Frugal Sisters Unite!
Here are some of my tips:
I hate to dig my heavy sewing machine out of my closet, unless I really have to sew clothing or quilt, so I hand-draw faux stitching on my cards instead. I use a piercing tool (large corsage pin, quilling tool, etc.) and a piece of plastic canvas to get even holes (or a ruler or a plastic scrapbook stitching guide template [pkg. of 4] that I bought at a scrapbooking convention by Bazzill Basics @2007) and a foam mouse pad. Then I connect the dots with gel pens or fine line markers.
The Dollar Tree and Big Lot stores carries craft embellishments now, like stickers, rub-ons, wire sentiments, scrapbook paper, rubber stamps, decorative scissors, foam tape in the bathroom aisle, etc. I also have found decorative playing cards die-cut into shapes. However, I don't buy their double -face tape as it ain't worth the money you pay for it, unless it's a major name brand like Scotch. I buy my double-face tape at Walmart in the stationery dept and put it into a pink weighted tape dispenser I purchased there too.
I think forward to postage costs for my cards when adding embellishments. While I love many of those cards with 3-D embellishments, I just can't bring myself to spending more than the cost of one first class stamp to send a card that may get thrown away, so I try to keep my cards as flat and light as I can. To layer, use copyweight paper or a ruler and marker to add a "layer" on the edges of your cardstock.
Used postage stamps are great for embellishing cards too. Tear around them to remove them from the envie, then soak the stamps in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes to slip them from the envie paper. Gently peel them and dry face down on a paper towel. They will flatten out when stored in a altoid tin with other stamps.
I called a paper printing company a teacher girlfriend told me about in the city and I made a little visit to his establishment and came away with 10 boxes of leftover copy weight paper and cardstock. He sometimes buys paper in odd lots for small jobs and rather than filling the landfill, he would give paper away free to teachers (I was a homeschooler then and am still a Sunday School teacher). I shared paper with other teacher friends and donated to my church's resource room and still have four large Rubbermaid 30 qt. lidded plastic boxes full of paper (keeps it dust free).
I purchased two more of these Rubbermaid flat-topped stackable boxes to keep my paper scraps filed by color in gallon-sized plastic zip bags. I make all sorts of small embellishments like punchies (kept in transparent used pill bottles), punched lace strips or in a plastic shoebox thefrugalcraftyrushdlady: Diecut & Sticker Storage
until I have the smallest scraps and they color my handmade paper thefrugalcraftyrushdlady: Handmade Paper from Used Christmas Wrap
My husband collects maps. He has found many in old National Geographic magazines at a local teacher's resource room at a children's museum and in thrift shops. Also, in our state, you can get a free map if you order a tourist guide from the state tourist department or visit a tourist information office close to a major highway. I've ordered city maps from Chambers of Commerce, too.
My in-laws save their colored paper tissue boxes for me. Since we're so tight, we use toilet paper for our sniffles.I made a faux coat-of-arms card and scrapbook out of one of the tissue boxes for my husband's Father-Day gift. See my blog for pictures. thefrugalcraftyrushdlady: New & Old
I use text paper from old paper back books as backgrounds -- the ones that are so beat up that pages are falling out of (easier to remove). I also use security envies as background paper and for iris-folded cards. I cut the ends off and open flat to store.
When you buy a fragile item at Hobby Lobby, they wrap your item in really pretty tissue papers. I've saved many of these square sheets of tissue paper and ironed the wrinkles out of it with my ribbon iron. thefrugalcraftyrushdlady: Ribbon Iron & Ironing Board
I make wrapping paper from brown grocery sacks or freezer paper and stamp on it. A friend showed me a tip about ironing pretty tissue paper on the glossy side of freezer paper and cutting it out to make lined envies.
I've used pretty paper napkins on cards too. Painted cardstock with liquid white glue, then attached one layer of the paper napkin to the glue and brayered it to firmly attach it to the cs and remove bubbles.
I've purchased rolls of wallpaper from thrift stores to use on cards. I like to save my scrapbook paper for my scrapbooks as it's acid-free.
I buy little pink make-up bags and zippered pencil bags from the thrift store to hold my supplies. I even found a pink and black scrapbook bag at the thrift shop once for $1.99. One with all the pockets around the outside. I love it!
I keep all my discount coupons in a little pocket notebook in my purse. When I visit the store, I have them right at hand and any I don't want, I share with other ladies at the store. I'm passing forward a kindness I once had from a lady who shared with me.
Use sequins for bling. Or punch your own out of old CD's, aluminum cans, silver papers, etc.
I have a tutorial on my blog for my own glue dots. Click here. thefrugalcraftyrushdlady: Recipe: Homemade Glue Dots
I used to be a moderator on another forum. One of our rules was that we would have to go back into people's posts and shorten their quotes down to the pertinent part. Made for easier reading for the members. Thot to mention that to those of you who like to quote other's long posts when you are posting your thots in addition to theirs. You can highlight and delete all the miscellaneous parts of their quoted post on your posting page to focus on what you want to comment to.
I haven't seen a posting about enlarging or decreasing the size of your saved boxes. My husband found a chewing gum box that he thought would make the perfect holder for business cards if only it were larger. I drew around the outside of the box to outline it, across the cut parts, labeled the scored fold lines with my fine-line black marker, then enlarged it on our photocopy machine to make a template and printed it until a business card fit across the back side of the photocopied template. I made a percentage size note on the copy that fit the business card and made an extra copy for the template. I save stuff like this in document sleeves in a 3 ring binder notebooks, along with the cardstock template.
You can reconstitute pasty acrylic paint by adding a capful of water to your bottle and shake or stir with a disposible picnic knife. My mother was a ceramic teacher for years and I learned this little tip from her.
I've used the Huggies plastic baby wipe "clutch" for diaper bags to hold my baby wipes when crafting at a friend's house. It's shallow enough that it probably would hold the scrubbing paint pads from the hardware/paint stores too.
Someone once told me that cornstarch (corn flour) or talcum powder will mar glossy paper if you use it in anti-static bags. They suggested using fuller's earth, however, I have never been able to find that product. Talcum powder is great to dust your cards with when a bit of glue dot or tape sticks out & makes your card sticky.
Goo-B-Gone works great to get labels off of bottles and sticky stuff on scissors. My husband works for a computer warehouse and he uses a heat gun to get the mailing labels off of cardboard boxes so they can reuse them.
I hit up thrift stores, garage sales, salvage stores, the library and the clearance aisles at craft stores for crafting VHS/DVD videos. Found some great ones on the cheap!
What unusual items have you used to stamp with? I had a friend that used to use shoe/slipper soles. I used a toy tractor once on a "John Deere" card that was published in Just Cards!
I was in an ATC club and we had a embellishment swap once. See my blog for rules. thefrugalcraftyrushdlady: Craft Bits Swap
And before I go, if you get a card published in one of Scott Publication magazines, www.scottpublications.com
, you get an advance copy. If you send in a tip to the Inklings column of the Scrap & Stamp Arts magazine, they send you $10.00. I still enjoy getting those checks!