High Art 2020: Save Green and Keep It Green with Upcycled Art Supplies
If you’re an artist, crafter or maker of any kind, you may find it hard to get out of art supply and craft stores without spending a bundle on things you didn’t even know you wanted until you got there. Well, what if I told you there were places to get amazing art and craft supplies for pennies on the dollar? Hint: it’s not online, it’s at your local thrift shops!
The idea of upcycling is to use waste, scraps and unwanted materials to create something new and wonderful. It’s a huge style movement right now due in part to the climate crisis and other environmental concerns. As people try to reduce the load on our overflowing landfills and what few domestic recycling plants we have, it only makes sense to use whatever we can, however we can, to make it good again.
When I was broke and in college, I thrifted for a lot of items like clothing, décor and furniture. Despite being a crafter and artist, I never once looked in the craft section! Now that I’ve been scouring second-hand stores looking for supplies for a project that involves upcycled yarn, I’m astounded at what has been under my nose all along!
So, for you fellow artists, crafters and makers, here’s a list of some of the great things I’ve found in the last several weeks. Remember, Goodwill is where World Market art and craft supplies go to die! Check out these awesome finds:
- Stamps. You know those big, fancy and very expensive stamps they sell in art supply stores? There are literally hundreds of them at my local Goodwill. They’re bagged together in all sizes and styles, so it’s a bit of a grab bag. Pick out the stamps you love the most and the rest are just bonuses. A single large stamp at Michael’s can cost as much as $22. Here you can purchase a bag containing multiple stamps for between $2.49-$7.99. Score!
- Yarn. Yarn hangings are all the rage on Etsy right now. Sure, you could go spend $100 on new yarn, or you can enjoy the thrill of the hunt like I am, and purchase grab bags of yarn from the thrift store. Whether it’s for knitting, wall décor or other projects, you’ll find unique colors and materials, often much more expensive than what you might buy. I’ve found bags of natural fiber imported yarn for my projects, all for between $2.49 and $6. These bags also often contain other supplies as well like thread, needles and trims. In one recent purchase, what I thought was a scrap of beaded fabric turned out to be vintage, fully beaded pouch in excellent condition! You literally never know what you might find!
- Paint and canvas. I admit the paint selection usually leaves something to be desired, but it’s worth a look if you’re flexible on colors and paint types. Often, you’ll find larger jars of primary colors but sometimes craft paint and primers too. What you can almost certainly find however are canvasses. Canvas boards are the most common, but you can find new, in package. stretched canvas frames too. Thrift stores are where all the wall art bought from places like Ross, Target, World Market and Pier One end up. If you’re looking for motivational sayings or floral art, this is your place. You’ll never buy new again. You can also primer right over these babies and you’ve got a fresh canvas that’s ready to hang. Expect to spend around $3-$7.
- The expensive stuff. Looking for an easel? A cutting mat? A wooden Adam model? You can find it at the thrift shops. You can uncover wooden tabletop and standing easels, cutting mats and yes even those wood drawing models that every art supply store stocks. Always check your thrift shops for big items like this that are in good/great condition before purchasing new.
- Beads. Looking to make jewelry or add beads to your macramé project? Definitely hit up the thrift stores. Boxes and bags of beads abound, from seed beads to chunky wood. You can find entire plastic organizers stuffed to the brim with beads and beading supplies like string and needles. If you’re considering starting any project that involves beads, you might score great deals on the basics or stumble onto something vintage and special!
- The little stuff. If you don’t mind digging around a little in the craft aisle, you can turn up some interesting and unusual supplies. All shades and styles of glitter are common, as well as ribbon, trim, poms, buttons, stickers (letter and other), lace, patterns, scrapbooking supplies, twine, and all kinds of decorative items. You can also find interesting craft papers. If you’re a multimedia artist, it’s a gold mine.
- Hardware supplies. Check out the hardware aisle for your wooden and metal art and craft supplies. Here you can find wooden letters and numbers, dowels, and shadowboxes, not to mention small tools and accessories, like utility knives, sanders, brass plates, knobs, and all types of bric-a-brac. Need somewhere to display your art? This aisle is filled with small shelves and decorative sconces!
This is just a partial list of some of the tremendous amount of unwanted and perfectly good art and craft supplies out there in secondhand shops where you live. Even if you’re skeptical, I urge you to give it a try and work towards upcycling in your art and other aspects of your life!
Now that you’ve got the line on affordable and abundant art supplies, we want to see what you can do with them! Enjoy some local craft cannabis, meditate on this year’s theme of Magic, then create your best original artwork and submit it for FREE to High Art 2020, beginning Thursday, February 20th. Maybe you’ll be our $25,000 grand prize winner!
Get all the deets here on the High Art page!
PS: here at The Natural Cannabis Company, we like to keep it green as much as we love to smoke the green! That’s why we only work with sustainable small farms that value stewardship of the earth.