Supplies you regret purchasing?

I’ve been thinking about supplies I purchased that sit on my shelves unused recently as I’ve amassed quite the amount of art and paper supplies since getting into it in late 2020. Regret might be a strong word for some of the items on my list but there are a non-trivial amount of supplies where my money would have been better spent.

My list

  • Sizzix Big Shot and dies - it takes up room in my cupboard and I don’t find myself using it that much because I get bored with the dies after a couple projects. I’d say I regret this one since it’s a “unitasker” money pit.
  • Full sets of acrylic paints - it was nice to have the colors when I was starting out and didn’t know which ones I’d like but now I have a bunch of little tubes of paint I have no interest in using. I would have been better off starting with a handful of colors and adding more. I also found that I prefer using different types of paint but these are taking up my available storage space
  • Full sets of gelatos before I had ever tried using one. I found out I don’t like using them but now I have a full set.
  • Sets of markers (Posca, Tombow) in standard/primary colors try out the supply. I keep finding I love the markers but dislike the colors so I end up needing to buy more
  • Expensive stamp sets and stencils. Turns out I only use a handful of them and really like carving my own stamps. I have a lot of money that could have been better spent in this category
  • Cheap paper cutters. They tear up the sides of the papers I’m cutting and aren’t accurate.

I could probably sum up most of my list as “buying sets of things before I knew if I liked using the product” or buying sets of things at all. What I’m finally coming to realize is I’d be much happier with fewer supplies in the colors that I like using than by having full sets of things sitting around taking up space.

Do you have any supplies you regret purchasing?

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For a few years I regretted buying my Cricut. Then a friend who was skilled with hers came to visit and helped me get the hang of it.

I am trying not to regret the volume purchases of linen from fabric-store . com sales! I have done this thrice and hardly used any. It’s partly fear of using the good stuff!

I have an aversion to sets for the reasons you mentioned! And will really consider how many of the pieces I will likely use before committing to the purchase. Same process for dies & stamps, which is why I tend to have “basics” rather than “particulars” or themes that I always return to rather than something for one person for one occasion. This made it hard for me to get to the point where I have enough to feel inspired by what I already had.

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Gotta jump in and say that I usually do not regret buying small, beginner-like sets if I am new to a particular craft and not sure if I’ll like it. It really is a better buy than investing in larger quantities of more highly-specialized things right from the start.

On the flip side, though, in college when I took an art class, the professor had us buy large tubes of a few specific colors of paint and then taught us how to mix colors ourselves, rather than having us buy sets of lots of small tubes. But in that specific case, I had a lot of close supervision and instruction that made it possible for me to jump past the “beginner-set” stage.

I’m genuinely having trouble thinking of regretful purchases. But I do buy most of my supplies second-hand at garage sales or my local creative-reuse store, so I tend to spend less on them. Often can’t bring myself to pay full-price when I’m shopping at craft stores.

Okay, if I have to choose, maybe…

Cricut-type products… although I know I would probably use them a lot if I ever got one-on-one instruction).

Polymer clay, which I did try to use many times but never seemed to get the hang of it.

Cheap home-letterpress set. I totally LOVE letterpress cards, but the home set honestly never produced cards that I loved.

Metal stamping kit (but only $5 at a garage sale). Again, have a feeling I’d use it a lot if I had an experienced crafter at my side, instructing me.

There are a lot of other things I hardly use at the moment. But I did use them heavily when I got them, so no regrets. And even the things above, I’m not ready to let go yet. I’m hoping to be able to set up a large craft studio in our new place (but we’ll see how that goes!)

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Mine is a little like regret-lite, they’re pretty, I like seeing them and I loved buying them, but yarns bought (usually on sale/clearance) with no project planned tend to live with me forever and stand in my way for getting new yarns (even when I have a project in mind for a new yarn the argument of “use what you already have, lady,” gets in my head and I stall out.)

I feel obliged to mention the Use it or lose it thread where we can rehome such unloved supplies to friends who will love them… before someone is holding an estate sale of our craft stashes.

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I’d say my cricut maker is one of the things I don’t regret purchasing. I did spend a lot of time watching YouTube videos so I knew how to use design space so I’m now able to get it to do what I want without too much difficulty. I think it would be more useable if I had a dedicated space to keep it setup though.

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I think this is great perspective!

