Use What You Have: 5 Ideas to Get You Started - Maybe you like the idea of using your craft stash for new projects but feel overwhelmed. Or maybe you don't even have a craft stash. In this third and final post in the series, I'll share five simple tips that will help you on your journey to using what you have

Use What You Have: 5 Ideas to Get You Started

This post is the third in a series on using the supplies you already have at home as a crafter. You can read the first post about how you don’t need a craft store to be creative and the second on how using what you already have can super-charge your creativity here.

So after reading the first two posts in the Use What You Have series, you might still be wondering HOW you’re supposed to be “using what you have”. You have the craft stash. Or you have the craft room. Or you have some things that might be able to be transformed, but you’re stuck. So, let me help you! 🙂

Use What You Have: 5 Ideas To Get You Started

1. Make an assessment. Look through the materials you already have in your craft room or supply area. Sometimes organizing your supplies will surprise you as to how much and what you actually own. I rediscovered a whole book of awesome iron-on transfers recently and decided I needed to make an owl t-shirt for my daughter as soon as possible. I still can’t believe I had forgotten about that book! It made me go through the rest of that drawer and wow, I found some treasures that I will be using in future posts. 🙂

2. Take a tour of your house. Really. Walk around your house or apartment and keep your eyes open for things that can be re-purposed. A stack of old t-shirts can be cut up to make t-shirt “yarn” which you can use to knit a myriad of projects. Toilet paper tubes can be made into art and toys for kids. And cardboard boxes make cute dollhouses. For tutorials on how to make these projects, see the next idea.

3. Research upcycled craft projects online. There are many sites that only use common household items for crafts. And honestly Pinterest is another great source. I had never seen so many upcycled crafts in my life before Pinterest came along. It looks like this is not a new thing. 🙂

4. Consider the project you want to make. What could you substitute? If this is your very first time making this project, then yes, you probably should stick to the instructions. But if you’ve made it before and are just missing an ingredient, then look around for an alternative. For example, I was working on a cute little decoupaged bird the other day and realized my Modge Podge was looking really wrong. (Guess I hadn’t used it in a while!) Instead of going out and buying a new bottle, I used plain white glue that had been thinned a little with water and it worked perfectly. Even dried with a nice matte finish.

5. Trade your craft stash items. Ask your crafting friends if they want to do a stash swap. That jar of buttons that you have could be traded for some fat quarters of fabric. If you don’t have anything to trade, you might just ask your crafting friends if they have fabric remnants or any supplies that they’d like to offload. Who knows, they might just take you up on it!

This has been such a fun series to write this month as it has been something that is a part of my life for so long. I hope you’ve been inspired and encouraged to “think outside the craft store” every once in a while and that your creativity has taken some new leaps and bounds! One of my goals here at Little Girl Designs is to provide encouragement to you as a creative person as well as craft tutorials that are not only easy on the budget, but that in many cases can be created with items you already have on hand.

Happy crafting, friends!

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25 responses to “Use What You Have: 5 Ideas to Get You Started”

  1. Sharon Rowe Avatar

    I wish I was just a little bit creative! I love these ideas, I know there are items I can use but I never get started because I always think they will end up a disaster! Visiting from How To Get Organized At Home via Do Tell Tuesday

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Hi Sharon,
      Thanks so much for your comment. I suggest starting with something small that is sure to be a success like using leftover scrapbook paper to cut into a gift tag for someone. I’ve found that when I have smaller victories in my creative world, I’m more apt to try things that are more of a ‘risk’ and that might not turn out. I also have to tell the perfectionist part of me to stop so I can have fun (rather than making everything a task that has to be just right)! Thanks so much for stopping by!
      p.s. Are you a fellow EBA member? I visited your site and seem to remember seeing your posts on the EBA Pinterest board. 🙂

  2. Vicki and Jennifer 2 Bees in a Pod Avatar

    Jennie – we really love this series. It has made us mindful of all of the supplies we already have! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Something To Talk About Link Party!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the series. 🙂 It was a lot of fun to write and I’m glad you were able to relate. 🙂 🙂 Thanks for your kind comment–have a great day!

