Broke-Ass Category: Broke-Ass Brilliance


Affiliate Disclaimer NewAh, the craft store … for the DIY couple, it can start to feel like a second home. There are paints and paper, ribbons and trim and if you really start looking, you may start to realize that a lot of this stuff is really expensive.

When it comes down to it, craft stores and the supplies therein are usually marketed towards women. If you’re a lady — particularly one who is new to the whole creative makers movement — it can be comforting to be surrounded in all of the pretty and greeted by female employees who probably get all excited to show you where to get started crafting your beautiful day, but the insidious reality remains that you’re likely to get stuck with what many economists are now recognizing as the “Pink Tax.” Craft store products usually offer top-notch quality, but smaller quantity and useless specialty packaging frequently leads to less bang for your buck, so when it’s time to get creative, there are several things worth a trip to the hardware store. Your wallet will thank you!

Spray paint

Silverware Box Customized with Chalkboard Spray Paint

Specialty spray paint can run a pretty penny at the craft store … as in over $10 a can for certain types. I used Valspar’s Chalkboard Spray Paint to resurface this old silverware box ¬†for about 30% less than other brands in my local craft store. An added bonus of most home improvement stores is that they sell paint by the case for an additional¬†savings if you have larger projects. Plus, the selection is amazing!


Woodburned Pallet Wood

Pinterest made the pallet hot, and now you can find mini unfinished pallet wood for around $20, totally defeating the purpose of a cheap and unique find. If you’re looking for wood to stain, add woodburning touches, distress or otherwise transform in to perfect wedding day decor, try the carpentry department before the craft store. You’re more likely to find an employee who can guide you to the best purchase for your project and again, it’s so much cheaper!

Hand Tools

Kobalt 22-Piece Hand Tool Set from Amazon

Kobalt 22-Piece Household Tool Set, $99.47 from Amazon

Whether you just need a hammer or a full set of wrenches and screwdrivers, you’ll be better served in a hardware store. If you DON’T want pink, they’ll have plenty to suit you and if you do, don’t worry, they’ll have that, too!

Craft adhesives

completed mercury glass diy

When I built my compote bowls for my reception, I needed a special glass-bonding glue to hold the non-porous surfaces together. Oh, I bought it at a craft store, but then I saw it was almost half as cheap at the hardware store! The world of clue can be an oddly meticulous place, but you’re almost guaranteed to find what you need on the wall of your local Lowe’s.

Pots and Planters

Susquehanna Outdoor Barrel Planter Amazon

Susquehanna Large Cedar Barrel Planter, $34.98 from Amazon

Do you need terra cotta for your centerpieces? A large tub for beer? Maybe just something funky and fun to hold favors? Head over to your gardening department and soak in the savings. The outdoor section will almost always offer up options loads cheaper than the home decor area of your local craft store, plus with plenty of plain or plastic things to choose from, you’re free to customize and DIY to your heart’s content!

There are still plenty of times a craft store will serve you well. If you need regular art supplies, specific specialty items or, of course, glitter, you’re in the right place, but knowing where to save a few bucks adds up over time and that’s one of the reasons we’re here, right?

Have you broken ranks and found better places to save a buck? What are you buying and where? Let us know in the comments below!

  • 7/25

    Affiliate Disclaimer NewI made my first wedding craft!!! It was a lot of fun, and it helped to get me excited again about the wedding! When you spend the first part of your engagement trying to come up with a budget, venue, and all that goes with it, it’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed. We have been through our fair share of ups and downs as I stress myself out about money and waffle¬†over what seems to be the insurmountable task of having an affordable wedding. The marriage — that’s what I’m excited about, so recently we decided to invest in our house and make it a better place to spend our married days together. Then we will have the wedding at home. Now that we have made a final decision, we can start working toward making it happen.

    I had a much needed girls day last weekend that was spent with a fellow budget bride making wedding crafts. I decided that my project would be bridesmaid proposals for the ladies I love. I wanted to make some cute boxes that had a few treats and something personalized, but I also needed to make six¬†of them and I just couldn’t spend a lot of money right now.

    bab heather

    I have two bridesmaids that are under 21: my daughter and my soon to be sister-in-law. For them, I decided to make a box with bath products and chocolates. I bought two mason jars with lids at Dollar Tree for $1 each. I personalized them with an oil-based paint marker. I filled each jar with bubble bath, added some bath bombs, candy, and a note.

    Bridesmaid proposal box for underage bridesmaids

    For my lovely ladies who can drink, I made them personalized stemless wine glasses, added some wine, chocolates, and a note.

    Bridesmaid proposal box for bridesmaids

    I had been stressing that the boxes and materials were going to blow my budget. I found the photo storage boxes at Michael’s on a door buster deal for $2 each! I also found two coupons that they allowed me to use together. I bought seven¬†boxes (in case I messed one up), four¬†Sharpie oil paint markers, two¬†packages of card stock, gold spray paint (didn’t use), and after my coupons it cost me $36 for the materials, the cost of the contents was not too much per box, so I am super excited about the outcome!

    Did you DIY proposals for your crew? Share them in the comments!

  • 7/22

    Ring Security Polo Shirt by TheKnottedPalm

    Ring Security Polo Shirt, $22+ by Etsy seller¬†TheKnottedPalm Will your ring bearer be the only security at your wedding? Hey guys, keep your advice questions coming! Dear Lisa, My MIL says I need to hire security for our wedding reception, but I don't really want to pay extra for security and it's a squeeze for our budget, plus I think it would offend our¬†guests. Do…

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    Eve Gown from Rue de Seine

    Today's CAI/GOI request is for a lovely Rue de Seine look-alike. Reader Emily commented on this post asking for help finding a gown similar to the New Zealand designer's "Eve" from the Young Love and Nomadic Love collections. Emily says she is addicted to Rue de Seine designs, and who can blame her?! Rue de Seine gowns are soft, feminine, and romantic. The "Eve" gown…

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    And that's okay! We're a little over two months out from our wedding, so Russel and I decided to check out the progress at our venue this past weekend. It was actually a triple-duty trip to Amish country -- we worked on our invitations, stopped by the fairgrounds, and spent QT with my parents. Our summer has been insanely busy, so we haven't been able…

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  • 7/19


    There are places in my life that I feel so connected to by memories and experiences that they almost take on a life of their own. My parents' house (where Matt and I currently call home as we save to buy a house of our own) is like that. The campground where we got engaged, where I'm writing this from currently on a surprise trip…

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    Real Bride Amy enjoys her Bridal Shower

    This past weekend, I had my bridal shower! I was pretty excited about an opportunity to celebrate with my friends. Like all things, I had to do something a little bit nontraditional. Since I'm not having a formal bridal party, there was initially some question over what the shower plans would be, but I have great friends, so a group of my would-be bridesmaids planned…

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    Mixbook Photo Book Cover

    It's been a hot second since we've done a good Five for Friday around here, and I'm switching it up a little this week. Mixbook recently gave me the opportunity to put together my own hardcover photo book (because I got married, y'all) and I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you my top five reasons why I'm super stoked I went this route…

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  • 7/14

    Hayley Paige Ginger 1604

    Hey BABs! Got your heart set on a lacy, long-sleeved gown? Reader Steph does: Do you have any suggestions for a "can't afford it, get over it" on the Ginger gown from Hayley Paige? I love it but shouldn't spend more than $1,200 on my dress. The sweetheart lace bodice with sheet sleeves and lacy appliques is stunning! Let's see what we can find! Hayley…

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