Crafting and the Economy

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Welcome to our brand to column “Talk Crafty to Me.” (Yeah, we’re both proud and ashamed of that name!)

In this column we’ll ask you questions that we’d love to know your opinions on! And if YOU have ideas for questions for this column, we’d love to hear those too.

So here’s our first question for you all…

Do you think you’ll be doing more crafty / DIY projects in the future as a result of the state of the economy and a desire to want to cut back and save money?

Do you have any stories about other people you know who have started crafting now as a way to save some money?

We’d love to hear any stories about yourself or others using crafting as a way to save money!

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  1. pruish says:

    Ok so I am a newly wed and my husband is the only on working right now to support us. And for a while I have been thinking of starting off a craft/card business and this is my chance, I feel as though God helped me into this he didn’t stop me when I quit my 10-15 hour job and has given me a new feeling of crafts! I love it! And we are saving to move out so a lot of the gifts we give are crafts made by me or by him. It is a lot of work sometimes, especially when we haven’t done something before. We are both still learning. I have for a while made most of our gifts to give, but I think now it is more important than ever in our relationship to save money as a newly wed couple! =]

  2. Amanda says:

    Yup – I sure I am crafting more! I’ve always scrapbooked and made cards. Then it turned into making Christmas gifts for everyone. Now I’ve entered craft fairs to make a little extra money. I’m also starting to sew my own clothes – how fun! :) I love being thrifty about my crafting too however – I freecycle for craft supplies (I’ve met great people and now we regularly get together to swap supplies), go to goodwill to look for cool things to turn into something new (plus if you are looking for CHEAP fabric go find a cool pattern table cloth, sheet, or blanket HUGE amount for around $1-3) I know that probably makes me cheap but when I create something usually for $15 and can find a way to craft the same thing for $4….and still sell for $25-30 then hey, why not? And plus it makes me cool – I’m green! :)

  3. Angela says:

    Oh yeah.

    No job=more time for crafting. No money=more NEED for crafting.

    I mean, who can spend $40 on a pretty fancy shower curtain when I can thrift a cool old sheet, add 12 buttonholes across the time, and have a unique and awesome shower curtain? Why would I spend $15 on a new pillow for my couch when I can go through my scraps and piece a new cover for an old one together? It makes sense economically AND keeps me from the blundering depression that is unemployment.

  4. jana says:

    the economy was one of the reasons why i re-started crafting. i do not regret a single stitch!

  5. kite says:

    I’ve always been pretty poor and pretty DIY minded, and this recession isn’t really affecting me as I’m on a disability pension. I am thinking about trying to MAKE some money off crafting, and I live in a busy tourist town with extensive outdoor markets, so I’ve been spending more money than usual on craft supplies LOL! (However, I use a lot of seeds and shells and stuff I find in skips too.)

    I find it really exciting that others are crafting more because of the economic downturn. I have this vision of everyone being just that bit more self-reliant. I wonder if it will last?

  6. Beatrice says:

    I’ve always loved sewing and making clothes. I couldn’t find a job this summer so I have no money to spend on new clothes! So I’ve been spending the summer tearing apart old clothes I won’t ever wear again and reconstructing them into something new.

  7. Chelsea says:

    Definitely. A recent example. I bought my daughter a pillow (she’s still in a crib w/ no bedding/pillows/etc) because she loves to “steal” ours. So I was going to buy her a cute pillowcase that would be obviously hers (Dora, Yo Gabba Gabba, etc) But the only ones I could find that didn’t come with an entire sheet set was for High School Musical and Little Miss Sunshine. Which was cute…except it was $8…!

    So I decided to get a yard of fabric for $3 and make it myself. Now her little ladybug pillowcase is adorable, WAY cuter, more sentimental, AND cheaper. I didn’t save a fortune or anything, but every little bit helps.

    Also I love quilts. But I can’t ever find one I love. Plus they’re expensive. So I’m going to make my own out of scraps I find that I love. It might take a while, but it’ll have so much love put into it INSTEAD of a lot of $$$.

    I love being more self-reliant. Learning how to do things myself and not have to pay someone to fix my car, make my own lampshade instead of settling for one in a store, etc.

  8. tsugath says:

    I’ve been making my own Christmas cards and gifts for the last couple of years. This year I started baking my own bread and shopping more at the local Goodwill and Marshall’s for clothes and household items – it’s amazing what you can find. I just bought some awesome fabric on the clearance rack at Hancock for $4/yd that I’m going to use to re-upholster an ottoman and office chair. I also made good deals at the clearance racks at Lowe’s- the plants may have slowed their blooms, but dead-head certain varieties, give them some fertilizer, and they bounce back twice as nice.

