March 1, 2012

Being Resourceful

Hi everyone! Welcome to my craft blog, Ey to Zee – Easy A-Z Craft Ideas! Feel free to browse on my previous posts and enjoy…

After two months of playing with polymer clay and searching about clay techniques online, my wish list is getting longer and longer. That includes more texture sheets, different molds, cutters, professional tools, metal findings to name a few. You know I’m planning to open an online store as I mentioned in my previous post and I need those in my list so badly.

Unfortunately, I don’t have enough funds to buy all of those in bulk. Thus I need to be resourceful. Anyway, RESOURCEFULNESS goes with creativeness.

So here are the things I used as alternative…

  1. Eye shadow or blush. This is a good alternative of mica powder. I don’t need to buy it since I’m using old eye shadow that I no longer use. I cannot compare it with mica powder since I have not tried it. However, I love the shiny velvety output using the eye shadow. By the way, the price of 1 ounce mica powder is almost $10.
  2. Cutters around the house. There are many circle cutters, in different sizes, you can find around your house. The mostly used circle cutter I have is a plastic candle holder. Another cutter, I found is the heart shape perfume bottle cap.
  3. Texture. There are many ways to achieve texture for your clay creations. I used crumpled foil, tooth brush, back of the glass tile where I condition my clay and a lot more.
  4. Toothpicks are also useful in creating details in my clay creations.

Well, those are just few. I know there are still many things that I can use as alternative of those expensive tools. Do you have any suggestion?

By the way, do you have any idea where to buy cheap metal findings and some clay tools (in case I can’t find alternative)?


Marie Yan

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Angie Nelson - March 1, 2012 Reply

I’m impressed with your creativity, Yannie. A little thinking outside of the box goes a long way.

Eschelle - March 1, 2012 Reply

i love finding alternatives to your supplies, I have to do it all the time with my watercolors. Luckily most of the needed supplies are all things you can find around your house anyways, thankfully.

Easy2Save - March 2, 2012 Reply

You might start checking at thrift stores for some of the things you are wanting. The ones I have been to have a craft section so you could just pop in once in a while to see if they have anything you could use.

    Marie Yan - March 3, 2012 Reply

    I agree with you. One time I went to thrift store and i found cute hangers. I bought it immediately, I know I can use it in the future projects

Starlene - March 2, 2012 Reply

That is a great idea to use eye shadow instead of mica. I didn’t know you could do such a thing. Have you ever seen the huge makeup kits from Walmart or Target? Sometimes you can get an entire kit for 90% off. Thanks for sharing your resourceful ideas with us.

    Marie Yan - March 3, 2012 Reply

    Really 90%! That’s a good deal. I’ll check it next time will go to walmart

Kelley @ Never a Dull Day in Poland - March 2, 2012 Reply

We think a like! I live in Poland so I defiantly have to be creative when it comes to craft supplies because there are no Hobby Lobby’s, Micheals or Wal-Marts over here.

    Marie Yan - March 3, 2012 Reply

    Sometime I feel disappointment when I need something but can’t find in the local store looking for alternative will help though

Deedra - March 2, 2012 Reply

What happened to the days when people made their own things to save money? Not anymore! I don’t sew very often anymore because it’s cheaper to buy…poor little 3rd World children. I’m impressed that you’ve found some alternatives for your craft!

    Marie Yan - March 3, 2012 Reply

    I agree with you. Back home you can purchase cheap products but are of less quality which makes doing your own things impractical.

Katie - March 2, 2012 Reply

Very good ideas. A lot of crafting supplies are so expensive, but I usually just suck it up and buy them instead of coming up with alternatives I may already have around the house.

    Marie Yan - March 3, 2012 Reply

    Shopping at craft store is a bit disappointing because everything seems expensive.

