Sunday, July 1, 2012

Start a Crafting Station

I love crafts.  
I love to take a pile of objects that each, on its own, is fairly boring and create something amazing out of them. Plus it can be therapeutic or a fun family activity and you have a tangible result at the end.    

The best thing about crafting is that you can create a beautiful custom item for a fraction of the cost you would find it in a boutique.  I've come up with quite a few ideas on my own, but lately I've discovered Pinterest.  I must say I am addicted.  The most appealing crafts I've found have turned out to be some of the least expensive and simplest ones I've ever done.  So many are using re-purposed items, others using dollar store finds.  It's a whole new era of DIY.  Armed with various glues and my trusty sewing machines, I'm ready to go!  The most expensive thing about crafting is actually the glues, inks, stamps and other tools needed to do the crafts.  The medium is usually the least expensive item by far so if you aren't a crafter but want to get started, stick to a specific area if you don't have loads of money to create your basic craft station.  I've always sewn, but never really did tons of crafts, so there were still a lot of things I lacked to get started.  
Here's a starter list that will get you going on several different projects without totally breaking the bank.  If you go online and sign up for the email/mailing lists of the craft/hobby shops in your area you should be able to find coupons or sales for the various items.  I have access to Joann's and Hobby Lobby where I live, and I hit Michael's whenever I'm near one, they all have mailers or opportunities for coupon usually for 40% off a single item.  If you are patient and can wait for a sale, Hobby Lobby rotates through their entire store every month and each week you can download a 40% off coupon.  You have to be diligent and check weekly though. Joann's varies, some items are on sale every other flyer and other items only go on sale a few times a year.  
You need on hand (at all times):

  • Good scissors (invest in a couple good pairs in different sizes - just get good ones, you won't be sorry) 
  • Tacky Glue - Ailene's is a good one 
  • Clear Gel Tacky Glue - some projects won't work with the regular stuff and this stuff isn't really universal either 
  • White school glue - this is thinner than tacky glue, and a little better for gluing paper 
  • Ink pads - the kind for rubber stamps - try Staz On, it's waterproof making it great for all kinds of things, it was $7.99 at H.L. and $9.99 at my Joann's so make sure you shop around and use a coupon.  Plus it was recommended for my first stamping craft. 
  • Rubber stamps - try something that you would get a lot of use out of such as daisy, cross, leaf, scroll just to get started.  Buy occasion specific  ones once you know you'll really use them.  Also, I recently discovered the clear ones and others that are on a foam block instead of a wooden block and they are MUCH cheaper.  You can mount them to a blank acrylic block, but you don't have to.  ($3-$15 each)  
  • Card stock or prefolded notecards with matching envelopes - they often are on sale 50% off and you can make your own cards for every occasion if you have these on hand ( around $10/50ct reg. price)
  • various ribbons and trims - pick up colors you love when they're on sale - Hobby Lobby is the biggest bang for the buck on these, often selling them for 50% off - stock up time - and they have a really cute selection (sale around $1-$2/spool)  
  • scrapbook papers - these are so inexpensive even if you purchase them by the sheet as needed you should have enough change in your purse to get what you need, or stock up when there's a sale - just make sure you have a way to store them flat.  A square pizza box works.  I bought an unused one from Papa John's for 50 cents.  You can buy the fancy organizers later if find it's really your thing and you need to organize mass quantities of them.  
  • Jute twine or string 
  • Yarn - scraps from a grandma who knits are all you need for a lot of crafts
  • buttons - you can buy variety bags that have several colors,shapes and sizes that are great and inexpensive for crafting.  
  • Good art paper - plain paper to use as a foundation for projects (11x14 lighter weight bristol is a great universal paper to have on hand, you can draw on it, glue it, paint it, etc.) 
  • Markers, colored pencils, crayons - stock up during back to school sales   
  • Stuff to organize your stuff with.  I love the baskets and totes they have at Dollar Tree and they're only a buck each.  Baskets or the shoe box sized plastic totes are perfect for storing supplies and keeping them together by category, making it easier to find what you need and transport it to your work area. 
For around $80-$100 you can have a decent craft station ready to create lots of fun stuff and not have to spend too much more once you start a specific project.  If you have young kids you might want to keep some plain magnets on hand - there's always an easy magnet craft for kids.  Some of it you may have on hand and you can always hold off on buying buttons, ribbon, yarns, and craft papers until you actually need them.  

If you're looking for some easy crafts to get started, I found this blog through pinterest: click here for three starter crafts   
I loved her stamped coasters, post-it clipboards (I modified mine a bit) and photo magnets (I used paper scraps from the clipboards instead of photos to create gift sets for Christmas and teacher gifts) which turned out adorable!   Her crafts are simple, well instructed, very cute and usable.  I'm not one to have lots of knick-knacks around unless they all have a purpose.  Those three crafts can also be done with children of about any age and yet are still fun to do as an adult.  Plus, they are cheap!  

If you have most of the above list the additional supply costs were: 
coasters - $11 which made 9 coasters and had enough minwax and felt pads leftover to do at least that many more; magnets - $8 for around 36 with some blank magnets left over from a 50ct package; clipboards - $2-$5 depending on the kind of clips you use, plus I added leftover magnets.  I found a 20pk of white cubicle clips for $9.99 at Staples (click here for cubicle clips) and I put leftover magnets on the backs.  I have 12 sets of post-it clipboards with 3 coordinating magnets each to give as teacher gifts, hostess gifts, etc.  

These jazzed up clothes pins are cute too. click here for cute clothespin craft  Use as fridge magnets or hang an indoor clothesline to display kids artwork.  Theirs are decked out for Christmas, but you could do them in any color theme.

I will post the pics of the ones I did soon.  Happy crafting!  

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