Perhaps you find yourself with some spare time on your hands, and you want to indulge in a hobby. Maybe you have an artistic urge that can be satisfied only by the creation of beautiful and practical objects. Perhaps you wish to use your creative outlet to reduce stress, to make a little spending money on the side, or build a career in which you have more freedom than your current employment affords.
Whatever your reasons, crafting can be an enjoyable and at times lucrative endeavor. There is, however, one caveat - the cost.
Some crafting supplies are relatively inexpensive - paper, paste, and plastic beads, for example. Other crafts require more expensive supplies, such as jewelry-quality metals, or an investment in equipment, such as a sewing machine, embroidery machine, or Cricut paper cutter.
If you're entering the world of crafting for the first time, or simply taking your hobby in a new direction, how can you do so affordably? Consider the following five suggestions.
1. Use What You Have
Look in your closet, your crafting drawer, your backyard, even in your trash can. Do you already have some of the objects you need for a project? Could you build a project around supplies you have on hand?
For example, assume you would like to sew a new outfit. Rather than buying expensive fabrics, could you re-purpose something you already own? Men's ties can be taken apart and sewn together to form a unique bohemian skirt. The silky material of an existing skirt or dress can be cut and hemmed to form a scarf or belt. Once, I even used a couple of discarded men's dress shirts to make a pillow case. Be creative, and think outside the box.
2. Start Small
Remember that when you're starting a new field of crafting, you don't have to buy everything all at once. Think about what you will need to accomplish just one project, and purchase only those items. Likely, this will include tools and extra crafting elements that you can reuse in future projects, reducing further costs.
3. Look for Deals and Coupons
Most major crafting stores offer customer rewards programs, as well as weekly emails with valuable coupons. Sign up for these, then be patient. Buying items over a series of weeks, using a weekly 40 percent of coupon, can save a lot of money.
4. Borrow and Beg
Likely, you have friends who are crafters as well. Borrow specialty tools rather than buying your own, especially if you will use an item infrequently. When they have a garage sell, stock up.
5. Let Your Hobby Pay for Itself
Online platforms such as Etsy make it easy to profit from your creations. Sell a few of your handcrafted items, and use the proceeds to purchase more supplies.
Cara Siera is a freelance writer and crafter. Her creative outlet can be found in the Etsy shop SheFellNLoveHandmade.