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You can get a lot of your art supplies free or cheap
You can get some of your art supplies free of at very low cost if you know what to look for, and where to look for it.
For those of us who do arts and crafts, material costs can be one of the biggest issues we face. Supplies can be very expensive. Fortunately, there are ways you can cut your costs and add interesting new materials to your crafting projects.
Yard sales and flea markets can be a great place to pick up craft supplies. You can either look for people who actually sell art supplies, or get creative and make supplies out of what’s being sold. I have bought various trinkets and cheap jewelry items and dismantled them for parts. (I once got a broken chandelier for $5.00 then used the crystals to make necklace and earring sets that I sold for $20.00 each.) You can often find damaged items like broken jewelry, lamps, purses and other items that they will simply give away, which have many salvageable parts for the savvy crafter.
If you know other people who are crafty, you can set up swap meets. These can be a fantastic way to get free supplies. Everyone brings whatever supplies they have too much of or don’t need, and everyone gets to take home something useful. I have acquired some amazing jewelry-making supplies from swap meets. If you join some craft groups online, you may also be able to find people who are willing to swap by mail. If you try this, just make sure you only deal with people who have a good reputation in the community, to avoid getting ripped off.
The great outdoors can also supply a plethora of free art supplies. I used to make a lot of my crafts using materials that I was able to gather from nature. Two of my favorite projects were painting nature scenes on pieces of slate, and making wind chimes out of sea shells. Pine cones, sea shells, slate, river rocks, leaves, flowers, sand, bones and many other items can just be picked up while you’re outdoors. If you’re truly creative, you can find a lot of wonderful materials just lying outside for the taking.
Other conventional items can also be turned into supplies. Pasta comes in a wide variety of shapes and can be dyed or painted, newspaper and magazines can be rolled into beads and sealed with clear polyurethane, Old watch, clock and computer parts can be turned into unique craft items as well.
If you need specific materials like paint or wire, keep an eye on your local craft and superstores (Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, Wal*Mart, etc.) to see when they’re having clearance sales on various items. Big Lots is also a great place to look. A friend of mine picked me up a huge batch of beads there once that was marked down from $2.95 a tube to only $0.25 each. Clearance and discontinued items can often be purchased at deep discounts.
Overall, you just need to get creative if you want to find free and inexpensive craft items. Just look around, and you’ll see free materials in place you never considered. You can also ask friends for ideas. Happy crafting!