to keep track of your hobby budget, or maybe you’d like to sell your wares and need to know how much you spent on them to price them accurately. Calculating how much something costs you to make is not difficult, and having that information can be useful if you want to turn a profit or if you ever want to make another one.

Write down a list of all the supplies you used for a project, as well as how much of them you used. If you aren’t exactly sure how much was used, estimate. A detailed list will help calculate costs.

Add up the prices for the items you used up entirely, or used partially and discarded the rest. For example, if you purchased a box of nails for $1.09 and used all of them, list your cost as $1.09. If you used half of them and gave the rest away because you had no use for them, you would still list the cost as $1.09 in your running total.

Add up the unit price of the item if you only partially used the package for this project, but you will use the rest for other projects. For example, if you purchased a one ounce bottle of craft paint for $2, used half of it but plan to use the other half on other projects, add $1 to your running total.

Don’t forget the costs of tools. Add the cost of tools that you purchased specifically for this project right off the top. If you bought the tools to do several projects, divide the cost of the tool by the number of projects you are doing with it. If you purchase and pay costs of repairs regularly for your tools and work on many projects with them, figure out how much you spend annually on tools and tool upkeep, then divide that amount by how many projects you estimate doing annually with them.

Consider other possible expenses. For example, if you had to purchase a new, special freezer for making ice sculptures and it runs your electric bill up an additional $60 each month, divide that $60 among the number of sculptures you make each month. If you are planning to sell what you make, you might need to calculate the cost of advertising, or renting a booth at a flea market.

Figure in the amount of time it takes you to do a project if you are planning to sell it. Time is money. Estimate how many hours the job takes, and how much you think your time is worth hourly.

Tally it all up for the grand total to see how much it costs to make your project.


  • Save receipts whenever you shop for a project, or keep track with an itemized list of what you are spending. If you did the project already and did not keep track, call around to local stores and get prices for the things you used.