Thrifty Tips

Acetate: This is used widely in packaging as it allows you to see the contents of the pack, & it comes in all sizes & thickness. It makes inexpensive shaker cards; you can also use it to 'laminate' a window on your project - thus giving your project more strength than it would otherwise have. I also use it to stick butterfly peel-offs to & then trim around, that way when I bend their wings they will stay in position.

 

Acetate bubbles: As above but this version is heated by industrial machines to mould around the contents of a pack to seal it. Salvage any useable shapes such as squares, rectangles, ovals & round one's as they are all invaluable for making really easy shaker cards, plus they are a great way to protect something delicate such as detailed decoupage on your project.

 

Beads/broken jewellery: Don’t throw away your broken bead strings or jewellery, they can all find a place in your projects. If beads are fused to the thread they can be dangled from a bow on your work or tied in with it, if individual they make beautiful centres for your flowers & to decorate between flower clusters. Pendants can become beautiful adornments on your work & can make stunning centres for bows for example. Charms can be dangled inside an aperture, even the catches & jump rings can be used to suspend something on your project.

 

Books/Libraries: Use the local library to browse their craft selection, they will even order titles in for you & then contact you when they arrive. Check out their discontinued book shelf too, you might be able to find something totally inspiring for just a few pence.

If you find a book that you really like & would like to keep as a reference at home check out EBay or Amazon - where you can often buy titles for less than 50% of their cover price. Libraries often stock magazines too, if they don't have any craft titles maybe they can get some in for you from another branch?

 

Boot/garage sales:  These not only offer a wealth of opportunity to find cheap storage solutions for your craft supplies, but a whole treasure trove of possibilities await you, anything from old postcards to beaded necklaces, lace doilies to spools of ribbon & lengths of lace, stamps & punches, craft magazines & books etc. etc. So many possibilities bound up in a wealth of inspiration - & don’t overlook charity shops either as the exact same stuff can often be found there too!

 

Borrow: If you have are fortunate enough friends who are also crafters, perhaps they have stuff you could borrow? If you can get a loan of a few punches for an evening, it wouldn't take long to punch out a whole container full of embellishments ready to use on your designs. You can use almost any papers through punches but be careful using card, particularly card with a shiny coating as it can jam up the punch!

 

Boxes:  Everything from cereal to wash tab boxes & anything in between: Cereal boxes can be cut away & decorated with thick backing paper (or even wallpaper) to create fabulous magazine files. Soap tablet boxes can easily be decorated to give as a gift with some handmade cards inside; equally they make great storage boxes for your ever growing craft stash! Small delivery boxes are also ideal for storing your ever growing crafty stash.

 

Brads: These are widely available in stationers across the world & you can usually pick up a pack of 100 in medium size for the same price you would pay for a 30 in the craft shops! You can easily colour them with a spirit based marker such as Sharpies; glitter them by covering the surface with double sided tape & then dipping it in the glitter pot; cover them with paper to match your project - you can always add a coat of varnish to make them shine; rub them on a pigment ink pad & holding the legs with a long pair of tweezers, dip into embossing powder heat emboss them....the possibilities are endless!

 

Buttons, bows, ribbon & fabric scraps:  Anything you can salvage before recycling clothing is a valuable asset, even old hooks & eyes have a place in your craft stash. Buttons of all shapes & sizes are to be treasured, as are bows & scraps of ribbon. Even buckles from bags & shoes can become the focal point on your work. You will be amazed how fast your craft stash will grow - without spending a penny. 

 

Button tins: Delve inside your Granny’s button tin to find some wonderful treasures, & I can almost guarantee that beautifully ornate buttons won’t be the only inspiration you will discover inside.

 

Card Candi – Make your own (to match a project): Making your own card ‘candi’ is pretty easy - you just need either a single circle punch measuring 1cm, or better still a die full of 1cm holes. You also need a medium sized ball tool & a dense piece of foam on which to work. Punch or die cut the circles, flip then upside down on the foam & go around the edge of each with your ball tool, & now you can have candi that actually matches your project!

 

Charity shops: See boot/garage sales

 

Cocktail sticks/Tooth picks: If you don't already have some in your kitchen drawer, grab a cheap pack next time you are near a pound shop, I use them for anything from applying blobs of gel glue, to picking up little acrylic gems (by adding a little adhesive to the tip) & there are also a myriad of embellishments you can make using cocktail sticks too.

