CHEAP crafting hobbies? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 04-17-2003, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Is there such a thing??????

I am a craft addict, but DH is getting kind of fed up with it.

It seems like every project I attempt is another $20, then it doesn't turn out like I wanted, or it just sits there???

Or, I love it, but don't really have anything to use it for, kwim?

Any creative ideas on what my hobby should be???
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#2 of 12 Old 04-17-2003, 11:16 AM
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Here are a few ideas:

Do wood carving or wood working with wood found in your back yard. The tools are not terribly expensive and you can start with just a knife. I'm looking into this now.

Make wreaths with grape or other vines found in the woods, a little wire, and seasonal flowers, pine cones, etc. (my neighbor does this and we have some beautiful wreaths to show for it!).

Dry wild flowers (use a press or just a big book). You can use these to make cards, frames, and other pretty gift objects.

Some crafts save you money over buying storebought. Make your own curtains, for example, out of sale fabric. You can even hang them on found branches rather than spending money on poles.

Save old clothes and make braided rugs.

Some crafts take an initial investment but then are inexpensive in the future. I just spent about $25 on pysanky (ukrainian eggs) equipment and books, but all I will need to buy in the future are the dyes and beeswax, which will not cost much.

Felt thrift store sweaters and be creative with the resulting fabric (make bags, hats, diaper covers, etc.).
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#3 of 12 Old 04-17-2003, 11:40 AM
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Quilting is the cheapest hobby, IMHO.

I find a lot of my fabric at garage and estate sales, from my grandmother's cupboards, and in my own basement. I scrap quilt, mostly, so I use small bits of fabric to make big things. I'm a bit of a hack and don't use the fanciest, best methods, but hey, neither did the american slaves or amish, both famous for their gorgeous quilts.

I love making something out of nothing, and have become somewhat known for it in my family. I made dd's diapers out of scraps, all free or wildly cheap at garage sales. For me, crafting is mostly about reusing and living lightly on the earth, as well as saving money and having something wonderful that I made. It feels even better if it didn't cost anything!
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#4 of 12 Old 04-17-2003, 12:31 PM
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For me, the trick is finding something that I will really use. Melt and pour soapmaking is not too expensive, and you can always use it or give it for gifts. (and if you don't like it- just re-melt it!) Sewing is great, if you can use what you sew (I'm making cloth pads and table napkins right now) What about making toys for the kids?
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#5 of 12 Old 04-17-2003, 11:33 PM
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My absolute cheapest craft (and I do plenty LOL!) is tatting. It is a form of lace making and is nearly a lost art. You can make gorgeous trims etc for just the cost of some crochet thread and a tatting shuttle. And you can pick up a shuttle for $3!
do a search on tatting and you will find lots. If there is a local lace makers guild, someone there will be more than thrilled to teach you!
I am currently tatting a table runner for a wedding present for my brother. Final cost will be $4! and I will have tons of thread left.

I think the other suggestions are great too. I am saving up scraps now to make a braided rug.
I also make my own lotion bars and cold-process soap.
Cooking is also a great "craft" in many ways. I love serving up a dinner where nothing came out of a package. Or looking in my pantry to see a whole lot of home canned sauces, fruits and veggies!
Paper making is also lots of fun and doesn't cost a lot, especially for the quality of product you get.
Oh, I am getting a crafting urge!
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#6 of 12 Old 04-18-2003, 12:51 AM
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I make soap from scratch and it is very cheap. I started out with basic white soap made from just vegetable shortening,water and lye. Now I do a little more fancy stuff by remilling (sometimes called french milling) the soap and adding stuff to it but it is still really inexpensive, useful and makes great gifts.

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#7 of 12 Old 04-18-2003, 12:57 AM
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rasjane, I'd love to see pics!

I adore handmade lace and it is SO Much better then machine made JUNK!!!

as for cheap crafts? I have to MAKE myself use the materials in my home...instead of buying new fabric, I patch together all the old fabrics etc. (and there are tons) I can use the old fabrics to make cloth books, dolls etc.
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#8 of 12 Old 04-18-2003, 12:18 PM
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I think once you get really addicted to a craft they are all expensive.

Soaping was cheap for me at first then I started getting fancy with it and thats when it starts to get pricey...

But just using simple oils like canola, shortening, olive, and coconut you can keep your cost down. But the fancy oils and scents are pretty seductive once you are addicted..:LOL

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#9 of 12 Old 04-28-2003, 05:34 AM
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I use the thrift store/garage sales/recycle platform (at the dump) to find materials for almost all of my fabric crafting hobbies. Look for 100% wool sweaters and either unravel them and re-use the yarn for knitting/crochet or felt the sweater in the hot water cycle of the washing machine and use the resulting fabric for patchwork, dolls or stuffed animals, or things like hats and mittens. I also look for lightly used flannel items for quilts. I've been collecting cotton velvet for patchwork throw pillows.

