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The Etsy Shopping Trick Every Procrastinator Should Know

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Etsy is known, first and foremost, as a marketplace for handmade goods. That means, typically, it’s not a great place for procrastinators. After all, you’re purchasing directly from a small business, which may be located on the other side of the world. The wait is both understandable and, usually, worth it. But while you’re unlikely to get a hand-knit hat for your mom with next-day shipping, there’s actually an even faster option you can browse: instant downloads.      

Instant downloads are exactly what they sound like: You can purchase something—usually paper goods—and instantaneously download and print it. While you can’t instantly download a linen tablecloth or wooden bowl (yet), if you’re really empty handed, digital downloads can help with decorations, invitations, gifts, and more. Many sellers use a template-editing platform called Templett—once you’ve purchased the invitation or sign, you can add things like names, dates, and addresses. If you need a high-quality print or banner, you can have them printed up somewhere like Kinko’s, Walmart, or CVS in as little as a day. You can also upload files to sites like VistaPrint.  

While you can’t instantly download a linen tablecloth or wooden bowl (yet), if you’re really empty handed, digital downloads can help with party decorations, invitations, gifts, and more.

And while there is no way to shop just instant downloads, searching for your keyword plus “digital download” will typically bring up plenty of results.

Need some inspiration, or just a few ideas to keep in your pocket for the next time you realize you need something ASAP? Read on: 


Just about anything you could need an invitation for, from bridal showers to tailgates, can be downloaded and customized. Once you’ve come up with your finished design, you can print and mail them, or download the finished template as a JPEG that can be emailed or texted to invitees. While the digital option is less sophisticated than using a service like Paperless post, it’s also a way to save money: Paperless Post charges by invitee, whereas many digital download options on Etsy start at around $5 and can be sent to an unlimited number of people. 


This is probably one you want to skip using your home inkjet printer for, but it’s an easy, and often inexpensive, approach fit for both decorating and gift-giving. Want to quickly add some life to blank walls, or just want a quick gift that still feels personal? Find a print you like, print it out on a standard-sized paper, like 8”x10”, and buy an inexpensive black frame and you’re good to go. The options are nearly endless: You can buy a graphic map of a favorite place, or a bright print for a kid’s room. Some digital downloads can even be customized with dates and names, though usually that means you’ll have to wait a bit for a the actual download since the seller will have to make changes to the print. Still, if you want something truly personalized for an event or anniversary and you need it tomorrow, this is a quick and easy way to do it. Because many sellers also offer prints with the same color scheme or theme, it’s also a very quick and easy way to make a gallery wall.


In addition to getting invitations on Etsy, sellers often offer everything else you’d need to pull off an impressive party, from cupcake toppers to a mimosa bar sign. Some sellers organize the entire party suite, from invites to thank-you cards, in one place in their shop. For others, you may have to scroll in a description to see see what else they offer in the invitation’s theme. In addition to paper goods like signs and menus, you can also download photo booth props and frames, and even easy DIYs for favors, like personalized chocolate bar wrappers and a thank-you card that makes a gift of inexpensive hair ties feel fancy. 


Tons of crotchet, knitting, and stitching pattern can be purchased and downloaded instantly. This isn’t really as much a trick for procrastination, since you’ll still have to make the sweater, hat, or embroidery, but it is a quick way to get a project started without having to buy a new book. You can also use the pattern to create an easy gift: create your own craft kits to give friends and include the pattern as well as the necessary supplies.