 

Coloured marker pens: Buy a large inexpensive set from the children’s department; for a really lovely 'water colour' effect - scribble the pen onto some acetate or a white plate, wet your paintbrush & use it to 'thin' down the ink ready to paint with. Use them to gently colour the image on the stamp itself, don't worry if the ink dries because you simply need to breathe on it when you are ready to stamp & this will reactivate the ink. The bonus of this technique is you can create multicoloured stamped impressions.

 

Computer: Make friends with your computer & you will be amazed at what it can achieve with only the software that is pre-installed, for example you can print off clip art to use on your projects directly from Microsoft Word.

 

One of the programs that you may not have discovered in the Microsoft bundle is Paint. From your Desktop, select 'All Programs' then 'Accessories' you will find Paint in that list. Here you can actually paint if you choose, but it is also good for copying images from your scanner to save in digital format; so anything from the paintings the kids create to old photographs can then become part your projects.

 

Craft magazines: There are absolutely tons on the market, so there will be one out there to suit you somewhere, most come with free gifts too which will help to expand your crafting stash. But here is a quick tip; I donated hundreds to a charity shop & I am sure I won't be the only one - so if your budget is as tight check those out first!

 

If you are a part of a craft group, why not swap magazines amongst yourselves - or even have a stack for anyone to loan as they wish.

 

If you do find a title that suits you, buy it off the shelf for a couple of months & if you are still happy - subscribe! You save pounds on the retail price, it is delivered to the door & you often get a subscription gift that is worth more than half the cost of the subscription price itself! This will not only save you money, but it saves you having to remember when the next issue goes on sale & then trudging around the newsagents looking for a copy.

 

Craft groups or crops: Your local craft shop is generally aware of the details of any local groups & where they are hosted; in fact many independent craft shops host them themselves. The other venues are quite often church halls, libraries & community centres etc.

 

In a community setting it is generally the group itself who set the session price, so it can be free or just a couple of pounds. If the group has been going for a while it is likely to have long term (or seasoned) crafters, don't be intimidated by this as this is the best type of group to join. Not only will they be more than happy to pass on their skills, but crafters being a generous bunch may well pass on some of their stash that they no longer use too – once they get to know you.

 

Crochet or knit: One of the ways of incorporating other hobbies into your card making is if you either knit or crochet, as you can make tiny embellishments; such as flowers & tiny one dimensional jumpers etc.

 

Dies: In recent years there has been an absolute explosion in die manufacturers, when I bought my first one there were basically only two makes available here in the UK: Sizzix & Spellbinders, now everyone & their granny are producing them. There is an enormous selection of shapes, sizes & designs that, unless you had an unlimited budget, you could never possibly collect them all - & even more designs are being launched what seems like daily.

 

Collecting dies has never been cheap & although you would naturally assume that with all of the competition around today that their price would have dropped, sadly that hasn’t happened. But there is now a beacon of light coming out from China, who are producing dies by the truck load & in masses of designs. They cut just as well - if not better than some of the brand names - & can be bought for a fraction of the price.

 

So if you haven’t looked into it yet, go onto EBay & type the word ‘Dies’ into the search box, scroll down the page to the images with multiple pictures & check that they are being shipped from China (or Hong Kong) & fill your boots! The only downside that I have found is that they estimate the delivery usually within two to six weeks, but I have rarely had to wait that long - often receiving my little package before the estimated delivery window even opens.

 

Doilies - paper: If you have some of these tucked in the bottom of a kitchen drawer go grab them now & add them to your stash, there are loads of things you can both make & do with them in the craft world!

 

Doilies - lace: These are a real prize if you can find them at car boot sales etc. otherwise they tend to be pretty expensive but fabulous to use on a mixed media project.

 

Downloads: Craft magazine websites often have a ‘free to download’ section that you don't have to subscribe to the magazine itself to use, though some will only allow access if you subscribe to their newsletter.

 

Embossing folders: China have begun to produce these now too, so watch out for them on EBay when you are hunting down dies from there, right now you can pick them up for as little as 99p - with free post & packing.

 

Embossing powders v ink pads: If there is one huge money saving tip I can give you right now it is this: buy coloured pigment ink pads & clear embossing powder OR buy coloured embossing powder & a clear pigment ink pad. You really don't need both!

 

My personal advice would be go for the clear pigment ink pad so then you don't have to keep cleaning the ink from the stamp to change colour (though I do keep a little brown or mustard ink pad to hand to 'distress' the edges of my card).

