Creative corners: What to do with leftover craft supplies

If like us you’ve been tidying your creative space this month – it probably means you’ve got stacks of stash that need a new home. So what next?

A few strands of yarn could be used up at home (pom pom time!) whereas a pile of untouched skeins from that jumper you never got round to knitting might make the perfect charity donation – or even pick up a few pennies online.

Read on for six ways to clear your craft stash:

1. Donate to charity

Plenty of charity shops accept arts and crafts materials (Brighton homelessness charity Emmaus ask for sewing machines, wool, fabric and art supplies).

In Scotland, Impact Arts are keen for donations, while in London there’s Bag Books, who need new materials and unwanted sewing machines.

Women in Prison need your crafty bits, from wool and felt to glitter and glue, to use as part of their work in prisons and at women’s centres – and they also reuse old Christmas cards. Find out how to donate here.

Fine Cell Work, who train prisoners in paid, skilled needlework, need tapestry wools, threads and quilting fabrics – the brighter the better! They also need tapestry frames and embroidery hoops, as well as kits the stitchers can practice on.

Craftivist Collective, which helps people do gentle activism using craft, sell super-ethical A Heart for Your Sleeve kits – which aim to get people thinking about climate change. They need thin green cotton fabric (plain and patterned).

2. Give to local organisations

Local makers might love your surplus stuff, too. Check out nearby nurseries and schools, which often want craft supplies for classes and clubs. Sixth form and art colleges are also good bets – hit up their art and theatre departments. Don’t forget your local Brownies, Guides and Scouts.

While you’re at it, scope out local churches, museums, libraries and WIs – and spare a thought for hospitals and hospices.

Some thrift organisations do the hard work for you. Scrap Stores takes donations of everything from art supplies to wallpaper to be reused by artists, teachers and therapists.

3. Take part in a craft swap

You may have already tried swishing – parties where you exchange your unwanted clothes (not the ones you’re wearing!) for someone else’s – and the newest trend from the US is the similar destash bash, where people swap their old crafty bits.

London Craft Club recently held a swish where for £3 participants could bring one good-quality bit of crafting kit then browse what everyone else brought before taking home their chosen swag. It was so successful, founder Sonia is planning another.

Live in Loughborough? Purple Pumpkin Patch are holding a “sell or swap” destash bash on 22 April.

Or why not set up your own?

4. Get selling

We don’t even want to know how much of our pay packets go on crafty finds, so it makes sense to try to make some cash back.

Try eBay, Gumtree or local message boards. Or head to Preloved, which has an arts and crafts section offloading everything from jars of buttons to a spinning wheel (tempting…).

If you’re feeling active (and you have a LOT of stuff), why not book a space IRL at a car boot or jumble sale?

5. Host a crafternoon

Feeling friendly? Try hosting a crafternoon – invite your craft squad round and get making. Either pile up your unwanted materials and let everyone get creative (we say patchwork, appliqué, pom poms and granny squares are all perfect stash-busters) or invent some bespoke projects.

Want to give to charity at the same time? The new Mollie Makes Big Comic Relief Crafternoon mag is out in time for this month’s Red Nose Day on 24 March.

6. Give it away!

So you’ve tried all of the above and you’ve still got stuff? Don’t despair, maybe it’s time to just give it away!

Websites like Freecycle or Freegle are the perfect place to advertise, or simply pop a message on social media and see if any crafty contacts want your stash.

Alternatively, a pretty wrapped-up pile of craft supplies might make a lovely gift for a creative pal.


More good reads:

Creative corners: Decluttering for makers

Leftover yarn ideas

Storage DIY and ideas