Demand for doukake sets?

Hi all, I hope this is the right category. I’m thinking about trying to make doukake/tenjin cap sets to sell. I ordered a couple doukake “blanks” from Japan and will be experimenting with those, but also trying the paper mache method from Kyle’s book. As someone who loves collecting textiles but doesn’t really have anything to do with them (I don’t sew) I thought this could be a fun way to use my stash. NOTE: I’d only be making tsugaru doukake sets for now, since that’s the only style shamisen that I have to base the fit on.

So, I wanted to get a feel for the potential demand.

  1. How much do you care about doukake? Are you a one-and-done kind of person, or are you interested in having a few different sets to switch around once in a while?

  2. Is there a particular style or design that you would really like, but just haven’t seen for sale anywhere? (Personally, I want to see some bolder and modern patterns, or contemporary spins on traditional Japanese patterns.)

  3. What do you think is a reasonable price range for a doukake/tenjin cap set (I’m determined to make sets, not just doukake) made by a U.S. seller?

I appreciate any input!

I found some nice bright Japanese fabric on etsy that I purchased to make a doukake for my small Japanese doll shamisen that I restored. and I think it worked out nicely using the paper Mache method that Kyle shows. I plan to use the same method to make doukake for my Shamibuddy that I received yesterday and for a couple other used Shamisen that I have. I think Doukake improve the looks of the Shamisen, but making my own provides the selection of fabric color and design that I may like best.

Wow, I recently decoupage’d my own doukake and tenjin cover actually. Just last week in fact!

@pboman , it looks like we picked the same pattern too! It’s such a vivid colour with a beautiful pattern!

The tenjin cover is more rough than I had hoped it would be but the doukake isn’t too bad for a first try. I’ll need to improve on it some more but here’s what it looks like :slight_smile:


I like it. :+1: I also bought an eyelet punch set with eyelets and red cord :slight_smile:

So neat! Did you need to sew anything on the tenjin cover? Mine came out pretty bulky :laughing: will have to redo it…

To reply to @hexasketch -

  1. doukakes are fun. Personally, I am the type that would change the covers depending on the mood :smile:

  2. I like painted/lacquered doukake, brocade but I am not against modern patterns.

  3. That is a harder question to answer. I quickly checked around the net and the prices are around 150usd (and yes, I found some for over 300 but don´t know who would buy that!). Given that, you need to calculate if this equals to your effort, energy, and time you will put into making the doukake AND tenjin cover. Also the cost of extra materials (for ex. if you plan to make it glossy).

What sort of patterns do you have?
There are many factors to put into consideration, however, if you really enjoy the process of making them, I´d say go for it :wink: Make two or three, show them to people and what sortiment you have (fabrics, patterns) that people can chose from.