 

Eyelets: Thesr are available widely in haberdashery departments worldwide; they are generally the medium sized ones & you can also pick up the ones with a domed head there too - like the ones they use on the pockets of jeans to give them additional strength. You can also buy larger packs in those big bargain outlets too - they are all far better value for money than you will find in craft shops.

 

Flower packaging - recycle: There is such a diverse range of materials used to wrap that special bouquet these days, everything from the gauze to the pretty cellophane can add another dimension to your craft stash.

 

Foiled (mirri) & holographic card: Keep your eyes open in all of the pound shops & bargain superstores, Home Bargains is a good one as last time I ventured in they were selling holographic card with 16 A4 sheets in the pack for a little over a £1, the added bonus is you can feed this stuff through your printer to print templates directly onto the back!

 

A tip for buying foiled card is to look out for the Anita's range as you can pick up packs of 20 at reasonable prices, they are packaged in gold or silver & also a mixed pack too, & it is really good quality at 250gsm. But if you check out the kids craft range you can also get a pack of 50 silver mirri & gold matt in the Anita's range too, they are slight ‘seconds’ but a real bargain - & the gold one is absolutely gorgeous!

 

From the garden: You don’t have to have a flower press to preserve nature you just need a book, some kitchen roll & something heavy to weigh it down with. I even let the wild buttercups in my garden go to seed so I can use the little seed pods on my projects! Little teeny twigs can be dried out & cut up for your crafty creations too, great as frames on rustic/garden cards.

 

Gift wrappings: You don't need to recycle every scrap of gift wrap at Christmas time - unless of course you want to, just select the pieces that you are attracted to. But don’t ignore the bows & tags; they can both be used as embellishments on next year’s Christmas cards, the decorations on the outside of Christmas crackers have a myriad of uses too!

 

Use the left over wrapping paper throughout the year to create matching cards & tags to accompany the gift?

 

Glass (heat resistant) cutting mat: Go along to the kitchen sections of the economy type stores & take your pick - just remember it needs to be window pane smooth, as opposed to textured like bathroom panes.

 

If you buy a completely clear one you can put it on top of your own self healing mat so you can see the grid through the glass. It can be used for heat embossing - without fear of warping it & you can also use it to daub a dye based or distress ink pad in one corner & with a damp brush paint directly from your cutting mat - then simply wipe clean!

 

Glitter card: You can easily make smaller pieces of glitter card for projects yourself, though I wouldn’t advise you to create sheets – that would use up way too much adhesive & glitter.

 

Glitter glue: I only ever buy the sets meant for kids, they work just as well as the much more expensive craft ones, though if you really like your bling you might want to sprinkle a bit more glitter on before it dries. 

 

Greeting cards – recycle: You can cut parts from old greeting cards; maybe it is only the verse inside that you like, well that can be used as the central focus on the front of your design? You can cut some basic flower shapes from the front of the card & with a button in the centre they will make lovely embellishments to accompany the verse, or for another project entirely. You can even make card candi from the scraps!

Heat resistant mats (in a roll): If you actually need one of these (& although I bought one I have never had call to use it) go into the kitchen section of the pound shop & pick one up from there.

 

Ikea: The paper tape measures (& little pencils) dotted all around the store are great free stash items to collect. You can use the meaure as it is or decorate it to use on your projects & the pencils are just right to add to a DIY sticky note cover.

 

Kids Craft Sections: You can buy coloured paper pads, foil card, pipe cleaners & feathers etc. etc. in the kids craft section of stores, & it is a whole lot cheaper than the crafters versions.

 

Magnetic sheets: These are a popular way to store your metal cutting dies, they are widely available for about £5 for three, plus P&P - but honestly PLEASE don't waste your money - go to your local pound shop, they sell two in a pack for £1! So for the same price as a pack of three (plus the p&p) you could have bought 16! I have to admit that the smaller stores don’t always have them in stock, so head to the larger branches where I have never had problems finding them.

 

I buy zipped plastic wallets & slide a piece of sturdy card inside – the package from the magnetic sheets - & then I put one magnetic sheet either side to store my dies on.

 

Mesh: This pops up everywhere these days from pretty glittery stuff around flowers, to the fine gauge netting that food stuffs are packaged in, but the most widely available comes in the form of body puffs used in the shower, so pick up some pretty coloured ones when you are near a pound shop. Even the stuff your carrots come packaged in has a place in crafting - as fishing net on a seashore card for example.

 

Metal bottle tops: You know the kind you need to prize off with a bottle opener? If you have a 'local' they might collect some up for you if you ask? Great for blokes cards - particularly if they are branded, though you can easily re-colour or decorate them.

