Laws Selling Handmade Crafts in the UK

June 6, 2024

Selling crafts in the UK has never been simpler with the ease of accessing supplies and ability to sell your wares online. However, as your success grows it’s important not to ignore the rules that have been put in place to protect customers and take responsibility for the laws you must follow.

Whether you’re a new crafter just starting out, selling informally, and transitioning to more formal operations or an experienced artisan looking to expand your business, navigating the legal landscape is an important milestone for your success and the safety of your customers.

In this blog we explore the essentials of selling crafts in the UK from general laws to be aware of to more specific product compliance and regulation, helping you build a thriving, legally compliant craft business.

Laws Selling Handmade Candles

Product Safety

When selling candles in the UK, it is crucial to ensure you meet general product safety regulations to protect consumers from harm. Key aspects include:

General Product Safety Regulations (GPSR) 2005

Candles must comply with the General Product Safety Regulations (GPSR) 2005, ensuring that they are safe for use and do not pose a risk to health and safety.

Risk Assessment

Conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify potential hazards associated with your candles, such as fire risk, toxicity, and stability. Provide clear and comprehensive safety information, including instructions for safe use and warnings about potential hazards.

Labelling Requirements

Candles must comply with the Classification, Labelling, and Packaging (CLP) Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008, which aligns with the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) of classification and labelling of chemicals. These include:

Hazard Symbols

Candles must display appropriate hazard pictograms if they contain substances that could pose risks, such as flammable materials or harmful fragrances.

Signal Words

Use signal words like “Warning” or “Danger” to indicate the level of hazard.

You should include hazard statements, which are standardised phrases that describe the nature and severity of the hazard, such as “May cause an allergic skin reaction” or “Keep away from heat, sparks, open flames, and hot surfaces.”

Precautionary Statements

Provide precautionary advice on how to minimize or prevent adverse effects. For instance, “Keep out of reach of children” and “Use only in well-ventilated areas.”


Proper testing of candles is essential to ensure they are safe for consumers. Important tests include:

Burn Testing:

Conduct burn tests to check for proper wick performance, flame stability, and the absence of excessive smoke or soot. This helps ensure that candles burn safely and efficiently without causing hazards.

Wick Size and Type:

Test different wick sizes and types to ensure they are appropriate for the candle size and wax type, providing a clean, even burn.

Burn Time:

Measure the burn time to ensure it aligns with the labelled burn time and that the candle burns consistently throughout its lifespan.

Fragrance Load Testing:

Ensure that the fragrance load is safe and does not emit harmful levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Fragrance Concentration:

Test the concentration of fragrances to avoid levels that could be toxic or cause irritation.

Allergenic Potential:

Assess the potential for fragrances to cause allergic reactions and ensure appropriate labelling if necessary.

Record Keeping:

Maintain detailed records of all tests conducted, including methodologies, results, and any corrective actions taken. These records are important for demonstrating compliance with safety regulations.

Craft Food Safety Regulations

Registering as a Food Business

When you start a food craft business in the UK, it’s mandatory to register with your local authority.

You must register your food business at least 28 days before you start trading. This can be done online through the local council’s website. After registration, your premises will be inspected by environmental health officers to ensure compliance with food safety standards. Regular inspections will follow to maintain compliance.

Food Hygiene Regulations

Ensuring food hygiene is critical for protecting public health and complying with the law. You will be expected to follow these regulations:

Premises Cleanliness:

Maintain high standards of cleanliness in all areas where food is handled. This includes regular cleaning and sanitizing of surfaces, equipment, and storage areas.

Personal Hygiene:

Anyone handling food must adhere to strict personal hygiene practices, such as wearing clean clothing, washing hands frequently, and avoiding handling food when ill.

Food Safety Management System:

Implement a food safety management system based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). This involves identifying potential hazards, establishing control measures, and maintaining records to ensure food safety.

Temperature Control:

Store food at safe temperatures to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. This includes proper refrigeration for perishable items and monitoring cooking temperatures.

Pest Control:

Implement measures to prevent pest infestations, such as regular inspections and maintaining a clean environment.