  9. Erica T. says:

    I have to say that with the economy being the way that it is…I have been doing more than ever with my baking supplies and my fabric and sewing machine.. I know that because of things that my mother in law left to me when she passed away in July, that I now have many opportunities to be able to work from my home and still be here for my kids, and not have to send my Daughter to daycare while I work. With the stuff that was left to me that just means that I have less out of pocket that I have to spend on Fabric and other supplies that I didn’t have. I am looking forward to an exciting adventure in Crafting… and being able to make things and not break budget which needless to say will make the hubby VERY HAPPY!

  10. Sunshine says:

    With a new house and my recent firing HECKS YEAH I’m crafting to save money. I have a huge stash I’ve needed to bust and the house seems to be getting a lot of new things. I’m still buying things but I make sure there things I need but I’m about to get a job at a fabric store. My man meat doesnt seem to mind because I’m saving us money and hes getting awesome things. Sadly though this means my new huge craftroom will be a little bare for awhile 😛

  11. Yes, I love to sew and alwasy have, am now alot more aware about what I spend my money on though. My friends and I have started a hand me down line for the kids clothing which is great and there are four in the line which seems to be the natural life of clothes so far :) I cant knit, something I am determined to change and therefore will be makeing more of the kids sweaters and hats myself. I have turned my passion into my work from home project and have started making recycled/upcycled fabric bags out of old clothes. Each bag is unique and I love carrying them. I know other people who are making their own cards and selling those as well. I love that we are all doing something we love and finding ways to make some money out of it as well. YeaH!!!!
    aliza @

  12. friendlyjas says:

    Don’t buy what you can make yourself. That seems to be my motto these days. I tend to save the most by making gifts for people, rather than buying. $5 and a little time can make a pretty impressive birthday gift! I’ve also taken to using fabric scraps or upcycling old things to make throw pillows and such to spruce up the home decor, rather than running out to buy new drapes and new throw pillows. I’ve also been making some of the kid’s clothing. It is much cheaper to make the cute matching outfits than buy them.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I definitely am doing more crafting. I’m getting married next summer and we are crafting alot of it(we would either way actually), but as the weather is getting colder I am going to be forced to make alot of draft blockers, mittens, blankets and scarves in order to cut down the heating bill for my house, my friends and my family.

    Originally I crafted because I didn’t have much money, and this year is the same. There is no way I could afford to get to school and buy my books if I was buying christmas gifts too, so my fiance and I are crafting alot of gifts: food, accessories, liqueurs, you name it. The thrift store is going to be my best friend when it comes to getting supplies to make mittens(cutting and sewing old sweaters), I’ve signed up at the craft stores to receive coupons, and I’ve been on craftster more than usual to find ideas for everyday and for the wedding.

    When we get married we’re going to be crafting like hell to get our nest ready for the winter and to just make it hospitable.

  14. stellato_escuro says:

    Over the past 7(?) years since I joined Craftster, I have been doing more and more crafting, just because I am always challenged, inspired or in a swap.

    Living in Montana, the impact of the economy hasn’t been nearly as severe as other places. However, there have still been changes. The result for me has been changing how I think about crafting and apply my skills. I have been trying a lot harder to improve the skills I have and craft with the supplies I already have. When I do go supply shopping, I treat it like grocery shopping…hit sales and don’t deviate from the list.

    Now we have Christmas and baby on the way, so I am trying new, practical crafts. I have been thinking of trying things like homemade laundry detergent.

    There are some family members that are impossible to craft for, and some things I can’t make. In those cases, I have been focusing on buying local and handmade goods. I have already bought a few gifts off Etsy.

  15. gonecrafting says:

    Because of the economy (and all that), I was part of a 75% staff reduction. So I’ve been laid off for a few months now, reduced income, increased time. To keep myself busy, I’ve reestablished my love affair with crafting. It’s helped me realize what I really want to do in life, which I’ve always had a problem deciding. I know I’ll go back to work eventually, but for now, I’m really happy and producing lots of items that I’m really proud of. I no longer go on shopping sprees to make myself feel better about my daily/work life and I really appreciate the items that I make. Instead of buying multiple purses or scarves or shirts, I look at what I have first. Crafting has benefited me in so many ways in what started as a difficult time in my life.