 

Miniature playing cards (& other Christmas cracker treats): A set of miniature playing cards are a great prize as they work beautifully on your projects & are the perfect size for greeting card,  they are particularly good for masculine projects. There are tons of other treats inside Christmas crackers that will enhance your crafty stash too.

 

Old clothing: Yes seriously, do you know how many flowers you can make from a toddlers t-shirt? Take another look at everything before discarding it, as the possibilities for using fabric in craft are utterly endless.

 

Old or damaged books: Books that have lost their jackets etc are a perfect addition to you craft stash, you can use the pages of text as backgrounds; stamp images onto them & cut those out; crunch them up & ink them to create a vintage look etc. Old street maps & atlases make amazing backgrounds, as well as innovative embellishments, you can fashion anything from mini envelopes to shirts & flowers - & so much more.

 

Paint - watercolours: I only ever buy the kids water colour sets they do a wonderful job if you use a half decent paintbrush with them. Though I have to admit I adore Cosmic Shimmer paints, they are a bit pricey at around £2 per teeny pot - but they do go an awfully long way. They are lovely when dry as they have a gorgeous pearlescent finish, fabulous for fairies & flowers in particular!

 

Pinterest: If you haven't discovered this site yet then you are seriously missing out, there is a wealth of hints, tips & inspiration bursting out from every page on every subject from crafting to removing stains from the seat of your car!

 

Plastic bottle tops: The ones from the milk carton can be used as the base for a DIY stamp & the smaller one's can be used as the hub for wheels, or the centre of flowers - possibly covered with a paper circle to match your project?

 

Post & packaging charges: If you are fed up paying post & packaging charges check out the demonstrators own sites - many have free P&P or free if you spend a certain amount If you shop on EBay don’t buy the item with the P&P charge until you check further down the page, you will often find the same item, for the same/or slightly higher price but with P&P free.

 

Printer paper: This is the one area of craft that I would really, really recommend that you don't skimp on! If you run regular copier paper through your printer the ink absorbs into the paper, not only spoiling the definition but wasting a lot of ink, whereas if you use quality paper the images are much more defined & your ink tanks will last way longer.

 

So you really do need super smooth printer paper & although it is way more expensive than a pack of copier paper (watch out for BOGOF's & stock up) you will save an absolute fortune on your ink tanks very quickly.

 

Quilling tool - Make your own: If you want to try out quilling but don't have a tool, simply go in the kitchen draw & grab one of those wooden skewers. At the blunt end wrap a piece of tape around -about 5 or 6 mm from the end - & then CAREFULLY cut a slit in the end with your craft knife - the tape will prevent it splitting further than you need.

 

Quilling papers - Make your own: If you have a guillotine rather than a paper cutter it is real easy to cut thin strips from regular coloured paper to use for quilling.

 

Ribbon – colour/design to match your project: You easily can colour ribbon to match your project, buy one big roll of white or ivory & you can use cold coffee; diluted ink; cosmic shimmer type mists etc. &/or add pattern using marker pens, or stamp directly into it. You can even fix it to paper using a temporary adhesive & send it through your printer, but make sure you stick it down well or it can get stuck inside of your printer!

 

Scanner: (See Computer)

 

Scrabble tiles: Game pieces such as tiles are a perfect embellishment to use on your projects.

 

Sequins: Those old sequins in the bottom of the sewing box can, for example, turn a plain paper flower into something stunning - so always a great accessory to keep in your crafty stash.

 

Shaker card confetti: Save all of those little bits of paper waste from your punches & dies & store ready to use as 'confetti’ for your shaker cards. 

 

Shells, sea glass etc: Take a walk along any beach while on holiday if you don’t have one nearby & you can find a wealth of treasures; pretty shells & sea glass etc for free & if you are really lucky you might even find a fossil!

 

Silk flowers: Please don't tell me that you are still buying silk flowers in the craft shops! Go to the High Street card stores or party outlets & in the accessories department take your pick of pre-strung silk flowers. When you get them home simply snip the string to separate them, you can get anything from 60 to 100 on a string for a couple of pounds!

 

You can easily match them up to your project by colouring them with silk paints, watered down ink, marker pens; you can add dots, stripes, hearts etc. Tint the edges with dye based ink &/or stamp designs on them etc.

 

Spirelli: This is a technique where you wrap threads around a piece of card to create a pattern, you can buy the base shapes but you certainly don't need to, any scalloped edge punch or die will create the shapes for you. Or use your decorative edged scissors & create your own shapes.

