Supply envy – We’ve all been there! Personally, I LOVE to watch crafty YouTube gals (and guys!) who introduce me to new products and processes. And, of course, I immediately think I have to have #allthethings. Crafting products, especially gorgeous scrapbooking papers, stickers, ephemera, printables, etc. are so tempting to purchase because individually they don’t seem to cost that much. $5 here and $8 there is the same as purchasing a cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich, right? But, as any crafter will tell you, it adds up quickly. Just ask my husband, who years ago insisted that we add a “craft” line into our budget so that I could see exactly how much I was spending. It was eye-opening!
I don’t want to discourage you from buying all the “pretty things”, but I will let you in on this little secret….
The Dollar Tree is amazing!
The Dollar Store has changed my perspective (and my budget!) on crafting. The fun is in the process, not in the expensive products! So, my daughter and I took a field trip to our local dollar store so that I could reveal to you the 5 crafty things you SHOULD be buying from Dollar Tree!
1. Holiday Themed Supplies
I love holiday crafting supplies! When I was little, my mom used to decorate for every holiday. From Christmas to St. Patrick’s Day, Easter to Flag Day, we had decor for every holiday. While I don’t redecorate for each and every holiday, I do enjoy incorporating themed pieces into my Bible journaling and my memory keeping. But seriously, who needs $20 worth of St. Patrick’s Day crafting supplies? And as much as I dream of so many uses for the red, white, and pink Valentine’s Day supplies, usually by February 15th, I am a bit over it. There is no need to spend massive amounts on holiday themes. My daughter and I found everything from stickers and foam pieces to colored tulle and fun themed gift bags. Many of the things we found just need to be cut-up to instantly create fun ephemera and paper pieces.
2. Cutting Boards & Mats
This might seem a bit random, but it is by far one of my most useful and versatile Dollar Tree purchases. Most dollar stores sell some version of a thin cutting board, often in packs of 2 or 3. These are PERFECT for Bible journaling and art journaling. Cut to the perfect size, these cutting mats make the perfect journaling mat for behind a Bible page. They are sturdy enough to hold up to stamping and large enough to protect other pages. Plus, if you only spent 33 cents, you don’t feel quite as guilty when it starts to look a bit worn and rough with extra paint, ink, and texture paste on it. Art journalers go through wax paper (which you can also buy at the Dollar Tree) like its their job. These mats are reusable and provide more sturdiness than wax paper.
Also, if you have a Cricut machine or Silhouette Cameo, these thin mats are great for creating your own stencils. As mentioned, they are thick enough to be sturdy, but not so thick that a good cutting machine wouldn’t be able to cut through them. I’ve seen so many crafters that have designed their own stencils, and this is a super affordable way to experiment with that.
3. Ephemera Pieces
This is a more recent discovery for me, but I suspect true art journalers have known this forever…you don’t have to buy prepackaged ephemera. There is ephemera all around you. Any image that inspires you, sparks joy (thanks Marie Kondo!), and gets your creative juices flowing can be used as ephemera. Recently, I’ve taken to visiting my local Dollar Tree and scouring the card section for cards that give me that spark. Dollar Tree cards are 2 for $1, and I can often get multiple Bible pages and traveler’s notebook layouts with a single card. What?!? That is a great deal, and the other fun part is that not everyone out there is using the same exact pieces. They tend to be unique, quirky, and fun. Love it!
I’ve noticed a lot of paper-crafters choosing to stamp on other media besides just white cardstock paper. Tissue paper, vintage book pages, and other fun materials (fabric anyone?) can add some extra detail to any project. The Dollar Tree is my go-to for finding colored tissue paper. They often change it out from season to season, but always carry the standard colors. Check out THIS POST to see how I ended up using this tissue paper! And, have you ever looked at the book selection at the Dollar Tree? While they may not inspire you to jump right in and read, their pages can be used as a great background layering piece or stamped ephemera. You can even add a vintage twist with the old lemon juice in the oven trick!
4. Mixed Media Tools
We all love the mixed media look. And there are a lot of companies out there selling some amazing tools that can help you achieve your desired mixed media effect. But, what if you are just wanting to experiment? It makes zero sense to buy fancy tools, when there are great substitutes!
As previously mentioned, cheap cutting mats make a great base for a homemade stencil. In the same kitchen tools area, this tiny cutting board also caught our eye. My daughter thought it looked perfectly sized for her dolls, while I felt like it looked like the perfect place for mixing paint and coloring texture paste and matte gel medium. I don’t have a classic palette and the nice ones are rather expensive at the craft store. The cutting board gives me a dedicated area to just get messy, and I love it!
The beauty supply aisle in Dollar Tree also carries a variety of tools that work great in mixed media. While the make-up brushes don’t hold up as well as professional artist brushes, they certainly give you a chance to experiment without a big investment. Additionally, make-up sponges, wipes, and Q-tips are great tools for adding texture and blending backgrounds.
Speaking of texture, there are an infinite number of resources in the Dollar Tree that you can pick up and use to add texture to your projects. You can find tulle, brillo pads, bubble wrap, ribbons, and wash cloths that when used with heavy-body paint create interesting textures for backgrounds.
5. Organization Supplies
Half the fun of crafting for me is organizing all the supplies. I might be alone in this, but I am guessing I’m not. That is why when you type “Craft Room Organization” into YouTube, you will come across a never ending list of people sharing their craft organization tips. Organizing the supplies makes it easier to craft when there is limited time in our schedules.
So many companies offer perfectly tailored products that will whip your crafty space into shape in no time. Unfortunately, many of these fixes are very expensive and, for a hobbyist, not the most practical investment. The dollar store is FULL of organization tools that can be used to really step up your crafty game. Besides the classic plastic bin section, I urge you to dive in and think outside the box when it comes to selecting organizational pieces.
Personally, I love the variety of glassware that the Dollar Tree carries. For me, the more I can see my supplies, the more likely I am to use them. I store the majority of my regular use supplies out in the open, using their vibrant colors as the palette for my craft room. Small vases work great for holding pens and markers, while mason jars are great for hanging on a pegboard. Cheap curtain rods can be installed as washi tape holders, and fun lunch trays can be used to organize and display your favorite paper piece collections. The possibilities really are endless with organization, and they also give you a chance to flex that creative muscle!
I do still love shopping for gorgeous craft supplies online and in larger retail craft stores. But, I also relish the opportunity to show my daughter that not all the things we use need to be expensive. Crafting is for everyone, and you should never feel limited by your budget. If crafting brings you happiness and joy, go and do it! Not all dollar stores are the same, but they certainly provide a wide variety of products that let you dive into Bible journaling, memory keeping, and art journaling in an affordable way.
Let me know what your favorite Dollar Tree finds are in the comments below!
Keep it creative,
-The Scrappy Wife