Monday, August 17, 2009

Alternative Craft Supplies

I have always enjoyed going to craft stores, their neat isles of supplies all new and shiny. Miles and miles of paints, papers, fabrics, beads, and every other craft supply know to man, and the 40% off coupons every week, who could resist? The real problem with craft stores is this, anyone and everyone is buying the exact same thing that you are and your hand made item may not be so one of a kind.

I love finding new and unexpected supplies. Some of the best places I have found are thrift stores, auctions and yard sales. And for the brave there is also dumpster diving and taking things off the curb.

Thrift stores have a variety of items from clothing to household to furniture. It’s worth the time to find out when sales days are and to visit a store a couple of times to get a good feel for the types of merchandise that each store carries. I have one store that has the best clothes and I always try to go there for their $.99 clothing sales, but the house wares and furniture are a bit pricey for my taste. Here’s a stunning cut paper picture I purchased for $3.99 at my local good will, bonus it’s already matted and framed!

thrifted picAuctions can be a lot of fun, especially since they usually publish a listing of what will be for sale and allow you to preview the items before hand. You can even leave bids with the auctioneer if you are unable to stay for the entire auction. Be prepare to pay cash and to bid on an entire box of junk for just for one item. A thing to remember is at the end of an auction there are usually a lot of items left behind, just ask, often anything left behind is free for the taking. This is an overnight case I got for $7.00 at an auction, it’s in excellent condition just waiting to be painted or decoupaged. overnight case interior

Yard sales can be a great source of supplies, you name it and I’ve seen it at a yard sale! Check you local paper, craigslist, or look for signs. There are two ways to shop, go early so all the “good” stuff is still there or go late and bargain for better prices, the later it gets the easier it is to haggle, nobody wants to haul all of that stuff back into their house! Here’s some coveralls, a winter coat, a stack of children’s books, two pillowcases, and some bird wall decorations I bought for $3.75.yard sale purchase: $3.75

The thing to remember is that you can always alter the item, furniture can be painted, clothes can be reconstructed, etc. and when you don’t have a lot of money invested your free to try new techniques. The down side it that making a duplicate item is almost impossible. Good luck and happy shopping. Where is you favorite alternative place to get crafting supplies?

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