The frugal crafter knows you don't need to spend a ton of money to enjoy your favorite hobby. Whether you're passionate about paper crafting or an experienced seamstress, there are several techniques you can use to keep your expenses to a minimum.
Be a Bargain Shopper
Part of the fun of crafting is finding the perfect supplies for your project. However, a commitment to bargain shopping is a great way for frugal crafters to get the look they want at the price they can afford.
Large craft stores such as Hobby Lobby, Michael's Crafts, and Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores are well-known for their frequent sales and specials. If you have one of these stores in your area, visit the company's Web site to sign up for a newsletter that will inform you of coupons or promotions. Plan your craft projects as far ahead as possible to take advantage of these deals.
Although craft stores are the most obvious place to look for craft supplies, remember that discount stores such as Wal-Mart and Target have small crafting sections as well. You probably won't be able to find the latest and greatest products, but this can be a good place to stock up on essentials such as glue for card making projects or needles and thread for your sewing kit.
When shopping for supplies, frugal crafters think twice about brand loyalty. Just as many popular household items have store brand knockoffs available for a fraction of the price, the craft industry has hidden bargains as well. For example, scrapbookers can find decorative brads made in the style of Making Memories metal embellishments as part of the Jo-Ann Scrap Essentials Line, available exclusively at Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores.
If you're trying to decide whether or not a particular item is a good use of your crafting dollars, consider the "cost per use" formula. For example, a rubber stamp alphabet set that costs $20 can be used indefinitely-unlike a sheet of letter stickers that will eventually run out. However, you may be better off buying a $3 sheet of baby-themed stickers instead of a $15 rubber stamp if you're only planning to make one small card for your cousin's baby shower.
Frugal Crafters Get Creative
When you're a crafter on a tight budget, it's helpful to look at your fiscal limitations as a chance to stretch your creativity. Instead of relying on expensive kits and pre-made supplies, see if you can find frugal substitutes for the items you need. For example:
- If you like card making, use wrapping paper scraps or magazine clippings as part of your designs.
- scrapbookers can use free coloring book pages as simple paper piecing patterns to make their own homemade 3D embellishments.
- If you enjoy sewing, try making a quilt from old clothing. A blanket made from a baby's outgrown wardrobe is a great gift item for any parent.
- Those who love to make handmade jewelry can search garage sales and thrift stores for inexpensive bracelets and necklaces with interesting elements that can be combined to create new designs.
Start Your Own Business
If you're passionate about crafting, consider starting your own home-based business as a way to earn a little extra money doing what you enjoy. Here are a few ideas to consider:
- Depending upon what type of crafts you like, you could become a direct sales representative for a company such as Close To My Heart or Stampin' Up and earn a discount on the supplies you use.
- You could teach classes introducing your craft to others.
- You could sell your items online through a site such as Etsy.
- You could sell your merchandise at a local craft fair.
Alternatively, you could consider getting a part-time job working at your favorite local craft store. Between the money you earn and your employee discount, this can be a great way to enjoy frugal crafting.
Additional LoveToKnow Resources
For more frugal crafting tips and project ideas, visit LoveToKnow Crafts and LoveToKnow Scrapbooking.