Today we’re focusing on Frugal Craft & DIY Ideas.

When you decide to start a craft or DIY project, do you try to use what you already have? Or do you head to the store? Sometimes I do both. I had to get rid of a lot of my craft supplies when I moved here. There simply wasn’t enough space without a dedicated craft room.

I try to look and see what I have, then if I have to buy the rest, I sometimes do. But when I buy these things, I go to Hobby Lobby and get it half price. In fact I will wait around because I just hate to pay full price for anything!

But if I have what I need or can make do with what I already have, all the better!

If you have a room set aside for crafting, you might be able to store a lot more than I can in a one bedroom apartment. Shop the sales and stock up.

I used to have lots of fabric and scrapbook paper and there was a place for everything. That’s hard to do without a separate room, I’ve learned.

My Tips:

You can make lots of cute crafts and decor out of used bottles, jars and cans. Pinterest has tons of ideas with these objects. I even have a Pinterest board specifically for Cans and one for Jars.

I like to keep old calendars and use them in my paper crafts. And you can make many things out of cereal boxes too. As well as magazine pages.

You’d be amazed at what you can make with scraps of fabric. Aside from quilts. You can make cute pin cushions for instance.

You can use small objects and create magnets for your fridge or wherever you need something magnetic to hold things.

I have a box of ribbon and laces I’ve collected over the years. Sometimes I need a bit of ribbon or lace in whatever I’m creating. Or jute.

There are projects you can do using pine cones. And many of them you can find free your yard or out taking a nature walk.

Yarn is popular these days in many craft projects I’ve seen lately.

You can turn coffee filters into handmade flowers.

I especially like the idea of using what I have, or making do with what I can find free.

Now what tips would you like to add to the discussion?

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  1. I was really into making cards. But now I am into Junk Journals! I have made them with old magazines, used ledger paper for pages…my hoard of scrapbook papers….junk mail….envelopes that come with bills….cereal boxes pages torn out of old dictionary…music paper….material. The trash is a free craft store!!

    I like to swap them and also give as gifts. And I do use mine! Write notes and put small photos from my HP sprocket printer with memories about my grandkids and dogs.

  2. I don’t think I can post a photo here, but wanted to share an option for those like me who may not have space in their home for a dedicated craft room. This week we found this Norden gateleg table at Ikea that is only 12” wide when folded. You can extend just one side or both and when fully extended it is 60”!!! I can slide it easily into my guest room closet when not in use. It also has six nicely sized drawers for storage. It’s wonderful to again have a craft space!!! It comes in white and woodtone and can be ordered online. This piece is far more cost effective compared to individual craft table/storage units we priced. I’m loving it!!!

    https://m2.ikea.com/us/en/p/norden-gateleg-table-white-70290223/

  3. So many great Frugal Craft tips. I have had 3 small craft stores and have done so many crafts. I am now trying to size down and use what I have. I have made bird feeders out of plastic bottles, sun catchers out of odds and ends of beads, driftwood wind hangers, wrap a jar with jute and use as a vase. I love working with pine cones and always have a box of them sitting around ready to go through. There are so many great ideas out there.
    I may size down but will never give up crafting.

    Hugs to you, Charlie and Ivy Lou

    1. I used to sew things like seasonal vests and dolls and sell them at the antique stores in Gruene, TX. I only lived a mile away and it gave me money for more fabric.

  4. This is a fun topic, Brenda, so thank you! I sometimes buy craft supplies at a Dollar Tree – I don’t know if they are national, but everything is a dollar, and it’s the best dollar store I’ve found. Some of their craft sections are quite good, but it depends on the particular store. Otherwise, I wait for a sale at Hobby Lobby.

    I would love to see some how-to’s on some of the things I read in the comments: paper crafts? gift bags? envelopes? I am not crafty naturally, so I like clear directions. Brenda, I don’t want to increase your work, but how about a new how-to section for frugal crafts?