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Ooh, yarn! Hadn’t thought of that one. Yeah, it’s true that I’ve wasted some good money on seductive clearance yarns…

Weirdly, the same is not true of crochet thread. I buy it, but tend to use it. How odd!

And yes, you are right about the estate sale lesson!

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I, too, buy a lot of tools and supplies used.
My regret is that I buy too many of them, too randomly. I have a huge bag of embroidery floss, mostly bought second hand. I use maybe 20% of the colors, but I still have to store the other 80%. Maybe that’s the next thing I need to review.

I regret the felting supplies (bough new!). It was interesting to try them, but they take up a whole drawer and I don’t have any plans to continue. And of course, I bought a set, then another set was on sale, then I decided I needed lots of white to save on the colors… Maybe I can sell them as a lot on ebay and get back some of my investment.

I just rearranged my studio, so I’m very conscious of storage space and the waste thereof.

My main crafts are sewing, embroidery, 3D printing, jewelry, and miniatures. That last one can include practically anything under the sun, and requires lots of different glues and paints and bits of cardboard and wood and this and that. The 3D printer has actually reduced my need for the bits and bobs; I can design and print a fabulous piece of furniture much faster (and prettier) than making it from cardboard and toothpicks.

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I pretty much like everything I purchased, but over time, realized that I had only a passing interest in the craft or wanted to upgrade. I don’t really regret my purchases, especially since I passed on some that others could use.

I gave away my Cricut without ever opening the box. I bought it because everyone I knew was getting one and I saw so many nice things being made, but in reality, I was lukewarm about actually making those things. My first love is fabric, followed by yarn, and now, paints and markers.

Like @photojenn, I bought sets of things and found I only use a few colors. Now, I just replace the colors I really use. @magpie gave a great suggestion to use up the colors I had so as not to waste them…make masterboards! I have two sets of nice pencils that I used for coloring books, but I lost interest in those and the colored ink pens…I have used some of the ink pens to make alcohol ink sprays, but what a chore.

I also bought some expensive diamond dot kits that I passed to my sister, who then passed them onto someone else. Same with rock painting dotted mandala supplies…rarely use anything except the paints.

I also have three or four afghan kits that I am thinking of rehoming.

Probably my biggest waste is purchasing patterns that I never use…clothing, knitting, embroidery, felt…

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Tbh I used to think I had to use up the stuff I had because I had spent good money on it (growing up without a lot and always having a scarcity mindset will do that to you). What I found was instead of creating, because I didn’t like my supplies, I just wouldn’t do anything. I think some people are motivated/inspired by finding creative ways to use their supplies, but as much as I want to be one of those people, I’m just not. I don’t enjoy “having” to find ways to use things I don’t like (I’m looking at you gelatos) and find it has the opposite effect of creativity and inspiration.

I’ve recently given myself permission to liberally rehome any supplies I no longer like/won’t use. I found a non-profit creative reuse center in Chicago and will be making a large donation in the near future. Of course then I will also have to check out what they have :slight_smile:

I think the best thing for me is probably to be more mindful about starting with small samples of supplies rather then full sets. Amusingly, the reason I get full sets is because it’s cheaper so it feels wasteful to pay a premium for smaller quantities. Why pay $6 for 10 of something when I can pay $15 for 200? Clearly getting 200 is the better “deal” :woman_facepalming:

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This is a little fight I have with myself when buying certain kinds of produce, particularly celery and carrots. We do buy them by-the-stick and I mollify my inner miser by telling myself that it’s still cheaper to by them one or two at a time than it is to throw away half a bag because it goes bad before we use them.

A regret: a big pack of 3 or 4 different sets of gel pens. Not only do I hardly use them, but when I do go to use one it won’t write.

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I didn’t use the gelatos until I watched a video on it and then did a notebook page on how to use them. I like them better, but, I won’t be restocking when I use them up.

For sure, you shouldn’t force yourself to use something just because you bought it. I am sort of like that with fabric…there is a reason it is still in my stash…I probably don’t like it anymore. But, I do like the challenge of using the fabric in a different way. I don’t feel the same way about yarn…making a hat or socks, it is still the same yarn I don’t care about.

I am in the fortunate position of not having to worry about the costs, but I still don’t like to waste stuff. I know I sometimes buy supplies out of sheer boredom and not knowing what to spend my money on. I am trying to be better at that as well.

