Cheap or "FREE" craft supplies...

Discussion in 'Seasonal Crafts' started by AuntJamelle, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Just wanted to share a few tips on how I keep in good supply of certain craft items. Also would love to know what others have learned to do as well!

    - Ribbon ... Obviously there are ways to get ribbon at a good price. Lots of options, stores, sales, coupons. But if you haven't already, consider this, lots and lots and LOTS of things we buy come with ribbon. Ribbon that might normally get ignored or thrown away.

    For example, when you buy a new blanket it might come wrapped in a large thick length of twill style ribbon. Save it!

    I don't know about you, but I do NOT use the little loops of ribbon sewn into sleeveless shirts to keep my shirts on the hangers at home. I just clip those little lengths of ribbon right out when I bring them home and toss them in my ribbon stash.

    If you keep your eyes open, little bits and pieces of ribbon will start to add up. This method has enabled me to greatly increase the variety of styles and colors of ribbon I have when working on a craft or sewing project or even wrapping a gift.

    And thinking outside the box is ok too. Unused shoelaces, cording, etc. All could have their use someday.

    I mean, I'm not advocating boxes and boxes of ribbon for 'just in case" - but I do have a large shoebox full of odds and ends.

    - Buttons ... buy these in bulk packages of mis-matched buttons if you can. The price seems to be cheaper this way. And all those extra buttons you get with new clothes. Into the box they go at my house!!! I rarely lose buttons off my clothing, but if I do, I can always find one in my button jar. I've done this over the years and have built up a nice supply of a wide variety of buttons.

    - Fabric ... if you sew or do any crafting with fabric at all keep those projects in mind before you donate clothing. For example, a craft project I plan to make this year is a really cute headwarmer made of fleece.

    In the pile for the garage sale were several fleeces DH doesnt' want anymore. So, for "free" I can cut up one of those fleeces and use the material for my project. Win, win!

    Once again, it is a matter of balancing what you "might need" with storage space. We don't want or need more clutter in our lives. I get that!

    But I also try to not ignore ways I can shave $ off my craft supplies!

    What does everyone else do? Any tips, tricks? :)
  2. halimer

    halimer Well-Known Member

    All good ideas. I know I am a ribbon saver.

    I also pick up paint swatch cards that I use as accents for scrapbooking, card making, etc.

    Then there are leftover rolls/pieces of wallpaper and I tend to be a cardboard saver too..
  3. Lana

    Lana Well-Known Member

    I save alot of items also to reuse. Like AuntJ the ribbons that come on so much stuff.

    Oatmeal containers and pringle containers to put gifts or treats in when wrapped with paper or scrapbook paper.

    Little jelly jars and such as items for seasoning salts.

    I know there are other (to many) items to mention that I store to recycle but at the moment I can't think of any.

    Old Christmas cards for a variety or items.
  4. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Good points! I have started to really learn to think about it before I toss something in the recycle bin. I'm trying to "think" outside the box. Or how I can cover the box :) to make it into something new.

    For example, I will buy fresh pizzas from Aldi - the pizzas are shrink wrapped but they come in a cardboard pizza box with a window cut in the top.

    I was about to toss one in the recycle this weekend when I flashed in my mind to covering the box with Christmas wrapping paper and putting a clear piece of cellophane where the opening is. Would make a really cute way to gift daycare or co-workers with a large assortment of cookies/baked goods!

    That particular box had been rained on by the time I had my little lightbulb moment, so it still went in the bin. But there is always the next one!
  5. candysprinkles

    candysprinkles New Member

    If you ever buy the DiGijorno's type of pizzas or the Deli bake at home pizzas they sometimes come with a large circle of cardboard. The store brand version here is shrink wrapped, but still has that new cardboard disc in grease or food on it because of the plastic. I have made several wreaths by just cutting out the center, wrapping yarn and then hot gluing crayons, flowers, whatever.

    I also save ribbons from blankets, even junk mail envelopes if they are pretty. (I have gotten some made of vellum, really pretty colors, etc.) I have a big stash of "chip board" I hide behind our card table (lol) it is just recycled packaging, backs of notebooks, white or cardboard colored inserts I have found.

