Cottage/Local Manufacturing After SHTF, by S.T.

Post-SHTF America will see the end of the current modern centralized-style of mass manufacturing and all of the poor-quality foreign imports. However, it will also see the rise of the new, local, home-based and small-scale manufacturing of local, functional, non-electric, and reusable items that will replace all of the electric, disposable, and toxic items that are purchased and used now.

Unless you have a group that includes two doctors (a doctor cannot operate on himself), two dentists (a dentist can’t fill his own teeth), a nurse, a pharmacist, and a herbalist, as well as the teens to act as apprentices, you will need to provide some things in the future for you and your family or mutual aid group through the outside world of your homestead. Your paper dollars will be worthless as will all of your bank accounts and paper investments. It will be some time before silver and gold would become an accepted method of trade and most non-preppers will not have silver or gold or may be leery of accepting it. You and I will need a form of trade or bartering to obtain the needed items or services or to increase your future silver and gold holdings long term.

Below are some of the items that I believe will be in high demand post SHTF. With a little forethought and planning, you can decide on a single area or single item or mutable areas or items that you and your family can and will want to produce and start stocking the necessary equipment and supplies. You should also begin gaining the necessary experience to produce these items now.

For anything that requires a pattern, print out a minimum of two of the patterns on good quality card stock. When you cut out the first pattern, trace it on a blank piece of card stock. This way you always have an unused pattern with complete directions and a second pattern ready for use. For high production items, such as cloth diapers, you could easily go through 10 or 20 patterns a year, so also stock a few reams of good quality card stock or some poster board for future patterns.

This list is in no way complete but is just from my observations and experience of what I purchase and use everyday and what I see other shoppers purchase. For example, how many people do not own a single cloth dish towel but waste their money on paper towels every week at the grocery store. What is still on my wish list to complete my homestead: a hand well pump and a long-term outdoor cooking/canning/baking station and one of those lovely mean green washing machines and wringer.

It is my hope that every person who reads this will take a good look at their interests and skills and come up with a minimum of two or more different items for each family member that they could produce to provide for their family long term.

I have listed each craft by the major component needed, such as fabric or wood or metal.


I do not have the money or space to store 300 plastic barrels to plan to run a rain water harvesting business or build hand-powered washing machines. However I do know where there is a local place they are sold, so if this was part of my post SHTF business plan, I would try and make contact after things calmed down. If, at that point there was no owner left, it can become salvage and may be available to you.

Take a good look around your town and through the local yellow pages. Make a list of potential salvage. I am NOT talking about looting the local Walmart or grocery store or pharmacy for drugs but true salvage, where there is no owner left to claim the items, and they will be destroyed or lost.

If you live in an area with heavy snow fall, any building with a flat roof could see a roof collapse within two years of an unoccupied building and everything inside would be destroyed. The building could be destroyed even sooner, if the windows were broken out and snow or water was able to penetrate the building interior. Do you want to see all of the sterile medical equipment and supplies and medicines in a vet hospital go to waste or all of the packages of salt & pepper from the local fast food restaurant lost or the warm hunting clothes rotting on the shelves? The salvage can provide you with additional materials that could not only assist your business but could be the difference between life and death in the case of medications or fire-starting materials. For me, salvage would be additional oil and bees wax and extracts to make salves and grain alcohol for herbal medications and fabric and other sewing items to make the fabric items I plan on producing.


  1. Medicinal Salves
  2. Grain Alcohol (used for medical disinfection and making tinctures and items such as hand sanitizer)
  3. Grow Medicinal Herbs & Plants
  4. Tooth Powder
  5. Tooth Paste

Supplies to Store:

Recipes, bees wax, home distillation unit, aloe vera gel, extracts, essential oils

Food Production

  1. Open Pollinated Seeds
  2. Composting Bins
  3. Honey and Bees Wax Production
  4. Butter Making
  5. Bread Making, using an Outdoor Adobe Oven (see “manual labor” below for the link)
  6. Salt Distillation (if you live on the coast)
  7. Sourdough Bread Starter
  8. Vinegar Production
  9. Food Preservation (canning, dehydrating, pickling, oil preservation)

Supplies to Store:

Open pollinated seeds, plastic barrels, butter churn, yeast, wheat berries, jars and lids, vinegar, oil


  1. Laundry Soap
  2. Lye Soap
  3. Homemade Shampoo

Supplies to Store:

Recipes, borax, washing soda, fels-naptha soap, 5-gallon buckets


  1. Quilts
  2. Reusable Cloth Menstrual Pads
  3. Reusable Cloth Diapers
  4. Reusable Cloth Incontinence Products
  5. Reusable Cloth Face Masks
  6. Reusable Cloth Clothes Pin Bags
  7. Toilet Paper (a.k.a. 4” X 6” cloth squares with a small lidded bucket for soaking prior to washing)
  8. Clothing Repairs
  9. Clothing Re-purposing (turning a toddler button down shirt into a cloths pin bag)
  10. Dish Drying Towels
  11. Pot Holders
  12. Aprons
  13. Draft Dodgers (fabric tubes made with old towels filled with field corn to be placed at doors and windows to keep out the draft)
  14. Wonder Ovens (I would suggest adding a fabric loop after filling and before final sewing (on both the top & bottom piece) so it can be hung out to dry after washing) here is the pattern

