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No Shame! Why I Don't Mind Using Cheap Arts and Craft Supplies

I have a confession. I am cheap. I love a good bargain and hate to splurge on expensive, full price items. 

$20 for a pack of cardstock? Nope. 

$6 for one roll of washi tape. Uh uh. 

Yarn for over $10 a skein? Yikes.  

My husband suggested I try Copic markers and I balked at the $8-10 price per marker. You get the idea.

Of course, much of this stems from the fact that, frankly, I’m not rich. I get by and I’m blessed to have what I have, but I watch what I spend. I have bills to pay like everyone else.

I know that with using the cheap stuff, there will be compromises and that you get what you pay for much of the time. I absolutely admire and covet high end items. I’ll invest in quality when it’s warranted and it’s within my budget. Sometimes I'm lucky to receive them as gifts. But I also do OK with a pack of kids' markers, 50 cent craft paint, and my $3 bargain journal.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may be compensated if you click or buy. It does not affect how much you pay, but it is one way to support this blog!

I’m sure I’m not the only one who crafts on a limited budget. I’d say probably most of us do. But we don’t have to be ashamed of being cheap. I would even go farther and say that in some ways, it’s better!

How, you ask?

  • Get more for your money—an obvious advantage. Yes, I'm talking more about quantity than quality in this case, but who doesn't like to dive into a drawing session with a box full of colored pencils in front of them? Or one of those mega art kits you see in every craft store—I loved using those as a kid. And still do, now that my kids get them!

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  • You're not afraid to use up supplies. For me, I find that when I have something expensive, I hoard it. I’m afraid to mess up a project and throw money down the drain in the process. If I’m working with cheaper supplies, nothing is overly precious. I don’t stop and think, should I waste this on this project? I just use it! It’s very freeing. 
  • Having limited means also makes you more resourceful. You’re more apt to find ways to reuse and recycle and make the most of what you have. It’s a whole other way to think creatively. I love to reuse items that might otherwise be thrown away. Maybe you've seen the play dresses I made out plastic tablecloths in THIS POST.
  • Sometimes the fact that art is made with an ordinary medium becomes part of its appeal. I've seen super impressive drawings done with an ordinary ballpoint pen. I love to see how someone can transform a thrift shop find into something modern and fashionable. You can even create fun calligraphy with Crayola markers. (It's even a thing now, and there's a name for it—"Crayoligraphy.") I've tried it myself, as seen in the image at the top of the post. It just goes to show that art quality is really defined by the artist, not the medium, am I right? 

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There's no need to think your creations are less than any other because of what you used to make it. So if you can't afford the "good stuff" that's OK! You can still make great arts and crafts and have fun doing it, which is the whole point. Make the most of what you've got and be creative!

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