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Bright Ideas: Get Craft Supplies for Free (Or Almost Free)! Part 2

Katie and I are often asked how we can afford so many products and craft supplies for all the projects we do. This is a challenge, usually because we’re working on so many different things at one time. We’re usually making projects for Punk Projects, custom designs for other bloggers, and upcoming holidays, all at the same time. This means a lot of craft supplies. Here are our tips for saving money on crafty things, and even how to get craft supplies for free.

This is part 2 of our tips, Find part 1 here.

Go thrifting

We love yard sales and thrift stores for a lot of reasons (hello, vintage finds!), and craft supplies are hidden gems. Most of our restyle projects, like vintage suitcases or glittered coffee cups, come from thrift stores, flea markets, and yard sales. Yard sales are a great place to pick up items that are trendy (which means expensive!) at retail craft stores like mason jars, burlap, fabric, Christmas decorations, and old vases. Secondhand, these items usually cost next to nothing and you can often buy many for the price that a retail store would charge for one.

One of our favorite finds were these two huge glass candy jars. We’re probably had them for about 10 years now, and they have been our staple for craft supply storage. Currently, they’re chock full of buttons (also thrifted!)

Once, we also found this amazing box of vintage polyester fabric and unfinished sewing projects. It was pretty clear it had been leftover from the 1970’s. There were about 8 pairs of bright, patterned polyester pants in the most awful colors and styles you can imagine, and crazy-awesome scraps and pieces of shiny gold lame, yellow tulle, plaids, and more. We used that one box of crazy fabrics on many, many projects.

You can also check your local freecycle and Craigslist ads for free or cheap craft supplies. This is often a good way to search for yard sales that will have craft goodies as well. And everything on craigslist is negotiable — don’t be afraid to bargain for a better price!

Participate in a swap

If you’ve been crafting for any amount of time, you probably have a small (or large!) pile of supplies that are outdated or you just don’t plan to use on any current projects. Or maybe the supplies are cute, but just aren’t really your style anymore. Regardless of the reason, why not swap those supplies with someone else’s pile of unused goodies? Swaps are great because they’re practically free (only the postage!) and you come away with both new things and a tidier space!

Where to find swaps: The best places to find swaps are often crafting message boards. There are great communities of crafters on the web and you’ll often find a “swap” (sometimes you’ll even find free supplies!) category in the forums.

  1. For scrapbooking, we love Two Peas.

  2. For quilting, Check out Quilting Around the World.

  3. And for even MORE swaps, check out Craftster, where you’ll find all sorts of crafting swaps including supplies and handmade swaps.

We also often swap with just one or two other friends. Swaps are like grab bags, you’re not usually sure what you’ll end up with. But, if you pair up with a friend (or an online BFF), chance are she’ll know your style, know your favorites, and pick out things that she knows you’ll love. It’s also really fun to go through your own supplies and pick things out with a special person in mind.

Where do you find free or inexpensive supplies?


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