Scrappin' My World!

Saving $$$ to Buy More Stuff! Yeah!

Here is where I will post anything I hear, find (internet and beyond), or discover myself on the various ways anyone can save big bucks on their scrapbooking supplies if they so desire. 

I am and have always been a shopper and impulse buyer at the same time.  I plan my trips, the coupons I will use and for what item, and comparison shop the internet before I buy something.  BUT…if I am in a store and I see something that was not on “the list” per se, if I have saved on other items due to my planning and plotting, I will indulge myself in an impulse splurge. 

This list of “ways to save” or be “frugal” or however you want to phrase it, is a collection.  I am not claiming ownership to any or all of the ideas, unless otherwise stated.  

If you don’t care where it came from, but just want to know how to save on one thing so you can get something else, this is the place.  So, get your pens, pencils, crayons, makers, simple hit print or bookmark this page to keep these save in front of you. 

  • Cereal Boxes – If you have a die-cut machine capable of cutting chipboard, such as the Cricut Expression, don’t buy chipboard at the craft store. Instead, use cereal boxes. Once you adhere colorful paper to the cereal box die cuts, no one will ever guess it came from your pantry! You can also use inexpensive cookie cutters as patterns for your cereal box chipboard shapes.
  • Wallpaper Remnants – Many wallpaper remnants are as beautiful as the pricey papers in the scrapbooking stores. Make regular stops at your local paint and wall covering stores, get to know the staff, and ask them to call you when they have discontinued sample books that they are discarding. Unfortunately, there is a good chance that these samples are not acid-free. Although they may not be suitable for your scrapbook pages, they are the perfect touch for handmade cards and other paper crafting projects.
  • Gift Wrap – Think of all the beautiful gift wrap that ends up in the landfill. Instead of throwing it away, recycle it. At birthday parties and other special occasions, check with the guest of honor to find out if he or she has any plans to use the gift wrap after unwrapping presents. If they plan to throw it away, you should be able to collect a good assortment of gift wrap paper that can be used for your frugal paper crafting projects.
  • Fabric and Ribbon Scraps – If sewing is another one of your hobbies, you already know that fabric and ribbon scraps are the perfect complement to your paper crafting projects. Many of these fabric and ribbon scraps are too small for sewing, yet are the perfect size for accenting handmade cards and more. Ask your friends and family members that sew to keep a Ziploc handy to collect their scraps. These bits and pieces of ribbon and fabric are perfect for your scrapbook and paper crafting projects!
  • Office Supplies – Many of the products in the scrapbooking aisle are simply embellished office supplies. Office supplies, however, are much cheaper, and can be jazzed up with very little effort. For example, instead of buying the colorful brads at the scrapbooking store pick up a box of paper fasteners. Paint them with inexpensive acrylic paints to coordinate with your layouts.
  • Jars: Save spaghetti sauce jars, and use them for ribbons and buttons. You can use an old glass canister set for ribbons too.(Audinoki)
  • More Jars: Use old jars as holders for buttons, Prima paper flowers, ribbons or other scrap supplies.(Sherri)
  • Priority Mail Boxes: Collected some used Priority Mailing boxes and made my own vertical paper holders.(Tammy)
  • DIY Hanging Organizer: Make my own version of a Clip-It-Up (here are directions from another person) that used a few recycled items mixed in with things that needed to be purchase.(Tammy)
  • Shadow Boxes: Take two old shadow boxes/knick knack shelf units and use all the little openings to hold the numerous little items for scrap booking such as ribbon rolls, stamps, stamp pads, little containers of eyelets, sequins, buttons, and beads. (ThinkOdd)
  • Flat Ware Trays: Use a divided silverware type basket to hold your felt tip markers and ink pens. Used scissors can be stored in old coffee mugs. (ThinkOdd)
  • Cigar Boxes: Use cigar boxes to store items like paint sample chips and tiles. (ThinkOdd)
  • Parmesan Cheese Containers: I use old parmesan cheese containers for ribbon/fiber storage. (ThinkOdd)
