Where to find free craft supplies and free DIY supplies for home improvement projects that cost less!
Making DIY projects at home is fun and creative! But it can also be so expensive! Luckily, there are easy ways you can craft for less.
Finding craft freebies to use for your projects is an easy way to save tons of money. But only if you know where to look! Be sure to check out all of these ideas before spending any more money on DIY supplies for your home improvement or crafting projects.
People always have leftover paint from painting inside or outside of their home. If they bought several sample sizes of paint to test colors, that means that some of the colors they won’t be using. So they’ll likely get rid of the colors they didn’t like.
And not everyone likes to keep half-empty paint buckets in their garage for touch-ups later on. Even if they do love the color of the gallon of paint that they bought.
Ask contractors or anyone you know of who is painting a room or their house if they are getting rid of their paint. You might be surprised! Because you should not put paint in the trash as it can easily leach into the ground. So technically it’s illegal to throw away, so many people would be happy to give it to you!
Want a specific color of paint or stain? Then you’ll love ECOS Paints sample offer!
You can get up to three 2 oz. samples of paint, stain, varnish or concrete sealer. You pay $9.99 for the samples, then you’ll get a coupon for $9.99 off a gallon of paint. So it’s like getting paint for free!
Community trash days often have a place to drop off unused paints (because they are toxic in the landfills). This is a great place to pick up paint if you don’t mind the color!
My DIY wood rail fence was so cheap to make because I was able to source free wood from a local home improvement store.
You’d be surprised at the amount of wood that home improvement stores throw out after making specialty cuts and trims for their customers. Often, there is a large trash can full of wood that is destined to the trash bin. But you can take it for free. These might not be big pieces, and sometimes they are scraps. But they make great materials for crafting projects!
Always ask contractors and anyone doing home improvement if you could use their leftover wood, too. They might be happy to stack it for you outside. Or you might need to go dumpster diving (see below).
Consider free wood that you can get from tree cutting companies, too. These items might include wood slices, wood stumps or long branches that can be used to make furniture, railings, home decor items, etc. Of course, be sure to let this wood dry out properly, since it will be fresh and full of moisture and sap.
Need just a small piece of wood? Consider flooring samples. Be considerate and just take one or two if you need.
You might not realize that you already have a lot of free fabric in your own home!
If you have textiles (anything made from fabric) in your home that you’re about to throw out, donate or just aren’t using, feel free to repurpose it into crafting materials. Dig through your closets to find hidden treasures, including:
- Drapes or Curtains
- Duvet Covers
Often, using these items is SO MUCH BETTER because you can get larger pieces of fabric and not have to sew together hems!
You can also find free fabric at thrift stores, garage sales and online marketplaces. They might not *say* free fabric, but keep an eye out for clothing and linens that are being given away for free. Often times, the people giving it away just don’t want it because it’s stained or old. They can’t see the potential that you can!
Use Online Marketplaces
One of the quickest and easiest ways to find free materials for your next project is to check online marketplaces like Craigslist, Freecycle, Ebay or Facebook Marketplace.
These online outlets allow homeowners and contractors to list leftover building materials for free.
And you’ll often find people clearing out their craft closets because they are moving or not crafting anymore. They usually give away boxes of yarns, fabric, scrapbook paper, etc.
Simply search for the supplies you’re looking for or do a general search for building materials to see what’s available in your area. You can find a variety of free items perfect for DIY projects, including building materials, furniture, lumber, and appliances.
Just keep in mind that most of these list are on a first-come-first-serve basis, so you have to be quick to get those free items.
The key to finding great deals on online marketplaces is timing. You have to be the first to comment or pickup to snag the free items. To ensure you know when someone lists something new, set alerts on your favorite website. That way, you’ll get notifications right when something free is listed.
Watch Out for Demolitions
Keep an eye out for buildings or homes that are about to be demolished or scan the newspaper for ads from property owners planning to demo their house. Those property owners will often allow you to search the house for free supplies, as long as you do your own demo work.
Taking advantage of a demolition will allow you to search the home for a variety of useful supplies, like flooring, trim, windows, stair railings, banisters, and crown molding.
Make sure to bring your own tools to remove the items you want and a truck to haul your building supplies home.
