I am always amazed at how quickly the receipt totals add up on craft supplies when there are so many fun supplies to choose from. How can I still have fun crafting with my tween but not break the bank? Check our top 5 tips below for saving money on craft supplies. Do you have any other suggestions? Be sure to leave a comment.
1. Hold a Craft Supply Swap Party
Rather than buying new supplies – invite over your neighborhood friends to swap unwanted or over-abundant craft items. TLC (home of our favorite Craft Wars) has a few tips for hosting a craft supply swap here. You can keep it simple – but consider the points below to make your swap a bigger success:
- Create your invite list – Keep the list fun (and hopefully a low-stress crowd)
- Set the craft supply criteria -You can leave this request broad and open to interpretation for your invitees to keep it interesting (or focus on a certain crafting theme like ‘yarn & embroidery’) but ask each person to bring at least 10 items to swap
- Set the menu – As this is a ‘party’, choose your party food theme. Ask each person to bring one item to share
- Prep the space for display – Have clear table space labeled by craft material type (e.g. yarn, sewing, painting, cooking, scrapbooking) and clear bags if you need to group items together as a batch
- Define the swap criteria -Who will pick first, next, etc.? For better crowd control and fun discussion around the items selected – have each person go one at a time, initially, to select their new item. Either sequence the party attendees randomly (numbers in a hat selection) or have the people who bring the most items go first. Depending on how many items you have to swap – you could go individually for 2-3 rounds and then follow with open selections by all.
- Close the party by suggesting that the group meet again and regularly (every three months) and to return with stories and pictures of what they created with their new finds
- Donate any remaining unwanted items (see the tip #2 and #4 below)
2. Peruse Freecycle.org and Craigslist
Craigslist, the online marketplace for services and items sourced locally, has an entire “arts and crafts” section. As an example, my local area listing had numerous offerings for Cricut machines and cartridges for a fraction of the retail price. Scrapbook items are also popular on the site.
Freecycle is like Craigslist without any payment being exchanged. The Freecycle network has groups across the world. You can post requests for free items, or offer up items. The main criteria is that the item must be ‘free’ with no expectations of anything in return (other than picking up the donated item). I have used this during spring cleaning to pass along a full bag of plastic hangers or random furniture. If you are looking for specific items – post a request within your local network.
3. Use Free Printables
Printables are a perfect start to planning a party or making a gift. My crafty sister Pauline has posted many *free* printables to enjoy (including the Owl Treat Bags pictured above).
- Are you having a party? Save money on supplies and use these free and fun cupcake toppers
- Do you need to create gift bags? Try printing on paper lunch bags or use these paper bag printables for a fraction of the cost
- Do you want to surprise someone with some special chocolate? Print a celebration chocolate wrapper
- Are you getting inspired or want to inspire someone else? Print these journal inspirations or iPhone/iPad wallpapers
- How will you honor the special teachers in your life? Keep calm and teach on
- Have you surprised your child lately with a fun note? Place a customized note in their lunchbox
4. Find a Local Creative Reuse Center
Creative Reuse Centers offer a low-cost opportunities to find unwanted craft supplies that are donated in lieu of filling a landfill. Perform an Internet search (using ‘creative reuse center’) for one in your local area.
Check out this heart-warming video:
A comprehensive list of creative reuse sites can be found at Lancaster Creative Reuse. Here are a few to choose from:
- The East Bay Depot for Creative Use – Oakland, CA
- SCRAP -San Francisco, CA
- SCRAP – DC – Washington, DC
- reDiscover – Los Angeles, CA
- The Long Beach Depot for Creative ReUse – Long Beach, CA (a special shout out to my sister Erica)
- RAFT (Resource Area for Teaching) -including Denver, Sacramento and San Jose, CA
5. Use Circupon
I am not good at clipping coupons – but Circupon, a new site aggregating major retailer coupons, opens fresh worlds of saving by capturing savings from the weekly circulars, in-store specials and savings rewards cards. This week’s savings include some bamboo paper plates that are ripe for a project and party pitcher and serving bowls perfect to help out with the tip #1 above. The site is still new and adding retailers and more coupon sources – so keep an eye out for your favorite store to be added to the list.
Above all, I wish everyone an abundance of supplies to spark your creativity and fill your days with fun. Please share below how you save money on craft supplies.
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