  16. nanna19 says:

    Absolutely!!!!! Crafting is the way to save money, and to entertain myself. I have found that this recession is good for something. I have found that I have a craft “gene” that I thought only my mother possesed. I love making stuff from other stuff and having my friends and family compliment the final product. My husband is getting into it too, only he still needs to get that he can make alot of new stuff from the old stuff he has around the house he has spent a small fortune on his craft but he has found a love for it so that’s not all bad right? One of these days I’m going to take pic’s of his craftiness and post to the craftster. I love this place!!!!! I am always inspired when I come here, and I come here OFTEN!!! :)

  17. Angel says:

    Recycling everything. A shirt doesn’t fit. Make it into a skirt. And with the holidays coming up I’m looking foreword to making everyone’s gifts.

  18. laurel says:

    I’ve already made almost everyone’s gift (excepting one pair of mittens) for Christmas. Usually I don’t make handmade gifts for family because they are ungrateful brutes. They may appreciate the gift, but they won’t use it per say. Too bad this year, they’re getting slippers, hats or mittens.

    I have a lot of stash and I love to buy stuff and go shopping but even I’m trying to hold back a bit…not necessarily the doom and gloom economy schpiel but more because I am a feckless spendthrift and should not be allowed to handle money at all. Including my own money…especially my own money. And sadly, tuition takes a high toll on my spending money. I curse the necessity of a higher education…

  19. Miss Barbara says:

    I find that I am becoming more crafty in regards to gift giving and saving money. I would rather make someone something from the heart as a gift, and perhaps spend a little more than spend a lot more on some mass produced item that the person may or may not like or already have one of.

  20. alwaysinmyroom says:

    I feel the economy makes me more aware that there are a lot of people not as lucky as I am with my job as an accountant…so, I am not buying stuff just because I can, and trying to help out others by sending along some extras, like fabric, beads, etc. that I will probably never get around to using…Also, we just do not go out as much so crafting is a good way to spend time at home…plus, I am amazed at how many people really like homemade gifts–I think we have all been exposed to way too much mass produced stuff and everyone wants to go to simpler things like a nice scarf, a handmade bib for a baby, booties, etc. I have had so many requests for afghans from the younger crowd!

    I always believed that to force a change, you have to hit people in their pocketbooks…that is about all we Americans can relate to, it seems! So, it is a good thing on a lot of ways because we are “forced” to recycle, re-evaluate, etc. I know I am a lot more conscientious now…what a wake-up call and a kick in the butt!

  21. Linsey B says:

    Definitely. It’s something I’ve aspired to for a long time really, and the economy is giving me a great chance to actually do it. I have two close friends’ birthdays coming up and I’m planning the most awesome birthday gift packages ever for them based on ideas I’ve gotten from this site! I really feel that as unfortunate and difficult as the recession has been, it’s really going to spur the recycling/upcycling/reusing/green movement greatly so that when we do come out of the downtime, people will have formed habits of the things we ought to be doing anyway!

  22. Liesbeth says:

    Well, i cannot say that it effects me, but it sure does effects my parents (i’m still a student and living with them) so i started with making some of my own clothes, accessories, scarves, and so much more.. I really like to craft, and it’s a good way to save money!^^

  23. Purpley Goodness says:

    I have definitely been crafting a lot more during the last three years, and I have given a lot more home crafted gifts, particularly to people I know will appreciate it. This year is no different and they will have to brace themselves for an onslaught of home made goodies! I have a relatively new mortgage (and don’t have a better half) so financially, life is a little scary for me, and it makes sense. Fortunately, I have a reasonable stash of wool, beads and embroidery items to get through and this year for my 40th my family contributed to a new sewing machine, so my plan is to supplement my current income, {which is modest}, with craft items to sell at markets etc. I too will not buy something I can make myself, and often when I closely examine something, I can work out how it’s made, unless it’s really complex. Because my stash is reasonably substantial, I really am trying not to buy new materials this year, particularly as I have a tendency to hoard and my craft room is small! Plus, I oome from a family that is non-materialistic and resourceful, and I feel like it’s a mark of respect to my family members who are/were crafty and took the time to teach me their skills and pass on their knowledge to keep the tradition going and knit/sew/bead/whatever till I drop! I am now passing it on to the next generation too, which feels great – last week, my nephews had their first knitting lesson. They were really into it so it’s awesome! Also, if I am crafting, I am not spending money doing somethig else, eg movies, expensive coffees, pay-TV so that’s a saving – and crafting can be a social activity in itself. I know the recession has been really bad for a lot of people, but I am glad that there has been a shift towards crafty upcycling, home cooking, home preserves, home vege plot gardening and general community collaboration and I really hope that as we move towards a less dire situation economically that we hold onto those DIY values, especially as it’s kinder to our little planet too!

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