Saturday, April 14, 2012

Staying Crafty on a Budget

I'm gonna recycle a guest post that I wrote for My Little Loves. I don't feel bad doing this since the post itself is basically about how amazing recycling is. So I'm just proving my point here ;)

I wanted to share a couple tips I've come up with as a poor student/obsessive crafter for balancing both sides, i.e. Staying Crafty On A Budget. I don't take myself so seriously that I think I'm the first one who came up with these ideas (major pet peeve!) but it's always nice to share the wealth in case it does spark some creativity for someone!
1. Become a regular fixture in your local thrift shop or charity store.
This is a pretty obvious solution for everything you might ever need ever (I
swear by my local SHELTER) but it only recently occurred to me that I could
hunt for old ugly clothes/jewelry and take them apart to reuse beads, cut up
fabric, or refashion things down to my size and liking with a little imagination
and some needle and thread! You can also check your closet for things you
no longer wear. Here’s some inspiration from Cotton and Curls. You will want to recreate everything she posts!

2. Look in your own recycling bin. It's so satisfying saving something you already have from its landfill or recycling-plant fate. The combo of saving the planet and getting something useful for free is such a thrill! Some examples of things I've personally used (but the possibilities are limitless!):

* cut off satin ribbon that comes inside tops and dresses (for hanging) used to
embellish a pillow

* hard plastic packaging like yoghurt pots used as molds for homemade candles and soaps

* sturdy cardstock (such as from a cereal box) covered in pretty paper used as
jewelry packaging/mailing cards like these:

3. Do a practice run. If you are splashing out for expensive fabric or materials [i.e. for a gift], make a trial first with something cheap (like muslin fabric) so you don't waste the good stuff. This also helps you perfect your design for the real thing.
4. Save everything. No, everything. No scrap of pretty paper, soft fabric,
or wooden plaque is too small to be useful. Tiny paper pieces can be used as
confetti inside birthday cards or to add texture to a handmade card. Fabric
selvage edges and scraps can become modern scrap quilts or beautiful pillows. If nothing else you can use them to practice new stitches with your machine! I ADORE the look of all the kites from Film in the Fridge, but especially this one

5. Organize supply swaps. Get together with some like-minded friends and have everyone bring a supply or tool from their stash [half-yard of fabric, paint pen,
washi tape, rotary cutter, string of beads, etc.] that they wouldn't mind parting
with. Don't pretend you're not secretly hoarding a stash of materials you know you'll never use. ;) Like a clothes or jewelry swap, this is a great chance to clear out your unwanted supplies and come away with something new, plus you'll also be inspired by other people's ideas for their newfound supplies! Check out this page for tips and information on organizing your own swap!

6. Never underestimate the power of a fresh coat of paint! It's simple, yes,
but that means just one [cheap] trip to the store, one solid burst of energy, and
suddenly you've given new life to an old picture frame, table, or shelf and you can now claim the credit for how cute it looks [and potentially save a piece of junk from the dreaded landfill]. Design Sponge is a great source of inspiration for revamping furniture and home d├ęcor items!

7. What's old is new again. An old handkerchief passed down from your grandma, pages from old encyclopedias and atlases, old coins found at flea markets, old postcards found at flea markets, 70's beer coasters found at flea markets... you get the point. Anything can be an interesting focal point if you present it right.

8. Save yourself a trip to the craft store, by making supplies you would ordinarily think to buy. If you're making a wreath, why not cut your own styrofoam ring form out of old TV packaging rather than buy a pre-made one? If you're trying origami, save on expensive metallic/floral paper [as pretty as it is] and create your own using very cheap printer paper [the crappy floppy kind] and some paint pens. Print your own wrapping paper with potato stamps and paint.

Other sites that I turn to for inspiration:

*Sincerely Kinsey 
*Honestly WTF Blog

The important thing to remember, in my opinion, is that handcrafted items can be tastefully and skillfully made [by YOU], so don't limit yourself because society sees crafters as kindergartners gluing macaroni and glitter to a box. It only takes a couple minutes of browsing etsy to see that a craft revolution is truly upon us and that it's cost-effective, planet-friendly, and beyond satisfying [and did I mention cost-effective?] to make things rather than buying them. How could anyone NOT love this idea?


1 comment:

Yash... said...

That's pretty awesome recycling showcased in the first picture. To take an ordinary blouse and then add China to it. Wow!


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