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Five Ways to Save Money on Scrapbook Supplies

vintagefabricflowers.JPGWant to have more scrapbook supplies, but a trip to your local scrapbooking store (3rd time this week) would not go over well with your better half? Ok, the bottom line is, we all need more scrapbook supplies but we don’t all have bottomless pocketbooks. Here are five ways that you could save money on your scrapbooking habit and still have beautiful layouts.

1. Use stuff you already have around the house. We are NOT talking about gluing macaroni and glitter to craft paper here, but there are a lot of things that you have kicking around the house that could be easily turned into embellishments. The key is to look at items around your house with ‘new eyes.’ Here are a few that we came up with:

Brown paper lunch bags have been used for making paper bag albums in the past, but try finding new ways of using them such as part of your background paper, making paper flowers, and other embellishments. Try crumpling the paper or intentionally tearing the edges, or add some paint or machine stitching to it.

Old clothing like that suede shirt that you keep thinking might come back into style (it won’t.) Maybe an old felt purse liner? Crafters are commonly using old wool sweaters to create felted flowers. Here’s a felting tutorial you can try yourself. This would make a unique embellishment for a layout. Or, take some pretty fabric from an old skirt or pillowcase and using Gel Medium, attach it to a piece of chipboard. This creates a really unique surface with which you can cut out for embellishments or use to matte a photo. Or, sew little flower embellishments from the fabric instead (see example above.) You can even put a bit of batting in the center to make it more dimensional.

textflowers.JPGOld books, cookbooks and magazines – magazines are great inspiration for page layout designs. Or, cut out pretty things to use in a collage-type page. Old books are great sources for text. Cut out some inspirational words that can be used in those love/life/inspirational layouts. You can also take larger portions of text and wrap chipboard with it. Photo above shows a homemade ‘chipboard’ flower shape covered with text from a vintage book. Outlining the design with a marker, twill tape and an eyelet top it off. Or, try using the text or a drawing from an old book with an image transfer technique such as packing tape transfer. Liz Eaton has a photo transfercardboardboxheartshapes.JPG online class available here at The Anywhere Studio.

Stuck for chipboard? Why not cut up a cardboard box into the shapes you would like. See photo at right showing small heart shapes cut from a box lid.

Those cans of house paint off in the corner, you know, down in the basement.

And of course, old photo albums, old love letters, pictures of you as a kid, your grandma’s journal, etc. Anything written and old can at least be a source of inspiration. Recipes handwritten by your grandmother, old receipts or bits of old ledgers can be scanned and used as journaling cards. Old ledger below can be clicked on to enlarge and print. Make a copy of any valuables if you are worried about ruining them.

2. Garage sales, Church Bazaars, White Elephant Sales. We all know about garage sales and the treasures you can find, but did you ever go through one with scrapbook supplies in mind? Along the lines of using stuff you already have around the house, you can find many uses for things that other people have laying around their houses. Things like vintage fabrics, old record album covers, old costume oldledger.jpgjewelry, silk flowers, ribbons, tags, old books and magazines and some of the stuff in that weird box in the corner that is labeled ‘junk drawer contents.’ As a plus, garage sales are just plain fun. Keep an eye out for things that you can easily alter like old wooden boxes or doll furniture.

3. The Hardware Store. “Why, yes honey, I would like to go to the hardware store with you.” Ha, you might ruin his Saturday morning with the boys at the hardware store but you could also come home with some great supplies that could be hidden in your budget under the label of House Repairs. Things like grommets, brass pins/tacks/nails, little hinges and locks, paint, brushes, plaster for textured surfaces, various glues, copper wire – lots of good stuff! See what you can experiment with.

feltgarlanddollarstore.JPG4. Dollar Store (gasp!). Many of us have spent plenty of hours (and money) in our local dollar stores scrapbook/craft isles. They might not have a huge supply of wildly unique stuff, but they do have the basics plus you may be surprised at what else turns up. The foundation supplies of glue, pens, papers and little packages of embellishments are all there and because it is the dollar store, you know the price is right. This is a great place to stock up if you are showing your kids how to scrap or even to just do a quick layout of your last trip to the zoo. You may even luck out and find something really great like these felt flower garlands we found at a local dollar store (see left.) You might not enter MM Idol or HOF with a layout made from dollar store supplies, but they can provide your everyday, bread and butter supplies.

5. Old Hobby Supplies. Remember when you were going to have ‘The Summer of Watercolors?’ Ceramics, flower arranging? Or maybe you were going to be the next great clothing designer and live in Milan, you know what I mean… All those dusty old hobby supplies are full of ideas, inspiration and embellishments. (And let’s face it, you were never going to touch that stuff again anyway.) Painting backgrounds and textures are really taking off right now, and those tubes of acrylics from your tole painting days would be just the thing to create a unique background. Try mixing wet plaster from your plaster casting supplies with paint for a great textured surface. polymerclaypendants.jpgPolymer clay can be used to make great embellishments like custom-made buttons, or even little pendants. Use a small pop bottle lid to cut out mini disks. (Poke a hole through at the top if you plan on hanging them.) Bake in oven according to clay package directions. Once baked you can use your embossing heat tool and UTEE to attach on mini photos, bits of text or other designs with a really great effect. See sample at right.

One final note about acid free. If you are concerned about using any of the above materials in your scrapbooks, you can spray them first with an acid neutralizer. If your photos are already backed up digitally then don’t worry about it and just play!

Ok, that’s it – lets hear your ideas. What is your favorite ‘scrapbook supplies for nothing’ story? Any suggestions to add to this list?


  1. Posted 7 years ago | Permalink

    We just returned from a trip to Disney so I’m currently using: ticket stubs, brochures/maps accumulated, the cardboard display holders snatched from the hotel room, imprinted napkins…. you name it!

  2. Heather
    Posted 7 years ago | Permalink

    These are really great ideas! I’m so glad to know that I’m not the only one whose husband keeps saying that I’ve got to stay out of Hobby Lobby and JoAnn’s.

  3. Posted 7 years ago | Permalink

    Hi Angie,
    thanks for the visit. I also run a google group (as well as the forum on my blog) where we talk about ways to save money on scrapbooking. I’ll be sending them all over to check out this article.

  4. Posted 7 years ago | Permalink

    Great ideas Angie! I *LOVE* dollerama :)

  5. Mary Schneider
    Posted 7 years ago | Permalink

    Those small chipboard books have soo caught my attention….but the price….

    So I have tried the heavy toddler books and just resurfaced them with cool papers and stuff. These hadny books have been found at local garage sales and thrift stores for the pricey amounts of 5-25 cents
    Enjoy recycling!!

  6. Posted 5 years, 9 months ago | Permalink

    What fantastic ideas! I blog about how to reduce your scrapbook spending while increasing your creativity, and I must say that you put my posts to shame. I’ll be checking back often!

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  5. Anthony…

    awesome blog keep updating and you will see us comming back and back….

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