Art Supplies on a Budget

Living on tight budget, sometimes, makes a person very creative at finding ways to find and/or purchase art supplies.
I am a full-time Textile Mixed Media Artist, living on a tight budget but Living ABUNDANTLY is a practice I embrace everyday. Most of the time, I make do with what I already have. When I do need something, I shop at thrift stores (I am lucky to have 3 FABULOUS ones within 40 minutes of us) quarterly and look for deals online for anything I can not get at those thrift stores.
The rage right now, is stencils. I use old page protectors, project covers or acrylic pieces (that come in packaging) and make my own. I found all kinds of items to use as stencils at the thrift stores - including some of the vintage plastic doilies. I was lucky enough to have a friend do an art box swap with me a couple years ago and I have all the sequin waste I could use, just by trading. I, also, am grateful for some online friends who has sent one or two stencils in the RAKs (Random Acts of Kindness) they have sent.
Another hot item these days is vintage seam bindings, and again I get all mine from the local thrift stores. Same with vintage rick rack. I grab all the white or cream everytime - as I can dye it any colour I want.
I use stamps for my art journaling, cards and artwork, and I also do surface design on fabrics. I used to sell Stampin' Up! so have quite a few stamps from that time period, I do occasionally buy some online, but mostly, I carve my own. When I go to the thrift stores, I take my time and look at everything from shoe bottoms to kids toys for stamping textures, even bought a brand new bike tire for 25 cents that has some great texture.
I do soy wax batiking, and even though the soy wax doesn't have to be as hot as beeswax, I still try to use metal tools for my stamps. Again, I stalk the thrift stores for old potato/vegetable mashers - I have 6 different ones. I, also, check out the men's tools sections and any other section that may have something with an interesting pattern that is metal.
I use buttons, charms and beads in my artwork - most of them have come from thrift stores or awesome finds online. I check clothing for beadwork, sometimes in some of the drawers or piles of crafting stuff at thrift stores. there will packages or even pill bottles full. I take the time and search all those piles! Zippers, the local thrift stores have ones still in packages for cheap.
Tissue papers are hot also. There are always piles at the thrift stores, sometimes funky patterns on them. Wrapping papers are also plentiful.
I have my family & friends, save their fabric softener sheets for me after they have gotten their use out of them. My family, also, saves their magazines, security envelopes with interesting patterns, corrugated cardboard from gifts or cookies, buttons, etc. I made a list by looking at my art, & writing every supply I use on a list, and then, made a list of everyday things that family & friends might be tossing out, so its like getting FREE art supplies! Anything else on the list, I saved for when I do go to the thrift stores.
If I need something, I check the thrift stores first, then the dollar stores second and then regular stores or online. The only supplies I pay regular prices for (unless they happen to be on sale) is canvases, paints and threads. It becomes a habit to shop this way!
Back to School sales are when I stock up on Bic pens, glue sticks, composition books and anything else that I can think of, that I will be using in the next year.

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