I’m so into this making do thread that I put the keyword “frugal” into our libraries’ catalog search engine and came up with a ton of books with frugal tips. Then I checked them out to see if there were any tips we could use as greeting card makers & scrapbookers. I think our thread has them beat, but here’s a few that I don’t think has been mentioned:
I check out stamping magazines and books from my local library system (mymcpl.org - Mid-Continent Public Library
), but I also have found them used at book and thrift stores. Girlfriends also have shared with me and I periodically go through mine and weed and give them away. How do you get your idea fix frugally?
How many of you enter challenges or contests for cool crafting supplies? Actually won anything?
To make template cards, I cut a piece of cardstock in half and then fold like an A2 card. I usually draw my own picture, using the fold as one side or top of the image, so that I know the card will fit into an invitation size envelope. I erase any extra lines before I cut it out and I save the template for the next card in a 3-ring binder notebook document sleeve. I also save a sample of the finished card so I will know next time how I made it up. It’s not hard to sketch out a basic image, but if you don’t have enough confidence in your abilities, then use one of these ideas – use a computer/photocopier to shrink/enlarge clip-art (coloring book; Dover books; computer graphics) or stamped images, cut them out and trace around them, have an artist friend sketch a basic shape for you, use an image cut out from a dollar store birthday or baby banner, trace through a stencil or diecut an image (Note: put the fold just inside one side of the diecut so it cuts it as one piece, not two). I have several template cards in my SCS gallery if you want to have a look-see.
When a colored pencil becomes too short to use comfortably, unscrew the top from the bottom of a used-up ball point pen, remove the insides, and insert the top of the pencil into the bottom part of the ball-point pen. Assuming that people discard pencils when they are only two-thirds used, a substantial sum of money could be saved, over time, by using pencil holders so that most of the remaining one-third of the pencils can be used. You can also line them up to scan to use as a banner on your blog or glue to a picture frame. If the pencils slides around too much inside the pen, insert a cylinder roll of playdough or clay inside, then slide the pencil back in.
Throw a shoebox party. Cheap Fun and you come away with at least one or more cards depending on the number of people that show up. Each person designs a card, makes up a number of blanks, one per person
(hostess’ invitation #s), puts all the supplies needed to make that card in a shoebox and brings the shoebox, food (ie. Think chocolate, fingerfood, snacks), a covered drink & a basic toolbox to the party! I’ve made up to four shoeboxes that get passed around. It is helpful to have small pieces like punchies, brads, eyelets, etc. inside of small pill bottles or ziploc bags in your shoebox so they don’t get lost in the shuffle. One year, I brought my new-to-me gently-used Cuddlebug (my sweet hubbin surprised me with one he purchased on ebay). None of them had purchased one yet and the girls had a blast embossing paper.
I checked out 4 Mark Montano books from the library. One was called The Big-A_ _ Book of Crafts. He dyed black & white prints in tea, then made a frugal postcard out of a magazine subscription card by taping it down with painter’s tape around the edges, painting the inside with tempera paint, then heat embossing a collage of images with gold or silver embossing powder on top of that. He removed the painter’s tape, attached the card to a black layer and signed it. Talk about making do with a magazine subscription card! There was all kinds of other ideas in this one book like paper flowers, decoupaging prints under glass plates & bowls, or on jars, stamping butcher or craft paper for wrapping paper, paper dolls, coasters, playing card trays (this idea would work for flat atc's as well). Another of his books is called “Dollar Store Décor” and “Cosmo Girl Cool Room” and The Big-A_ _ Book of Home Décor. This one also had some other cool ideas like using string wrapped around fabric and spray painted, and silhouettes decoupaged on a wall (think cards) and pierced aluminum tape (this looks really cool in a diecut leaf shape; pierced from back side of tape), using translucent colored plastic folders cut in oogly shapes (think misshapened peanuts & deformed eggs) layered over black oogly circle lines, spun painted circles (know anybody with an electric potter’s wheel or old record turntable?); paint chip strips, squish art (paint between two pieces of glass; but I was thinking of two flat equal sized pieces of packaging acrylic, clipped together and layered on a card) and stamping napkins (either paper or cloth), etc.
One of these frugal books has a chapter on decorating on a shoestring budget. It suggested purchasing rolls of adding machine paper and making your own room border (I found a whole box recently at a thrift shop). I was curious to know if any of you have stamped your own border? Another suggestion was to make a faux wall border using greeting cards, postcards, calendar images, travel brochures, magazine covers, comic book pages, etc. and just line them up one after the another and double face tape them to the wall. Wouldn’t this be cute in your studio?
This is the only place I have difficulty. My posting page keeps adding weird html coding bits. It's driving me crazy having to go back in to edit. Does anybody else have this difficulty?