Cheap Craft Supplies: Find Them Everywhere!
Crafting can be a pricey business, particularly if you do it just for fun. While there are plenty of arts & crafts stores who claim to be the cheapest, this isn't necessarily true and costs can rack up quickly.
By being savvy and selective, you can craft on a budget easily. This hub will share some savvy tips for the bargain crafter.
1- Use ebay Effectively
Focus on bids, as these have the potential for the best savings. Before bidding on an item, do a quick google search to determine the value of the item brand new. Then, decide on how much you are willing to part for the same item in it's current condition. Personally, I like to wait until the last minute before placing my bid, to reduce the risk of the price inflating dramatically, and of someone outbidding me.
I love using ebay for rubber stamps, ink pads and the "job lots" of craft items- where the seller sells a group of items for a low starting price- I like to think of them as craft lucky bags!
ebay is also a good to source more specialist items such as embossing machines and die cut machines at a fraction of the cost- I got a bargain Xyron Creatopia machine for £25!! that's 25% of the normal retail price!
Just remember to be sure that it is a good deal before you bid.
2-Deal Direct With The Manufacturer.
This is another way to save cash. You may not think so, but by cutting out the middleman, there is definitely money saving potential. This is particularly true of seasonal supplies- for example if you buy your Christmas themed items in Summer, you will save money! I managed to get Valentines embossing folders for as little as £1 when i went direct to Sizzix, as opposed to £8 on ebay- this is what I meant by making sure it is a deal.
It is also worthwhile contacting the company if you require a bulk order (useful for craft sellers) as they can usually offer a bulk discount. Try looking up companies' direct websites for bargains- a google search for the required item usually provides the manufacturer's site as one of the top options.
Cheaper than ebay!
3-Go Charity Shopping
Charity shops and thrift stores are filled with crafty goods! You can easily find deluxe buttons, scrap material and ceramics at very cheap prices- great for experimenting with new techniques.
I love digging around junk shops, particularly looking for frames and teacups which I then transform into teacup candles.
4- Avoid Shopping Channels
It may seem as though you are getting a great deal, but it is likely that you will get similar products (if not the same) online at a fraction of the cost.
Don't get me wrong, some of the channels give you great ideas and inspiration- but the prices of some of the supplies are extortionate!
I usually watch the channels for ideas, and keep the laptop handy to search for items I like the look of. Bear in mind that shopping channels can use terms such as "exclusive collection" when in actual fact, the items are available from the manufacturer in a differently named collection, so don't get pulled in by the lingo!
5- Utilise All Available Freebies.
It may sound silly, but you can actuallly get a lot of free downloads of patterned paper and digi stamps for cardmakers from blogs and craft magazine websites.
Obviously, this depends on the economics of your printer and inks, and keep copyright in mind also- most are for personal use only. In some cases you can make contributions to the designer in return for a limited license, if you want to use these for items to sell.
You can also request samples from paper companies- this is a good way to get quality card and vellum to test with projects before shelling out.
If you are a crafty blogger, you can also get freebies from craft companies in return for a review, or just as free advertising. If you don't ask, you don't get!
6- Visit Hardware Stores
Go to DIY stores whenever you can as there is often a clearance/ reduced section- often hiding loads of treasures for the thrifty crafter:
- Tiles with burst packaging, for a fraction of the regular cost- perfect for mosaics or painted tile art.
- Tins of paint- special effect pains/ spray paints etc, that have perhaps been dropped, can be used in a number of crafty ways, and especially good for furniture revamps.
- Wallpaper- opened, but still all there- great for card-making, scrap-booking and other paper crafts, particularly the luxury wallpaper.
Many DIY supplies can be used in arts & crafts, and i often find tins of spray paint in these stores super cheap compared to the art stores.
You can also visit the home décor section where you can get samples of wallpaper for free- nice additions to a home made card- and free colour charts, which can be used in cards and bookmarks.
7- Visit The Haberdasher's
Haberdasher's and fabric stores are another resource for crafters. You don't necessarily need to be into a sewing craft either! There is always plenty to find in these stores:
- Bags of Ribbon ends- sometimes each piece is just short of a meter!- great for trimmings and cards.
- Bargain Bins of material - chunky leftover scraps that can be used in scrapbooking or patchwork.
- Fabric Glues, pens and other items- reduced due to burst packaging- great for kid's crafts.
- Bags of mixed buttons- perfect for cards, scrapbooking or clothes customising.
8- DIY It!
There are loads of ideas on pinterest for making craft elements and supplies, from paints and papers, to appliques and findings, as well as ideas for projects to use them in. If you are not already a member of pinterest, I suggest you sign up asap! Be aware though, it can be addictive!
We all have leftovers in our craft collection that we won't ever use. Why don't you swap your leftovers for someone else's?
Both parties will then get some new goodies for free! If you have a few crafty friends, you could hold a crafty swap party or use social networks to arrange a swap. There may also be some online pages for swapping and selling- have a search and get swapping!
9- Collect Things
Collect findings on day trips and holidays. Shells, driftwood, ticket stubs, flyers, napkins- lots of items to add a unique element to any project. This is very good practice for scrapbookers and journel keepers- both memories and craft elements all in one!
Hopefully, this will help all of the crafters out there to keep costs low, and creativity high! Just because there is a recession, doesn't mean our art should suffer!
© 2013 Lynsey Harte