If my 50+ ‘Earth Day’-crafts & DIY projects got you interested, you probably like this article on using thrifty craft supplies (i.e. recycled, free or inexpensively acquired art supplies). I find personally, that a mixture of ‘already have’, ‘find’, ‘recycle’, and ‘store bought’- craft supplies give you the best results. You can’t recycle glue, so you must buy that, or at least, learn to make your own.
Here are my tips on where you can find thrifty craft supplies:
Thrifty Craft Supplies to Collect or Buy
When you think of recycling, think out of the recycled plastic box! On community sites like craigslist.com I have come across numerous art & craft supply offers by crafters and artists who are retiring from using a certain type of material, or who are relocating and who are willing to ‘donate’ or sell entire collections of craft supplies for cheap. You’ll end up with a huge savings if you shop online in this way.
Take advantage of seasonal sales for craft supplies from quality art suppliers. Almost all craft suppliers have weekly offers. They are worth considering. Often, they also offer significant discounts if you buy craft materials for an entire classroom. You don’t need to be a teacher. You just need to be willing to buy bulk, that means 20 or so at a time. For frequently used supplies, that can be great savings.
Last but not least, consider buying wholesale craft supplies. I’d never considered this reasonable before I started noted several suppliers at Amazon offering me the same items for a fraction of the cost if I only were to buy 100 instead of 5. Usually for just a few dollars more. So, definitely I recommend you trying this link from time to time.
Free Art Supplies
Another fantastic tip I can give you is to source directly from nature. Shells, stones, sand, sticks, leaves, flowers: all are perfect to create unique personal art work.
Tip: found art materials of ‘interesting stuff’ you find along the way when you walk the dog are also game!
Source from what’s in the house. Whenever I want to do a scrapbooking project, I simply walk through the house first to see what kind of craft supplies I can find. Let’ say I find an old envelop with a cute stamp, an old magazine, a photo, some leftover wrapping paper, a cork to make into a stamp, and some computer printer paper… and off I go to make a few unique greeting cards.
Old magazine do not only offer colorful pages to use in a variety of arts and crafts. They also can be a wonderful source of inspiration of patterns and color combinations. Cut out what you like and you can decoupage your paper clippings into creative paper mosaics or otherwise decoupaged boxes.
Particularly kitchens make great treasure-hunting grounds for thrifty craft supplies: cans, glass jars, paper towel tubes, cereal boxes and more….
Also kid bedrooms are perfect to find craft supply treasures: old broken toys are usually colorful and can add playful elements to otherwise serious pieces of furniture.
School-aged children usually need tons of craft supplies for school, and if you start collecting and keeping things neatly in one place, you’ll find that they are happy to use recycled materials.
Vacation travels are another source of wonderful & unique craft supplies that won’t cost you a single dime. Brochure, boarding pass tags, amusement park tickets, etc. make great scrapbooking materials.
I usually take a small pair of scissors with me so I can cut out pieces of craft materials along the way, and discard the rest. This keeps my luggage to a minimum and my creative brain fully and frilly occupied.
Last but not least, small works of art and crafts are wonderful elements in new works of art. And this may range from nearly filled doodle pads to artwork that was never properly finished because it did not turn out right. If you indeed kept these, you will find that you have a huge and fantastic source of free art materials ready and waiting in the unfinished-art pile.
Tip: I purposely create art elements, particularly in the field of crochet and knitting. I find that I have an endless use for granny squares and crochet edging, for example. You can do the same with paper craft. Make doodles on a day to day basis on scrap paper or whatever, and keep them all in one place, the well organized craft cabinet…
Alright, that will probably get your creative mind going on how to never pay full price for craft supplies, and have an abundance of unique craft materials to work with.