17 Ways I Save on Craft Supplies

This crafter saves BIG time on her art and craft supplies. I had never heard of several of these ideas—so cool!

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As an artist, I’ll admit to going through a fair share of art supplies in my lifetime. I’ll also admit to my happy place being the aisles of a good art store; so many possibilities! It always blows me away how such beauty can start with the simplest of materials. The only problem is the cost for these can add up quickly. And you know how it is, you go in to the craft store to pick up one thing and end up leaving with an arm load of new project supplies.

So what’s a crafter to do? Well, I thought I’d share with you how I save on craft supplies. I’ve used (and in many cases, am currently using) these ideas, and there is a wide range so hopefully a few of them will resonate with you at least. (And no, I don’t necessarily use them all every single month, but I do keep them in mind.)

This crafter saves BIG time on her art and craft supplies. I had never heard of several of these ideas—so cool!

17 Ways I Save On Craft Supplies

  1. Shop your stash. First and foremost, I shop my current stash. Just like I learned years ago to shop my pantry before making my grocery list (which is a huge money saver!), I take a minute to check what I already have on hand when I’m feeling the need to start a new craft project. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve completely forgotten I had bought something. Ahem.
  2. Amazon. I love amazon.com and use it to buy a lot of my craft supplies. I’ve bought plain tote bags to decorate, my amazing Bind-it-All machine (see how I use that to make my own journals here), as well as my new favorite set of watercolor paints on Amazon. It helps that I frequently earn gift cards for Amazon (see no. 3 and 5 for how I do that) so often the craft supplies are greatly discounted or even FREE. Can’t beat that price, right?
  3. Swagbucks. Swagbucks is a site where you can literally earn gift cards by using their search engine to look for things on the internet, taking the daily poll, and filling out surveys. You also can use their site when you’re going to be buying certain products from Amazon or other online retailers, and they will give you a percentage of points per dollar spent (which you can redeem for gift cards.) I was skeptical when I first started using Swagbucks as to whether it was legitimate, but now that I’ve earned hundreds of dollars in gift cards . . . well, I’m a believer. Sometimes I’ll set a daily goal for myself, and Swagbucks rewards my efforts by adding even more points to my account. Whoohoo!
  4. Use the library. I used to buy a LOT of crafting and creativity books. There were several bookstores in Los Angeles that got me every time with their book displays in the art section. “I’d like that one and that one and . . .” The only problem was I didn’t necessarily use those books and many of them ended up being donated just a few years later. That’s when the completely not novel idea of using my library stepped in. If I see a book I’d like to have, I always search my library for it first. They have free interlibrary loans too, so I can pretty much find any book for free first. Once I have the book and read it, I’m better able to determine whether I should add it to my collection. This has greatly reduced my book spending and has helped us to curate a collection of books we actually regularly reference and use.
  5. Ask for supplies for your birthday and Christmas. You’re not too old to ask for a Christmas present, are you? Often around birthday time, my family will ask what I’d like and usually my answer has something to do with creative supplies. My sisters also just go for it and buy me sketchbooks and gelli roll pens. That’s never a bad thing.
  6. Pinecone Research. This is a survey company that pays you to take short surveys about products that may be coming to the market soon. Most of them take about 10-15 minutes to take, and they usually pay about $3.00 a survey. No, you’re not going to become a millionaire taking these, but you can redeem your points for cash or gift cards and use that toward your craft money.
  7. Stock up. If I know that I’m planning on making Christmas ornaments next year for gifts, I’ll go ahead and buy an extra box when they’re 50% (or more) off during the after Christmas sales. I don’t do this often because we have limited storage space, but it’s something to consider. Make sure you’re positive you’ll use the items, though. :)
  8. Goodwill or secondhand stores. I recently fell in love with a sewing book that just may be the key to getting me to sew again (for some reason, I’m really intimidated by sewing.) What really struck me about this particular book was the authors recommend re-purposing large men’s t-shirts to make skirts and all sorts of wonderful things. Frankly, fabric is fabric. I need to visit my local thrift stores more often so I can keep an eye on what’s coming in; I used to do that more often and found lots of treasures that I kept as is or reworked into something I loved.
  9. Michaels and Jo-Ann Store coupons. If you’re in the U.S., make sure you’re on the mailing list for these craft stores as you will regularly receive 40 and 50% off coupons. There’s no reason to pay full price if you don’t have to! (And if you’re outside of the U.S., definitely check to see if your local art and craft stores offer discount days or an email list where you’ll be sent coupons.)
  10. Adapt the project. I used to be a rules-follower when it came to recipes. (This, of course, is a good idea to do when you’re first trying out a new recipe!) But now that I’ve been cooking for a while, I regularly swap out ingredients for the ones I have on hand. You can do the same with your craft projects. Obviously, there are projects where you have to have exact materials, but you’d be surprised . . . with a little creative thinking and your current craft stash, you have a lot of possibilities on hand.
  11. Art schools and the local art store. My husband introduced me to this novelty. If you have an art school in town, make a note of the closest art store to the campus. Very likely they will have huge discount days at the beginning of the semester. My husband was on the email list for an art store back in California that we happily visited each fall because the prices were that good. You’ll also be able to pick up higher quality supplies this way.
  12. Use kid’s art supplies. Lately, I’ve been on a Crayola marker kick. I bought a large pack for .50 during the back-to-school sales. I’ve used these markers in a variety of projects—from art journaling to “painting” to drawing on gesso and wood. Never underestimate the power of kid’s art supplies. They might be just what you need to get out of your creative rut. :) (Oh, and the watercolors I mentioned above that I love? They’re packaged as kid’s watercolors, but they’re AWESOME.)
  13. Target’s Dollar Spot. Oh, Target. You’re so smart to put the Dollar Spot at the entrance of each store. It usually makes me completely forget why I came to begin with. But seriously, keep an eye on this treasure trove of crafting wonderment. At the beginning of the summer, I picked up stacks of colorful blank books that my daughter and I have used all year as journals. So much fun! (P.S. Not to be missed as well is the Handmade Modern Line at Target. I’ve bought several items in this collection and have been pleased with the quality. And check the end of the aisles; this collection is very seasonal and goes on sale all the time.)
  14. Free Creativebug Classes. I really like the classes at Creativebug (I’ve taken a line drawing class as well as several others so far), and they offer several free classes that you can try out. On my list: the Sewing 101 class.
  15. Ibotta app. Ibotta is an app that you can use to get rebates from your groceries. But did you realize that Ibotta has an Art and Crafts section too? I’ve been using this app for a while, and it’s my favorite for rebates by far. (Several of the other apps-that-will-not-be-named were really clunky, and it took forever to earn enough money to be able to cash out.) I’ll admit to using Ibotta’s cash back to buy Starbucks gift cards for creative retreats more often than actual craft supplies, but I just learned that I can use JoAnn’s coupons while in the store to save money and then there’s often an Ibotta rebate as well for JoAnn’s. So awesome! p.s. If you use my referral code here, you’ll get $10 cash in your Ibotta account after your first rebate. Whoohoo!
  16. The Dollar Store. I don’t go to the dollar store regularly but I definitely go there for wrapping supplies. I love to wrap my gifts in kraft paper, and I usually can find big rolls of it there. I also like to walk up and down the aisles just in case something catches my eye while I’m there. My mom showed me a bunch of darling flower princesses she made out of faux silk flowers she bought at the dollar store. Which reminds me, I need to make that project. My nieces LOVE those dolls!
  17. Ross, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, etc. If you’re looking for inexpensive DIY decor to spruce up, then definitely check out these discount stores. I know of one artist who purchases the large canvas prints and paints white gesso right over them to make her own creations. Those huge blank canvases can be really pricey and you can get them discounted for really low prices. You can also buy inexpensive sheets to make duvet covers, throw pillows to recover with cute fabric, and lamps that you can repaint. Definitely keep an eye out because I’ve found treasures at these places.