    I like the crackers that come with mylar type bags inside them. You can rinse the bag out and then curl it like ribbon to put inside gift bags. Silver goes with almost any color of package.

    If I am crafting something and I want it "laminated" I have been known to search through the recycle for clear plastic packaging and just mod podge the plastic onto my paper.

    Sometimes I use the wax paper bag that cereal comes in as a large place mat for gluing, painting, messy crafting jobs. It pulls apart easily at the seams and makes a good size work area. Our 25lb cat food bags are great for this, too. I open those up and put them over the deep freeze in the garage. That is the surface that I almost always end up using for messy stuff because I don't want to make a mess in my craft area or kitchen.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2012
  6. candysprinkles

    candysprinkles New Member

    One more I forgot...whenever we are traveling the interstate, I like to pick up a few free maps and pretty brochure books at the rest areas. I use them to make ornaments. :) Also, the folded magazine Christmas tree can be made out of the small vacation destination books. The Florida ones have lots of beaches, palm trees, seashells and photos, for example.
  7. brianrey

    brianrey New Member

    nice suggestions on how to maintain supply of ribbon, fabrics and buttons. i would love to know more on this.


    gift card packaging
  8. sunshine

    sunshine New Member

    I always strip any clothing of usable items before I toss them into the rag bags -- buttons, zippers, lace, etc. I also check the free stuff at yard sales. Many items have small stains or rips that renders then unsellable, but still have things to use.

    I also think of clothing as fabric, rather than the actual item. An outdated bride's maid dress has made several "hero" capes and dress up items for my grand kids. A pair of veleteen pants became puppets, etc.
  9. Kim Loves Snow

    Kim Loves Snow Santa's Elves

    I am a box keeper. I am always looking for ways to wrap oddly shaped items and it's amazing what can be repurposed to suit your needs.
  10. piratemamaof3boys

    piratemamaof3boys Well-Known Member

    Great idea. I know at our family Christmas a lot of people wont keep ribbons., or the gift box that come with a picture on it so I collect them. My sil also keeps all boxes so now I have a box of them broken down waiting to be used.

    I recently started keeping all glass jars a lot of different options on pinterest to reuse them for gifts or in your home.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012
  11. chilli

    chilli Member

    Thanks for sharing these ideas! They are great!

  12. jampss

    jampss Well-Known Member


    Thanks y'all for these great ideas. I like to make a basket from recycled Christmas cards. There's a picture in my craft album.
  13. MinnieCo

    MinnieCo Well-Known Member

    I've started saving my tins and some of my "prettier" shaped jars as well. I've been spray painting everything these days, so why not paint them too? The Starbucks frappachino jars are a great shape and perfect for storing scrapbook supplies.
  14. chilli

    chilli Member

    I also collect wrapping papers, boxes and other packages which look nice and useful. Or I also use parts of them as special motives. For example - I love to drink tea during winter. From time to time (especially special editions) there are really nice motives on the boxes as flowers, fruits etc.
    I cut and use them for cards etc

  15. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    Bumping this thread! :) An oldie but a goodie!!!

    Wanted to give a big shout out to Garage Sales as my ultimate favorite craft supply resource!

    Last spring I was able to beef up my crafting supplies in so many ways for pennies on the dollar! So many people end up selling craft type things because they never got around to the crafting!

    I found everything from scrapbooking supplies, fabric, glitter, twine, trims - even wine corks!

    I was also able to find silk flowers, silk leaves, silk amaryllis and poinsettias - all were cut up and reused by me in various fall and Christmas projects - swags, wreaths, etc.

    And Wreaths!!! If the wreath form is in good condition and price is right, I snap it up and tear off the ugly stuff from 19-whatever and re-use the form. Sometimes I found plain wreath forms right from the craft stores that were never used!

    Garage sale season approaches - at least in our neck of the woods - and I can't wait!

    Any other ideas for saving on craft supplies?
  16. AuntJamelle

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

    I just thought of another one!

    When you buy new light sets, don't throw away the extra long twist ties they are frequently packaged in - these are great for all sorts of things but I use them often in place of floral wire for adding items, ornaments, etc. to wreaths, swags and garlands!

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