  • Tiny Bags: Use the little bitty ziplock bags that extra buttons come in on new clothes to store my Ink Blending Tool foam pads (I have one per color family). They’re the perfect size and don’t add bulk in storage, but keep the foams separated so the inks don’t mix. (Ann Marie)
  • Garage Storage: You can use the little storage bin thing that hold screws and nuts and bolts. It works way better for the small things. (oneProud Momma)
  • Candy Jars: Use old glass candy jars for flowers, ribbons, sequins, etc. Use an old binder with inserts for my stickers so that they are easy to see. (Sherie – LuckySLL)
  • Juice Bottles: Use old 4 oz. juice bottles (which are clear and look like miniature water bottles) drill a hole in the cap and put an eye bolt thru so you can hang them on pegboard. (connieroberson)
  • Bread Bag Tags: You can use bread tags to make small tags or embellishments. (SASHAFRAS)
  • Playing Cards: Use a card from an incomplete deck. (SASHAFRAS)
  • Puzzle Pieces: Use puzzle pieces from a puzzle that is missing pieces. (SASHAFRAS)
  • Cardboard: Use corrugated cardboard from a box on a layout under stickers. It’s thicker than regular chipboard. (Sherri)
  • Logo Tags: You can use tags from boots with wolverine pictured on them, motorcycle clothing tags (they usually have the Harley logo), and team clothing tags since all them have their logo on them and are great to use on layouts about those teams.
  • Old Jewelry: Many scrapbookers mentioned that they use single earrings, old costume jewelry, and other found items such as hair ribbons on their layouts.
  • Lace: You can take lace curtain ties and cut out individual designs in the lace to use on pages. (ThinkOdd)
  • Buttons: Take all buttons, like the replacement ones for clothing, and mix them into your scrapping stash. (Ann Marie)
  • Plastic Sheets: Use the backing sheets that clear stamps come on to make a mat for my photo on a layout. (Ann Marie)
  • Coffee Holders: Use the different Starbucks coffee cup holders to create a title. (Ann Marie)
  • Plastic Bracelets: Cut those rubber “Livestrong” bracelets to make a border on a colorblocked layout. (Ann Marie)
  • Printed Fabric: Cut a fabric flower from a favorite shirt that is falling apart and is going to have to be thrown away. (Ann Marie)
  • Gift Ribbon: When people give us gifts from some stores like Baby Gap, Victoria’s Secret, etc they always have nice fabric ribbons on them and I keep those to use on layouts. (monirose)
  • Chipboard: Keep the cardboard that comes in with packs of patterned paper and use it to make your own chipboard shapes and letters. (monirose)
  • Hang Tags: Save hang tags from new clothing and even the teeny safety pins that attach the tags to the clothes! Decorate the hang tags, or use as-is if the design fits your needs. Another great find is the metal ball chains that also attach hang tags to clothing. (Karenladd)
  • Plastic Packaging: The heavy plastic packaging can be used to stamp on and make windows for cards or slide mounts. (Karenladd)
  • More Gift Finds: Ribbon off of old clothing, or gift packages are a favorite. You can really hit the jackpot sometimes when you see a package decorated with cool wrapping paper, ribbon AND a silk flower! Re-used a lot of gorgeous wrapping papers on cards and to make your own embellishments. (Karenladd)
  • Yarn: Unraveled an old sweater and discover that knitted yarn is wonderfully crinkled and used on a photo mat! (Karenladd)
  • Fabric: Fabric, cut into strips can be used to bind journals or mini albums by punching holes in the cover and pages and threading the strips through. Fabric can also be a great way to embellish a layout, using part of an old piece of clothing or keepsake that you are journaling about. (Karenladd)
  • Plastic Mesh: Plastic mesh bags that fruit and vegetables come in are a good thing to save. Cut a piece out of an orange bag and use it to add texture to a paper project. (Karenladd)
  • Basket Filler: Used old Easter grass to “fill” Easter basket shapes on a spring layout. (Karenladd)
  • Calendars: Old calendars often have photos and designs that make great embellishments, especially if you add Crystal Effects to turn them into epoxy-like stickers. (Karenladd)
  • Aluminum Foil: Used foil can be an interesting addition to a design. You can smooth it out, and etch designs into it. or stamp on it with StazOn ink. (Karenladd)
  • Twist Ties: Twist ties can attach buttons, charms, tags, or anything else to a page.(Karenladd)
