Friday, April 24, 2015

Crafting on a low Budget Pt 3 Materials

Your materials, your yarn, your beads, your fabric, thread, you know all the things that you need for your individual projects. Materials are one of those ongoing purchases when it comes to crafting. For every project, you have to find the right the color material, the right weight (for fabric or yarn), and the right shape and size (beads).
You can try to buy used but finding enough yarn or fabric for the project you need can be difficult. Not to mention finding the right color, shape, size, weight, etc. This is one category where I would not fault you if you only bought new.

Buying all new materials can get expensive, especially if you have to do trial runs an such. Save as much as you can from project to project. You’d be surprised how little fabric you need to make an applique or even to quilt. Then you only buy what you absolutely need for each project. I find that a spool of thread can last two or three projects especially neutral colors like white, black, and tan.

You can, also, be very diligent about checking clearance sections, just be aware that clearance sections are items that the store will not carry anymore so grab as much as you are going to need because getting more may be difficult.

When buying new plan your project well ahead of time so that you can scope sales and coupons. Nothing like having to pay full price for a last minute costume (i see that one a lot). Planning ahead also gives you a chance to do any practicing and trial runs on cheaper or leftover materials so you don't mess up your more expensive materials, and then have to pay full price last minute for new material to start over.

Materials will always be a recurring cost but planning ahead and buying on sale will make it less daunting.

Happy Crafting

Friday, April 17, 2015

Crafting on a low Budget Pt 2 Patterns, Instruction Books, and Classes

When you start doing a craft many times you rely on taking classes and reading instruction books to learn how to actually go about making crafts. It’s difficult to save money on these items because you can’t really buy a “used” class. As always there are things you can do to make it cheaper on yourself.


Classes are a wonderful way of learning a craft but you have to think about whether or not they are necessary. Classes can be $10 to $100 even more for a private instructor and with google and wide array of blogs and Youtube channels you can learn many techniques without even stepping foot in a classroom. Now I’m not completely against classes, nothing compares to having an actual instructor, in front of you, walking you through a process or technique. My tip when it comes to saving money on classes is to learn what you can on your own and then see what you might need help with before you take a class. You may find you skipped the beginner class and need a more advanced technique class. Also, when taking classes at a chain store, wait until you can get the classes on sale, sometimes up to 50% off and, look for short classes, Jo Anns offers 1 hour classes for $10 that focus on one specific technique. This is reminiscent of the “Buy what you need when you need it”. If a class teaches stuff you’re pretty proficient in I wouldn’t buy the class.


Books are the way we learn how to make the specific items  in our craft. My advice when it comes to these items is to look online first. With pinterest, google, and youtube, it’s amazing what can be found. Also I find it easier to find a specific project when I’m able to type it in a search bar. If you really want a book scour ebay and amazon for used books before buying a new one. Of course if you have to use a coupon or buy it on sale and you can save money.


This has more to do with sewing, if you don’t sew you can skip this part.
Ah patterns, those lovely little envelopes that cost anywhere from $3 to $35. I bring these up because I know all too well about trying to save money on these. Sewing patterns are difficult to buy used because of how they are used, if you buy one used you may not be able to use it yourself which is what makes buying patterns cheap fairly difficult. Most chain craft stores will have sales of patterns every once in a while. I don’t buy them from chain stores unless they are less than $3 a piece. One of my suggestions, when it comes to sewing patterns, is to buy as many as you intend to make when they are on sale. Even if you don’t have the skills yet to make them, go ahead and get them any way, because you never know when they will go out of print. When they go OOP the only way to get them is online and the websites don’t tend to have sales and the shipping cost can be pricey. Be mindful of limits the store puts on patterns, they usually don’t allow more than 10 per transaction, this is to prevent resellers, even though smart resellers will find a way around this but that’s a rant for another time.

So in closing when it comes to learning material see what you can find for free online first, then try and buy what you need used, and finally try to buy it on sale or with a coupon.

Happy Crafting

Read Part 1 Here 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Crafting on a Low Budget Pt 1 Tools

Let's get one thing straight, crafting can be expensive. Whether it's knitting, crocheting, sewing, jewelry making , scrapbooking, or whatever you like to do it can get pretty pricey. I'm not going to lie, as someone who works at a craft store the amount of sticker shock I see is phenomenal.

