It’s no secret that the dollar store is a treasure trove of household supplies on the cheap. Where else can you find household cleaners, home decor, kitchen supplies, toys, and even groceries (yikes) all for 1 measly dollar?
Just about any dollar store will do, but I especially love my no-name, low-budget dollar local stores. If you don’t have one of these in your area, the regular ol’ Dollar Tree is a fantastic option. I especially love that they have an ever increasing and improving selection.
I have found a lot of items that I use in my block-printing practice. When shopping for art type supplies in the dollar store, it is important to keep an open mind. Use your imagination, and you must might find a diamond in the rough. Here:
- Dishwashing foam sponges: These can be cut up and used as is, or made into ‘spouncers’ to dab paint onto your stamps.
2. Craft foam sheets: Craft foam is great for making simple geometric shapes. These foam sheets tend to be on the thinner side, but are still useful in a pinch.
as a bonus, you can also use adhesive foam shapes as a shortcut
and Flip flops/knee pads, etc, when available
(flip flops and knee pads, make great textures!)
3. StyroFoam plates and Trays: My personal favorite! These come about 50-100 in a pack and are fantastic for holding paint.
4. Plastic Basins/bins/buckets: These are great for corralling stamps and other tools and materials that need to be washed. Fill about halfway with water and toss in your stamps until you are ready to wash.
5. Popsicle sticks, bamboo skewers: When I mix my paint in a flat plate or tray, my personal favorite paint mixer is the humble bamboo skewer. It sounds counter-intuitive, but try it! I find that it really incorporates the paint well. A close second for me is the popsicle sticks, especially when mixing inside a vessel with taller sides, such as a cup or bowl.
6. Plastic Chopping Mats: These are good for resting my tools in-between print pulls.
I also cut these up and use them in plotting my stamp placement. More on this later.
7. Plastic Table Covers: These are fantastic for protecting my work surface.
8. Rolls of paper towels: I tend to buy these in bulk, but they are easily available at the dollar store in a pinch. I use these for cleanup, of course.
9. Cloth Rags: For reusable cleaning. My first choice would be to find old rags I already have, but if you live in rag-less home, the dollar tree is a great option for kitchen towels, shammies, microfiber rags, and even T-shirts that can be cut up for cleanup!
10. Shaving Foam: Yes, shaving foam! I use this to modify your latex paint to print on fabric. More on this later.
11. Stamp Backs: This can be a bit of a mystery, and a bit hit-or miss, but stay with me here… When looking for supplies on the cheap, it is important to keep your eyes and your mind open for things designed for one purpose, but repurposable for another. For instance, the Dollar Store sells clear acrylic picture frames in sizes as small as 4”x6”. You see a frame, I see a stamp backing! Sure, the acrylic is thin, and you will have to trim off the stand, but it beats the craft store acrylic prices by a mile.
Additionally, from time to time, Dollar Tree will have wooden doodads such as games and small cutting boards. These are also great for mounting your stamp. Lastly, Dollar Tree seels small square ceramic coasters. I see stamp backs! Those may not work for you, but the idea is to keep your eyes and mind open when shopping the Dollar Store.
12. Super glue: The Dollar Store is a great place to find your plain old run of the mill Cyanoacrylate super glue. They tend to come in packs of 2, 3, or 5, depending on the brand. These are fantastic for adhering your stamps to their backs, whether wooden or acrylic.
13. Erasers I’m an eraser hoarder, and the Dollar Store has them in abundance! I especially love the ‘big mistake’ erasers because they are larger than normal. I carve my erasers into small stamps.
14. Brown mailing paper rolls for stamping wrapping paper: These are great for printing your own wrapping paper, or just for test prints of a stamp.
Sketch books for practicing stamping: My local dollar store also sells sketch pads, and printer paper. Also great for test prints and sketching.
15. Felt Sheets: You can make your own stamp pad, and the Dollar store has you covered
16. Small Box Cutter/Craft Knife with replacement knives: For making blunt cuts of either rubber or craft foam.
17. ¼” Dowel Rods: these can be combined with cut up foam sponges to make a foam spouncers.
18. Plastic Bins: For storing Stamps and other doodads.
19. Markers/Pencils/Tape Etc for drawing out your stamps
20. Plastic Food Storage Tubs for storing paint. Their selection is in-sane! The ones pictured here come 4 in a pack. I’ve seen similar tubs in art supply stores for $5 each! I’ve often wondered who’s buying those. Hopefully it won’t be you.
So, these are my best artmaking/crafting items that I get from the dollar store. There are so many, many more jewels to be discovered! If you are one of the few people who never considered buying supplies from the dollar store, do yourself (and your wallet) a favor!