Cut and Run with it

For arts and crafts people, sales on expensive supplies aren't as frequent as those for clothing (it seems like every clothing or department store has a "sale" every week), but they're not exactly hard to come by. I always stocked up when JoAnn's had a sale, or if I find something from a clearance bin somewhere. It's a different story for tools of the trade, however. I feel like I've spent a lot of money for tools because I can never seem to find any on sale. The wire cutters of my "starter" set of jewelry-making tools went dull so fast that I had to get a better one within a month or two. I've only "scored" once when it came to getting bargain-basement tools that didn't fall apart in my hands.

One thing that took me a while to procure was a cutting board. A long time ago, I bought a roll of vinyl because I had a very particular idea of what I wanted to do with it. However, I couldn't do it without a) an x-acto knife, and b) a proper cutting board. The price ranges for x-acto knifes varied--I've seen some cheap and ostensibly cheapy ones, and I've seen some expensive ones. I thought that a cutting board wouldn't be all that expensive, but I was wrong. I was surprised by how pricey they can be, and worse yet, they're often too big. I don't have a whole lot of space to work with, so I was quite disappointed. The roll of vinyl sat in a box, unloved and abandoned, for many months.

Cut to a couple of months ago, when I was shopping for clothes at the FIDM scholarship store. Imagine my happiness when I saw this:

This kit has everything I was too cheap to spend money on. I didn't care for the rulers, but it's got the x-acto knife and the cutting board! All for under $3! I was so flippin' happy! Yeah, the quality of the cutting board isn't great, but the size was just right, and it did its job. I used it to carry out my idea, which was this:

X-acto knives are so fun. I literally went crazy the night I got the cutting board. I made this necklace/collar/whatever you call it and a number of other cutouts. My once-upon-a-time dream of becoming an orthopedic surgeon may have been turned on its head, but at least my steady hands have not gone to waste. I was tempted to go back to the store to buy another set, just in case it breaks down, but I haven't yet. Should I? The last time I went to the store, it was clear that cutting boards weren't very hot sellers, so I think there should be some left.

With a cheap set like this, replacement parts are not included. That wasn't a surprise. Fortunately, during the local JoAnn's closing sale last month, I found a pack of replacement blades for a real bargain. It's safe to say that I'll be doing lots of cutting for some time to come.

Anyone got good deals on tools of the trade? What's your secret? We won't tell. ;-)


bee said...

it's hard to decide which of your etsy creations are my favorite! i'm stalking 443 oceanside, and perhaps i will make it mine... :)

Stacie said...

Yes! Yes! Yes! If you haven't already, sign up for the JoAnn sale flyer that comes in the mail. You can do it online or in the store. My sister signed up online and gets coupons via email a lot as well. Every 2 weeks an ad comes with a 40% off coupon and sometimes with more coupons. You can use it on anything that isn't on sale. Every once and a while tools are on sale for 40-50% off. Also, a there is sometimes a Michael's ad in the local newspaper on Sunday with a 40% off coupon. I have gotten all of my tools at a discount this way. Sometimes you can find things at the dollar store. They are cheap so if they break, at least they didn't cost too much. Walmart has some craft supplies for cheaper than the craft stores, if you can deal with going there.

Sales Rack Raider said...

Thanks for stalking, Bee!

Stacie--coupons are good! Too bad that by the time I signed up for it, the local Joann closed down. They weren't very well stocked in the first place so I never found good deals on tools. They had a lot of good sales on findings, though. Now if I want wire, I have to go to WalMart (ick, but the nearest craft store is so far away).

S. said...

Congrats on finding the tools to make your vision happen.

It's so lovely!