Jollyjilly - March 2, 2012 Reply

I never thought of using eye shadow what a great idea

    Marie Yan - March 3, 2012 Reply

    me as well. until I stumbled in a site about polymer clay. i tried it and it works

Michelle - March 3, 2012 Reply

I have found that when I *need” something the best thing to do is make a list and then wait. Start a fund for the items. You may find that in the time saving money you’ve found something else that will work just as well and then have more money for the big items!

Katie - March 3, 2012 Reply

I’m not too crafty. I would like to be but all of my craft attempts turn into disasters.

Sylver Blaque - March 3, 2012 Reply

Great examples of resourcefulness!

Corinne Rodrigues - March 3, 2012 Reply

I’m not useful with my hands so I can’t help much – but I do like the idea of making do with what’s available rather than buying new stuff. It’s also good for improving your innovative skills!

Julie - March 3, 2012 Reply

Gosh, I don’t do poly clay so I really don’t know what you need. I have a drawer in my desk where I keep anything that I might come up with an idea for. Some items are fabric softener sheets, veg. netting bags, plastic rings from jars. I recently made a stamp from foam and a nail and it worked great.

Eleni - March 3, 2012 Reply

You are so right, craft stores are pretty expensive. It’s a sort of an irony at times, wanting to make something with your own hands and finding out that it would be much cheaper if you bought it ready…

Shelly - March 3, 2012 Reply

Here is a link to where I get my mica for my soaps.
They sell their 1 oz sizes between $3-$4.50. There is one the gold color that is $7.75 for one ounce but the rest are in the less expensive range. I don’t know if you know about them. You might also be able to find some tools there too. Great job finding things you have that will work for you.

Glenda Cates - March 3, 2012 Reply

Nice post although I do not craft so I am not much help. Plus I do not wear make-up so I can not even help you out with inexpensive places to purchase it from.

life just saying - March 3, 2012 Reply

Very resourceful!

Kecia - March 3, 2012 Reply

I have an online friend that makes things with polymer clay, and I would really like to get into something like that too. Thanks for the tips on using household items. I am not very creative when it comes to being resourceful!

Brett - March 3, 2012 Reply

toothpicks are a crafter’s secret weapon! thanks for the tips- i just am beginning to delve into polymer clay and am going to bookmark this page!

Anjanette - March 3, 2012 Reply

I love using things I have on hand – it’s great feeling like I’ve made something from nothing!

A few months ago at a craft fair there were three 10 year old girls selling earings they’d made from polymer clay. They’d just free-hand shaped most of them and they were the cutest things ever – lollipops, fried eggs, rainbows, bows, pac-man and other game symbols. They had come up with probably 100 unique ideas and they were selling them for $1 a set!!! I was shocked that they weren’t asking more, but I bet they walked out of there with more $$ than the rest of us – there were always people handing them cash!

Julie - March 4, 2012 Reply

I would give you tips but I HAVE NO CLUE about these things! I wish you luck on opening a shop though! I love Etsy and ran a couple myself.

Stephanie @ One Sleepy Mom - March 4, 2012 Reply

Some great alternatives! I really don’t know much about pottery tools, but I agree with a few of the above posters. Thrift stores and yard sales are always a great place to find things. And if you live near a Just-A-Buck chain, they have all kinds of crafty items in there that you could use as cheap substitutions for now. Hope that helps! And good luck!

Just Jaime - March 4, 2012 Reply

I’ve played around with polymer clay a bit too. I know you can make your own texture sheets. One way would be to use a glue gun on cardboard to make designs.

I’m in the crafting niche too! Yay! If you have a craft to share we’d love to see it at our link up party:

Johnnie - March 4, 2012 Reply

Doilies are great for adding texture to polymer clay. Check out this polymer clay tile tutorial, and tons more on my
blog. I love your idea of eyeshadow in place of mica powder. Genius!

Printable Decor
Saved By Love Creations

Nikki - March 4, 2012 Reply

For cheap metal findings, I would check the thrift store, yard sales, and maybe even construction sites. Of course, ask at the construction site before you take anything, as I know they recycle a lot of stuff to get money back. But maybe they’d be willing to part with smaller pieces.

