There are some mornings when I wake up, the first thought that pops into my head is “I want to make something.” Is that normal? I don’t know if it is, but it’s normal for me.
One little (well, big) problem that gets in my way sometimes though is funds aren’t typically just lying around waiting to be spent on project materials. But that’s okay with me! It’s part of playing the game; that challenge makes it even more fun.
And I’ve found that some of my most outside-the-box and creative projects come during a time when I’m using materials we already have in order to spend as little as possible for a big impact. Necessity really is the mother of invention around here. (Maybe necessity is stretching it, but you know what I mean.)
A lot of times, it’s because I keep 10 craft supplies in my stash at all times that create endless project possibilities. (*Affiliates contained in this post.)
1. Scrap Wood
After any home improvement project we do, we never toss out a single scrap piece of wood. I’ve made our bathroom door sign, wall hook rack, part of our jewelry organizer, and oversized sheet music signs all from scrap wood.
There’s all kinds of things you can make from pallet wood too that are totally free, but we haven’t gone that route yet. If you can handle sawing a straight line, there are plenty of possibilities. My jigsaw* usually gets a good workout.
2. Acrylic Paint
Any time I have to stop into Walmart (which is usually once or twice a month), I grab a bottle of acrylic paint. Small bottles are usually around 75 cents, and they can go a long way. Keep black, white, brown, and just a handful of your favorite colors in your stash, and that’s really all you’ll need. You can add white to any color to lighten it and customize to your needs.
I was able to change the entire look of our kitchen gallery clock wall using my acrylic paint stash.
3. Mod Podge
Mod Podge* can be used to apply photos to scrap wood for a rustic picture display. Decoupage drawer fronts of furniture to add a fun detail. I used some to make an oversized vintage map for next to nothing. And if I ever run out, I can DIY my own using ingredients already in my kitchen using this recipe.
4. Hot Glue
I use this stuff on everything! (And I’m barely exaggerating.) I’m constantly pulling out my pretty pink hot glue gun. My favorite use so far though is our kitchen pendant lights.
5. Chalk Paint
I know it’s a widespread craze, but there’s a reason this stuff is so popular. You can use chalk paint on almost anything- furniture, fabric, metal lamps, glass vases, floors, just about anything you can think of. 1 quart of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint goes a long way. After making over our coffee table and kitchen chairs, I still have at least 1/3 of my can leftover.
If you’re feeling really ambitious and want to make it dirt cheap, you can DIY your own using this recipe and oops paint from the hardware store clearance or any leftover paint you might have lying around.
6. Fabric Scraps
I’m not much of a seamstress, but I keep a few fabric favorites on hand. Keeping burlap in my stash allowed me to whip up a little wall art, table runner, picture frame mat, and even a banner for our little one’s birthday party.
I can’t sew worth a lick, but by using Heat n Bond* with fabric scraps, I made a pillow for basically free. If you ever have to hem curtains or a dress, don’t toss out all the fabric! Save the bigger pieces; they come in handy.
Last year, I went on a major rope kick in some of my projects because it was so easy to work with and didn’t cost much. I bought two rolls of sisal rope* to give a basic black chandelier a designer look and used the leftovers to make a simple shelf for our boring hallway.
8. Spray Paint
We transformed most of our builder grade lighting using mainly spray paint. I’ve used it on picture frames, furniture, our shower, anything that just needs a change in color. Out of all the brands, I think Rustoleum* gets the best coverage. That’s just what I usually buy.
9. Decorate Paper and Sheet Music/Book Pages
Thrift stores will sell old books and sheet music bundles for as low as 25 cents each. Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, and many other craft stores have sales fairly often for 50% off scrapbook paper. Bring in a 20% off coupon on top of that, and you save a lot. If you forget coupons at home, they accept coupons from your smartphone too. I used sheet music constantly in our Christmas decor last year. I used a roll of decorative paper to spruce up our pantry earlier this year too. For simple art in our bathroom, I ripped out pages from an old Audubon field guide for a rustic window display.
10. Printer Paper
With all of the free printable options out there, wall decor is so simple to make. And if you choose not to print and frame something, you can print out a design or quote to “handletter” a chalkboard instead.
Now to make my craft stash organized…that’s a different story. And I hope a project for another day, but I’ll get there eventually. The creative process can be a messy one, but it’s so worth it.