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Save your Dollars$$, blog #9

Christeen Street Studios Weekly Blog

Hello readers, happy Monday! I know the title of today’s blog is a bit, obvious. Something we all do is try to save our money. But when you are an artist, maker, or crafter you constantly find tools and other things you really need in order to create. But do we really to need buy those things just yet? That is a question I have asked myself repeatedly, and not that surprising, the answer is usually no.

Let me be more specific, starting out as an artist, maker or just those who are crafty you find you need some things to aid you in your work, like a mechanic needs his wrench set. But with creativity you can skip purchasing some of those things until you can actually afford them and no, buying these things does not make you more of a professional, it just gives you less money to put towards the things you absolutely have to buy, like paint. I for one prefer to save my very limited dollars for those things, and instead spend my creativity making things that can hold me over, or completely replace the actual item.

For instance, I have a small paint pallet I use. I purchased it at my local craft store for a dollar. However, as I paint more and more, the paintings get bigger and I use more colors. Therefore, I need a bigger pallet to mix my paint. However, to buy a decent sized one can cost over $20. Now you may think, ok $20 is not that much, and it’s not really. But when you are in a position where you have to choose between the paint you desperately need, or a pallet to mix them on, the choice is clear; paint it is. Nevertheless, this still leaves you with the need to be able to mix your colors somewhere.  I also needed an easel to paint on, but then one of those, even a decent tabletop version can be over $50. So again, I charged my creativity card and made one.

I upcycled an old cardboard box I had been using to spray paint on, along with a few other things I already had and I made myself a pallet and easel. Now let me say these are not the most pretty things, but they get the job done, and for now, they hold me over just fine. For the color pallet I took part of that old box, cut an oval where my thumb goes, covered it in aluminum foil, put some cling wrap around that and bam! I’m good to mix my paints. When I’m done, I simply take off the cling wrap and I have a fresh pallet to cover and use again, this also works great for wet pallet needs, and if you are careful, you can just rinse the paint off and not waste the plastic wrap. 

The easel is not as functional as the pallet is, but it does what I need it to do for now. I took more of that old cardboard box, cut small squares and glued them together as to raise it off the table surface so I could stick thumbtacks into it to hold my canvas pad. Yes you read the right, a canvas pad. Although I am a seasoned fluid artist, I am still refining my painting skills so I use a canvas pad instead of actual stretched canvases to practice on, its much cheaper. These are like a piece of paper, but made from canvas and great to practice on or to make an artist journal. Now when I am confident enough to paint on an actual canvas this easel will not work. It also lays flat on the table so those who really need their canvas to be upright or at a tilt may not like this creative approach, but again its working for my needs for the time being.

These are only two examples of how I put my creativity to the test to help make some of the tools I need in order to create my art, but there are many others. What I hope you take away from this post is that even though charging your creativity credit card takes more energy, effort, and time, it still allows you to save your money for what is most important for you right now. So until next week, put some of that bountiful creativity you have into other things around you, and save your dollars! Christeen