Tips and Tricks: Crafting on a Budget

by Roni Johnson

Tips and Tricks: Crafting on a Budget

Crafting can get pricey! If you are spending too much on crafting and it is taking some of the joy out of it then we are sharing some easy ways to scale back but still engage in a great crafting routine. There are lots of articles out there about crafting on a budget and most of them discuss the same list of common sense ideas…

  • Price shop
  • Clip Coupons (IRL or web)
  • Shop at Dollar Stores or Thrift Stores
  • Upcycle/Recycle various items
  • Search web for ideas/patterns

These general ideas are nice and they are a good start but I want to give you some specific ideas and tips to help you save not only money but something more valuable…your time.

Buy Unmounted Rubber Stamps

Unmounted stamps can cost as much as 50-80% less than traditional wood mounted stamps, take up less space and are easy to store and use. To use unmounted rubber stamps, apply Tack ‘N Peel to your acrylic blocks. This is a clear reusable cling sheet that has a protective liner sheet that can be used over and over. Once it has been affixed to the acrylic block it is very simple to use, remove the clear liner sheet; position the stamp on the block as desired, ink and stamp. When you are finished stamping simply peel the rubber stamp off the block and replace the liner. If the Tack ‘N Peel loses its “sticky” quality simply wash with water and let it dry. After it is dry it will once again be ready to use.

Make your own Texture Stamps and Stencils

This is a fun and easy task when you stop and look around your home. You’ll be surprised at how many items can be turned into a usable texture for all sorts of crafts. For example, lace, food netting, cheesecloth can all be used as a stamp or stencil. Foam food trays can be carved to create stamps, bubble wrap, rubber bands, fibers, leaves, coins can all be turned into stamps by sticking them to an acrylic block. Pencils tips are great for the bokeh technique, kitchen utensils, game pieces, tools, feathers, flowers, and more can also be put to use. You only have to take a moment and look around to see what you have on hand that will create fun and new stamps or stencils for your art.

Clearly Embossed

Let’s face it there are hundreds if not thousands of colors and brands of embossing powders on the market. You could easily spend a small fortune collecting the various embossing powders available today. A great option is clear embossing powder; the original ink color will shine through and match your project perfectly. No need to sort through jar after jar trying to find the right color to match your project and no more storing all of those little jars either! Tip: Did you know you can turn virtually any dye ink into an emboss-able image? Press your stamp onto a VersaMark ink pad then onto a dye ink pad and then stamp the image. The image can now be embossed because of the VersaMark ink. This works particularly well with a clean VersaMark ink pad for lighter colors and I keep an old grungy VersaMark for darker colors.

Make Pattern Papers

Let’s face it, most of us have more pattern paper to last us the rest of our lives so instead of buying yet another sheet, pack or collection, break out your stamps and make your own pattern! It’s easy; all you need is a sheet of plain cardstock, ink and complimenting stamps. All sorts of designs can be achieved quickly and easily. Give it a try, you’ll be surprised how quickly it is to make. Making a pattern doesn’t have to be perfect…if you make a stamping mistake, look at it as an opportunity to embellish!

Coloring Pages as Art

There are thousands of beautiful coloring sheets up for grabs on the internet free for your personal use. These coloring pages are great because they can be re-sized to fit your particular project and they can be used for backgrounds as well as the main focal point. You can choose to print the images on the appropriate paper to fit your particular use and mediums you would like to incorporate be it plain cardstock, bristol cardstock, watercolor paper, mixed media paper and more. The uses are limitless.

No More Waste

To eliminate wasting various mediums by keeping a supply of plain tags or A2 size blank cardstock panels handy when you are creating. Use these spare pieces to pick up excess medium from your work surface and tools. You may choose to pick up mediums once or several times depending on your preference. These tags and panels can then be used to create one of a kind artwork in a snap. All of the hard work has already been done. Simply pop on the main image and/or sentiment and your set to go. Instant card or tag for whatever your need.


When you’re making a card or gift be sure to work in multiples! By doing so you will cut down on waste and left-over scraps. If you use a quarter sheet of cardstock rather than pitch the extra or place it in the never-ending scrap basket make two or three similar cards to help use up all of the extra bits. Rather than having a basket full of scraps that you might or might not use you’ll end up with a basket of finished cards, tags, ATC’s, etc. that can be used in a moment’s notice.

No matter how you structure you crafting habits and budget you will find there are several ways to keep costs at a minimum. Thank you for stopping by the Imagine Blog!



Make Lavender Feather Earrings Out Of Clay

by Kyriakos Pachadiroglou

Make these quick and easy jewelry pieces out of lightweight clay. The feathers are colored with Memento markers in Angel Pink and Lulu Lavender colors to create  contrasting but still matching shades. I decided to use markers instead of ink pads as they can easily color in the fine details of the clay feathers. The clay feathers are covered with gold embossing powder around the edge and on the backside to give a faux metallic case for the feather.

