*Believe it or not, garage sales can be a great way to stock up on cheap supplies. I typically go through online and classified ads looking for garage, yard and estate sales with mentions of craft or sewing supplies. I got about 30-35 new and vintage zippers from a lady at a garage sale once, along with all kinds of other sewing supplies (tracing paper, fabric, lace ribbon, thread) for about $6-7 TOTAL. (Also telling her that I was a college student in need of supplies got me a great deal!)
*Search for "destash" under supplies on Etsy. Buying supplies that other Etsians aren't using sure beats buying them new! And you'll get a better deal on buying a destash item than buying that same item new.
*Also look on Ebay for good prices on other artist's destash supplies and vintage items. You'd be surprised what you can find on that site!
*Take apart vintage jewelry and reuse the beads and findings. You'll get some unique supplies for your piece, and in reworking and upcycling old jewelry, you're saving it from sitting in someone's jewelry box, old and unused.
*For YARN: Save your leftover fiber scraps, bits of yarn and thread, and felted bits, and card them into an art batt! It will make for interesting and unique yarn.
*Save food containers like jars, coffee cans, yogurt and sour cream containers, etc. Rinse them out and use them for storing beads, ribbons, office supplies and any other small items you can think of. Don't throw away what you could recycle or reuse!
*Ask friends and family if they have any storage containers they aren't using anymore that they could give or sell cheap to you before buying new.
*Especially with packaging jewelry, not everything you use has to be new. Reusing the boxes you receive jewelry and other small items in can save you money in the long run.
*I often like to tie boxes with ribbon - reuse ribbon that was once used for other things. Better yet, take fabric you aren't going to use or buy vintage fabric instead of new fabric and cut it up into strips with pinking shears (so the edges won't fray) and use this for ribbon instead!
*Use recycled or tree free paper to print receipts, labels, business cards and whatnot. I not print all receipts and yarn labels with tree free cigar paper (made with tobacco) that I got from Eco Paper. Also, their banana, mango and lemon paper all look intriguing! Their mango paper is shown on the right.
*Reuse shipping boxes and padded envelopes as often as you can! If things I receive are in good condition, I often put them away for use later.
*Save bubble wrap, packing peanuts if you use those, and tissue paper if you receive them in good condition.
*Using boxes and bubble mailers made out of recycled paper (or making them yourself) is another way to stay green when you ship.
I hope these tips and tricks will help you out when you create! It's always better to reuse or recycle something instead of throwing it out whenever possible.
Have tips of your own? Share them in the comments!