  • Cub Scout Cards: In Cub Scouts, boys are given their merits on a little card. The card has the Cub Scout emblem, some decorations, and more information. Save all of these to include on the pages. (Brandy)
  • Greeting Cards: Use the fronts of old Christmas cards, and not just for Christmas pages. Take some of the borders and use for frames or cut out small parts for use on a page.(Mary)
  • Soda Cans: Use soda cans, cut, cleaned and flattened. Use them to make faux tags, charms, frames, letters ect. Then you can paint them, punch them, interlock them etc. I used some that I cut out of a reindeer and used it on some of my Christmas cards.(mfstdh)
  • Maps: Maps and brochures from travel have wonderful information on them or may make a good page background.(oneProud Momma)
  • Jeans Pockets: Pages can be decorated with pockets from a pair of jeans or any other part you wanted to use.(oneProud Momma)
  • More with Plastic Mesh: Keep the net bags of onion and garlic to make shirred flowers with an old button as center. (Grandscraperonna)
  • Metal Lids: Save a couple of the metal lids from frozen juice containers and use the round metal pieces from the ends of canned biscuits or frozen juice containers. They make cute metal circle frames for whatever.(connieroberson)
  • Cereal Boxes: Use cereal boxes for chipboard. When the cereal is gone cut it into strips and put it thru a die cut machine to make chipboard letters or shapes. When you want thicker chipboard, use 2 pieces glued together. You can spray with the Make it Acid Free spray and do not have to worry about it. (connieroberson)
  • Soda Can Tabs: Soda can pop tabs can be used as ribbon buckles or slides. You can use them as is or heat it with your heat gun and dunk it in embossing powder to smooth it all out. Another thing you can do is color the tab with permanent markers and then do the Ultra Thick Embossing Powder on top so you can make it any color you need.(Ann Marie)
  • Screening: Screen material can be used for embellishments. It cuts with scissors or a die cut machine and local hardware stores give scrap pieces because they will just throw them away.(connieroberson)
  • Bubble Wrap: You can use bubble wrap brushed with acrylic paint as a stamp to press on to cardstock and make your own patterned paper. (Ann Marie)
  • Paper Tubes: You can use empty paper towel or toilet paper tubes dipped in paint to make circles on a layout. (monirose)
  • More Cardboard Ideas: Save cardboard that comes in calendars, new shirts, etc. You can use it for lots of things. Put it down on your table when inking with cosmetic sponges so you don’t make a mess. Put it under paper when you iron paper for batik designs. Use it behind paper when punching holes with a needle. (TheresaGram)
  • DIY Wavy Ruler: You can make your own border design rulers by tracing a wave, or a scallop on a long piece of cardboard and cutting. (Karenladd)
  • DIY Rubber Stamps: Make your own stamps by recycling the rubber that you cut off of Stampin Up stamp sheets when trimming my stamps. By piecing together various shapes of stamps, you can design a whole set of textured designs, a palm tree (complete with coconuts), an American flag, or a set of flowers. (Karenladd)
  • Cups and Plates: Of course, cups and plates are perfect to use for tracing when you need a circle. (Karenladd)
  • Sticks: Popsicle sticks or old disposable chopsticks are super for stirring paint or glue. If the chopstick has a flat end, then you can dip it in ink or paint and make dots. (Karenladd)
  • Paper Clips: Large paperclips, with one side straightened out, are fine to poke holes in paper for hand-stitching or to insert a mini brad. (Karenladd)
  • Old Toothbrush: And old toothbrushes work great when you want a speckled ink pattern on paper. Get the toothbrush wet, rub on your ink pad, and then start flicking the ink from the brush with your fingers! Instant speckling! (Karenladd)
  • Plastic Lids: Use old plastic lids as paint palettes or to pour glue on when you need to brush it on a project. (Karenladd)
  • More Plastic Mesh: Use netting and other items to use as a stencil for glimmer mist. (Kriddle49)
  • Paper Bags: Paper lunch bags can be used for paper bag albums. (Ann Marie)
  • Mint Tins: Save little mint tins for mini books. (Ann Marie)
  • Cardboard Again: Save the cardboard packaging (like inserts) from paper packs and page refills to chop up and use for spacers in albums since not all refill packs come with them. The cardboard may not be acid free but I figure it’s on the outside of the pages so it’s not such a big deal. (NiteFalcon)