Well, that about wraps it up. I’d love to hear how YOU save on craft supplies in the comments below. It’s always fun to learn from each other. And since you’re here, feel free to visit my Crafts Page. I update it regularly with simple and inexpensive-to-make crafts.

I hope you have a lovely {and creative} day!

14 thoughts on “17 Ways I Save on Craft Supplies

  1. What a great list, Jennie! When I was in art school, we had the best art supply store right by campus too.

    And about those coupons at Jo-Ann’s and Michael’s : I just found out recently that you can use multiple coupons on one trip! I think it has to do with sale items vs. full price, but it never hurts to ask!

    1. YES! I found that out recently too, Meredith, and quite by accident. I was ruffling through coupons trying to figure out which one was which and the checkout clerk said, “Oh, you can use all of those.” I couldn’t believe it. :)

  2. What a wonderful list! I certainly need to use many of these ideas to get some of our supplies. I haven’t done much the last few months and I’m really itching to get back to it again soon! :)

  3. This is a great list of ways to save money on crafting supplies. I love Swagbucks and earned a lot of gift cards from them through the years.

    Thank you for sharing this with us on the #HomeMattersParty. We hope to see you again next Friday when we open our doors at 12 AM EST.

    1. Hi Victoria, thanks so much. The little rebates on the apps really add up—have fun with them! Hope you have a great weekend! :)

    1. So true, right? I’m guilty of buying more supplies and then finding out I already had them too. Oops! :) Thanks so much for stopping by—hope you have a great day!

  4. Wonderful suggestions. Sadly, in Portugal we have a very limited range of craft stores, and most supplies are really expensive. Amazon was my best friend for many years, but lately they have increased their delivery rates a lot…Anyway, thank you for sharing these suggestions at The Really Crafty Link Party this week. Pinned!

    1. Thanks so much, Teresa. How frustrating that Amazon has raised their rates! I would be so sad about that too. Thank you for taking the time to stop by—I really appreciate it! Have a great day!

  5. Great roundup Jennie – I’ll have to check out Swagbucks and Ibotta. I love Jo-Ann and Michaels and the Target spot section – always so tempted by $1, $3, and $5 finds.

    1. Thanks so much, Candace! I was at Target today and felt like I should have received a gold star for passing up the Target Dollar Spot, haha. And yes, the Ibotta app was a surprise for me in terms of craft stuff; I use it all the time for grocery rebates but then noticed they’ve added rebates that you can stack with JoAnns and other stores too. Pretty cool. Have a great day!

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