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)?


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  1. says

    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.

  2. says

    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.

    • Yannie says

      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

  3. says

    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.

    • Yannie says

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

  4. says

    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!

    • Yannie says

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

  5. says

    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.

  6. says

    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!

  7. says

    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!

  8. says

    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.

  9. says

    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…

  10. says

    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.

  11. says

    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.

  12. says

    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!

  13. says

    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!

  14. says

    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!

  15. says

    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.

  16. says

    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!

  17. says

    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.

  18. says

    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! :-)

  19. says

    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!

  20. says

    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!

  21. says

    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.

  22. says

    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.

    • Yannie says

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

  23. says

    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

  24. says

    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!

  25. says

    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!

  26. says

    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!

  27. says

    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!!

  28. says

    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!

  29. says

    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!

  30. says

    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?

  31. says

    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!

  32. says

    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!

  33. says

    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.

  34. says

    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!

  35. says

    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! :)

  36. says

    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?

  37. says

    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.

  38. says

    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,

  39. says

    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!

  40. says

    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!

    • Yannie says

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

  41. says

    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!

  42. says

    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?

  43. says

    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.

  44. says

    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! :)

  45. says

    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

    • Yannie says

      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.

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