Looking for the perfect way to tell your special someone you love them? Sometimes a hand-made gift is the best method of conveying your affections. Brand new craft supplies can be expensive, but garage sales can provide the perfect alternative to paying top dollar for unused supplies. Here are some tips for shopping for craft supplies, as well as some wonderful love craft ideas!
Buy up open packages of supplies if you can. Buyers tend to shy away from package that aren't originally sealed, meaning that those battered pipe cleaners with one missing probably won't sell unless they're marked very low. You may not get exactly the selection you'd like to, but you'll get a huge discount on what's left and chances are you can make it work.
Old paint can be revived with water and a little prodding, so if you can get some ultra-cheap bottles of acrylics or other paint types, don't pass over them just because there's crispy paint flakes around the edges of the top. Again, used craft materials are generally shunned or even tossed, so the host will be lucky to have anyone interested in them.
Paperback books make great craft bases, whether you use the pages for the writing, the cover for a collage, or the entire thing for a love book of your own (see below!). The best part about using a book for your crafts is that you don't have to pick out the more expensive popular books -- you can snag the battered ones at the bottom of the box that are going for 10¢ apiece. Just think of all the silly love collages you can make just by pooling together a bunch of romance novel covers you paid a dime each for!
Buttons and beads can be retrieved from products they're sewn or glued to. If you come acoss some great buttons on an inexpensive coat, or stumble upon some costume jewelry, you can purchase them and salvage the pieces to make up your own crafts. Careful that you don't spend more than you would for a similar product new, though, unless you plan on using the rest of it as well (see below for an idea).
On to the instructables!
To create a love book, take a book of any size and, using some diluted school glue, such as Elmer's, stick large sections of the pages together. Make sure you don't get any on the pages you plan to decorate, as you may find the book sticking closed; let the glue dry with the book propped open (put weights on both front and back covers). Once it's dry, start placing collages on the pages. Use photographs of you and your beloved; cut out newspaper headlines to recall a fun story about your time together; or just journal heartfelt thoughts to them with decorative drawings and stickers in between. Use magazine pictures or a photograph to fashion a beautiful cover. Your love book is done!
To make a custom stuffed animal, start by purchasing a clean, new-looking stuffed animal from a garage sale (you should expect to pay between 25¢ and $3 for this). Gather together a bunch of buttons, beads, and other small decorative pieces from your craft collection, and begin sewing and gluing! One suggestion is to make your animal a collar with sequins spelling out your loved one's name; another idea is to sew buttons across their back in the shape of a heart.
Cloth photo books are great fun to hold and flip through. Start by cutting long rectangular shapes (twice the size you want the pages to be) out of old t-shirts or other fairly thin fabrics, making sure they are all roughly the same size. Next, lay them on top of one another and fold them in half, pinching them together with clothespins. Sew down this spine so the pages will hold together (it's recommended you stitch twice, leaving a little bit of "back" for the book), then start gluing the photos into the pages. Use fabric paints to write little messages to your loved one. Voila!