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How to Find Free Craft Supplies

Updated on April 28, 2015
Find Inspirational Ideas to Craft Everyday Trash to Usable Materials
Find Inspirational Ideas to Craft Everyday Trash to Usable Materials | Source

Stop. Don't Throw it Away!

You may be surprised to learn that you don't have to go far to find free craft supplies. Raising a family of four on a single income has taught us to create some pretty thrifty treasures from items that would have been on their way to the recycling center had we not thought of another creative use for them.

Check out the list below for upcycling everyday items into crafty creations.

What is Upcycling?

Besides being one of my favorite excuses for saving almost anything from entering a landfill, upcycling is the process of giving new life to otherwise useless material . For eco-friendly & crafty folks, like myself, it's also a fantastic way to turn trash into treasure.

Toilet Paper Rolls

Toilet paper rolls are probably the easiest item to collect. You may be surprised to find out how they can be recycled with style after checking out the resources below.

Rainy Day Kid's Crafts

All your kid's need to make these cute characters are a bit of paint and a lot of imagination. The ideas for decorative accessories are endless. Be sure to have your children hunt around the house (and the recycle bin) to dress up their latest creation.

Around the House

Party Accessories

Art

To see photos of each of these ideas and find even more creative ideas for upcycling empty toilet paper rolls, follow my Toilet Paper Rolls Craft board on Pinterest.

Screenshot of Toilet Paper Roll Crafts on Pinterest
Screenshot of Toilet Paper Roll Crafts on Pinterest | Source
Store broken crayons in a recycled container to reuse later.
Store broken crayons in a recycled container to reuse later. | Source

Broken Crayons

Did you know that it is very simple to make new crayons from old broken ones? It is. The best part is kids can help! Follow the steps below or check out the list of resources for more fabulous ideas on upcycling broken crayons.

  1. Collect broken crayons. Recycle an empty container, preferably with a lid, to store broken crayons in.
  2. Remove paper & break crayons into smaller pieces
  3. Place the broken pieces in a silicon or metal cupcake or small mold pan
  4. Bake at 250 degrees for 15-30 minutes (depending on size of mold)
  5. Allow to cool completely

More Inspiration for Saving Broken Crayons from the Garbage Pail:

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Corkboard and key holder made from recycled wine corksRubber Stamps from Wine CorksWine corks for crafts
Corkboard and key holder made from recycled wine corks
Corkboard and key holder made from recycled wine corks | Source
Rubber Stamps from Wine Corks
Rubber Stamps from Wine Corks | Source
Wine corks for crafts
Wine corks for crafts | Source

Wine Corks

Wine corks can be crumpled up and used to make homemade compost or sprinkled in your garden. They can also be collected and made into stamps, bulletin boards, home décor, toys, etc.

For a full list of ideas and tutorials, check out the hub: Uses for Wine Corks: Crafts, Home Décor Projects, Garden Ideas, and More.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Recycled cartons are great for creating blocks that children can use for imaginary play to create towers, castles, and forts!Step 1: Remove tops of cartonStep 2: Slide one carton inside a second cartonStep 3: Finished block ready for play
Recycled cartons are great for creating blocks that children can use for imaginary play to create towers, castles, and forts!
Recycled cartons are great for creating blocks that children can use for imaginary play to create towers, castles, and forts! | Source
Step 1: Remove tops of carton
Step 1: Remove tops of carton | Source
Step 2: Slide one carton inside a second carton
Step 2: Slide one carton inside a second carton | Source
Step 3: Finished block ready for play
Step 3: Finished block ready for play | Source

Cardboard Milk/Juice Cartons

Blocks for Imaginary Play

Recycled cartons are great for creating blocks that children can use for imaginary play to create towers, castles, and forts!

Materials Needed to Make 1 Block

  • 2 empty & clean cardboard cartons
  • scissors

Directions

  1. Using scissors remove the tops from each carton
  2. Slide one carton into the second carton
  3. Decorate, if desired, or use as is.

Other Craft Ideas for Upcycling Cardboard Cartons

Cereal Box to Desk Organizer

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Cereal box to desk organizerCereal box to desk organizer
Cereal box to desk organizer
Cereal box to desk organizer | Source
Cereal box to desk organizer
Cereal box to desk organizer | Source

Glass Bottles & Jars

Glass Jars

Mason Jars

For even more ideas on upcycling mason jars, check out the hub: Mason Jar Crafts and Décor: Ideas and Inspiration by Jamie Brock at Hubpages

Wine Bottles

Cereal Boxes

Cereal boxes can easily be cut and decorated to form functional desk organizers. The cardboard used in food packaging can also be used to make traceable templates for drawing, sewing, etc.

Check out the photos to the right for easy instructions. Once your box is cut to the correct shape, decorate with paint or cut up magazines and decoupage for a fun collage.

