Crafty Dragon Tips

As a newbie crafter, I am learning as I go. As I said in my earlier post, I am trying to be frugal. Buying name brand craft supplies can get real expensive, real quick. So today, I thought I would update you on my progress in accumulating supplies and share some tips I have learned. I would love comments and suggestions!!!

Crafting is messy, especially mixed media. I am clumsy by nature, as well as messy. If you are too, make sure your work area is where spills will not be a problem. The more room, the better. I have limited work space, so things get cluttered quickly. Paper towels and rags are a must,as are gloves. I buy my latex gloves at Harbor Freight, and I like them to fit snug. The ones I have now are a bit too loose, and I find it makes it difficult to pick up smaller items. Baby wipes are great to have around, as well as cotton swabs. Scissors. I am always losing my scissors.

Dollar Tree is where I am finding some of my basic supplies like containers. As I experiment with making various paints, I am making small portions until I figure out the best recipes. Dollar Tree has the perfect size containers.


Not all Dollar Trees are equal. I had to go to several different stores to find the LA Colors eye shadows to make my glimmer sprays. Finally found them at a store about 50 miles away. I was on my way home from my daughter’s  and stopped in in the hopes of finally finding some. I was so happy when they had all the colors I wanted, so I stocked up. Now, I will just stop by whenever I go visit.


I had ordered  a different brand from, another great way to save money, however, it takes awhile to get your items. They are much smaller by comparison, and virtually the same colors, so I will stick with LA Colors. I did get a black though, but I am thinking buying cheap cake shadow and crushing it myself will work just as well. I have several eye shadow collections I don’t use, so I will try that. The finer the powder, the better.Once I get better at the actual creation of a project process, I may decide to invest in bulk mica powders, but for now, this is the way I am going. It’s a fun and relatively inexpensive way to try things out.


To use the LA Colors, you have to pry off the bottom, which is hard. I would recommend once it is open, transfer whatever you don’t use into a slightly larger container so it doesn’t fly everywhere the next time you open it. I used half of one to make some glimmer spray, but when I put the bottom back, it didn’t seal. So I ended up with a mess.


I didn’t waste it though. I mixed it with some Mod Podge and now have some glimmer paint! I used a whole package of eye shadow to make a bottle of glimmer spray.It still had powder clinging to the sides,so instead of throwing the container away,I put it in a plastic bowl and rinsed with a little alcohol, and used it to finish filling up my bottle of spray.It came with a cute little brush, so I am saving it for future use.

In my previous post, I made a bunch of alcohol ink with cheap markers. The colors are not as intense as I wanted, so I added a second marker to them. Sharpie markers are a better way to go. The colors are much richer. When I transfer the ink to my dropper bottles, I don’t through away the marker bits, but add more alcohol. I’m sure I will have a project in the future that will need paler colors. I also tried using glycerin dies, bought in the baking section of the craft store. Cheaper than regular food color, but my Michael’s did not have a big selection of colors. I haven’t used anything in a project yet, but test swabs seem promising. I broke down and bought a lot of Ranger inks from eBay, just to see the consistency and color range. It’s a lot cheaper to buy a lot than to buy individual packages. Average price at a craft store is 9.99 for a three pack. I paid 39.95,free shipping, for 21 different colors. 1.90 versus 3.33 each.Jo Ann’s and Michael’s and Hobby Lobby often have sales, so if you don’t want to put out 40 bucks at one time, wait for a sale. Once they come in, I will do a comparison post.

When you first start buying supplies, especially if you are starting from scratch, purchasing DIY supplies will seem like it is more expensive, but in the long run it will not be.However, if you are only dabbling, buying name brand might be better. The projects I have in mind for the future require many different items in various amounts, so I am going in whole hog. Besides writing, this is my creative outlet.

I bought a die cutting and embossing machine, a Sizzix Big Shot. This is my biggest expense so far. Dies are not cheap, nor are stencils and stamps, especially the steampunk themed ones I want. So I am slowly amassing them, with the intention of selling some of the die cuts on ebay to offset the expense. I still have to look into the legality of that.Maybe I will just do some swaps with other die cutters.

I also invested in a couple of clay molds to make gears. Never worked with polymer clay, so that will be a fun experience.Got a laminator, mainly to make book marks, which I may sell on Etsy. I am not looking to make a living doing this, but if I can get a few bucks back here and there, it’s all good. I am doing this for my enjoyment only, like my writing.  In watching YouTube videos, I have learned just how much effort  and expense goes into creating some of my favorite mixed media pieces. Which is why I am trying to create my own.

Spray bottles are not cheap. I plan to buy in bulk in the future and sell some extras on Ebay. In my search for supplies, I have found you either have to pay more for individual items, or buy in bulk and end up with way more than you can use. With no intention of selling my stuff for profit, bulk doesn’t make sense on items I can reuse.

I made some texture paste and gesso. The recipe I used for gesso is from a video on YouTube by mytherapyroom.

¼ cup Plaster of Paris (or you can use baby powder) *I used baby powder.
¼ cup water
½ cup white acrylic paint
¼ cup white glue (I buy the cheap Dollar Store glue for this)
Pour all ingredients into an air tight container and mix WELL. You want to make sure all of your Plaster of Paris is mixed in very well. If you want a heavier Gesso then simply add more Plaster of Paris. If you want a light Gesso, add a bit more paint.

Gesso dries to opaque white.I found several recipes for clear gesso, but it requires marble dust, which can be bought on Amazon. I do not see me needing any in the near future so I will hold off on that for now.

I got this recipe for texture paste from gauchealchemy on YouTube.
1 part white paint

1 part talc(baby powder)
1/2 part glue( I used ModPodge because I had it on hand.)

The texture paste didn’t seem thick enough so I added more baby powder. Still not happy with it, so I will search out another recipe to try. I have one using plaster of paris that looks like it may work better.

That’s it for now. Check back for the further adventures of a Crafty Dragon!


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