Labelling of Allergens

Correct labelling is essential to inform customers about potential allergens in your food products. The FSA can advise on the exact details, but it will involve including (but not limited to):

Allergen Information:

14 major allergens present in your food products. These allergens include peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish, crustaceans, molluscs, soybeans, cereals containing gluten, sesame seeds, celery, mustard, lupin, and sulphur dioxide.

Ingredient Listing:

List all ingredients in descending order of weight, with any allergens highlighted (e.g., in bold or a different colour).

Advisory Statements:

Use advisory statements like “may contain traces of…” if there is a risk of cross-contamination with allergens.

Food Safety Training Courses

To ensure that you and your staff handle food safely and comply with legal requirements, it’s important to undertake food safety training. Recommended courses include:

Level 2 Food Hygiene and Safety for Catering:

This basic course covers essential topics like food safety laws, personal hygiene, and controlling food safety hazards. It’s suitable for anyone handling food.

Level 3 Supervising Food Safety in Catering:

Designed for supervisors and managers, this course provides more in-depth knowledge on implementing and monitoring food safety practices.

HACCP Training:

Courses on HACCP principles are essential for understanding and applying this critical food safety management system.

Allergen Awareness Training:

Specialist training focused on managing allergens in a food business, understanding labelling requirements, and preventing cross-contamination.

What is CLP Compliant?

CLP (Classification, Labelling, and Packaging) compliance is a regulatory framework designed to ensure that hazardous substances and mixtures are classified and labelled correctly to inform users of potential risks. This is especially relevant for crafters selling items that may contain chemicals, such as handmade candles, soaps, and cosmetics.

What is Hallmarking?

Hallmarking is a legal requirement in the UK for items made from precious metals, such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, to ensure their authenticity and quality. It involves testing the metal content of items and marking them with a series of official marks. This process helps to protect consumers from fraud and guarantees the purity of the metal.

Hallmarking Process

Craftspeople and businesses must register with one of the four UK Assay Offices: London, Birmingham, Sheffield, or Edinburgh. Upon registration, you will receive a unique sponsor’s mark (maker’s mark), which will be used on all your hallmarked items.

Toy Craft Safety Requirements

The Toys (Safety) Regulations 2011 sets stringent safety requirements for toys sold in the UK. This directive ensures that toys are safe for children and do not pose health hazards. Toys must be designed and manufactured to meet essential safety requirements covering physical, mechanical, chemical, electrical, hygiene, and radioactivity aspects.

Cosmetic Craft Safety Regulations

The Cosmetic Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 sets the standards for cosmetic products sold within the UK. This regulation ensures that cosmetics are safe for human health, labelled correctly, and marketed in a way that does not mislead consumers.

Official Resources for Crafters

Government Websites

Selling goods and services: This section provides information about consumer rights and the responsibilities of businesses when selling goods and services.

Intellectual Property Office (IPO)

Protecting your designs: This resource offers guidance on how to protect your craft designs through intellectual property rights.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)

Business tax: self-employed: This page details the tax obligations for self-employed individuals, which is relevant for craft sellers.

Professional Bodies and Associations

The Craft Council
The Craft Council offers resources, exhibitions, and advice for craft makers.

Association for Contemporary Jewellery (ACJ)
ACJ supports contemporary jewellers with resources, networking opportunities, and exhibitions.

The Heritage Crafts Association
This association focuses on preserving traditional crafts and provides support and advocacy for craftsmen and women.

Business Companion
Guidance for craft businesses
Business Companion offers in-depth advice on trading standards and regulations for small businesses, including those selling crafts.

Get Craft Fair Insurance with Protectivity

It may seem daunting at first glance, but knowing what you need to comply with the regulations is a necessary safety precaution for your own business, as failing to do so, may also affect your insurance.

Protectivity’s crafters insurance is designed to support you as you grow your new business. Our specialist insurance includes public liability, employers’ liability, products liability and equipment and stock cover.

Securing the right insurance is another sensible step to preserve your brand reputation and protect your finances. Focus on the work you love with the reassurance you are properly protected.

Find out more and get an online quote suited to your business.

This blog has been created as general information and should not be taken as advice. Make sure you have the correct level of insurance for your requirements and always review policy documentation.