 

It doesn't have to be a regular shape, you can make up your own - I have seen everything from a fish to a heart! They are something a bit different to decorate your projects with, so have a go. The only tip I will offer is to tape your thread down on the back every couple of turns - as this will prevent it slipping off as you progress around your shape.

 

Stamps: Over the years that I have been compiling these tips trends have changed & acrylic stamps have pretty much replaced wood mounted ones now. This in turn brought down the price dramatically (not to mention helping to save our trees) so making them much more accessible to us all.

 

But there are still bargains to be had......... a lot of crafters got rid of their old wooden backed stamps because they take up more space than the acrylic version, so keep your eyes on the charity shops/car boot sales etc as you are likely to find some really good deals.

 

The only other tip I can offer is to take a look at digital stamps, they are widely available on the internet - priced from pence to pounds - & there are some really cute one's to be had. You can resize those too!

 

Stamps - Make your own: Honestly stamps are really easy to make, I remember using a potato to make stamps when I was a kid & you still can as they are amazingly versatile & can be used to create stunning backgrounds - but there is an easier & less messy way.

 

You will need some funky foam - the kind with adhesive already on the back is best - but the stuff without will work too; a plastic bottle top & a pair of scissors (or a punch if you have one). Cut/punch out a design small enough to fit onto the bottle top, stick it down & you are done!

 

I sometimes do this with dies as they make beautiful stamps. You can do this with any size die, so long as you have something large enough to stick it to - as you will quickly damage it by continually peeling it off an acrylic block! But then they are so easy to make just bin it when it gets tatty & make a new one! You can also carve stamps from simple school rubbers/erasers!

 

Stencils - Make your own: You can easily make a stencil to try out dry embossing - this is where you apply pressure to the back of the card to produce a raised effect on the other. All you need is a strip of card & a punch that will go through it, punch through one end & then fold the card in half, align the punch over the first cut out, & punch again. To try it out simply slide a piece of card between the folded stencil & with something like a dry biro, 'draw' around the edge of the shape, you don't need to 'fill' it, slide the card out & turn over to reveal your design.

 

String – Jute: All of the garden centres & gardening suppliers sell that lovely jute string & the old fashioned 'hairy' kind is beautiful on seashore projects, kraft card bases, rustic, garden, vintage or masculine themes & looks wonderful tied through a button, & you can get a huge roll for just a couple of pounds!

 

String – Parcel: Even the creamy white stuff you can buy at the post office & stationary suppliers has its use in crafting & you can easily colour it to match your project with marker pens or spritzes.

 

Swap: You can have access to a lot more kit than you currently own by participating in swaps. If you are part of a craft group ask everyone to bring in one punch (for example) to the next session & swap them around. Repeat this over several weeks & you will soon amass lots of new elements to use in your projects. Or you could have a session where everyone brings in a piece of kit to show everyone how it works & to let them have a try? These used to go down really well with my groups.

 

Tape Measure: The old type tape measures made from cloth are fabulous to cut up & use as embellishments on your projects.

 

Texture paste: This stuff is really easy to make as it only requires PVA glue, talcum powder & some acrylic paint, you can also add mica powders or glitter to bling it up a bit too!

 

Used tea bag/cold black coffee: No, I am not advocating you should have a dogged old tea bag in your kit, but a used damp tea bag is a great way to 'age' your projects. Make sure it isn't too damp & simply wipe it across the piece you want to 'age' - allow it to dry (or use your heat gun) & apply more if you want a darker tone. You can also do this with cold black coffee & a cotton pad too!

 

Wallpaper samples & paint charts: I used to embarrass my sister when we went to B&Q by appearing at the check out with my arms full of wallpaper & border samples, along with a handful of colour charts, but the cashier always laughed & said it was fine! Maybe you have some left over’s around the house somewhere, in the attic or garage which would save you a trip? 

 

Sometimes the family owned stores have old wallpaper sample books they are happy to let you have - always worth asking?

 

Zips (broken): Broken zips can easily be sculpted into beautiful flower embellishments, so rescue those from items of clothing you are planning to recycle.

Tips you have kindly sent in

Hazel was kind enough to write in with this great tip for you:

I have been interested in the Rare Earth 'load & fold stamping aid. A cheaper version is an old cd case with the insert removed. You can fit a 4.5 x 5.5 inch piece of card in and it works a treat, you get a lovely crisp image.