Tabitha (a.k.a. Penny) - March 4, 2012 Reply

Have you tried looking at a flea market? Seems like there is always a ton of odds and ends there that you would never expect. 😉

Amanda - March 4, 2012 Reply

Crafting isn’t my thing, so I don’t even know what some of those things are, but it sounds like you’re doing a great job of using your creativity to come up with new ideas! :-)

Britni @ Our Eventual Homestead - March 4, 2012 Reply

I took a few pottery classes in college and found a lot if inspiration in nature. Leaves, rocks, trees, etc. have interesting textures to play around with. :)

Kerry - March 4, 2012 Reply

I love your resourcefulness. When I want to craft the first thing I do is search through what I already have to see if I have something I can use instead of going and purchasing expensive tools. Thanks for the ideas!

Mrs. Accountability - March 4, 2012 Reply

I have never worked with polymer clay but I some friends who do, and come to think of it the social recreation director at my job uses it with our clients. I will have to mention this to her. Thanks for sharing this great frugal tip with us!

Erin @ My Mommy World - March 4, 2012 Reply

Your art is beautiful! I don’t see any reason why you can’t continue the way you are now, using things that you find around your house. When you’ve sold a few things, and have made a bit of money, use that to invest in the tools that you want. I would hate to see you take a loan that you must pay back in the event that your business doesn’t do as well as you like.

cooking lady - March 4, 2012 Reply

The only craft I know is crochet and I learned to do that when I was around 15. Keep saying I’m gonna go back but haven’t so far. But if I had to choose a craft it would be ceramics. I used to love taking classes with my mom before she passed away. Maybe I’ll check into it.

    Marie Yan - March 4, 2012 Reply

    I also love crochet. I’ve crochet a bag before and my teacher loves it. I also want to learn ceramics. :-)

Daily Citron - March 4, 2012 Reply

I love your frugal ideas! I knew there was a reason I was saving those old eyeshadows…
I’ve bookmarked your site because I’m definitely going to come back and explore around.
-Viva recently posted Homemade Pizza Dough

Mary @ The Mommy Job - March 4, 2012 Reply

I love your resourcefullness! And you never know what you could find at the local thirft store 😉

Katy @ Experienced Bad Mom - March 4, 2012 Reply

Not a crafter, but I admire your resourcefulness and wish you the best!I’m sure crafty folks love your tips.

Karren - March 5, 2012 Reply

I love the work you are doing with the clay’s, I tried my hand and was not impressed with my work, and your doing a great job. I still have all the tools and some clay. I too started finding things around the house to use for cutting and shaping, like lipstick lids, crinkle cutters for fries, the bottoms of glasses with designs, even suing coins for tracing for different sizes. So many possibilities. Give you a wink Sunday. I’m enjoying your blog and wont stop, I have come from Blogelinas 100 comment hop, I have added your blog to share and now continue to hop!! Now that we met come follow me…… on my….. GFC….Oh! My Heartsie
@Oh! My Heartsie

Emily - March 5, 2012 Reply

I wrote my post on paints and playdough I made for my kids. Kids craft supplies can be so expensive, so it is fun and frugal to make your own!

Jill - March 5, 2012 Reply

You’ve found some great alternatives – very resourceful! Sorry I’ve never worked with Polymer clay so can’t suggest anything specific – but there is ALWAYS a cheaper alternative if you’re willing to take the time to research and look!

Lisa - March 5, 2012 Reply

My friend and I crack each other up with the “redneck” type things we do to “keep a project going”. Once when we were ready to paint we didn’t have a paint stick. She grabbed a yardstick – broke it over her knee and we were back in business!

Jeanette - March 5, 2012 Reply

Resourcefullness certainly does go a long way! Cheaper, and gives you great new ideas!

Krystle - March 5, 2012 Reply

Great tips for craft saving! When I start doing a craft I will remember some of your tips!!

