Crafting On A Budget
Published in Issue 22, April 2013
Written by Leanne from Small Surprises Boutique
The art of crafting is a hobby that is available to many people, and as I have been finding out it doesn't have to be expensive. This is the start of a new series entitled ‘Crafting on a Budget’, to demonstrate it doesn't have to cost the earth to be creative.
I found my way into the world of arts and crafts during the summer of 2012 after creating some baby safe toys for my niece, and I was instantly hooked. Ideas for other projects soon began to form and after browsing through the work of others I was worried I would be in a different league, a lower league, purely for the reason I don’t have the funds to dedicate to my projects. Many people are likely to be in the exact same situation, which is why I wanted to share my experiences so far, and hopefully prove you can craft on a budget. The first of this new series of articles will focus on creating tasteful products from things you already have, or may have, around the house, in the garden or around and about.
It is surprising what you can create from what you already have lying around, which can be transferred into a simple, hand decorated classic. My first project, although a simple one, proved to be somewhat effective. Whilst having a clear out I discovered a set of plain cream coloured candles that had been given as a present some time ago, and after buying some beads they were the ideal collaboration. Held together with sewing pins I’d had in my sewing box for many years, the beads provided a bit of sparkle to brighten up an otherwise ordinary household decoration, and it was at a very minimal cost.
I’ve used this idea for a number of products, using beads and buttons to decorate plain candles, and it works very well. Personally I found that decorating something that already exists gives you a gentle start in the craft world, and also sends your thought process into overdrive with other ideas. Simple is always effective, and helps to keep your costs down.
Recycling items you find around the house is an ideal way to keep your crafting budget to a minimum. A simple tidy up of my dad’s garden shed gave me some inspiration for a range of products – wooden signs and ornaments. Strips of wood he was about to throw away suddenly became useful again in my mind. After buying some very cheap wooden letters, adding a splash of paint and a bit of extra strong glue I had created something simple yet tasteful to display proudly in my home, or sell on should the occasion call for it.
Inspiration is all around us. Much of my inspiration comes from one of my favourite places, Cornwall. I have been an avid visitor to the glorious South West for 20 years, after holidaying there since I was very young. Whilst on holiday there last summer inspiration hit heavily and led me to the local beach. After collecting pebbles, driftwood, sand and shells I started to create a range of beach themed items – candle holders, decorated pebbles, decorated candles, for instance. You can buy pebbles and shells from a number of different shops, but hand picking them yourself is friendlier on your bank balance, and it’s enjoyable; it also ensures you collect exactly what you need.
Recently I have moved my attentions to cushion covers. My main goal is to make my own, but being between sewing machines at the moment I haven’t been able to produce my own. Instead I have been decorating already existing plain cushion covers, which is another way to utilise your creative needs.
Obviously it is not possible to craft and create solely on what you find at home, or at the beach, it does take some expenditure, but it doesn’t need to break the bank. Initially I thought the only way to find the supplies I needed would be from top end craft retailers, but if you know what you’re looking for there are always cheaper alternatives, such as your local market. We will explore these alternatives further throughout this series.
In the meantime, I hope you find my experiences so far useful. If you’re new to the crafting world, or if you’re looking for some new inspiration, why not have a look around the house and see what you can find to embellish.