April 8, 2010

$$Frugal Friday Tip$$

Tools for less by Stephanie

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Guest Design Team Member Stephanie contributed this frugal tip:

I have a weak spot for tools but I have hurt my scrap budget a couple of times by buying a tool I thought I would use only to find that I really don’t like the technique that the tool is meant for. In a lot of cases this means that the tool becomes “wasted money” and takes up space in my limited amount of storage space. Right now, distressing is hot and it’s tempting to buy all of the new tools from Tim Holtz and Tonic! but it is just not necessary. Here are two ways you can save yourself a little cash when trying out distressing.

1) Use standard sandpaper.

Many of us own power sanders or know someone who does. It’s super cheap (if not free!) pull a set of new sandpaper sheets out of the toolbox or borrow them from your neighbor. You can also buy a wide variety of sandpaper at your local hardware store for very cheap.

2) Use a wire brush.

Another hot distressing technique is to use a small, stiff, wire brush to distress paper. It creates a deeper etch and a different look. I found the Tim Holtz tool online before I went to my hardware store and bought the pack of 3 brushes for less than $4! The bonus, these are something I can use in woodworking if I decide that distressing doesn’t work for me.

This card was made using hardware store finds instead of buying pricey distressing tools!

Do you have an example of a project you've done using alternative tools, or have you done a project using the techniques described here? We would love to share them - just send a picture and a brief description to scrappinpsycho@live.com .

Do you have a frugal tip you'd like to share? Email it along with a picture to scrappinpsycho@live.com. Your tip could be featured in our next $$Frugal Friday Tips$$

Want more frugal tips - just click on the label "Frugal Friday Tips". If you use any of the tips and would like to share your project - just email it. We'd love to see what you've created.


  1. Great tip! I've been guilty of doing the same with some of my tools. Sometimes just thinking if this fancy scrapbooking gadget has roots as an actual tool is good to do before buying it at the craft store for much more.

  2. Great ideas. I have used sandpaper to distress my pages.
    I have to check out your other frugal tips.
    A quick one just came to me that I have done. Instead of those distress edging tools I just open my scissors and run my paper inbetween the scissors where the two blades meet.

  3. Great tips!!

    I think I have a wire brush from when my DH fixed something under the kitchen zink!!!!

    I do use regular sand paper. And since my DH works in construction, I ask him to look for the sand blocks the sheetrockers throw away. I just clean them very well and they work perfect!

    Gorgeous card!

  4. Great tips and reminders! I also use the sanding blocks and anything else I find at the hardware store!

  5. I like these ideas! It is amazing the price difference of basically the same things in other stores compared to the scrapbook store. We can save quite a bit of money with just a little creativity.

  6. Great ideas! I like regular sandpaper better, it's stronger.