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I am trying to figure the best way to track things I purchase for upcycling and repurposing.  A lot of what I buy is home decor in flea markets and thrift stores.  Increasingly I am finding pieces on Facebook Marketplace.  Most pieces are one of a kind.  Sure, they were probably mass produced at one time but I have only one in my possession most of the time.  When they are finished, they are truly unique.

I am looking for an easy way to include the following for each piece:

1)  One or more "before" and "after" photos.  Once the item sells, I can still use the photos in a portfolio to show the kind of work I do.

2)  Track time spent on the item.  This would include prepping, painting, distressing, taking photos, etc.

3)  Track expenses related to the item, starting with purchase price.  Usually the price does not include shipping since I get most items locally.

4)  Paint expense related question ... How do you suggest I track my paint expense?  Usually I buy in chalk paint (not chalkboard) in quart containers and it takes a fraction of that to paint most pieces, even with 2-3 coats.  I have had it suggested that I weigh the can before and after each paint session when I am painting a piece.  That would give me a figure on how much is used.  Any other ideas?

5)  I want a spot to also include the date purchased, my asking price, the selling price and so on.

Is it best to set up something customized in Excel, making a document for each item?

I would like whatever I use to end up fitting nicely in a 3 ring binder.  An additional binder can be set up with my expenses redacted so it  becomes a portfolio for (potential) customers to get ideas for custom pieces they may want me to do.  I also will save it to my computer and also end up backing it up on an external hard drive and/or in the cloud. 

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Just for the paint use.

Don't try to track paint for each piece.

Instead, weigh or measure the paint before use. Do so again after 10 or 20 or 30 pieces. Divide and average. 

Basic, wall paint averages 350 square foot per gallon. A con tractor does not measure exact pain't for small jobs. They figure average based on squart foot. You can do the same based on square inch..

BTW, you will also need a tare weight. To get this, weigh an empty vessel, large enough to accept the entire contents of the paint can. Weigh the full paint can. Pour entire contents into secondary vessel. Weigh empty paint can. Weigh secondary, filled, vessel. Restore paint to original can. This will give you the "tare" = empty can weight, therefore paint weight. More accurate weights are found by using both tares and subtracting, as it will account for residual paint in "empty" can.

Again, I would not consider individual piece, paint use. Unless the paint cost, per piece is significant. 

When doing photography I do not try to figure out how much chemicals are used in one print. However I do look at how much chemicals for 100 or 1,000 prints. Then I just average it out. 

I have made a spreadsheet with all the calculations so that I know what it cost to make my finished work in different sizes predicated upon different options IE B&W, color, framed, acrylic glazing, glass glazing, labor Etc.

This may tell me what it cost to make. However that is only used as a guide to make sure I'm not losing my butt. My work is not priced on time and materials. That would be appropriate for factory made and mass-produced goods. Instead it is priced on its value.

I think you could do everything in Excel spreadsheets. I do my job costing with and have separate files for different products with like materials.  Using the $A$1 format, you can pull down various components and if you change the spreadsheet layout the cells change too. I use chemicals too; dyes, oils and stains and write them off as "consumables". I track how long it takes to use a quart of gallon but don't try to include their cost in job costing other than a "misc. material" add on for everything.


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