Use What You Have: How Your Craft Stash Can Supercharge Your Creativity - You look at your craft drawers and sigh, "What a mess!" or walk into your gorgeous craft room and sigh contentedly. Whatever the case, what you might not realize is you are looking at the source to some serious creativity! This is the second in a series about using what you have

Use What You Have: How Your Craft Stash Can Supercharge Your Creativity

This is the second in a series of posts about using what you have. If you’d like to read the first post on why you don’t need the craft store even if you’re a creative person, click here.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been asked several times where I get my inspiration for the craft projects that I post here on Little Girl Designs. At first, my answer was that I found ideas where everyone else finds inspiration: magazines, Pinterest, and wandering through Anthropologie. But then I caught myself pulling out items from my craft drawer one morning and realized that silly storage area is where I find the most inspiration for my projects.

I found a little package of wooden peg dolls recently that I had bought years ago on a whim to make a whole set. I did make a few and then forgot about them. But then one day, I rediscovered them, and one of those dolls along with some leftover fabric scraps formed the Princess Peg Doll that I made for the blog. Scraps of watercolor paper have been made into bookmarks. Pieces of wrapping paper have been cut into strips and used for decoupage and collage. Toilet paper rolls have found new life as woodland creatures, binoculars, and tiny boats for stuffed animals.

All of that said, some of you might not be too convinced. Or maybe you’re convinced but you don’t quite see how using scraps of fabric and leftover buttons can supercharge creativity. Isn’t that stretching it a bit? I don’t think it is.

Use What You Have:
How Your Craft Stash Can Supercharge Creativity

You get to be brave. It’s time to go out on your own and explore new creative territory. For a long time, you’ve followed the pattern, read the instructions three times to make sure you’re on track, and filled in the lines perfectly. And that’s great. But now it’s time to be brave and try something new. Those fabric scraps are just crying out to be made into bunting or cut into little shapes to glue on cards. What else can you think of to use up your stash?

Chances are, you’ll find an activity you really like. I grew up doing cross stitch patterns and didn’t like all of that counting. It wasn’t until years later when I was trying to think of something to make for my first niece that I thought that maybe I could stitch something onto a onesie. I had a whole bag of embroidery floss left over so I pulled out some cute colors and proceeded to backstitch an entire design onto a plain onesie. Because I used such a simple stitch, it felt like drawing to me. I couldn’t believe I had never done that before!

You get to be the boss. Patterns are great, but like I said in being brave above, now’s the time for you to make or break the rules. It’s kind of like this: when I try a new recipe, I follow the rules (usually to a “T”!) but when I make it the second time, I add a little extra spice, or substitute a vegetable. Usually by the time I’ve made it a few times, the recipe is completely different. It’s the same for your craft projects. Learn the craft first and then experiment with what you have on hand. You might be delighted with the results!

You’ll become more aware of creative opportunities. This one makes me so happy. When I keep myself in the box of “I can only make projects that I have every supply for” I don’t get very far but when I look at my craft drawers and all of the supplies I already have on hand in my house . . . wow, there are a lot of projects that can be made! So many of our grandmothers and even mothers were masters at re-purposing. They were not deterred when they didn’t have the exact thing they needed. Instead, they kept their eyes open to what might make a great substitute.

You’ll save money. Now who doesn’t like saving money? I thought I’d just throw that one in because it’s true. The less you buy craft supplies the more you save. Your creative muscles will be stretched because you’re thinking through ideas of how you could make things work and your bank account won’t have a slow leak in it. 😉

I hope some of these ideas resonated with you. As always it is a joy to be able to share with you each week, whether it is with this fun series or through a new crafting idea.

Hope you all have a wonderful {and creative} day!

P.S. The final post in this series shares five ways you can use to get started in using what you have. Hope you enjoy it!



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10 responses to “Use What You Have: How Your Craft Stash Can Supercharge Your Creativity”

  1. Maggie Avatar

    I found your blog a few days ago, and I absolutely love everything I see! I’ve been crafting for years, and collected tons of supplies that I, sadly, don’t use very often. I love all your ideas for using what you have on hand already. Thank you!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Thanks so much for your kind comment, Maggie! You just made my day! 🙂 🙂

  2. Crystal Avatar

    I think it is also more satisfying when you create something out for found objects. It makes me think of chopped! Like I am the craft master for the day! Maybe it is just me 🙂 I am glad I saw this linked up at Thrifty Thursday.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Love it! I so agree with you–I feel like high-fiving someone when I’ve used up old supplies in new, creative ways. So glad you stopped by today! 🙂

  3. Vicki and Jennifer 2 Bees in a Pod Avatar

    Jennie – you are absolutely correct! We’ve been stumped plenty of times as to what we wanted to create. Just by rummaging through a container of supplies sparks our energy and we get an idea and run with it! Thanks os much for sharing with us at Something To Talk About Link Party!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one! I love coming up with new projects (or remembering the projects I was going to make with something I bought on sale–haha) 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  4. Sue Anne Dunlevie Avatar

    Hi, Jennie,

    I’m looking forward to your Thursday posts!

    What pens do you recommend for coloring books? I color every evening to relax and have used a variety of roller ball, ink gel, etc. pens. My favs are Ink Joy pens right now. But I’m always open to using new ones!


    1. Jennie Avatar

      Hi Sue, I have to admit I tend to color books with colored pencils rather than pens (my Staedtler watercolor pencils are my favorite!) For drawing illustrations such as the one in this post, I used a black Sakura gelly roll pen and if I am going to watercolor the illustration I use micron pens because they never bleed. I love Ink Joy pens too–that’s one of my favorite go-to pens. I need to try coloring with pens–you’ve inspired me. 🙂

  5. Diane Avatar

    I can definitely relate to “Using what you have” when creating crafts. It’s always amazing to see what creative people can do with what they have on hand or find for very little
    Thanks so much for linking up at #Purebloglove link party! The party starts every Thursday night at 8 p.m. est! It runs through the week end. I’m hosting at Can’t wait to see what you bring next Thursday. We love your ideas!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Thanks so much for your comment, Diane. I’m glad you were able to relate to this post. 🙂 It was one of those things where I wasn’t sure if I was the only one–so glad to know I’m not! And thanks for inviting me to your link party! I’ll make a note to be there. Have a great day!

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