Handmade vs. Machine-Made Awards: Which Is Better?

Rachel Harmon
Rob Szafarowicz

From artisan jewelry to homemade soaps, handmade products are everywhere. However, there are lots of assumptions about the differences between handmade and machine-made products. What went into this? Why is one more expensive? What is best for you?

The same questions are crucial to consider when designing custom awards. You should know what you’re getting yourself into, so Cristaux International would like to help. With us, you’ll learn the basics of handmade and machine-made awards and what is best for your program.

What Are Handmade Awards?

Handmade awards are pieces produced by hand along with the help of machines. These orders typically consist of less pieces and are intimately manufactured. To make handmade awards, we refer to a digital design file and shape the pieces by hand with the dimensions in mind.


What Are Machine-Made Awards?

Machine-made awards are also known as factory-made or mass-produced. These pieces are almost entirely crafted by machines. Some products require post-process finishing and added details to be done by hand. To make a machine-made award, we convert a digital design file into code and send that code to machines which then work their magic.


The Differences Between Handmade and Machine-Made

To find out which choice is best for your project, take the time to understand how handmade and machine-made processes differ. Also, consider how they would fit with your project requirements, timeframe, design, and budget.


Orders for hand-made awards are typically fulfilled more quickly than that of their machine-made counterparts. Machine-made products take longer to produce because more time is spent setting up machinery and testing quality control. Additionally, orders for machine-made products have a higher quantity than handmade orders, taking more time to manufacture more pieces.


Handmade products are normally more expensive to produce, while machine-made products usually cost less per unit. Why is handmade more expensive? When working smaller production runs, it is more intimate and specialized. It requires more labor and is more expensive in the short term. Also, buying material in lower quantities is more costly.

Machine-made products call for a larger investment upfront. However, you get your money’s worth overtime. It’s like buying in bulk. We often try to persuade customers to be more economically efficient by ordering more upfront. This way, we can order more material at a lower cost and quickly fulfill their next order without having to produce more pieces. Cristaux recommends purchasing two- or three-years’ worth of inventory. This way, clients receive the best savings for their brand’s investment.


You may envision using a specific material for your awards or gifts. If so, it may be most beneficial to have those awards produced in the countries with the easiest access to that material. For example, you may want a handmade crystal piece. As a result, you would want to source material from China or other countries of the Asia-Pacific, which have ready access to this raw material.

Additionally, you may envision an intricate design for your program’s pieces. If this is true, then consider handmade products. This process allows for more complex designs than machine-made products.

Cristaux Metal Crystal Abstract Award


When looking at just one or a few pieces, it is difficult to notice physical differences. However, if you order a larger quantity and compare more pieces at once, then machine-made awards will appear more consistent.

A greater tolerance is allowed for handmade products. This means that there is a greater area between acceptable and not acceptable products. There is greater leeway for error. However, we still maintain excellent quality control and ensure complete client satisfaction.

How to Decide Handmade or Machine-Made


To decide with confidence what is best for your project, consider the following factors and questions to ask yourself.

  • Timeframe. How quickly do you need your order filled?
  • Budget. Can you afford a larger upfront investment, or is your budget small and fixed?
  • Design. How complex is your design? Are you willing to compromise on the concept or details?
  • Material. What material do you want to use?
  • Other requirements. Communicate and prioritize all your needs to find the best vendor and process for you.

How to Learn More

Vendors don’t often invest the time and energy in educating clients on the design and manufacturing processes. However, the Cristaux team believes in empowering our clients to fully understand every stage of their projects. When you learn more about what goes into the production of your order, you will see a greater return on your investment. Also, you’ll be able to align your brand with your long-term vision and extend the longevity of your program.

We work hard to make the journey enjoyable for those who work with us. At Cristaux, we like to educate you by using the following tools.

Keep an Open Mind

When considering whether to go the handmade or machine-made route, it’s crucial to remain open-minded. From design to material choice, flexibility and collaboration could elevate your project beyond what you imagined. As trends and markets shift, the industry may change, and we’d love to be your guide.

2ft tall 3D Printed gears of war custom trophy for video gaming

Contact the Cristaux team to start collaborating today.