7/26 Real Bride Shannon: Five Times to Skip the Craft Store

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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!

  • saminrva

    Twine! Buy this pretty much anywhere except a craft store.

  • Danielle Griggs

    mason jars too, buy them ANYWHERE but at a craft store. Your best bet is a garage sale or grandma’s basement. Most older relatives probably have some hanging around.

    • Yesss!!! We also like the approach of just eating jarred spaghetti sauce and saving the jars … because spaghetti.