Cupcake Parade

Beaded Cupcake pens designed by Mandi Bugatti

I know several bead pattern sites and designers that give permission to sell what you make from their instructions for pin money. I want to look at some definitions and talk about what they mean because my fear is that beaders may underprice their work because of this wording. defines it as “any small sum set aside for nonessential minor expenditures” and formerly “an allowance of money given by a husband to his wife for her personal expenditures.”

So basically it means pocket money, or spending money. I also feel like this can mean different things to different people.

I’ve seen beaders comment on forums that it means to “pay for your hobby.” Bead Patterns Boutique defines it as “You, as in the person that has purchased the pattern, may make and sell the project that was completed using the pattern as a guide. You may not employ others to make or sell for you as this constitutes commercial use.”

I like the idea of everyone covering their costs and that BPB’s definition is a little broader.

Then, I searched further into the origin of “pin money” and found this story via “Catharine Howard, wife of Henry VIII., introduced pins into England from France. As they were expensive at first, a separate sum for this luxury was granted to the ladies by their husbands. Hence the expression “pin-money.”

My opinion is colored by the fact that I have the mindset and the goal of making a living as a bead artist. My hope is that others selling their work for “pin money” do not equate that to mean “cheap” and ask a fair price for their work. The phrase started out meaning a separate sum for a luxury item, and I believe a beautiful piece of beadwork falls in that category.

What do you think? Do you have another perspective as a beader or designer? Please share with us in the comments below. I know people are passionate about this topic, so thanks for keeping it constructive!