Crafting on a Budget - Part Two
Published in Issue 23, June 2013
Written by Leanne from Small Surprise Boutique
so many times you can raid your loft or garden shed when on the hunt for supplies. We will revisit recycling more throughout this series, but for now there is something else I would like to consider.
Upcycling is an everlasting adventure, but it is useful to have a set stock rather than relying on uncovering recycled materials. I’m sure most of us have battled with the thought “I have so many ideas in my head, but where can I get my hands on cheap materials to bring my creations to life?” I know I have.
Obviously my own personal experiences come into play a lot here, but perhaps some of you out there have had similar encounters. When I took my first steps into my local craft superstore I was amazed by what was right in front of me. I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to venture inside, but once I did I didn’t want to leave.
After a few visits I started to realise I was on a strict budget, a budget that wouldn’t match the store, and although there were many things I needed in order to progress forward in my craft work, I would spend more time wandering back and forth through the isles and whittling down my decisions to fit in with my budget than actually crafting.
I soon started to research the world of crafting, and after being amazed by the sheer magnitude of this new world I had embarked upon, I found cheaper alternatives for what I needed. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to visit my local craft superstores, I would live there if I could, and I recommend you keep them on your shopping route. I have learnt the importance of buyer’s research and it is something I would encourage you to do.
Quite often we get lucky when our favourite stores have sales, but sales don’t last forever. In order to protect my bank balance I have taken on a new way of craft shopping. With notebook in hand a trip to my local craft superstore soon gives me my next shopping list, to see if I can find cheaper alternatives elsewhere. We’re all familiar with shopping around to find the best price, and I have found it to be just as useful when shopping for craft supplies.
Fortunately, living in Leeds I am blessed with a spectacular market, filled with a wide variety of stalls and
goodies. My needle craft seems to benefit most from my trips to the market, with material, wool, ribbons and buttons on offer in abundance. Buttons are always a useful addition to any craft box, and the market is a good place to start your collection. Also, I have discovered once you become ‘a regular’ customer there is often the opportunity to collect some enviable bargains. Just recently, for example, I was able to pick up a large amount of lovely material, which was discounted thanks to being familiar with the seller. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
Building a network specific to your craft work is also a good way of keeping your craft budget to a limit. The more you network with others in the industry, the more likely you are to find out about the best places to stock up your craft cupboard. As your network develops, so will your knowledge, and in turn you can help others. I have found this particular method very useful, especially in recent weeks. I have signed up for my first craft fair, due to take part in July, and I am constantly extending my ‘what I need’ list. By networking with experts in this area I am gradually finding everything I need, such as packaging materials, and they come at reasonable price.
There are many ways to protect our bank balances whilst still producing high quality creations, and shopping around for the best options is very beneficial, but it doesn’t have to be time consuming. My first port of call now is often my local market, and I recommend anyone in need of supplies has a wander around their local market too; it is surprising what you will find. And if you can’t find exactly what you are looking for, have a chat with the stallholders, they’ll often advise you on the best place to go.
A selection of my bargain material from a market shop, soon to be used towards many upcoming projects.