Supplies to Store:

Sewing machine, fabric, batting, needles, thread, patterns, elastic, velcro, diaper pins. Janome manufacturers and sells brand new Treadle Sewing Machines (just install on an existing treadle base)


  1. Afghans
  2. Scarves
  3. Mittens
  4. Hats
  5. Hair Snoods ( There will not be any beauty salons post SHTF.

Supplies to Store:

Yarn, knitting needles, crochet hooks, patterns


  1. Candles
  2. Fire starters

Supplies to Store:

Empty glass jars, empty 28oz food cans, gulf wax, wicks, empty toilet paper tubes


  1. Outhouse. (I would design and build a 2-seater– one seat going into a 5-gallon bucket for liquids that will be diluted and used in the garden and spread around the house to repel animals, and a second seat for solids that will compost into the ground. I would make sure that the “solids” hole was a minimum of 6′ deep.)
  2. Indoor composting toilets (see above for use during cold weather). Here are links to two homemade indoor composting toilets that I like. and
  3. Solar Food Dehydrators
  4. Smoke Houses
  5. Hand Carts (suitable for carrying/holding/displaying items at trading days or at your farm stand)
  6. Clothes Pins
  7. Clothes Drying Lines (outdoor)
  8. Clothes Drying Racks (indoor)
  9. Carved Wooden Hair Combs (
  10. Chicken Coops
  11. Rabbit Hutches
  12. Sewing Baskets
  13. Butter Churns
  14. Wood Shaving and Sawdust for Composting Toilets
  15. Wood Door Braces to Prevent Intrusion

Supplies to Store:

Wood lumber, nails, screws, hand saws, rope, paracord, toilet seats


  1. Fireplace Tools
  2. Wood Stoves

Supplies to Store:

Metal tubing, sheet metal, fire brick,


Oil Lamps (This is not a true DIY project. However, oil lamps I feel will be in high demand. Here is the link scroll down to P/N BR3273& 7BR3273for the burner caps and here is the link for the chimney. Use old mason jars that may have a chip on the rim and can no longer be used for canning. The wire clothes hangers can be used to add a bail or hanging handle. This site has a lot of different oil lamp type products that can be purchased. Cooking oil that has gone rancid can be used in these types of lamps.

Supplies to Store:

Burner caps, old pint-size mason jars, wicks, wire clothes hangers


  1. Rain water harvesting system
  2. Hand-powered washing machines ( Like this or this)

Supplies to store:

Plastic barrels, metal tubing, downspout diverters

Leather Craft

  1. Shoes
  2. Moccasins
  3. Bags
  4. Gloves
  5. Hide Tanning

Supplies to store: Leather, books, patterns

Bush Craft

  1. Cordage made from wild plants, such as stinging nettles
  2. Hand Woven Baskets
  3. Local Wild Edible Plants

Supplies to store:

Books, patterns

Oil Extraction and/or Lard Making

Oil, lard, and other fats are required to maintain your health. There is lard from pigs and bears and oils from sunflowers, soybeans, and olives. Do a google search for extracting the oil crops that grow in your area or rendering lard for instructions and equipment.

Supplies to Store:

Instructions, oil press, seeds of oil producing crops

Broom Making

This is an old time craft that is being kept alive at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky. Here is a link to view the brooms the students make and sell. (

Manual Labor

  1. Firewood Supplier
  2. Root Cellars
  3. Burn Boxes
  4. Outdoor Stoves
  5. Outdoor Adobe Ovens
  6. Knife Sharpening
  7. Laundry Service

Supplies to Store:

Saws, mauls, splitting axes, concrete blocks, rebar, knife sharpening tools, metal screening, oven racks, 15 or 20 gallon tubs or plastic barrels

Education and Library

  1. Homemade chalkboards
  2. Homemade chalk
  3. Printed Materials and Books Created During the 1800’s & 1900’s on homesteading, farming, farm tools, homemade remedies (remember that major SHTF will include no electricity or Internet). Never ever let the books leave your possession. You can charge for the use of the books and the paper to make notes and drawings.

Supplies to Store:

Plywood, chalk, chalkboard paint, instructions for making chalk, paper, instructions for making paper, instructions for making ink, instructions for making dip/quill type pens

Who knows, in 10 years, you could be running the local one-room school house.

Rodent Control

Bugs and other rodents will be a major problem, post SHTF, and will be a major health issue. Do you know how to make fly paper and other rodent control items to protect your family from contracting a disease?

Supplies to Store:

Recipes, brown paper bags, honey, sugar, borax

In closing, I would love to hear your ideas and suggestions for SHTF products that you and your family can and will produce.