The art of crafting is practiced by millions of people who find enjoyment in exploring their artistic side by making knick knacks, party favors and bric-a-brac. From jewelry and toys to holiday decorations and household items, crafting is a fantastic hobby for folks of all ages, but the quality of your creations is rooted in the supplies you use to craft them. Serious crafters know that often they need to shop outside of traditional bricks and mortar stores to find unique or hard to find items. Online stores also offer convenience when shopping in bulk. With free shipping offered by many of these stores as added value, there is also the convenience of not having to trudge home with bags of heavy supplies. Instead, just point and click to order what you want, then sit back and wait for them to be delivered.Common items used in crafting include beads, wire, filigrees and stones for jewelry making, as well as painting, art supplies, ribbons and trims. The types of supplies you need depend on what kind of crafting you are doing. As an example, here’s a look at what you will need to make a simple and rustic coffee can twig vase.For this project, you’ll need a combination of common household and outdoor items along with some craft supplies. First, find an empty clean coffee can, some newspaper and gather some slender branches and twigs that measure ¼ inch to ½ inch thick. Next, head to your garage or shed for a small handsaw and some pruning shears. Finally, from your craft store, you will need burlap, hemp twine and a hot glue gun.To start, lay your newspaper down on your work surface to protect it. Then, take your handsaw and trim each twig so that it is one inch longer than the height of your coffee can. If there are any shoots or leave on the twigs, remove them with your pruning shears. Next, wrap your coffee can in the burlap so that the top and bottom overlap. You will then fold the flaps in and glue them in pace with your hot glue gun.For twig attachment, take each twig one by one and hot glue the flattest side of each to the burlap so that they stick up one inch over the can. Do not apply glue to that top inch that extends. When gluing the twigs, be sure to press them onto the can and hold them for a few seconds so that they set properly. Repeat this step until the entire can is covered in twigs.Once your twigs are set, cut your hemp twine into 18 inch strands. You then tie the end of one of your strands of twine to the top edge of a twig with the knot in back and a 5 inch tail. The loop around your twig should be level with the top of the coffee can.Take the twine and pass it behind the twig, circling it in front and then around to the back again. You then keep repeating this process until every twig is circled with twine. Then tie the two ends of twine together and trim off any excess.When the top portion is finished, take the other strand of twine and repeat the whole process on the bottom. Once complete, fill your vase with water, add flowers and enjoy!If crafting is something you enjoy sharing with your children, another fun project is to make a decorated mouse pad. This makes a great gift for grandparents, or you can keep it for yourself to remind you of your little ones while you are away at the office. All you need for this is a fabric covered mouse pad, ball point pens and fabric paint and a foam brush from your craft store.To begin, paint a thin coat of fabric paint onto your child’s hand with your foam brush. Then, press his or her painted hand around the outer edge of the mouse pad. You will need to add paint with each handprint. Next, wash your child’s hand before they end up touching anything besides the mouse pad. You will then need to apply some fabric paint to your child’s fingers and press a few fingerprints in the center of the mouse pad. Be sure to keep the fingerprints spaced a good amount apart. Once the paint is dry, take your ballpoint pen and turn the fingerprints into animals, people or funny scenes.No matter what type of projects you enjoy, crafting is a great hobby that allows you to channel your creativity to create useful and beautiful objects. As every serious crafter knows, the quality of work begins with your supplies, so be sure to check out craft suppliers at both traditional retail and online stores for the highest quality wares and the best value for your dollar. After all, when you work with great supplies, you take the first step in making a keepsake to remember.
A healthy stash of craft supplies can make the rainiest of days seem sunny summer play days for kids of all ages. Yes, the big kids in the world enjoy doing all manner of crafts as well. The problem is that craft supplies do not necessarily run on the cheap side. If consumers aren’t careful the price tag for that sunshine in a craft box can add up quickly.Here are a few great craft supplies that are small on budget and big on fun.Old ButtonsChildren grow out of clothes fast. Adults outgrow clothes over time in a way no adult cares to face in the mirror. Clothes get ruined, go out of style, shrink (wink, wink), and sometimes do not look as good in the mirror as they did on the hanger. Many of these clothes hit the garbage pile without a second glance-buttons still attached.But, take a few seconds to make a snip here and there with a pair of scissors and those buttons can become eyes for mismatched sock puppets, noses for hapless snowmen in winter months, or even the windows to the soul for one giant purple people eater on paper. Little girls love stringing buttons together to make bracelets and necklaces. They can become the centerpiece for beautiful fairy flowers and even be glued to picture frames for a little added pop or pizzazz.Don’t discard another article of clothing without first checking for buttons. Additionally, thrift stores and garage sales will often have large packages of buttons on sale for a steal. Check them out if help is needed getting a fantastical button collection started.Recycled Goods from the KitchenTake a look around the kitchen for a moment and think with the mind of a crafter. Paper towel rolls can become pirate looking glasses. Egg cartons can be transformed into a garden of flowers, and potato chip cans may be transformed into musical instruments or rain sticks.Empty coffee cans provide a wide range of crafty pleasure including gift tins that can be filled with small treasures for friends who are shut in; organizational tools to hold pens, paperclips, etc.; or a beautiful birdfeeder for neighborhood birds.Thrift and Second-hand StoresAnother great source for frugal but crafty ideas, that all but guarantee indoor fun for all ages, is the local thrift store. There are tons of great bargains on craft kits and supplies that can be mixed and match for even more crafty pleasure. The idea is to find a wide range of supplies that are versatile and encourage creativity.The real beauty about thrift or second-hand stores is that many of the items are in mint condition. They are simply the unwanted castoffs of another crafter who created too large a stash of supplies.A Walk around the NeighborhoodChildren are amazing creatures. Perhaps it’s the nearness to the ground but children can spot all sorts of neat craft supplies that most adults would miss just by walking outside. With the right child, a blade of grass could become a paintbrush.Simple things that can be found without paying a penny for crafting include things most adults pass by every day without a second glance. Pine cones, river rocks, sticks, and leaves are all fabulous crafting tools that won’t break the budget.Crafting can be very expensive if people allow it to be. It doesn’t have to be. There are too many great bargains available to crafters to limit personal pleasure due to budgetary constraints. During these troubling economic time who couldn’t use a little crafty sunshine?