We all have extra art, craft and creative supplies that aren't being used. Perhaps you over-purchased on one project or lost steam on another. But it’s all good stuff and might very well inspire someone else! Want to find them a new home? Host a Creative Supplies Swap with your friends, colleagues and community.

Our inaugural swap included yarn, thread, fabric, notions such as buttons, paper, paints, books, magazines, unused journals and notebooks, collaging and scrapbooking items, glitters and usable glues, children's craft items and other assorted creative bits and bobs. It was fun to snoop through other creatives’ “treasures”—it made us all look at our own things in a new light as well.

Since our goal was to swap, we requested that participants be prepared to bring their leftover supplies home at the end of the event! We stipulated clearly "This is a swap, not a request for donations.” However, one could organize a swap and be prepared to donate any quality items to a school, charity or community organization—we’d recommend partnering with any such donation recipients from the onset so that they aren’t on the receiving end of unwanted items.

  • Keep the event fairly short, just a couple of hours is all you need. It works best when people arrive at the start time so that all the pickings are good right from the start. Folks arriving later might not have as much success finding things.
  • The point of the event wasn’t to swap directly one item for another item. Everything that participants bring they were willing to part with. In essence, it was all just “free” stuff and hopefully everyone will come home with some new-to-them supplies.
  • Encourage people to start making and experimenting with the available supplies during the event.
  • Offer to teach folks you’re swapping with a new skill—at our swap, we had spontaneous knitting and macramé lessons!
  • Items ranged in value, but other than books, everything had a retail value of less than $20.
  • Bundle your items in bags or bundles of similar-use items. Include a tag with your name and little story about the supplies or tips on how to use them.
  • Kids love being able to “shop” the craft supplies! If they don’t have any of their own things to swap, encourage them to trade with a simple drawing or something they’ve made.
  • Refreshments are nice and help make the event a social one.

You're welcome to use the graphic above to promote your Creative Supplies Swap (contact me for high res). Please get in touch if you're planning a swap — I'd love to help promote it to fellow UPPERCASE readers and perhaps send some little goodies your way, too!