  • Even More Cardboard Ideas: When you run out of foam tape, how about cutting teeny squares of cardboard to use as pop dots?! (Karenladd)
  • Patterned Paper: Use up old patterned papers that you no longer like, by making envelopes out of them. Make the envelope so the pattern is inside the envelope. (Karenladd)
  • Folders: Old manila folders are great for making mini folders, tags, library pockets etc. And envelope corners can be cut off to make photo corners. (Karenladd)
  • Found objects can be incorporated into a scrapbook layout as embellishments. Items such as feathers, coins, keys, fine chains, tiny ornaments, pebbles, seashells can be attractive and free additions to your pages.  If your scrapbooks are archival, you will need to take steps to protect your photos from some of these found objects. You can do this easily by making shaker boxes, or by using cold laminate. Clear shelf paper makes excellent laminate. You can usually find it a Dollar Store.
  • If you are not concerned about using acid free papers, make a habit of checking the junk mail that arrives daily. Many of these advertisements are printed on quality paper and contain beautiful images that can be cut and used in your layouts.
  • Similarly, greeting cards that people send you can often be utilized as embellishments. Cut out special images of words to use, or clip off ribbons and any sort of decor that might work as an embellishment.
  • Getting ready to throw out some old clothing? Before you do, remove buttons, lace, ribbons, decals or any other part that might work for a scrapbook layout. Throwing out old denim? Scraps of fabric can work very nicely in a layout.  Think about a patch pocket of denim that can contain a piece of memorabilia, or think about using a denim fabric frame to display a photo of your little cowboy or cowgirl.
  • Hardware stores are a bonanza of potential embellishments. Check out small washers, screwnuts and other small metal items. Picture them incorporated in a layout— either as is, or colored with paint, paper, dye, and made shiny with Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel. Depending on the size and shape you can even add words and lettering to your hardware gadgets.
  • Consider hardware stores when shopping for scrapbook tools such as wire cutters, sandpaper and craft knives. The price may well be a better deal than the more costly counterparts sold at craft stores.
  • Flea markets and yard sales can be a goldmine of gadgets, embellishments and even storage containers. Check for buttons (cut the shank off with wire cutters), jewelry (remove hardware, use as embellishments), beads, lace, yarn and fabric, and for containers that you might use to organize your supplies. You might even find scrapbooking supplies on sale.
  • Small lengths of yarn and fabric, as sold in craft stores, is costly. Why not go together with a friend or two and buy a whole skein or ball of yarn? Share the price, share the fabric. Everybody gets more for their money than they would get by buying the small items. Similarly, purchase rick rack, tapes and ribbons by the roll and share the savings.
  • Make beautiful embellishments by drying or pressing your own flowers and leaves. You can do this in the microwave, especially easy if you have a Microfleur flower press, but possible without out. The cheapest way of all, of course, is to place your flowers and plant material between two pieces of wax paper, then place the waxed paper between the pages of a large book. Close the book, weigh it down with something heavy, and leave for several weeks. You will have perfect dried flowers ready to arrange.  To protect your photographs, be sure to cold laminate your flowers before adding them to an album. You can do this with clear adhesive shelf liner.
  • Image transfers are an attractive, elegant and economical way to embellish your layouts. They’re surprisingly simply to do once you know the technique.  Find an image in a magazine or elsewhere that you want to transfer. Make a color photocopy on a laser photocopier (as found at Staples and other similar stores). Adhere wide, clear packing tape over the image. Rub the tape briskly with the back of a spoon. Rub until the spoon is hot. Place the tape in water and soak for ten minutes or longer. Remove from water and gently scrape off the excess paper. The image is now transferred to your tape, which you can use in your layouts.
