No paper crafter would ever claim that this hobby is inexpensive - there are too many wonderful, tempting products in the marketplace... and they keep making new ones! So if I find an easy, effective way to save a bit of money in my projects, I'm more than happy to impliment it!

This section shares a few of the ways that I have found to stretch my crafting pennies .... I hope you'll find one or two of them helpful.

I love to experiment with different mediums, incorporating different finishes and textures on my projects. The issue of course is $$$. All of the lovely things come with a price tag - which is not always so lovely!

I recently watched a video on DIY embossing paste and decided to give it a try, and I am pretty happy with the results!

To experiment with this you need mica powder (I sourced mine from Michaels and Amazon), and a blending medium (I used heavy bodied medium by Artist's Loft from Michael's). You will also need little jars to store these in, unless you only mix up very, very small quantities at a time. I recommend a wide mouth jar as it's a lot easier to get the product out of. (ask me how I know!)

Mica powder comes in assorted colours and finishes - the one I purchased from Michaels is "regular", the one from Amazon is colour shifting. I love the first one on light coloured cardstock, and the second is stunning on dark coloured cardstock.

I mixed up a quantity with each of the colours of mica and put cling film over the top of the jar before putting the lid on. I haven't had any issue with product going "off" before I use it. The colours naturally deepen as you add more mica - I see lots of experimentation in my future.

In comparison to commercial products I have found that the DIY version is slower to dry in some instances, and less vibrant overall.

While I will continue to use up the commercial product that I have purchased - and may even buy more in the future if I really, really want vibrancy - but I am delighted with my inexpensive DIY version.

My card bases are typically white or cream. When I want a different coloured base or a border, I'll simply add a layer in the appropriate colour over the card base. However, I will often cut a rectangle from the center to save for future use, or even use a piece that has already had something cut out of the middle. This saves a bit of cardstock, and no one will ever know as it is sandwiched between the card base and the card face.

A variation to this is when I want a very narrow border ( or decide that I should have included a border after the card face is already glued down ). At that point I use a coloured marker and go around the circumference of the card face. Viola! a border is created and the card is saved.

Sometimes it seems like every blessed thing to do with paper crafting is pricey ... no, make that PRICEY! Not long after I started cardmaking I asked myself how attached I was to "brand" versus "result". The answer - for me - is not at all! I firmly believe that there is a huge benefit to using good paper for stamping, quality inks, stamps, and dies: these products are well made when we buy them from reputable manufacturers and will serve us well. But I'm more than happy to spend a little less on some other products, where I have found that cheaper versions work for me.

Paper: I use Accent 110 lb and 80 lb(white) from Amazon or Recollections 110 lb (cream) from Michaels for stamping. There may come a day when I try Hammermill or Neenah, and then face palm for not trying it sooner - but for now the less expensive brands meet my needs.

Cardstock for Layering:

When the only purpose of a cardstock is to provide contrast, or to add a pop of colour to a design it's just not necessary to use high quality paper. I was a demo for Stampin' Up! for a few years and I still have some of their coloured cardstock, which I love. But as I exhaust my supply I need to find something more affordable for layering.

I came across a pack of paper at the dollar store that included white, kraft and black. I've used a lot of the kraft and black in the past month or so, and you can't tell the difference when all you're seeing is 1/8" on a border. I'll definitely be buying more; maybe I can donate the white to a local school. (edit: I have recently experimented with stamping/stencilling on the kraft, with mixed results.)


I prefer liquid glue for almost everything I do, and I use Tombo Aqua. The bottles last a long time, and I've never had it dry out on the card and let go, as happens with runner tape.

I do use dollar store runner tape as a temporary adhesive: if I want to secure a piece on a surface while I work with it, and then be able to remove it without damage - dollar store runner tape does the trick. (note - this isn't the way it's supposed to work, but it doesn't have much "stick" to it at all.)

I get my foam tape and tear tape from the dollar store! They stick very well and meet my need.

Embellishments :

I love a bit of sparkle on my cards! I do monthly classes at retirement homes, and I go through quite few there, but I also just like using it in my own designs.

I adore websites that provide good quality gems and pearls and I do purchase those occasionally, but most of my sparkle comes from the dollar store or Michaels when a sale is on. I'm fussy about what I buy, and they look great when they're used well in a design.

This one technique allows you to save money AND help the environment. Not bad, right?

Start by saving the strips that you cut off card stock when you create layers - the width doesn't matter, they can be 1/8" to any size you want to use in the design. It's easiest if they are at least 5.5", but shorter can work as well. When you have 20-25 strips you can get started.

Cut a piece of copy paper to 5.5 x 4.25 for a standard card base (or whatever size you prefer to work with). Apply a double sided adhesive sheet to this: remove the release paper and you're ready to start.

Lay your first strip of cardstock down on the adhesive in whichever direction you want - horizontial, vertical, diagonal. Then butt the second piece in snugly against the first: and just keep going until your copy paper is covered. ( If some of your pieces are too short to go across the entire piece, just grab another strip in the same width and carry on. )

Flip this over so that you can see the original edges of your copy paper, and use a trimmer to cut this back to those dimensions. Instantly a very shaggy looking "mess" becomes an intriguing piece of paper, full of possibility.

This can be done with one colour, multiple colours and even patterned paper. The pieces would end up in landfill anyway - so go ahead and play!

hint: it's easier to run the strips on the diagonal than to try to be certain that they all run perfectly straight the entire length of the copy paper.

I'm the gal who loves sparkle and shine on almost every card - but I'm also the gal who doesn't have an unlimited budget to purchase all the pretty bling (although sometimes I weaken, LOL) ... luckily there are a couple of ways to create your own embellishments that are very budget-friendly.

Dies: I have a couple of dies that will cut tiny circles for me, so if I have scraps of metallic cardstock I can combine the two to create my own confetti.

Nuvo Drops: these come in many colours and finishes, and one bottle will last a very long time. I find that I like to experiment with the placement of embellishments, but drops don't allow that. To solve that issue I create drops in advance: I save release paper and create drops in several sizes in any colour I choose. I can keep these safely on a shelf, on the release paper, until I need them.