- Arts and Design
How To Find Cheap Craft Supplies
Most people are still having to prioritize what they spend their cash on and think they have to give up much loved hobbies. Thankfully when it comes to crafts there are numerous ways to get materials cheaply or even for free! By adding an extra touch of creativity and knowing where to look, you not only save money, but have more fun, create something truly unique and help the environment.
Crafts are not just hobbies either. Creativity is an important part of child development, so finding cheap craft supplies to use for kids craft ideas is a must!
I find one of the worst places to find craft supplies and creative inspiration is actually in craft stores! You walk in and you're surrounded by overpriced plastic gadgets which apparently are 'essential to your craft'. No doubt your craft has actually managed several centuries without it up until now.
So with that in mind here's my guide on the best places to find a crafty bargain...
Recycle Old Clothes Into New Works of Art
Have a clean-out of the family closets and you will find a treasure trove of free supplies.
- Cut up old clothes and salvage fabrics, buttons, beads and edgings. Use these for crafts such as patchwork and quilting, dressmaking, home wares, jewelry making and accessories.
- If you're more into yarn crafts, make your own t-shirt yarn. The yarn is ideal for knitting and crocheting cushions, rugs and sturdy bags.
- Don't waste a thing! Pockets, zips, collars, elastics and cuffs can all be used. Don't neglect the knitted fabrics either~ they don't make great yarn but they are fantastic for making unusual cushion covers, especially when you add a touch of embroidery or beading.
Thrift Store Shopping
If you can't find anything at home to recraft, have a dig around in your local thrift store. I often see items that I wouldn't wear but adore the materials. You spend a fraction of the cost of buying the same amount of fabric new. Even recycle yarn by unravelling jumpers.
It's not just old clothes that you can give a new lease of life to. Make your own mosaic tiles using broken crockery and recycle old jewelry by taking pieces apart for their beads and findings.
Prepare to spend some time to really look as the really good stuff is normally hiding well. There will only be one of an item (unless you're really lucky of course) so if you spot something you really think has potential get it quick!
Sample Packs and Other Freebies
If you are planning a project and want to order material online many companies offer a sample pack for a small amount or even free. Once you have chosen your fabric and no longer need your samples, put them to good use and make something with it!
Many sample packs are a generous size and are perfect for small projects. It's not good practice to send off for free samples without intending to buy; but if you are comparing packs from various companies, you probably have a lot of materials laying around your home without knowing it.
Use your search engine to find samples for potential craft supplies, not just fabric. Search for what you need and you'll be surprised what's available. This is a great way to try a new medium before investing in it fully.
Other freebies are found in specialist magazines and by becoming a product tester for craft companies~ you get sent a product, use it and once you have reviewed it you get to keep it.
Upcycling and Recycling
So what's the difference between recycling and upcycling?
- Recycling breaks a product down into usable materials. So the original item has been totally refashioned it into something new.
- Upcycling uses what something already is and turns into something new with simple alterations and additions.
Upcycling is very big now. Ideas for upcycling are endless and range from simple customization to giving something a completely new purpose.
It's such a popular process now that even businesses are upcycling packaging. There are even upcycle competitions and whole blogs dedicated to the art. A search for the term 'upcycled' on handmade marketplace Etsy today brought up 137,559 items ranging from jewelry and accessories to garden ornaments and coat hooks!
Alternative Craft Materials
This is where thinking outside the box comes in to its own. By looking at things differently you'll find potential for crafts everywhere you go.
My favourite places for finding fun and unusual hobby supplies are hardware stores and garden centers. These are a treasure trove of items made from all sorts of materials. Copper wire for example is generally cheaper at a hardware store than from a jewelry supplier.
Ask around. Local businesses often have items they see as waste which would make wonderful craft additions. Out of date newspapers, damaged products, ribbons & twine and wooden crates can all be used to make the most amazing and eyecatching items. One of my favourites is to use hessian sacks as rug canvas.
Forage for Natural Crafts
Come across potential materials by going for a walk.
Fallen branches, nuts, seeds, shells, dry leaves, pebbles and cones can all be found for free and used for a wide variety of crafts. Drill nut shells for example and make into beautifully unusual beads.
If you are planning a trip into nature's store, make sure you stay safe. Be aware of coming into contact with harmful things like certain berries and make sure you have permission from the landowner.
Last Minute Bargains
One of my favourite places to find a bargain is of course eBay. A constant stream of people selling pretty much anything you can imagine, including craft supplies. If you are looking for something, someone is probably selling it there.
I find the best way to get good deals is to browse the categories you think appropriate. Choose auction only and order the results by ending soonest. You could find what you are looking for in a category you wouldn't have considered before. For example I once found some split-rings and cork balls in the fishing category which I needed for a jewelry experiment.
Where do you go first when looking for craft supplies?
Other Ideas for Crafts on a Budget
Fabric swaps are very popular, as often something you no longer need or want, is just what your friend has been looking for. If you don't know anyone who needs what you have, do a search for craft swaps online as there are several sites dedicated to helping people find what they need and often you only need to pay the shipping costs.
Discontinued Supplies are easy to find online. Yarn in particular goes through trends and just like with fashion when a company has decided to move on to something new the remainder gets sold at discounted prices. Search for what you are looking for but add 'discontinued' before it.
Discount stores have many products suitable for crafts. I have been lucky enough to even find some pretty decent painting canvases, paints and brushes in my local pound shop, along with twine, yarn and storage ideas. Just remember it's always worth a look!
Buy in Bulk if you use a lot of the same materials. This can result in big savings per product and if you spend over a particular amount in one order many sites offer free shipping too. When shopping in stores not online, buying in bulk means using less time and fuel.
I hope this has given you lots of ideas of where to look whatever your craft. We really are surrounded by possibilities. If you know any other places do let us all know below. It's always good to find a new way to save some cash!