  • If you have your photos printed, instead of making a costly copy, ask for them in digital format, or bring them home and scan them into the computer. Edit using photo editing software, crop before printing to save paper and ink, and then print out on glossy photo paper. You save the original, and it’s more economical than buying copies.
  • When gifts come into your home, save the ribbon, gift wrapping and any fancy elements on tags or greeting cards. You can use all of these items as embellishments or special backgrounds.
  • Scrapbooking usually results in scraps of leftover papers and card stocks. Save everything bigger than two inches. You can make serendipity squares; you can make punched shapes, or use it to make your own greeting cards.
  • If you do a lot of stamping, place waxed paper under your projects as you stamp. In time, the waxed paper will become filled with an array of colors. When it is well colored, crumble it into a ball and squeeze. Next, flatten it out, iron it, and you will have a lovely paper suitable for a background in a card or other layout.
  • Cut shapes from foil pans
  • Check garage sales and thrift stores for beads, buttons, ribbons, embroidery floss, etc
  • Dollar Store for many items – containers, glue sticks, etc – also check the cards; many are made with handmade paper or have a pretty embellishment on the front that you can use
  • Office supply stores (Office Depot, Staples, etc) for cardstock, metal rimmed tags, glue sticks, etc.
  • Glue pen by Elmer’s – comes in 3 pack for $6
  • Yarn aisle at Wal-mart – can get different kinds cheap
  • Use make-up sponges for chalking
  • Jewelry findings make great embellishments – check Wal-mart
  • Check out the art supply section at Michael’s and others – cheap chalk, different kinds of paper, charcoal pencils, etc
  • Buy clear, full sheet label paper at office supply store to print your own stickers, titles, etc. (check acid/lignin status)
  • Garage sales are a good place for boxes of fabric and yarn
  • Be sure to check the clearance sections at Wal-mart, Michael’s, etc
  • The hardware store (Lowes, Home Depot) has spray adhesive for $3/can
  • Shred the edges of fabric to give it the look of mulberry paper
  • Instead of pounding a hole for eyelets, cut a small slit with exacto knife; slide in the eyelet, then pound down the edges
  • Buy the flat wooden templates/ornaments for cheap ($.10-$.30) and use for embellishments
  • Check the floral section for wire. Comes in basic colors like copper, green, gold, etc and several gauges. Really cheap too.
  • Use cookie cutters as patterns/templates
  • Wal-mart has cardstock in basic colors cheap
  • Memory Mount glue found at Hobby Lobby is good to use and good bargain at $4/bottle – lasts a long time
  • Buy a pair of barber scissors from hair supply store (Sally’s) to use instead of microtip scissors
  • Check the tags on clothing, both the ones sewn into the clothing and the hang tags that come with the clothing – can be used in scrapbooking
  • Wal-mart has lots of stuff – bags of charms and alphabet beads in the jewelry aisle; flat-sided glass stones in the floral aisle; all different sizes of storage boxes in the fishing tackle aisle; lots of different metal findings like clips, rings, etc also in the fishing tackle aisle; foam letters (200/bag) in craft aisle
  • Plastic canvas yarn comes in lots of colors and is cheap – can be used for tags, etc.
  • Buy the fake Barbie doll clothes and accessories at the dollar store and use them like you would Jolee’s
  • Check the jewelry in the dollar store – you can find bracelets with charms that you can remove and necklaces with cool beads that can be unstrung and used on wire of fiber for tags
  • Check thrift stores for old games that have pieces you can use in scrapbooking (i.e., Scrabble, Monopoly)
  • Hang your supplies from a pegboard
  • If you need a glass mat, get a cheap picture frame from the dollar store and use the glass from it
  • Party supply stores often have great deals – check their clearance bins
  • Look for Word Titles 80 pc set and Lower Case Letter Tiles 88 pc learning set by Learning Playground at Kmart, Wal-mart etc. Use to make titles, etc
  • Buy thumb tacks in primary colors, gold and silver. Clip off the tack end with wire cutters and you have some new embellishments. 
  • Fabric can be used to add visual texture to scrapbook pages. You can buy ¼ yard to use on your pages
