Pricing Textile Art for Public Art Commissions Guide
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 7 min read


  1. Identify Your Costs
  2. Calculate Labor and Materials Cost
  3. Consider the Size of the Artwork
  4. Evaluate the Complexity of the Design
  5. Factor in Overhead Expenses
  6. Add Profit Margin
  7. Research Market Rates
  8. Adjust Pricing for Public Art Commissions

Creating textile art for public art commissions can be a rewarding adventure, but the journey can hit a road bump if you're unsure how to price your work. If you've found yourself asking "how to price textile art for public art commission?", you've come to the right place. This guide will help you navigate the nuances of pricing and ensure that you're compensated fairly for your time, talent, and materials.

Identify Your Costs

Before you can determine the final price of your textile art, it's crucial to identify all the costs involved in creating your masterpiece. This isn't just about how much thread and fabric you use—it's also about the behind-the-scenes expenditures that contribute to your finished artwork. Let's break it down:

  • Materials: This includes everything from the fabric and threads to any additional embellishments like beads or sequins. Remember to consider the cost of any tools you might need, such as looms, needles, or scissors.
  • Time: Time is money, as they say. Calculate how many hours you plan to spend on this project. Don't forget to include the time you spend on planning, sketching, and any trial-and-error processes.
  • Training: You've spent years honing your skills, attending workshops, and learning new techniques. This investment in your craft is a cost that should be factored into your pricing.
  • Miscellaneous: There might be other costs that are unique to your process. These might include travelling to find inspiration, attending trade shows, or even purchasing reference books or digital resources.

It's a good idea to keep a log of all these costs as you go. This will not only help you price your current piece, but it will also provide valuable data when you're pricing future works.

Calculate Labor and Materials Cost

Now that you've identified your costs, it's time to crunch some numbers. You might be wondering, "how do I calculate the labor and materials cost for my textile art?" Don't worry, it's simpler than you might think.

Let's start with materials. If you've kept a log of your material costs as mentioned earlier, you're already halfway there. Simply add up the cost of all the materials you've used in your piece.

Next, let's tackle labor. To calculate this, you'll first need to decide on an hourly wage for yourself. This can be tricky, but a good starting point is to consider what you would be happy to earn if you were employed to do this work. Once you've decided on an hourly rate, multiply it by the number of hours you've spent (or will spend) creating your artwork.

Add your material costs to your labor costs, and voila—you've got the base cost of your artwork. But don't stop here; there are still several factors to consider before setting your final price. Let's explore them in the next sections.

Consider the Size of the Artwork

When it comes to pricing textile art for public art commissions, size definitely matters. But the question is, how does the size of the artwork affect the price?

First off, larger works generally require more materials, which adds to your costs. You've got more fabric, more thread, more of everything. Plus, larger pieces often take longer to complete, which increases your labor cost. So, it's clear that larger pieces should be priced higher.

But it's not just about the physical dimensions of the piece. You need to consider the visual impact and the space the artwork occupies. A massive textile art installation in a public park commands a different price than a small tapestry hanging on a living room wall.

So, when pricing your artwork, always consider its size—not just in terms of materials and labor, but also its visual presence and the space it occupies. This will ensure you're not underselling your work.

Evaluate the Complexity of the Design

Next, take a good look at your art piece's design. How intricate is it? How many different techniques did you use? The complexity of your design has a significant influence on how to price textile art for public art commission.

If your design is full of intricate details, you've probably spent many hours weaving, embroidering, or stitching. This time and skill should be reflected in your pricing.

On the other hand, a more straightforward design might not require as much time or as many different materials. But remember, simplicity also has its own beauty and value. So, don't undervalue your work just because it appears simple.

In essence, the more complex the design, the higher the price should be. But that doesn't mean simple designs should be cheap. They too require time, skill, and creativity. So, always evaluate the complexity of your design when determining your pricing.

Factor in Overhead Expenses

While creating your textile art, you are likely to incur some additional expenses that may not be directly related to the piece but are crucial for its completion. These are your overhead costs, and they should be factored into the final price.

Overhead expenses can include a variety of things. For instance, if you rent a studio, that's an overhead cost. The electricity you use while working? That's another one. Even the time you spend communicating with the commissioning body, from drafting emails to attending meetings, counts as overhead.

Although these costs may not seem related to your art piece directly, they're part of the process of creating and selling it. Therefore, when you're figuring out how to price textile art for public art commission, it's important to factor in these overhead expenses. If you don't, you might end up underpricing your work, and you wouldn't want that, would you?

So, when you sit down to calculate your pricing, don't forget about these often overlooked costs. They might not be the star of the show, but they're definitely part of the cast!

Add Profit Margin

Creating textile art is not just about covering costs, it's also about making a profit. After all, as an artist, you deserve to be fairly compensated for your hard work and creativity. So, after you've factored in all the costs, it's important to add a profit margin.

You might be wondering, "What's a good profit margin?" Well, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. The right profit margin for you depends on many factors, such as the time and effort you put into your work, your reputation in the art world, and the demand for your art.

That said, a common approach is to add a profit margin of 50% to 100% on top of your costs. This means if your total costs are $200, you could price your art between $300 and $400. But remember, these are just guidelines. You have the freedom and flexibility to adjust your profit margin as you see fit.

Adding a profit margin is an important step in the process of how to price textile art for public art commission. It ensures you earn a fair income for your work, allowing you to continue doing what you love and creating beautiful pieces of art.

Research Market Rates

Once you've identified your costs and added your profit margin, it's time to take a look around. By that, I mean researching the market rates. This step is crucial when figuring out how to price textile art for public art commission.

Start with looking at comparable artists—those who work in the same medium, have a similar style, or are at a similar point in their careers. What are their prices like? This will give you a ballpark figure and help you understand where your pricing might fit in the market.

Don't forget to pay attention to the location. Art prices can vary greatly from one city or country to another. If you're in New York, you can't price your work the same as someone in a small town. The cost of living, the level of interest in art, and the buying power of the residents—all these things matter.

Researching market rates isn't about copying what others are doing. It's about understanding the landscape you're working in. It helps you get a feel for what's out there, and it gives you a reality check on your pricing. Remember, pricing is part art, part science, and a whole lot of trial and error.

Adjust Pricing for Public Art Commissions

Finally, let's talk about how to adjust your pricing specifically for public art commissions. This step is what separates the general practice of pricing textile art from the more specific task of pricing for public commissions.

Public art commissions often come with a unique set of challenges and benefits. On one hand, they can be bigger, more high-profile, and often provide a larger budget than private commissions. On the other hand, they might require more time, more materials, and more complex logistics.

So, how do you adjust your pricing to take all of this into account?

Start by considering the scale of the project. A larger project will usually require a larger budget—not just for the increased material costs, but also for the extra time and labor involved.

You also need to consider the visibility of the project. A high-profile project in a public space can significantly boost your reputation as an artist. This "exposure factor" is something you might want to factor into your pricing. After all, a piece of textile art that will be seen by thousands of people every day has a different value than a piece that will hang in a private home.

Lastly, don't forget to account for any additional expenses that might be unique to public commissions. This could include things like insurance, installation costs, or even travel expenses if the project is out of town.

Adjusting your prices for public art commissions can be a bit of a balancing act, but with a little bit of research and some careful consideration, you can find a price that reflects the value of your work and the unique demands of the project.

If you found the "Pricing Textile Art for Public Art Commissions Guide" blog post useful and are looking for more insights on pricing your creative work, check out Olivia Ghalioungui's workshop, 'How to Price Yourself as a Creative.' This workshop will help you establish a reliable pricing structure for your creative business, including textile art commissions.