Have you noticed the high prices of craft supplies? Me too!

To find cheaper crafting materials, crafters often visit flea markets, garage sales, and consignment stores. These are all wonderful sources for less expensive craft supplies, but there’s one place even cheaper – and everyone has access to it.

The outdoors. Mother Nature has a spectacular array of materials useful for craft projects, and it’s free.

For free craft supplies, try looking in your own yard, open spaces and trails, friends’ yards, city parks, or even next to roadways. Be aware that removing items from some areas, such as national parks, is illegal.

I’ve used several natural items in my craft projects. Here is a short list to help you with ideas:

  • Pine cones
  • Rocks big and small
  • Bark
  • Sticks, twigs and branches
  • Flowers
  • Leaves
  • Sea shells
  • Sand
  • Abandoned bird nests
  • Feathers


Natural materials often need some type of treatment to be usable. Pine cones, for example, have sap and bugs and so should be heated in an oven before using in your craft projects.

Flowers and leaves will need to be dried for use in certain projects, like collage or card making. You can press between newspaper and heavy books, or even make your own flower press to accomplish this. Look for instructions online.

Rocks, sea shells, sticks, and bird nests need to be cleaned prior to use. Sand can be sterilized by heating in an oven.

Take a step outside. It’s amazing what you can find in nature to use in your craft projects. And best of all, nature’s craft supplies are free.

For more ideas on how to craft on a budget, read Melody Jones’ “The Craft Lover’s Success Guide: Simple Ways to Nurture Your Creativity and Actually Finish Your Projects” available at http://www.mycraftebooks.com Melody Jones is a freelance writer, blogger, and expert crafter.