More Crafty Ways to Upcycle Cardboard Packaging

How to Paint Decorative Glass

Light Bulbs

Plastic Grocery Bags

Magazines

In addition to making great collages. Used magazines can be recycled into many stylish items including coasters, baskets, and even jewelry. Check out the resources below for tutorials.

Newspaper

How to Make Newspaper Yarn

Other Miscellaneous Crafts made from Recycled Material

  • Tin Can Robot from Small Hands Big Art Blog
    An adorable kid's craft perfect for rainy days. All you need is a tin can, duct tape, scissors, miscellaneous bits and pieces and an imagination.
  • Egg Cup from a Bent Fork from the What I Made... blog
    If you are a fan of soft boiled eggs and have a creative side, this is the perfect craft for you. I think it would also make a unique Father's Day gift (my dad is the only person I know that likes soft boiled eggs)
  • Hand Towel Beach Bag from Martha Stewart Crafts
  • Bottle Cap Ladybug from Craftideas.info
    This simple craft requires metal bottle caps, some acrylic paint, and creativity. The tutorial is specific to a ladybug, but really you or your child can paint whatever you would like.
  • How to Recycle Ruined Clothes from Veggie-mom at Hubpages.com

Need More Inspiration?

Follow me on Pinterest! I'm forever finding lots of ways to reuse everyday garbage as craft supplies and have created a Recycled Craft board to keep track of everything I find.

Recycled Craft board on Pinterest
Recycled Craft board on Pinterest | Source

More Places to Find Free Craft Supplies

Check your local recycling center to see if they have a swap shop available. Our town allows usable items to be stashed for others to pick up for free. There are also some similar online resources available below:

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    • roxanne459 profile image

      Roxanne Lewis 5 years ago from Washington

      This is filled with great craft ideas, I love the toilet paper roll creations! :)

    • veggie-mom profile image
      Author

      veggie-mom 5 years ago

      Thank you, Roxanne! I was surprised myself to find so many fun ways to reuse a toilet paper roll.

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 5 years ago from Arizona

      Chocked full of wonderful ideas. Super ways to reuse items that typically end up being thrown away!And I learned a new term--upcycling! Thanks for the inspiration! Voted Up, useful and interesting.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      This is almost a mini-encyclopedia of ideas - and they're super useful! I wish I'd heard of the crayon tip back when my kids were little. We certainly threw away a ton of stumps over the years. Once a crayon breaks, it loses its magic or something. This was a new term to me, too, but I'll keep my eyes focused upward from now on!

      Voted up, useful, awesome and shared!

    • christianajohan profile image

      christianajohan 5 years ago

      This hub is so wonderful!

      I could be a craftswoman someday. Thanks for this very informative hub.

      Vote up!

    • profile image

      summerberrie 5 years ago

      What an endless list of wonderful ideas! Someone gave me a Christmas ornimant made from a light bulb...it was so pretty. I am going to challenge myself to doing one of your upcycling ideas. Voted up and useful!

    • alliemacb profile image

      alliemacb 5 years ago from Scotland

      A brilliant list of resources. It would never have occurred to me to use some of these items for crafting but I will certainly give it a go now.

    • veggie-mom profile image
      Author

      veggie-mom 5 years ago

      Thanks everyone, I'm happy to hear that you have been inspired to craft with items that many people often throw away! Imagine how much waste we could save from entering landfills through upcycling & so many of these projects would make wonderful (& unique) gifts!

    • adjkp25 profile image

      David 5 years ago from Northern California

      Our kids are too old for these ideas but I was blown away at home many different ways there are to reuse items that would be recycled or thrown in the trash. I have see toilet paper rolls and wine corks reused before but the newspaper yarn one floored me! Amazing list of ideas.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 5 years ago from Georgia

      Awesome, creative ideas! I love recycling "trash" into treasures. Voted up!

    • veggie-mom profile image
      Author

      veggie-mom 5 years ago

      @adjkp25, too old for crafts, I don't believe it :) I'm glad you enjoyed the list of ideas!

      @habee, thanks so much, I love recycling "trash" into treasures too!

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks for all of the great resources! I have been on a kick writing articles about craft projects with recycled materials and can't believe how many great ideas there are out there.

    • profile image

      selink 4 years ago

      I agree that there are so many things that we can use for our craft projects at home. To minimize wastage, look around and you can see that boxes and plastic items that you can turn into a piece of craftwork. This reminds us that with everyday items such as old newspapers, printed receipts (which can also be shredded with the help of http://www.houstonshredding.com - for instance), paper towel tube rolls and empty cereal boxes can be used for other purposes once their original purpose have been accomplished.

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 4 years ago from Indonesia

      Great ideas !. I've got a lot of inspiration in crafting after reading this hub. Thank you for sharing. God Bless You.

    • profile image

      Wee Cat Creations 4 years ago

      I've always loved giving kids and preteens access to 'junk' and watching what they create.

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