    I hope it’s OK to add links to other websites for frugal craft how-to’s. If so, here goes… I’ve made quite a few Christmas wreaths out of old ornaments. It’s a good way to get rid of Christmas ornaments you might now want anymore. Detailed here: https://retrorenovation.com/2013/11/18/30-tips-how-to-make-vintage-christmas-ornament-wreath/

    And on this lady’s Youtube channel, she uses mostly materials from dollar stores: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgyu7pkE0YREsefMcgzRSdA

  5. I’ve been taking a few art classes at our small cultural center. I was looking for a frugal way to continue to work on what I’ve learned at home. I got a book from the library, Amazing Crayon Drawing with Lee Hammond. It shows you how to make art using Crayola crayons. Some of the examples in the book are beautiful and you wouldn’t think they were created with Crayola crayons. Crayola is recommended as the quality is better than the cheap crayons. But the Crayola are also affordable. You can get a box of 152 colors for between $10 and $15.

    1. My kids have been gone for 30 years but the hoarder’s, ( or should I say frugal’s) stash of crayons is in the basement. Waiting for such a moment as this!

  6. I keep meaning to try to make flowers out of coffee filters but always forget. I’m going to write that on my daily planner and give it a try! These are some great ideas Brenda, thanks so much for sharing! Love and hugs!

    1. I do too. I get all excited when I see the pretty flowers made from coffee filters online. Then I never quite get around to trying my hand at it.

  7. Thrift stores are a great resource for quilt fabric: Shop the men’s shirt racks! Look for 100% cotton content. A men’s XXL shirt can yield a lot of fabric. I’ve made many quilts from thrifted shirts. Go on a day where there’s a discount or “fill a bag” for the best deals. Have found regular fabric yardage there as well, various notions, and sewing machines. The book section usually has an abundance of craft-related inspiration too.

    1. When I was making crazy quilt projects, I would go to garage sales and such and buy up men’s ties and girl’s prom gowns and take them apart. Sometimes a wedding dress.

  8. Thrift stores and second hand stores are great places to find things for crafting! You can find yarn, lace, wrapping paper, tissue paper, old calendars, etc. I love using old calendars for making gift bags and envelopes. Some are so pretty, I scan them into my computer to use as “paper” to make cards and more gift bags. Can always find buttons there too, and fabric. I can’t go into the stores hardly at all anymore, that have all the beautiful fabrics and crafts stuff, as I buy things I don’t need. I have tons of my own stash from over the years and I’m trying to use more from it. The clothes in thrift stores I buy with the thought of cutting them up for fabric… to use as fabric gift sacks (that I give as gifts or sell in my Etsy store) or to use for stuffed hearts and tiny pillows. I crochet all my own tiny doilies for my craft projects which I enjoy, and I use ravelry.com for free patterns. I also like printing out free coloring pages that you can get online many places, and put them into a “book” and give as gifts. So many ways to craft frugally! Oh… if you find small picture frames at thrift stores, you can paint them, and frame cute little prints in them, either form scrapbook papers or calendars.

  9. That should have been felt scraps not scrapes! Also I bought the beads at michael’s on sale. Pretty much all of my craft stuff is bought on sale because wow it can be pricey. All of my stamps came from a thrift store.

  10. Hi. Recently I got out a bag of felt scrapes and made a few Christmas ornaments in a primitive look thinking ahead to next year. My side of the family exchanges stocking stuffers and I want to have mine done way ahead this year instead of in December like I was this past Christmas. (My husband looked at the muted colors of burgundy and tan I was using for a primitive heart and asked if I was all out of Christmas red and green! He doesn’t know much about primitive style.) I wish I did more crafts but I get bored after doing a couple of things. So I wait awhile and go at it again, with felt, beads, or ink and stamps. I haven’t bought new supplies in a long time because I need to use up some stash. Well, I did buy about $10 worth of beads before Christmas, however, to work in with other beads to make bracelets for gifts. I did them in colors of everyone’s favorite sports teams. My family members are into college football and basketball so I know I can’t go wrong with team colors.
    Brenda, if you run out of frugal topics you could just ask everyone what is something they did during the week that was frugal. You’d get all sorts of comments on different things I’d bet!

  11. My niece belongs to an informal card making group. Each month, one person in the group teaches how to make a card design, and brings all the elements cut out and bagged individually, sort of like a kit, for the other group members. This allows them to explore different techniques and materials without having to purchase the cutting-out gizmos and tools, such as texture dohickeys. They also share when they have surplus materials. (You can probably tell that I am not an experienced crafter, but I wanted to participate in Frugal Tips!)