What a really clever idea Hazel. Thank you! R

Steff wrote in with this great money saving tip:

Kmart have rolls of metallic contact paper for $5 & it works beautifully fixed to recycled greeting cards through your die cutting machines. It comes in silver, gold & copper foil.

Such a shame we don't have Kmart (or Michaels/Hobby Lobby etc etc) here in the UK as I have seen pictures & the copper one is absolutely stunning. R

Jacqui wrote in to pass on this money saving tip:

In Poundland I spied what looked like a pack of 4 embossing tools to my crafty eyes! They were in fact nail art tools in the false nail etc section. Don't know if you have seen them too. Some very small but a couple usable, can't go wrong for £1.

Thanks Jacqui, will check those out next time I am along the High Street. R

Another great tip from Hazel

To make your own card candi, cut a circle with a half inch punch, then using either a large ball tool, or the rounded end of a ball pen, emboss the circle on the back of a mouse mat and wallah, you have candi. In the colour and design you want.

Thanks Hazel, another fabulous tip!

Hazel, one of my regular readers, wrote in with this fabulous tip:

I bought a Groovi plate out of curiosity, I have found you don't need to buy anything else, I use a clip board, available in all supermarkets, and a ball pen that has run out of ink. The results are brilliant and you don't need to use a lot of pressure, so a lot cheaper than all the accessories available.

Thank you Hazel, I don't own the Groovi plate but I am quite sure this will encourage many other readers to go ahead & purchase one - now they don't have to shell out for all of the accessories too!

Christine wrote in with this great money saving tip:

I have been using make up sponges for rubber stamping. Saw 4 for £9.99 on C&C. Large ones at £ shop,Yep £1. Better still on amazon 4 cost .99p.

Thank you Christine, been looking for some larger one's!

Michelle got in touch with this great tip: 

Just seen embossing type tools in the nail art section of the £1 shop (can't remember which one sorry). Much cheaper than the 'craft' version!"

Thanks Michelle, I will definitely be on the look out for those next time I am in town!

Doreen, one of the ladies that I teach mentioned that she was stuck when she cut through the magnetic shim of her Ebosser recently so tried one of those magnetic sheets from the pound shop & it works like a dream - & I have been using one in my Ebosser ever since! (See 'Magnetic Sheets' tip below for details).

Fabulous money saving tip Doreen, thank you!

Michelle wrote in with this tip - fantastic if you are struggling to find a clear glass cutting mat in the pound shops.

"Don't buy an expensive glass cutting 'board' buy a glass 'board' from the pound shop and take the fancy printed backing off, lay it over your green mat (self healing cutting mat) and you instantly have grids and/or measurements for about £15 saving." 

Muriel, who is new to the site, wrote in with this great tip:

"Keep your old telephone directorery/Yellow pages and use it when glueing, tear out the page after each application".

Dorothy wrote in with these tips:

I was looking at your one pound saving page, and thought you might like to know that you can also get flock for nails from the pound shop, as well as very mini beads, which are good for snow glow.

Hazel wrote in with this tip:

On Ebay there is a company called 'thewholesaleposco2009' who will cut acrylic blocks to any size for you, & there are lots to choose from & they don't charge P&P!

Cyndi wrote in with these tips:

I hate having to take on & off the acrylic blocks the small rubber stamp flourishes (usually) when I am stamping so now if I have an old 1 inch inkpad that has dried out and needs to be thrown away I save the lid and put the stamp on there. Makes life much easier.

The other thing is (and this actually came about because of the masses of washi tape I was accumulating!) is I can never remember where I got the tape from. Most of it comes on a reel so now I write inside the reel the name of the company I got it from so it's much easier should I wish to re-order. This also works for ribbon or basically anything else that's on a reel of some kind.

Gaby got in touch & mentioned she had found some flocking powders on EBAY, but they are not intended for crafting, they are advertised for nails.

Gaby bought the set for less than £2 & tried them out. She assures me they work brilliantly, the pots are smaller than usual, but there are more of them - in a variety of colours. 

Lesley tipped me off about these:

Holographic rainbow board covered in black 'paint'! If you feed it through an embossing plate & LIGHTLY sand, it makes a fantastic background - particularly suited to men's cards. If you sand it too heavily you will wear away the holographic surface below. I had a go & added metallic wax & I adored the effect.

Available in the kids section of your local PoundWorld shop!

Vivien wrote in with this tip on envelopes:

"Most large supermarkets have left over envelopes from cards, if you ask nicely they will let you have them for nothing.  Some odd sizes but FREE". 

Thanks Vivien!

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