Shannon Schulte - March 5, 2012 Reply

I’m not very crafty, but I do like using toothpicks to write messages on a banana. Have you ever tried it before? They show up about 3 days later and can be quite funny.

Laurie - March 5, 2012 Reply

I am not really a crafty person, so seeing these blogs that you ladies ahve put together is really awesome. Thanks for sharing your talent. Have a great day!!

Wendy - March 5, 2012 Reply

You are so creative! I’ve always wanted to try crafting with clay, but it seems so hard.

Around My Family Table

Suzy Myers - March 5, 2012 Reply

I’m a huge fan of repurposing where crafting is concerned. The dollar store is a great place to find crafty tools with a bit of imagination. Keep up the great work!

Making Our Life Matter - March 5, 2012 Reply

I am missing the craft gene in my body, but I always enjoy reading about people who do!

Maura - March 5, 2012 Reply

Love it that you used eyeshadow as a substitute. Do you have pics of this project? I’ve used eyeshadow before for some wall decor. I have gotten lots of eyeshadow for free with coupons, so I try and come up with some unique things to do with it as well!

Becca@CreatingFamilyConnections - March 5, 2012 Reply

I’m glad to have met you! I love using polymer clay. I’ve used it since I was young. It is so fun! I never had any fancy tools; I mainly use my fingers. And toothpicks. I recently had some of my items posted on my sister’s etsy shop ( I haven’t sold any yet, but was wondering how I’m going to package them if I do, so that they don’t break. Have you shipped any items? If so, would you have any tips on packaging?

Dianna @ practicing frugal - March 6, 2012 Reply

Great ideas. I have never thought of using eye shadow.

Sarah - March 6, 2012 Reply

Oh great–another hobby to explore :) I haven’t tried polymer clay yet but i can see the appeal. Good ideas!

Carrie - March 6, 2012 Reply

Have you tried a Dollar Store for eye makeup and craft supplies? Ours has tons of that kind of stuff (and everything’s $1!). Hobby Lobby runs decent sales occasionally, too. Best wishes to you!

Krissy @ B.Inspired Mama - March 6, 2012 Reply

Since I used to be a high school art teacher, I know all about resourcefulness! My supply budget was always so tight; I had to make due with whatever I could find.

Judith - March 6, 2012 Reply

I’m so in awe of creative people! I wish I could do something like this – I mean, get the idea and make something really nice. Using eye shadow is really funny (in a nice way).

Good luck with your project!

Jamie - March 6, 2012 Reply

I haven’t worked with clay a lot, thanks for the tips.

See You In the Garden - March 6, 2012 Reply

Clay is one of those things that I always thought would be interesting to work with but never have. Kudos for learning.

Have you tried Craigslist or Freecycle? There may be someone who used to be into clay, but has moved on. You might also ask your local school’s art teacher. They may have some sources for you to look into.

Jamie - March 7, 2012 Reply

I used to love being crafty…kinda lost it over the years and am throwing around ideas in my head of how to find that in me again! Thanks for sharing your tips!

Brenda - March 7, 2012 Reply

I am this way with scrapbooking. I have used tags from clothing, pieces of fabric from my son’s baby clothes, added texture with sandpaper, folding, tearing, crumpling etc. I have found cheap metal findings at Hobby Lobby. If you have one local they often have a 40% off coupon each week and they do have a polymer clay section! :)

Jacqui Gonzales - March 7, 2012 Reply

I’m not a crafter (partially because my creativity does not lean toward craft/design stuff. I like how it looks, but I never can do the same when I try.) As for cheaper ideas, maybe this seems silly, but what about using kitchen stuff, like shears, rolling pins, and cookie cutters?

April H - March 7, 2012 Reply

Good luck with opening your store! Those are some great ways to REUSE!

Jessica, The Debt Princess - March 7, 2012 Reply

This probably won’t help you but I spent a few years doing pottery and used old dentist tools when I was adding detail. They probably aren’t cheaper than clay tools but if you happen to come across them, they work well.

marye~ - March 7, 2012 Reply

I love crafts and I love buying them even more. You have such great ideas for saving money and being creative at the same time!