While this method isn’t for the faint of heart (and could be illegal in some areas, so always check your local laws!), it is a great way to score some free items.
And, no, you don’t have to actually dive into the dumpster! It’s just a phrase!
Keep an eye out for homes or buildings under construction, then check the nearby dumpsters for leftover building materials. This simple method can provide you with tons of opportunities to find great free stuff to use on your next DIY project, including lumber and hardware.
If the dumpster is at a private home, ask the homeowner if you could look to see if you can repurpose anything. They might be happy to reduce waste and let you take what you need.
Even if you don’t do it yourself, it’s interesting to see what other people get for free by looking through the trash!
Know Your City’s Trash Days
Turning other people’s trash into your treasure by driving through neighborhoods during city-wide cleanup days. I’ve found some really awesome stuff by looking at what people are throwing away on the curb!
Personally, I’ve got a wood pallet, tons of cardboard boxes for moving, thick foam pads, newspapers for DIY projects, and furniture. My mom scored a great outdoor rug because the end was fraying. You never know what you can find that other people don’t see the potential in!
At my old home, the recycling used to be in small open bins that you put to the curb. So I would just walk through the neighborhood on trash days and get newspaper, glass bottles and other free craft supplies. Be considerate and don’t call attention to yourself when doing this, because it can be weird to be digging through someone’s personal trash. But if it’s just laying on the curb to be put into a landfill or recycling center, why not upcycle the item instead? (Again, I don’t know what your local laws and regulations are, so you will want to check to see what might be considered illegal in your area.)
If your town offers free debris pick-up once or twice a year, mark your calendars! Then, hit the streets to search through the items your neighbors set out. You’re sure to find tons of great freebies that you would have never found otherwise.
We used to have a guy that would drive in our town on trash day every week. He would drive away with a pickup truck full of appliances and items that I’m pretty sure he was reselling or scrapping for cash.
Wood pallets can be used for anything, from crafts to using the wood to build furniture (like the wood pallet tables, below). Which makes them a great item to find for free!
Pallets are used to stack boxes on for delivery. So you’ll often find them in the back of stores by the dumpsters. Or on landscaping projects where lawn sod was delivered on a pallet.
Often, companies or construction sites just want to get rid of the pallets. Otherwise they have to pay for removal. HOWEVER, some companies will reuse pallets. So never take them from private property without asking.
That being said, if you find a store or a homeowner or construction site that will let you have them for free, it’s like DIY project gold!!!
Go to Recycling Centers
Another great site to check for free stuff is your local recycling center. Most centers have an area set aside for extra items that don’t fit into the recycling categories they handle. And they’re usually open to the public for searching if you ask.
However, I have heard of people getting into trouble simply by taking trash from a recycling center because the center didn’t allow it. Even though it was destined for a landfill pile. So you do need to proceed with caution and ask a staff member about their policy.
From old kitchen cabinets to broken furniture, you can find a variety of free building materials and household items that would be perfect for your next DIY project.
Barter and Trade
If you are searching for a big-ticket item for free, finding it may be a little more difficult. That means you’ll have to get creative!
One simple way to get something great without exchanging money is to barter or trade for it. If you see something you want or need for your next project, contact the owner and ask if there is anything you can give them in exchange. You can offer your own DIY services or offer up an item you no longer need that’s the same value.
You can also check the barter section on Craigslist to see what’s available in your area.
Ask Your Friends
Your friends and family are a great resource when it comes to scoring free stuff! There’s no telling what they have hidden away in their closets that they won’t be using. Let your friends know that you’re in the middle of a big DIY project and ask them if they have any materials they don’t need.
You can leave the request open-ended to see what everyone has to offer or let them know exactly what you need to get the job done. Chances are, your loved ones will jump at the chance to help you out!
But if someone is giving you something for free, make sure to make it as easy as possible for them. Bring your own truck to pick up the items and do all the heavy lifting yourself. And don’t forget to return the favor the next time your friends are doing their own home improvement project!
Upcycling Craft Ideas
Love to upcycle items to save money? Check out our upcycled crafts:
- Strawberry Basket Pumpkin
- Tin Can Lanterns
- Refinish a Damaged Wood Table
- Drop cloth slipcover for $3 thrift store chair