I don't want to turn anyone away, crafting is a very fun and fulfilling hobby. Where else can you find items that are just you, they fit you perfectly, fit your lifestyle, and your personality but sometimes we run into the one major problem how to afford it when you don't have much money. Here are some tips to help bring those costs down.

  1. Buy only what you need when you need
  2. Buy used when you can
  3. Buy when on sale or use a coupon

These are my biggest tips, every other tip will probably lead back to these three tips let me talk a little bit about how they pertain to the tools part of crafting.


Tools, they are the most important part of crafting. They are what you use to craft, your sewing machine, your needle nose pliers and wire cutters, your crochet hooks, your knitting needs, your hammer and nails, etc. Without the tools you may not be able to craft.
I, especially, bring  up tools for beginners because when you first start a craft you may not have the tools needed. When you walk into a craft store and look in the tools section of the jewelry department you may get a little overwhelmed by the amount of tools available, from crimping tools, flat nose pliers, round nose pliers, wire  cutters and flush cutters, and that’s just the beginning of available tools. Same thing goes for knitting, different types of needles, sizes, brands, and specialty needles. Have you ever been down the sewing notions isle at any craft store? It can be overwhelming.
Now we come to the first tip, buy only what you need when you need it. When you first get started you most likely aren’t going to need every single knitting needle or crochet hook available, or every single jewelry tool that’s on the wall. In fact you probably don’t even need half.

Just to get started you need:
  • Knitting - A set of needles and some yarn.
  • Loom Knitting - A loom and some yarn.
  • Crochet - A hook and some yarn.
  • Sewing - A needle, thread, and fabric.
  • Scrapbooking - Paper, Scissors, and Glue.
  • Jewelry Beadworking - bead string and beads.
  • Jewelry Wire working - wire cutters, flat nose pliers, round nose pliers, and wire.

That’s all, I know this list is very minimalistic but it is a start. Before you get started on actually making projects you have to learn the basics. To learn the basics you really don’t need a lot of stuff. Then after you learn the basic you start on simple projects, this is “the when you need it” happens, if you buy the extra tools as you find you need them for specific projects. You may find 20 projects down the road and you still haven’t found a need for some of the “beginner” tools that are advertised.

Now if you do find that you need every tool available, this step doesn’t really save you money more than it spaces out the cost so you don’t have such a large investment up front.

Which brings up my second tip, buy used when you can. Shop yard sales, search craigslist, scour ebay, and even facebook for used tools. Especially for some high dollar items like a sewing machine, desk, or many organization tools. Personal story: I managed to get a huge set of different knitting needles for $2 because a lady’s mother had passed away and no one else in the family knitted. Same thing happened to me with some sewing supplies, I got three huge boxes full of thread, notions, and other tools, that I didn’t have at the time, for $1.
If you have friends that craft see if you can borrow their tools to learn off of to see if you like the craft before you make the investment. Don’t be afraid to look around and ask around you may be surprised what you find.

Now buying used is not always possible, and some items are better bought new which is where shopping sales and coupons comes into play.
When buying new tools always shop around, sometimes you may be able to get something cheaper at a different store. Now cheaper doesn’t always mean better quality but if you have to, cheap will get you where you need to go.
Now I am not a fan of buying craft supplies from Wal-mart, they are cheaper than cheap and it shows, but I also have other options in my area. If you have a Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Jo Anns, Ac Moore, or Hancocks in your area go ahead and join their coupon program. Jo anns is closest to me so I do most of my craft shopping there, I know Jo Anns will send you coupons by Mail, E-mail, and text, you can also download their app that will send coupons straight to your phone, and their website always has coupons. Other stores have their own coupon program so don’t be afraid to use them. I bought all my jewelry tools from Jo Anns, I made sure to buy them on sale, they were actually cheaper on sale at Jo Anns than at wal-mart and better quality.
You may live in an area where you don’t have many specific craft stores, my simple answer, shop online. Amazon, Ebay, and all websites of the aforementioned stores will deliver straight to your house. Shipping may be expensive but most websites have a free shipping price threshold, like $35 for amazon, Jo anns has a $50 threshold for free shipping, $60 for Hancock. Don’t forget the online only deals that all these websites have, and the fact that any coupon you can use in store can also be used online, unless the coupon actually says “in store only”. Don’t be afraid to look to the Web.

Crafting is not cheap but there are ways to make it less expensive.

Happy Crafting

Read Part 2 Here