Craft Supplies, Ideas & Tips

Latest Tip:

How to Get More Out of the Cutting Dies You Already Own: Making an Assymetrical Die-cut, Symetrical 

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How to Make Die-cuts a Different Shape to Match Your Image
Make your fancy rectangle Card Creator die-cut into a square
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What's in YOUR Craft Room? Shopping, Ideas and Reviews for Craft Supplies

Dies, Die Cutting Machine, Embossing Folders, and Punches

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I'm one of those people who want to try every craft, home improvement project, landscape idea, you name it. If I'm creating something I'm happy; of course most of the time I'm just creating a mess, but I have fun making it.


     Unfortunately my bank account doesn't support me running around buying up a zillion materials to do all the projects I'd like to try. So that has left me with only one choice and that is to come up with or learn cheaper ways of doing things. Cheaper doesn't mean not as good, it just means that you'll be left with more money to put toward other things.

     Did you know that you can make your own alcohol ink, paint sprays, glimmer mists, modeling paste, fancy tissue paper to use in projects 

for under $5.00
and in some cases for just pennies or even free depending on what you already have.

Making your own materials:

  • To make a paint spray all you need is some acrylic paint (cheap at Walmart and even in some craft stores), water and a small spray bottle. Any spray bottle will work such as an empty body spray bottle or a spray bottle from the travel section of a department store. They sell for under a dollar. 

  • I saw a few videos that showed how to make your own alcohol ink. One was showing a person using old permanent markers and a bottle of alcohol they got from the Dollar Store, another was showing how you can use Rit Dye to make your ink. I don't think you'll ever run out of ink using the Rit Dye version, but there are some drawbacks with the Rit when it comes to things like trying to use it on polymer clay projects and the dye often needs filtering as it has a grainy residue in the bottom of your made ink that won't go away on it's own. 

  • Modeling Paste can be expensive for very little. I'm not a professional artist in the sense of having my artwork displayed in a museum so I went to Lowe's and bought a 3lb. container of joint compound. It works the same as modeling paste and it only cost me $6.00 compared to the 8oz. bottle of modeling paste that cost me $8.00-$11.00.  

  • Glimmer Mist sprays add a beautiful shine to projects and can be made from mica powders or shiny eyeshadow. Not the glittery kind of eyeshadow, but the shiny kind. Then all you need is rubbing alcohol and an empty spray bottle. The best video I saw on it was using loose powder eye shadows from the Dollar Tree. I made my glimmer mists from Martha Stewart's Pearl acrylic paints. 

Finding materials, smart purchases and coming up with ideas:

     Did you know that you can make artwork using all that junk you have stashed away in your junk drawer? Check out my Mixed Media Collage. Those bottle caps you toss out and old mismatched earrings can be the main thing you use in some projects? Check out my holiday craft Earring Tree.



     Can't figure out what alcohol inks to buy to try them out. By a blue/turquoise, a magenta, and a yellow/gold. You can make a ton of colors and shades from them. I bought the set of Tim Holtz Adirondack alcohol ink (approximately $10.00 before my 40% off coupon) in the colors Stream, Wild Plum and Butterscotch and came up with a ton of combinations, patterns and colors with just those three inks. They are very strong, vivid colors, so don't let the small bottles fool you. They go a long way. I've used the color Stream on 12 different projects and still have over a half a bottle left.
     
     YouTube is a great place to get inspired. Thrift stores, yard sales and dollar stores are wonderful places to pick up materials cheap for projects. Don't just look at a sweater rack and see clothes. Sweaters can become shaggy purses, Halloween pumpkin decorations, pillows, coasters, wreath decor, a doggy bed, etc. Old picture frames can be decorated to look new, used to frame necklaces you want to keep organized, glued to the top of a wooden box to personalize it. Old dishware can be made into a dining room china wreath, broken into chips for beautiful jewelry or to do a mosaic design on top of a table. People are using empty toilet paper rolls to make mini albums for goodness sake and they're gorgeous!


You may be surprised at how many craft materials you already have


     I suggest if you want to try doing a craft project that you look around your house for what you have. Then type into search, "What kinds of things can you make from...(sweaters, socks, towels, sea shells, fake flowers, picture frames, pallets, old cards,). Find an idea that you like and get busy. I would love to see and hear about what you have come up with. Throughout my blog I will post videos that inspired me as well as those videos that showed me I didn't have to spend a lot of money or any money to do a craft project.

Please check my ever-growing Homemade Materials and Tips below. I will continue to add ideas and sources for home-made materials as I come across them.  

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Homemade Materials 

If you're into doing a little work to save money, here are some ideas I found on the Internet to make homemade materials.


 1. Make a polymer clay substitute: Cold Porcelain



2. Make your own glimmer mists:



3. Make your own texture paste:


4. Make your own alcohol ink:  
Note: the first video below shows that the Rit Dye formula is not good for use on polymer clay, but it works beautifully on paper for card making, scrapbooking etc.

-This second video shows how to make alcohol ink using permanent markers-


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Tips

Need inspiration/ideas for a layout, card or colors to use for any project. Look at rooms and decor on the web. Start here...

http://www.bhg.com/decorating/home-accessories/wall-art/art-for-walls/#page=12

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 Some great craft supply tips from Better Homes and Gardens

Some of these I had heard of, others I hadn't. Loved the wrinkled ribbon tip

Top Tips for Crafters
Pen and Marker Storage
Photo from Better Homes and Gardens Top Tips for Crafters

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Wow! Great Tip!  

It really works!

Tip for Getting a Clearer Image with Clear Stamps

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIF9hX5uBNY 

 Thank you http://cutupgluedown.wordpress.com/ for the helpful video.

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Die Cutting Machine Plate Repair: How-To

Great news! I have read a lot of comments about people having to buy new plates for their die cutting machines because they were too scratched up and bent. I was very happy to see that someone had shared a way to fix them instead of having to replace them. 

Repairing the plates that come with your die cutting machines 


How to clean and straighten die cutter plates

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Do NOT Make your Own Mod Podge

 

     I wanted to learn how to make my own Mod Podge or at least find a less expensive substitute. I noticed that video after video, blogs and websites showed people watering down craft glue to use in their projects. Below is a linked example.

Make-Mod-Podge


     I suppose this would be fine to do with some kid's projects, but for adults you're taking the chance of ruining your craft or art.
Mod Podge has a special sealer in it that glue does not have, it also has an exceptionally strong glue formula superior to craft glues, so it doesn't make any sense to water down an inferior glue product. I found an informative blog if you would like to read more about it.

Modge Podge Rocks: Why you shouldn't make your own...