Many of our Queercents readers and writers are the DIY types who like to make crafts as both a hobby, and as a way to save money. I am one of those crafty individuals, with a burning passion for making my own jewelry. My partner is another crafty individual, although he prefers to crochet. Both of us have had to get creative in order to reduce our crafting expenses.

Craft projects made from found or recycled items are becoming the latest rage. It’s good for the planet, and it’s good for your wallet. Re-purposing objects that would normally end up in the trash can be really fulfilling, and it can help you keep up a crafting habit without having to go broke to do it. Here are a few budget-friendly ways to engage your own crafting habits.

Paper Crafts
Paper crafts are a great way to recycle magazines, comic books, and all that unsolicited junk mail you receive. You can make coasters, place mats, bowls, vases, baskets, and so much more. You could also use recycled paper to make your own gift wrap, or decoupage a picture frame.

Bottle Caps
Recycled bottle caps are a cute way to make magnets, dog tags, pendants, and other crafts. I’ve also seen belts, trivets, and bracelets mad out of bottle caps. Just save your beer or soda bottle caps, rinse them and let them air dry, then let your imagination take hold.

Wine Corks
Wine corks are another item that often goes to waste. But wine corks are becoming another popular crafting medium. Here are some patterns for bathmats and trivets, as well as a really comprehensive list of ideas for recycling your wine corks into cute crafts.

Pop Tabs
Have you ever thought of ways to re-purpose the little metal tabs on soda cans? You could make a coin purse out of them, or even a grocery shopping bag. Here’s a website that has several patterns for recycling pop tabs into craft projects.

Turn Your Hobby Into a Business
Another way to minimize your crafting expenses is to turn that hobby into a business. You could sell your crafts on or at local craft fairs. But you will need to start tracking your crafting expenses if you want to do this. For example, when I make a piece of jewelry that I plan to sell, I add up the cost of all of the supplies, then multiply the cost by two so that I make more money than I spent on the item. This helps me to cover my expenses and make a little extra at the same time. Instead of paying for a booth at a craft fair, my crafting group and I are planning a boutique sale in the Fall. We’ll advertise it just like we would a yard sale, thus minimizing the overhead of selling our crafts.

What are your ideas for budget-friendly craft projects? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments section.