    1. Nice crafting tips. I like to reinvent things: I was gifted a beautiful picture frame, but it would never stand up right, so I took off the back stand, put a pretty handkerchief under the glass where picture would go and laid it down on my dresser and I use it to corral my perfume bottles (also gifts mostly). Looks nice. Also took 2 of my granddaughter’s collection of horses (she’s moved on from horse collectables to real horses now) spray painted them black, glued them to 2 old books and now they’re book ends. Love this frugal forum.

  12. I crochet I do the very easy stitches.. I find crochet to be good therapy. And some yarn can be found that is thrifty. I also like to use craft paint to paint items I found at the thrift store. Not to get too many items and clutter I have donated them to a Hospice Thrift Store that gives their profit back to Hospice Care. As an RN this makes me happy that my dollars are going to this Craft paint and the items do not cost me much at all.

      1. I can’t do those fancy crochet stitches either. Just the single and double crochet. I am going to watch some you tube video’s to try and learn some other stitches.

  13. I love making pet toys from odds and ends around the house. There are so many things you can make yourself from cardboard, plastic bottles, corks, fabric, etc. Pinterest is full of homemade cat toy suggestions. If you get a plastic water bottle and cut a few small holes in it at random places then put a few cat treats in it you will have a wonderful treat dispenser activity for cats! My cats seem to always need stimulating toys and this is definitely one. They will roll it around until a treat falls out. It doesn’t take much fabric and ribbon or yarn to make many fun cat toys. Sometimes I just knot together many different types of ribbon, cord, and yarn adding small toys or bells along the way and my cats love it.

  14. Brenda, another excellent post. I am not really crafty, I think because I have no patience. I love to bake though.

    As for frugal crafting tips there are so many here. I will reiterate that you should look online for free resources. Also there are tons and tons of crafting things at the thrift stores from yarn, to fabric, to rubber stamps, paper etc. Anther resource is your friends and fellow crafters if they are no longer crafting before they donate it ask if you can have it.

    Have a great weekend Brenda, Charlie and Ivy Lou.

    P.S. I sent you something Fed-ex, it should arrive today if there is not a weather delay. I hope that you enjoy it.

  15. Joann’s has coupons as most know…so I have gotten quite a few cute small crossstitch projects…still quite a few to do on hand. Our lives have been so stressful however, that I have not done much crafting at all…or sewing. Sewing, crochet, cross-stitch are my main enjoyments…I hope to get to some again ere long. I NEED to do crochet as it does help the arthritis in my arms and hands etc…if I do it just 3 times a week for at least a half hour each. It has been so long…and I must!! Thanks for all the ideas here!!

  16. The only thing I do now is make needlepoint Christmas stockings when we have a new addition to the family. They are relaxing to work on at night and on weekends.

    Carol and Molly
    xoxoxo

  17. I have been waiting all week to read all the comments the talented ladies have to offer! You all are SO talented. My Mother was basically self taught and she could sew,bake and craft anything. Looking back, I could kick myself not staying at her knee absorbing all that knowledge. I am on a no buy and doing very well. The secret is to stay out of the stores. The last time I came home from a yard sale, I really looked at why I brought a few things home with me. I put them right in the goodwill box. They reminded me of the past so I need to think twice and even though they are cheap it still adds up, dollar and clutter wise. I have a edited stash of goodies. I really am excited to downsize and organize. I love plants,wreaths,faux greens,candles,quilts,birds and birdhouses. The older I get the easier I want my decorating to be. I have use wreaths as a base and change out with picks,etc. This goes for the doors,walls and flat surfices. The easiest thing I do is use a placemat as a pillow cover. Make sure it can be pulled open with a front and back. I open one end and insert a pillow inside. Sew up the end and you are good! Easy, quick and cheap. Ladies, have a great weekend!

  18. On a craft site I belong to, ( not sure if I can plug the store,) a gal buys spiral tablets at the dollar store. All she does is decorate the front cover: says they sell like hot cakes for $10.