  • Craft stores have cork on a roll that is cheaper than at your LSS
  • 35mm film canisters are great to store eyelets, buttons, brads, etc. Cut a small slit in the top, put one of the items through the slit so you know what is in each canister
  • There are lots of cool bookmarks out that would make great embellishments and tags
  • Home Depot/Lowes sells the ball chain (like used on ink pens in banks) for a few dollars for 12 feet and 6 connectors for $.99. They work great for hanging tags
  • Tiny ribbon with flowers attached can be bought by the yard at fabric stores
  • For background paper with words, use a search engine to find a translator (such as English to French), then find the words you want. Copy or type into Word, use different fonts and sizes and colors, then print.
  • You can do the same with definitions. Find a dictionary on the internet, look up the definition of the word, then copy into WORD. Again use different size fonts, styles, colors to make a great background paper.
  • Print off words and stick them to hand-made metal tags (made from foil pans) with sticky tabs
  • Buy a roll of floral wire for $.99. Use it to practice making words, etc in wire
  • Postcards can double for pictures of photos you missed
  • Use baseball card holder sheets to sort fibers, stickers and other small embellishments
  • Put all your alphabet stickers in an accordion file
  • Target has cute paperclips, shipping tags, etc
  • Pier One has cute paperclips and other items
  • Use the inside of light bulb boxes. It is corrugated and can be easily colored with ink pads (take care for acid/lignin content)
  • Use baby wipes to clean stamps
  • Make your own wax seals
  • Check the button aisle for clock face buttons, 3/$1.50 at JoAnne’s
  • A good medium brown ink pad and bottle of medium brown acrylic paint can do anything that walnut ink can do
  • Twill tape can be purchased at fabric stores. You can write or print on it
  • Copy friends’ stencils by tracing the design on a cheap filing folder and cutting it out!
  • Use cookie cutters for templates or die cut shapes!
  • Trim your Sticker Costs. If you have a color printer and some time, you can totally wipe out the need for store-bought stickers. Making your own stickers is easy and allows for maximum flexibility in your layouts. All you’ll need is some sticker paper (bought from an Office Supply store) and a little creativity. You can clear or matte sticker paper for different looks. Clip art and pictures are easy to find online, and you can even custom print your own titles in different fonts, sizes and colors. No more running out of the letter “S” on a sticker page or halting your layout to find the perfect cow sticker!
  • Consider Investing in a Scanner. A scanner can truly be a good friend to your layouts and design. You can scan in old wrapping paper, fabrics or art from books to make your own custom background papers. You can even scan in 3 dimensional items like flowers or seeds. Scanning in portions of text from magazines or books can give you fun titles or quotes for your pages. You can also use your scanner to save money on photo printing costs. If you have been buying double prints (one for your scrapbooks and one for safekeeping), you can scan in your photos before you crop them for safekeeping. Old music scores, favorite childhood books, greeting cards, postcards and clothing can all become part of your preserved memories. Just make sure to print out your scans on acid-free paper. Basic scanners start out around $150, so the investment is minimal compared to the versatility and flexibility that this handy tool adds to your scrapbooking.
  • Chipboard shapes are all the rage. Sometimes I will use the chipboard shape as a template instead of using the actual chipboard. I will trace around the chipboard and cut my shape out of cardstock. If I decide I want more dimension I will add a popdot to the back. That way I can use the shape over and over again.

Oatmeal Canisters – Turn empty oatmeal canisters into craft containers – just cover them with scrapbook paper and make cute labels.  If you were feeling extra “crafty” you could cut a section out of the canister and palce a plastic window in it to see what is inside without having to take the lid off.

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Comments on: "Saving $$$ to Buy More Stuff! Yeah!" (1)

  1. Miss G said:

    Foil Paper Box- Used to store the small rolls of ribbon.

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