  3. Pamela J Smith Avatar

    Thanks for the ideas! I have been a little short on cash lately, and have been trying to be resourcful with what I have too. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Hi Pamela,
      I’m so glad they helped. I went over to your site and your upcycled door project is so resourceful! After seeing that, I felt like you should have written this post because you’re so creative. 🙂 Thanks so much for your sweet comment–keep making beautiful things! 🙂

  4. Rebecca Mclellan Avatar

    What good ideas !!! I bet I could stock a craft store if I gathered all the “stuff” together from all parts (far and wide) of the house. Thanks for sharing. Visited from Little By Little Link Up.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      This made me smile–I have a mini craft store too with a very eclectic stock. 🙂 p.s. the ice cream cake recipe on your blog looks amazing!

  5. crystal Avatar

    i have quite a stash, but t seems i always end up needing to buy just one thing for a project i have in mind. of course, i rarely ever follow through on actually doing the project! #thisishowweroll link up

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Oh, I hear you! I just came across some velcro circles that I bought for a project but can’t remember what the project was…guess I’ll make up a new one. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  6. Kim Cunningham Avatar

    I have so much I could use up!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Me too! :)…I mean, :/

  7. Katie Marie Avatar

    I’m not too crafty, but I seem to have a lot of craft supplies! 🙂 Perhaps I need to start using them up or give them to someone who will.

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Hi! Thanks so much for your comment. I went through some of my craft supplies last year and made craft kits for my nieces and nephew for Christmas. They LOVED them. (I also added a few extra new supplies. :)) You never know–your extra supplies might be a complete treasure for someone else. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  8. Erlene Avatar

    Love your tips on how to get started on using what you have. I think it definitely helps to gather everything together in one place. I’m always surprised how much stuff I have too!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Thanks, Erlene! I know, when I set out to organize my craft space (it is a work in progress), it was like going shopping. 🙂 (i.e. “I didn’t know I had this!”)
      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  9. Debi Avatar

    What wonderful ideas to use items you already have…. And I have a ton of stuff. I try to keep it organized but you know how it is …. seems like I am always in need of a bit of rearranging. Thanks again for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      I completely understand! It feels like my craft drawers can always use a little bit more love in terms of organization. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Laura Avatar

    These are all really great ideas! I definitely need to be better about using the supplies I have instead of always rushing to the craft store to get new stuff. I also need to do a major purge of supplies I think! Thanks for linking up to The Creative Exchange!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Thanks so much for your comment, Laura! Your site is so bursting with creativity, I would love to see what projects you could create with what you already own. I’m sure they would be wonderful! p.s. Thanks for all the Instagram pics you took at the SNAP conference–it was so fun to follow along and be inspired! 🙂

  11. Sandra Avatar

    These tips are very useful. My “hoarders bin” gets to be a bit overwhelming sometimes and it’s time for me to take stock of what I have before hitting the stores again!

    1. Jennie Avatar

      I hear you! The worst is when I go and buy something only to find I already had two of the same thing at home. Guilty as charged. :/ But the fun thing is if you do go through and organize your bin a bit, it may end up feeling like Christmas! 🙂 Have a great day, Sandra!

  12. Vickie @Vickie's Kitchen and Garden Avatar

    I love the thoughts of a craft swap. Crafting can be costly. Great tips! Thanks for linking up at the #HomeMattersParty

    1. Jennie Avatar

      Thanks for your comment, Vickie. People have clothing swaps and toy swaps for kids, why not assemble your craft supplies together and ‘shop’ each other’s stuff? And/or assemble everything into gift packages to give to people. That would be fun too! 🙂 Have a great day!

  13. Samantha @ Stir the Wonder Avatar

    Thanks for the tips! Thanks for linking up at the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop! We hope you stop by again next week!

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