31 July 2014

7 tips on finding materials

Although I am relatively new to blogging, I am most certainly not new to art and crafting. Obviously, we all do something as kids, but for me, lets say around about mid-teens I started creating things that were a little bit more than random cuts of paper or endless threads of basic crochet (which I would wrap around my wrist and pretend it was super hard to make).

However, unless you have an endless supply of funds (yeah right), getting the right materials is kinda expensive. Even if you simply want to produce some handwritten A4 prints, you still need to have a variety of good quality pens, variety of good quality papers or cards or whatever. Oh and unless you want to constantly produce them until your wrist gives up, you should really get a good quality printer....and so on and so on...

I know all this sounds like preaching to the converted, but lets be honest, we've all been there (and heard the "HOW MUCH are you charging!?" comment).

So, a while back I created a list of things that I would do in order to get materials that are good quality AND cheaper.

And not all of them are internet based ;)

1. Let's get the obvious out of the way first - EBAY. Thing is, I don't necessarily look for specifics. There's a lot of people out there that either misspell or aren't sure what to call something. And when I'm "on the lookout" I'll create some generic searches which I can then follow. One of those is simply "Vintage", I made sure it's in order of Ending Soonest, so every day I'll have a quick scroll through while I'm waiting for my lunch or having 5 minutes off the desk to see if there is anything interesting. I found a gorgeous collection of brooches like this and about 8 of these lovely old pieces cost me a couple of £.

Or, if you are in a hurry for something, try misspelling what you're looking for. You never know.

2. Charity shops = good for the charity and good for your pocket.
Recently, I went to a local one and found a range of silky scarves for about £1 each. As a scarf they were never going to be used. They were really old fashioned, slightly torn or washed out. I got a few - cut them up and created lovely little flowers out of them. You'll be able to see some of them eventually, when I get to taking photos.

You'll find frames with terrible artwork, but ones you can use for your own after a few brush strokes of paint. Faux pearl necklaces and such things that girls buy, wear 3 times and then give up are gorgeous for tearing apart and getting you some cheap beads.

3. Your friends - maybe they're having a clearout? Maybe they have kids who have outgrown certain things? Maybe they have some cheap canvass pictures they don't like any more and you can re-cover and re-use?

4. DIY stores. Oh yes. I went to B&Q a few weeks ago and went to the chains display. They had a lovely selection of thin brass, copper and silver chains - and they are made to last! Yes you'll need some pliers and the such, but they look so pretty and you can get a metre length for about £1. And let's not forget, you get the free wallpaper samples anywhere - and no you should not take advantage of this too much, but a few bits here and there are ok if you wanna make little tags or wrap stuff up.

5. Sales - in clothes shops, accessories shops, arts & crafts shops.... be open minded. Just because something is built up in a certain way, doesn't mean you have to use it as such. 

6. Salvage yards - although it may sound an obvious one, I'm not talking about the little pretty antique stores with a bit of a yard of scraps at the back.
A number of them will have things like old knobs off olf chests of drawers, old tiny windows in their original frames, bits and pieces of metal/stone/whatever, cute little period tiles, old style massive keys....... at bargain prices.

7. Go to handmade and craft fairs. But also, go to the wedding shows or any kind of fair where there MIGHT be something of interest. If for nothing else then for inspiration - I'm going to a cake and sugarcraft fair in near future, just to see what's new with the colours and techniques used... you also might get some freebies.

Extra inspiration?:

For inspiration we have Pinterest, Instagram, and various other sites we follow religiously these days. But don't forget books. There is a huge collection of older or self published books on Amazon, for example, which are completely FREE. And you don't need a Kindle, just the Kindle app. ;) I have recently downloaded several free soapmaking books right onto my laptop... beautiful :)

And if they're no good, who cares, you didn't pay anything!

Do you have any tips you wanna share? This isn't just about your profit, but also about being able to have enough materials to create what you love without spending silly amounts of money.


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