Skill: Beginner
Time: 30 minutes + dry time


Step 1

Press lightweight clay in the feathers mold and set it aside until it is dried.

Step 2

Color the clay feathers with the Memento Angel Pink marker and continue with the Lulu Lavender marker following the pattern of the feather.

Step 3

Press the back side of the feather on the VersaMark inkpad, cover with Imagine gold embossing powder and heat set. Repeat the process with the second feather. To give a bit of extra shine, emboss the edges of the clay feather.

Step 4

Color a couple of same size white feathers with the Memento Lulu Lavender marker. Let them dry well.

Step 5

Cover the clay feathers with the Creative Medium Iridescent Blue to protect the colors and to add effect.

Step 6

Attach earring clasps and jump rings.

See my tutorial on jewelry making for more information on supplies: Want to Learn How to Make Jewelry?


  • Silicone feathers mold
  • Lightweight clay
  • White Feathers
  • Heat tool
  • Earring clasps
  • Jump rings
  • Pliers

Create a Lovely Set of Seashell Golden Glow Necklaces

by Roni Johnson


It’s fun to walk along the beach and pick up the shells that have washed ashore. It’s even more fun to take those shells and create a lovely piece of jewelry to hold those fond summer memories for months and years to come.

Skill: Intermediate
Time: 3 hours + dry time


Step 1

Wash and dry shells to prepare them for the project.

Step 2

Dip a Fantastix into the ink and “paint” it onto the shell.

Step 3

Continue painting the shell with the desired color of All Purpose Inks. Let the ink dry naturally or speed drying using a heat tool.

Step 4

Print desired images on copy or lightweight paper using an ink jet printer. I choose ocean themes to match the shells. Tear away the excess paper so the image fits into the center of the shell.

Step 5

Use your finger to spread a thin layer of Clear, Shimmer or Iridescent Creative Medium on the interior of the shell. Immediately press the image into the shell. Apply a layer of Creative Medium over the image pressing the image down into the grooves of the shell as you go.

Step 6

Apply a second layer of Creative Medium over the image to ensure that it has been sealed and set aside to dry.

Step 7

Use a Fantastix to apply All Purpose Ink in Vegas Gold around the edge of the shell and image. Let it dry naturally. This could take several hours depending on temps/humidity.

Step 8

Use a 5/64th drill bit in a Dremel set on the lowest speed to drill a hole in the top of the shell. Use jewelry pliers to add a jump ring and chain. Add any additional embellishments to make it your own design!



  • Printed Images (with an ocean theme)
  • Shell
  • Heat Tool
  • Dremel
  • 5/64th Drill Bit
  • Jewelry Pliers
  • Jump Ring & Chain

Project Swap: See How to Make Jewelry

Project Swap: See How to Make Jewelry with StazOn

Welcome back for another Artist Project Swap with Jennifer and Kyriakos. For the Month of May, we challenged our artists to exchange tutorials and create each other’s designs in order to see how each of our artists interprets style and choices. The receiving artist did not know who designed the project, nor did they receive any images! In today’s post, Kyriakos writes the directions and recommended supplies list and Jennifer created the project.

Not-So-Heavy Metals by Jennifer Vanderbeek


This month, we Artists swapped projects and I got to make this awesome necklace and earring set with SHEET Metal ovals and StazOn ink from directions by Kyriakos. This necklace and earrings set were so fun and easy to make and I’m sure it’ll be just as fun to wear.



  • Small round brads
  • Darice – Heat tool, Embossing Folder
  • Die machine
  • Jewelry Pliers
  • Jump Rings
  • Chain
  • Clasp
  • Ear Hooks
  • Metal Eyelet Setter
  • Mallet
  • Awl
  • Masking Tape
  • Sandpaper

Original Design by Kyriakos

What do you think of Jennifer’s interpretation of Kyriakos’ tutorial?

Comment below!

Helpful Tips and Tricks: How to Take Amazing Photos of Craft Projects

by Martha Lucia Gomez

Helpful Tips and Tricks: How to Take Amazing Photos of Craft Projects

With the ever-growing popularity of social media platforms, particularly Instagram, crafters have been talking about how to take better photos of our projects. Since not all of us are professional photographers, and we don’t all have “the perfect tools”, I would like to talk about how to take great photos of your work without having to be a pro-photographer.

Style your photos creatively

These are important elements to focus on when taking a photo of a project:

  • the backdrop or background
  • main focus – which is always your project
  • props or supporting elements to make the focus shine
  • the camera


With clear and simple photos you need to have a neutral base or background, like white, grey, ecru, cream or even brown tones like wood. Since most of us don’t have professional lighting, set your background up where it is in natural light, and make sure it is a large enough base to place your card or project. Try using dark colors in the background to help the project colors pop.