My current obsession is wool hooked rugs. I bought a hooking tool (kind of like a crochet hook with a wooden handle) for $2 at Micheal's, burlap on sale for $1/yard at the fabric store (for the backing) and wool fabric (from skirts, shirts, blazers, and pants) at thrift stores for about $1/item. I cut the fabric into 1/4" strips and pull it through the burlap to make short, dense loops. It takes a while for me to complete a project, but I love the way they feel under bare feet and the design possibilities are endless.
Check out for more info. Of course, like the previous poster noted, rug hooking, like any other craft, can get expensive very quickly if you buy new wool, dyes, fancy hooking frames, etc.
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#10 of 12 Old 04-28-2003, 03:34 PM
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(WOW! somebody else that tats! I loving tatting, but it can be very time consuming, but I love it!)

I was going to mention soap making. I just went and bought some soap on sale, a couple of molds and a book (optional) and my dd and I had a blast. My dd LOVES using it and loves that she helped to make it. But that could end up just sitting around after awhile too I guess : ???
It's just something I have done and enjoyed. I think I agree with abimommy about anything getting spendy if you like it and get into it.
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#11 of 12 Old 04-28-2003, 06:32 PM
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Quilting is great. Not only do you have a useful finished product but everything can be made from left over, recycled fabric. Half the fun is goig to rummage sales etc. . . looking for the rights scraps (which saves a ton over buying new which can get very expensive) Or just diogging around your house. There is a small expense for needles and thread and saftey pins (oooo) and batting. But everything else is makeable (don't get sucked into premade binding. That stuff is expensive.)

Doing stuff with dried and pressed flowers is cheap if you grow/collect your own (built in bonus hobby).

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#12 of 12 Old 04-29-2003, 05:30 AM
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Quilting can be really cheap. I made dh a quilt for xmas out of recycled cotton check shirts. I went to our local op shop & got the equivalent of $20US worth of checked shirts in funky colours.

You can overdye fabrics to give them a new lease of life & change the colours too which can be very cheap to do if you use something like a procion dye where you can only mix as much as you need to use. Tie dyeing recycled clothing is a cheap craft. You can also cut up your tie dyed clothing to make patchwork. With overdyeing & tie dyeing, you can get real interesting effects depending on what your base fabric was. Once it gets cut up into patches, it then can get even more interesting.

Often you can find really grotesque clothes in op shops for next to nothing that are made out of exquisite fabrics that work out way cheaper than buying it new by the yard. You can get lace & ribbons for projects off old clothes too.

I've found getting my hands on pure wool sweaters to unravel & felt second hand quite difficult. But I do have a local sheep farm near me that sells uncarded fleeces & natural coloured wool at very reasonable prices. So I buy these & dye them. You can then felt the fleece, or spin it & knit / crochet things. I just made a massive 200g ball of rainbow coloured wool using 200g of natural cream wool ( $4.25US ) & a mixture of acid dyes.

Natural dyeing is another cheap option. Well I think it could be. I've not got 100% into it yet but it looks cheap as all the materials are free. Just not so sure how colour fast it all is.... but I s'pose if you were making something like wall hangings that didn't need to get washed often or get exposed to too much UV light you could be OK. Altho', that said, a friend of mine actually has a very cool hand spun, hand knitted & hand dyed from local native plants sweater that is really beautiful. Very muted & subtle natural colours.

I've got this awesome book called something like Young Crafts which I got years ago in a book sale at my local library which has all sorts of cheap craft ideas in. Stuff like making copper bowls out of recycled sheets of copper. Making drop spindles. Making simple looms & how to use them etc. So check out your local library for more ideas.

I got a really good book out of the library the other day on making containers & baskets out of recycled materials. But I guess just a regular book on the techniques could be adapted to whatever materials you can find to hand.

Flax weaving. Not sure if New Zealand flax ( Phormium Tenax ) grows where you are but you can do some awesome weaving & basket making with it. You've probably got lots of natural materials you can make baskets & mats out of growing locally. Again your local library probably has books.

On the subject of rug hooking, I saw an article in one of our mags here about this woman in England somewhere ( I think ) who makes textiles out of recycled things. It had a sample project which was a purse out of strips of plastic carrier bags. Collect interesting colour plastic bags, cut them into thin strips & then hook them thru some canvas fabric like you would make a wool rug. There are a few crochet patterns on the net for bags & hats & sandals made from recycled carrier bags you can find with google.

Collect objects off the beach, if you live near one, like shells & sea glass & drift wood & interesting bits of sea weed & pebbles. We've got a beach at the bottom of our road that used to be a very popular picnic spot in the 1910s. It has bulk bits of old broken china on it that you can find if you look hard enuf. You can use the things you find to make all sorts like jewellery, mosaics, mobiles, wall hangings, ornaments, pavers for the garden etc.

I think hypertufa could be a cheap hobby too for garden sculptures & pots. I've not done any myself due to there only being 24 hrs in one day but have seen recipes for it & it looks quite interesting & cheap. Well it's gone on my list of to be investigated things later on
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