how to save money when crafting

1-DSC01958Last week I mentioned that now is the time for planning and beginning handmade Christmas gifts.

The great thing about handmade gifts is that not only are they more personal, but they also save you money.

Or do they?

The truth is that craft hobbies can add up. Not only do you need the required tools (not to mention all the unrequired tools that go with having a hobby), but the materials themselves can be expensive too.

If that puts you off taking up a hobby, then there’s good news. Crafts don’t need to cost a lot – here are a few ways to save on crafts.


Save money on tools for your hobby by sticking to the very basics. For instance, all you need to make a whole bed quilt is a needle and thread and a good pair of scissors (seriously). Most hobbies have a vast array of specialty tools that while are useful or fun, are generally not necessary.

Often people take up crafts only to get bored, become too busy or move onto something else and they sell off their tools second-hand. That’s where you benefit – rather than paying full price check out eBay or browse op-shops and garage sales for second hand tools.

remnant and second hand materials

The first place to find remnant materials is your own stash from past projects. The above wall hanging was a stash buster and gift. For variety, fill out your stash by pilfering from exploring crafty friend’s or family’s stashes or get together and have a remnant swap.

Op-shops, garage sales, curbside pick-ups, skips at renovation sites, recycling bins and tip shops are also great places to source craft materials.

Fabric remnants can be found at op-shops and garage sales along with notions (buttons, zips etc.) and yarn remnants. When sourcing materials however, think beyond fabric remnants and look at clothing or linen that can be repurposed. Clothes can be cut up to make smaller clothes or quilts, woollen jumpers can be unwound and reworked into new items, tablecloths and sheets can be sewn into clothes, bags, stuffed toys, rag mats or anything else your imagination can create.

Curbside pick-ups and tip shops can be a source of furniture and other goods that can be restored or repurposed. If you’re a woodworker, renovation sites can be a good source of wood that can be recycled.

Find old cards, cardboard, wrapping and coloured paper that can be used in paper crafts in recycling bins.

shop savvy

The other benefit to planning Christmas craft now is that you can keep an eye out for sales and stock up when materials are discounted.

Alternatively, check out the many online craft stores that offer materials at a discount price all year round. Incidentally, the internet is also a great place for free patterns, tutorials and how-to videos.

Discount or two dollar stores can be a surprising place to find inexpensive craft materials. If you have any doubts, check out the Dollar Store Crafts blog for inspiration.

Craft hobbies can eat a hole in your pocket if you let them but you don’t have to spend lots of money to enjoy a hobby or create stunning handmade items for yourself or for gifts.

What are your tips on saving money on crafts?

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  1. says

    I am very slowly making a quilt for my youngest using the girls’ worn out flannelette pyjamas. Girls’ pyjamas are adorable, and they generally only wear out in patches. We also save scraps of coloured card from school projects, coloured envelopes, all sorts of little bits and pieces that are always coming into the house for free, cutting them into usable shapes and storing them in ziploc bags so the girls always have cardmaking materials on hand.

    • says

      That’s a lovely idea. Very personal and memorable too. It’s amazing how much paper stuff can be reused to make really nice cards. Although I had a big splurge on stuff to make a wedding card for my little brother this week. I couldn’t believe how quickly a few bits of fancy paper added up!

    • Rachel says

      I’m not the only one doing the PJ thing ! Yay!!! (sorry but I’ve had so many comments…why don’t you buy the fabric its cheap etc …I love that it is reused and sentimental) I’ve also got old T-shirt patches collecting to make some pillows or patchwork blankets or something like that.

  2. says

    I am avidlly involved in quilting so I am always on the lookout for any cost saving tips, so thanks for the flanny tips Jo.

    Also keep an eye out for any online craft stores that have sales. If you are really into your crafts it is worthwhile signing up to the newsletter, as they often give you notice, and will give you coupons that you can redeem. If you sign up to a number of shops newsletters, you will soon see which shops are having genuine sales, and which are just sending advertisements.

  3. Rachel says

    Don’t forget to include craft consumables and money toward “big ticket” items in your birthday/ Christmas hints :) often people are lost until they find out that collecting worn out clothes, ribbons and fancy paper that they would normally throw away will not only save them money on a gift but make their friend (you) happy as. :)