  19. Greeting cards are now so expensive, I often make my own. I buy packages of plain cards/envelopes and scrap book paper at Michael’s when they are on sale. My artist sister makes collages from magazine pages for the face of the card. I have sewing skills and make throw pillow covers and window treatments. Jo-Ann’s always has sales and coupons.

  20. My favorite crafty thing to do with fabric scraps is make catnip toys to donate to a local cat rescue. They are always appreciated! Some go directly to the resident kitties, others are sold by volunteers at Pet Expos. In the right sunny spot, catnip grows like crazy and it can be hung upside down to dry at season’s end (or in between if it outgrows its welcome in your garden!). Just cut squares, sew 3 sides, turn, poke in a small amount of stuffing and catnip, and close the seam.

      1. I buy cute toddler socks, especially holiday themed. I stuff them with polyfill and catnip and the sew closed. I’ve given them to friends with cats, and my cats love them. The dollar stores and Target discount items are good places to get them. Wouldn’t they make great shelter gifts!

  21. I always like to have a wreath on my front door but hate to pay the high prices for ready-made ones, so I craft my own. I usually get inspiration online for something I want to make, then I buy the materials as cheap as possible. I have found wreath forms at thrift stores; then I often find what I want to use for decorating them (“greens” and ribbon and silk flowers) at the Dollar Tree or JoAnn Fabrics. JoAnn often has some great bargains on nice ribbon and silk flowers. All the better if I can find silk flowers and such on clearance at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s. I just keep looking around for the materials I need to complete a wreath, get out the glue gun, and start assembling. When a wreath starts to look shabby or faded I may “deconstruct” it and save the good stuff to use in the future.

    1. Wreathes are one thing I’ve never attempted to make. Wait, I did do a couple with old lace and ribbons once. But that was just wrapping them around and gluing them on.

  22. When I was still working I had to have nice clothes since I traveled for business so much. I sewed all of my clothes, mostly business suits. I would go to department stores to look at designer clothes, then head to the fabric store for the materials. I would make at least 5 suits for the price of 1 designer suit at the department store. I also sewed sports jackets for my two sons, made draperies and other decor. Unfortunately the cost of fabric and patterns these days is much more expensive.

    I have always crocheted but after retirement I began to knit. I always knit gifts for everyone in my family. They appreciate the sweaters, hats, gloves, and socks I knit and it is so nice to not need to get in the crowds Christmas shopping. I also paint using oils or watercolor.

    For any knitters who don’t know, there is a website named Ravelry.com. There are thousands of free knitting and crochet patterns. It is a free website and now I never need to buy knitting patterns or books.

  23. Hi Brenda, My first passion is probably not considered a craft but it’s definitely frugal most of the time. I love sewing and used to make all my own clothes plus many of my husband and son. I made everything for my son until he started school. There’s a lot of cheap clothing out there now but there’s a lot to be said for being able to customize your own. I always buy a little more fabric than I need and many times have been able to embellish other garments and projects with fabric scraps. When we were first married, we didn’t have much money, so I used to sew for my Mom (who taught me how to sew) and Aunt and they would buy fabric for me as a return. Also, if you live in a place that has warehouses like Mill End Fabrics or something similar, you can find fabric at a much reduced price. You have to be willing to dig for it and wait in long lines to check out. It’s worth it! I don’t do a lot of other crafts, but I do love scouring auctions, garage sales and second hand stores for items that can be turned into decor. Many years ago I bought a template for making different sizes of envelopes. You can turn all those free calendars and other unsolicited mailings into some really cute envelopes for mailing non-business items. They can also be turned into gift bags. Again, I would like to thank you for providing such a wonderful forum for women to share and gain strength from.

    1. Sewing is a craft/DIY in my book! I used to sew a lot of things, including quilts. I made dolls and pillows and all kinds of things. Except clothes. I was never very good with clothes unless it was a vest of some kind. I designed and made vests and sold them.

  24. I collected a bunch of pine cones to make wreaths last year, but somehow never got around to making the wreaths! I don’t do a lot of craft projects as I simply don’t have the time….when I was younger I used to love to make Christmas cards with the girls, though!

    1. I used to make crafts all the time. Not so much since my hands got how they are. I made Christmas ornaments and such with the girls every Friday after Thanksgiving for years when they were young.

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