Sunday, May 24, 2009

Raiders of the Lost Recycle Bin

Occasionally I get comments from someone who observes "Oh, it must be nice to have the money to spend on craft supplies." Guess what, I don't. Now I do save on budget in several ways, I don't have a TV, I'm one of those thermostat guardians (or would be, if it wasn't just me and the ferrets), etc. Craft supplies however, are NOT necessarily a huge investment on every single item involved, if you just take a good look around you. You still need to invest in some basic tools, but the consumable supplies - that's another story!

First, there's the internet. Whatever you are interested in, I can pretty much guarantee there are free patterns, directions, how to tutorials and YouTube videos demonstrating techinques. At the moment, one of the projects I'm still plugging away on is the crazy hair doll head. I've decided to go with a soft body based on a free pattern from Nuno dolls.

After looking over the pattern, I decided I will probably try to make her a little more full-bodied, so will need to trace the pattern, then add a bit around the edges. I tend to prefer traceable patterns when possible anyway, just because I like to have the line on the fabric to go by when I'm assembling. Many magazines and books will suggest buying cardstock or template plastic from a specialty store or craft store. This is another item there's no need to spend money on.

My first quilting teacher showed us the magic of the plastic that comes inside bacon packages for templates. If you happen to not have bacon in the house, check the recycle bin. Odds are there's some form of thin cardboard in there. In this case, said cardboard probably provides a disturbing glimspe into my dining habits, but oh well. You can also use the thin cardboard from priority mailing packages, the piece of cardboard that is frequently in a pack of paper to keep it from bending before purchase, or - well you get the idea. Look around, you probably have most of what you need on hand.

Next idea - I was reading through a magazine that had some really cute pendants that were made from sheet metal that had been stamped, glazed, painted, beaded, embedded in polymer clay, etc. Most makers already have basic paints, assorted beads etc. You can run to your local craft or hobby store, pay for a sheet of aluminum, OR (here goes another distubrbing glimpse into my dietary lifestyle) use the sheet aluminum you already have on hand. Yep. A can and a pair of tin snips and you have enough for several pendants.

So what else do you already have on hand? Take a good look before you toss that item! Plastic yogurt cups, frozen dinner trays? You just replaced a plastic palette and a paint or resin mixing cup (and you don't have to feel guilty if something dries in it and you have to toss it out - there's another one easily available!) Drying dome for clay? Didn't you just replace a light bulb? Yep, same dome. Multi compartment tray for beads and small craft items? Egg carton. Linter for paper making? Check your dryer (and as an added bonus, if you're organized enough to plan your laundry and check your lint trap, you can somewhat color control your lint! Denim lint gives a lovely soft blue-grey tint.)

Grab your fedora and whip and head outside for the great recycle reclamation - you might find ideas you never even knew you had!

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