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Regret is a strong word, but I used to be seduced by pretty papers. I’m not a papercrafter, I don’t have the skills or the patience to learn them. It doesn’t come naturally to me. Every now and again I reach for my stash of pretty papers for some purpose or the other so I’ll use them up over my lifetime, I just won’t buy new. I love all the prints but I’d much rather have them in fabric than in paper.

Over the years I’ve really come to the conclusion that I’m a fabric and yarn crafter, not a papercrafter. My favourite fabric / yarn craft varies, but I know I’ll use all of those supplies eventually. One year I’m just more into sewing and the other year I’m more into crochet. Any “new” craft that involves yarn or fabric I’m much more likely to stick to than any other non-yarn/fabric craft.

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When I learned to knit a few years ago, I didn’t realize that not all yarn was good for knitting projects. Oh, the amount of novelty yarn on clearance from Tuesday Morning that I have in bins. :woman_facepalming: I was totally sucked in by the colors and textures and the price. I keep saying I just need to give it away. I don’t want to be the “estate sale” person.

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I’ve been there. So. Much. Yarn.

I gave myself permission to just let go of what I knew I didn’t want to use. Some ladies in my local buy nothing Facebook page took all of it to knit for the local shelter! It felt so good to give it away. Reframing it as a lesson learned in what I did and didn’t like to work with was helpful.

With spinning, I have purchased roving just because it was inexpensive, only to find that it was awful to work with. The worst of it got tossed, the tolerable is almost used up (the end yarn is usable after it’s all washed), and I won’t be ordering from that source again. Now, I get samples before I commit to large quantities. I’m working my way through my second breed sampler, just to learn which types of wool I like spinning.

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This thread is EXACTLY why I am cautious with what I buy. I will splurge on just about any fabric and yarn but not much else.

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I think part of my issue was that I was just getting started in mixed media/paper crafts and didn’t know what I did/didn’t like, what I actually needed, the types of art I wanted to make, etc, plus COVID times, shopping online exclusively, and a bit of retail therapy. I guess I can look at as I now know a lot about what I do/don’t like.

Another interesting thing is I don’t have this issue in the rest of my life. I’m pretty cutthroat when it comes to buying most things and can handle long periods of delayed gratification. But art/craft supplies and online classes seem to be a particular weakness.

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Not really a regret because I used it to learn and make a great many things but I stopped buying synthetic yarn, fabric too though I’ll use it when it comes my way. I just want my work to biodegrade in less than 5 thousand years, ye know? So all the plastic stuff, paints, glues, etc, I’ll use what I have but not contributing to any more of it in the world.
It’s a great check in accumulating “more”, I’m measuring my willingness to have it against future regret. It’s pushed me to explore natural alternatives. There are lots!

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My regrets are not being organized or being forgetful and buying supplies I already have.

I can never find needles and straight pins when I need them so I have quite a few packs.

Then I forgot what kinds of gesso I had on hand so now I have 3 bottles of regular gesso and 2 jars of heavy gesso. that that stuff can dry out so I need to make a point to use it.

But I don’t think I really have any big regrets. I use my cricut. Not regularly but when I get it out I use it a lot. I had the issue that it was annoying to pull out and the only flat surface I have to use it is the dining room table so now I store the cricut and the supplies on the weird platform under the table.

I don’t use my Sizzix sidekick as much as I used to but I only paid $10 for it and used it a lot at one time.

I have a lot of quilling supplies but they don’t go bad and every now and then I do pull them out. when I first got into quilling I did it a ton.

I use my paper cutters, my envelope board, my scoring board, and the Cinch-It

I have a lot of cheap beads. I don’t make jewelry but they are used in asseblages and as accents on other projects.

I don’t use my sewing machine a lot but it’s nice to have when I need it.

I don’t make much out of polymer clay any more but again at one time I did.

etc…

I have bought some paint from Jerry’s Art-a-rama that I really didn’t like. it was pretty translucent. I used it mostly for backgrounds. (Lukas brand for anyone curious)

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I think when you do mixed media, a lot of the supplies are embellishments…beads, odd yarns, papers of all sorts, junk mail, fabrics, etc. Might not use them a lot, but when you do, it makes things more enjoyable! I love my envelope board. It was great in making the envelopes for my some of my books and for mail. I am seriously thinking of buying a cropodile if I continue to make books.

This thread has me seriously thinking of crafts I no longer want to do or to not even start. Time to hit the Use it or Lose it Thread…

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