You can set up your background so that your project can be laid flat or standing up. I find that I can capture more details by taking photos of my cards flat on a surface with the camera located directly above it. Also, if you have a small space to take your photos, this option is perfect because it requires less space and can make it easier to incorporate other elements.

With flat photos, remember your backdrop is the most important part. If you are creative you don’t need to buy expensive elements, you can use everyday household items and surfaces as the background. The most important thing is to keep in mind the colors and textures. A brightly colored element next to your project can round out the scene and support the focal point, but being able to use it as the background will be trickier, tho can work on occasion.

You can use wood surfaces, floor boards, ceramic tiles or designer textured papers, as well as other supplies to add some depth to the photos. You can also use elements like designed plates, which can be easily found in home decor stores. My favorite is HomeGoods because I can buy just one plate, placemat or napkin. Neutral colored fat quarters found at the fabric store is another cheap option.

Supplies or Photo Props

With staging photos, it is nice to add a few elements alongside your card or project—but these cannot compete with the main focus object i.e. your crafting project. You can use many items as photo props. I use a lot of flowers and greenery, my favorites are made of silicone because the fabric flowers don’t look real to me. But definitely, my favorites photo props are the craft supplies. Supplies like inks, stamps, stencils, color pencils or markers, and die cuts are perfect elements to support your project. Extra embellishments like buttons, sequins, washi tape and twines are also great, but always be careful with the color combinations. My suggestion is to start with the neutral items first that won’t compete with your project. If you still aren’t finding what you like, just look around your home and you might find gorgeous elements that you can borrow for a few minutes as part of your photo.


With today’s technology, you really don’t need to have a professional camera. Cell phones like the iPhone or Samsung make it possible to take amazing photos. To make them work best, use natural light source and keep an eye out for any shadows across your photo. Also, think about a good angle to take the photo. Always start by making your lens parallel to the project front, and then play with the angle from there. My last helpful hint is very simple but important: always clean the lens of your camera or phone before taking the photos. Because we touch our phones so often it is easy for the lens to become dirty.

I hope you found these tips useful. Just remember to stay open to learning new ideas and most importantly have fun! Thank you for stopping by the Imagine blog and don’t forget to share!

Learn to Make an Enamel Copper Bead Bracelet

by Roni Johnson

Raspberry Red, Imagine’s color of the month, is the perfect color for February! It is such a bright, vibrant cheery color and it also inspires fond memories of summertime fun. Just a few simple steps using Tsukineko’s new VersaFine Clair, clear and sparkle embossing powders and copper tubing to create stunning one of a kind beads all your own. Nothing more satisfying than a DIY piece of jewelry for yourself or as a gift for someone you love. VersaFine Clair ink has a lovely translucent quality when combined with the embossing powders will yield a look resembling the sugary outer coating of a candied apple. This unique quality allows the warmth and beauty of the copper to shine through.

Skill: Advanced
Time: 45 minutes


Step 1

Uncoil the copper tubing and straighten. The ¼” copper tubing is very soft and easy to manipulate.

Step 2

Mark out desired bead size. The beads for this example are ½” pieces.

Step 3

Use a tube cutter to cut out the individual beads. Tubing cutters are very simple to operate. Place the tubing in the groove between the two wheels; tighten the tube up against the blade with the screw handle; twist the cutter around the tubing one full rotation. Tighten the screw a quarter turn or until the tube is once again tight. Twist the cutter one full rotation and repeat. ¼” copper tubing can usually be cut in 2-3 rotations. This entire operation takes only 30-45 seconds per bead.

Step 4

Cut the desired number of beads. A total of seven beads were used for this example.

Step 5

Place a tube bead over the end of a paintbrush or a wooden chopstick. Make sure that is heat resistant. Roll the copper bead over the Tulip Red VersaFine Clair ink pad.

Step 6

Dip the inked bead into clear embossing powder. If you’re worried about cross contamination, sprinkle some powder into a shallow dish or embossing tray and dip into the powder.

Step 7

Heat the embossing powder to melt; let the bead cool. Repeat steps 6, 7 & 8 for the second layer of clear embossing powder on the tube bead. Once the bead has cooled, roll it across the ink pad once again. Dip the inked bead into sparkle embossing powder. Melt the powder with a heat tool. Roll the bead round and round until the molten powders have cooled, approximately 30-45 seconds.

Step 8

Gently slip the bead off the paintbrush and let it continue to cool standing up on the craft mat. Gather necessary findings and assemble bracelet or other pieces of jewelry as desired.



  • ¼” Copper Tubing
  • Tubing Cutter 
  • Beadalon – Wire, Jump Rings, Crimp Beads, Spacers
  • Glass Beads
  • Jewelry Pliers
  • Heat Tool