8 Creative Band Merch Items to Inspire Your Own

Posted by Jhoni Jackson on Mar 16, 2015 11:00 AM
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iphoneCustom phone cases are only the beginning. (Image via facebook-pictures.drippic.com)

Let's think outside the T-shirt. What other branded items might work for your band? Below are some examples of items you don't see at every merch table that might make for an appropriate addition to yours.

1. Patches and pins

TheShrineblessoffpatchImage via eliminator.bigcartel.com

the_shrine_venice_beach_rocknroll_band_independent_diy_creative_merchImage via eliminator.bigcartel.com

Buttons are great, but have you considered lapel pins and patches? They typically cost a bit more to make, but they're a cool extra to offer fans. Venice Beach band The Shrine offers both through their Eliminator online shop.

How to get your own: Commissioning an independent artist is ideal, but there are also services like Pinmart and Make-a-Patch that work better for bulk ordering.


2. Zines

colleen_green_i_want_to_grow_up_comic_fvck_the_media_independent_bands_rocknroll_diy_creative_merchColleen Green's comic for Fvck the Media last September. (Image via fvckthemedia.com)

Pre-orders for Colleen Green's latest LP, I Want to Grow Up, included a zine of comics by Green herself.

How to get your own: Check out Rookie's tutorial here.


3. Skateboards

dirtyfencesDirty Fences' skateboard. (Image via eliminator.bigcartel.com)

New York rock 'n' roll outfit Dirty Fences partnered with Coda Skateboards for a personalized deck. They've made a limited quantity available online and at their shows.

How to get your own: If you don't have a connection with a skateboard company, try a customizing website like Whatever Skateboards.


4. Mugs

catelebon_mugs_mugmuseum_bands_artists_creative_merch_diy_independentCate Le Bon's handmade mugs. (Photo courtesy of Cate Le Bon)

Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon handcrafted ceramic mugs to sell as part of promotion for her most recent album, Mug Museum. Unsurprisingly, they're all long gone now.

How to get your own: You can make them by hand at a local ceramics shop, or use a service like Zazzle to customize a premade mug.


5. Phone cases

jeffthebrotherhood_infinitycat_iphone_case_diy_independent_bands_rocknroll_creative_merchInfinity Cat's phone cases. (Image via infinity-cat-recordings.myshopify.com)

Infinity Cat, the label run by the JEFF the Brotherhood siblings, their father, and a handful of helpers, sells two styles of iPhone cases on their website.

How to get your own: Try a service like Case-Mate, which offers tiered pricing for bulk orders.


6. Keychains

burgerrecords_keychain_bottleopener_creative_merch_diy_independent_bands_artistsBurger Records' swag. (Image via burgerrecords.11spot.com)

Burger Records, the Fullerton, CA, cassette and vinyl label with a growing cult following, sells a ton of different items. One of those is a keychain with a bottle opener. Memphis garage and punk powerhouse Goner Records offers one, too.

How to get your own: PrintGlobe offers a variety of styles with bulk pricing.


7. Slipmats

gonerrecords_slipmat_garage_punk_creative_merch_independent_diy_rocknrollGoner Records' slipmats. (Image via goner-records.com)

Another useful but not-so-common merch item is the slipmat. Here are a couple versions Goner Records has made.

How to get your own: Try Slipmat Shop. It offers tiered pricing for bulk ordering.


8. Pillowcases

sleep_pillowcase_doommetal_creative_merch_independent_rocknroll_bands_artists_merchSleep pillowcases. (Image via sleep.merchtable.com)

This might not work for everyone, but it certainly does for doom metal act Sleep.

How to get your own: CafePress offers bulk pricing on several different sizes.


Learn more about creating and selling merch:


Jhoni Jackson is an Atlanta-bred music journalist currently based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she juggles owning a venue called Club 77, freelance writing and, of course, going to the beach as often as possible. 

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Topics: merch, Music Business 101, Marketing & Promotion


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