Melanie - March 7, 2012 Reply

I’m afraid I’ve never worked with clay so I have no suggestions. I do wish you best of luck with your online business venture!

kendra - March 7, 2012 Reply

Wow! Those are some incredible and very creative alternatives you’ve found! I love the toothbrush and crumpled foil idea for texture. :) You really have some nice ideas. I don’t do this sort of craft myself, but before my grandfather passed away, he taught me a few things! He was a very passionate potter! He was truly gifted in that area and I’m very crafty in other ways. Those qualities certainly were passed down from him :)

I enjoyed reading! I’ll be keeping an eye out for new posts.

Warm wishes,

LaVonne - March 7, 2012 Reply

Those are great ideas to use for tools. I have often had to use circle shape things around the house for homeschool crafts.

Thanks for sharing!

Tracy @ - March 7, 2012 Reply

Your resourcefulness inspires me. Keep the creativity flowing.

Stacie - March 7, 2012 Reply

Good thinking! I suggest looking at either thrift stores or garage sales for things. I bought a perfectly working pasta machine for my clay at a garage sale last year, and only paid $3 for it!

    Marie Yan - March 10, 2012 Reply

    Wow! That’s a huge saving… I’m actually looking for counter top oven at thrift store but I can’t find any.

clarissa - March 7, 2012 Reply

I love Hobby Lobby because their sales are different each week – so basically every two weeks you can find something for 50% off that you can use. I always check there first because we don’t really have any other craft places in our small town. Loving your creativity!

Adelina Priddis - March 7, 2012 Reply

great ways to be resourceful! I use my glass cups when making biscuits, because really who needs an expensive biscuit cutter when you already have a circle cup in the house?

Heather HippyHomesteader - March 7, 2012 Reply

very creative ideas for common household products!!!

Carolynn - March 7, 2012 Reply

Very good idea. I wish I was more of an out of the box thinker. I have a hard time coming up with how to use things for other purposes. Good thing my husband is very much an outside the box thinker! :)

Sorry I don’t have any new ideas for you! Good luck.

Layne Lanpher - March 8, 2012 Reply

Eyeshadow – what a brilliant idea! I will have to try that :)

Dawn Storey - March 8, 2012 Reply

I like your creative thinking! Sometimes by using what we have we find something even better than if we’d gone out and bought a new item. Thanks for the post! :)

Amber--JadeLouise Designs - March 8, 2012 Reply

Great job being resourceful! I never would have thought about makeup for colors!

Tiffany - March 8, 2012 Reply

Those are great tips! Way to be resourceful 😉

Kathy (Kangaroo Mama) - March 8, 2012 Reply

Wow, those are great tips! I haven’t tried clay projects and I am such a amateur crafter that my tips might be moot so I will leave it to the experts. But I’m following you on G+ so I can learn some easy crafting projects from you…I need easy! =P

Clarinda - March 8, 2012 Reply

It’s great how resourceful you are. Never worked with clay but have done a little jewelry making. Have you heard of the site Fire Mountain Gems? I have gotten a few jewelry pieces there.

    Marie Yan - March 9, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for the site Clarinda. I’ll visit it. I hope I can find beads and metal findings.

Sarah - March 9, 2012 Reply

hit me up when you open your online store. i can’t wait. i love crafting too. it is my thang!!!!!!

    Marie Yan - March 9, 2012 Reply

    Sure Sarah! But honestly I’m not so sure because of my status here in Canada. I’m a foreign worker and I doubt if I am allowed to do business. I’ll still inquire about this.

jenivieve - March 10, 2012 Reply

cute. i wish i was more crafty. you’re inspiring though!

Allie | Ramblings of a WAHM - March 27, 2012 Reply

Gosh, I wish I had your imagination and know how. I wish I was crafty. The best I can do is some simple crocheting and that is it.

Good luck with your crafts.

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