Hi there! How was your weekend? My sweet husband had Friday off, so he acted as my chauffeur, driving me to a couple of estates sales. One in particular turned out to be quite good. I practiced spending more to buy better quality antiques to sell. Are you proud of me?
At that same sale, I ran into two dealers I knew from a shop I sold at for over a decade, back in the early 2000’s. It was like old home week! So nice to reconnect. We decided to return the next day for the 50% off sale, and I bought some more. Of course, I’ll post about them all soon.
Today, I thought I’d share some of the vintage finds I buy that fall into the category of “supplies.” I buy them whenever I can at vintage sales and thrift shops because they are offered at such a deep discount.
They keep my business running like a fine-oiled machine. Well, they keep it running, anyway, LOL. It’s not an exclusive list by any means but reflects what I’ve picked up lately.
They are often the things that you have to poke around for in order to discover. They aren’t as exciting as say a piece of ironstone pottery or Bakelite jewelry, but they are necessary, and buying them at thrift stores and garage and estate sales will save you bunches of money.
For example, these finials would cost $1.99 each at retail but I bought them for 25¢ each. Great savings, right?
1. Vintage Frames
Frames come in handy for so many different reasons. For framing your personal photos of course, but also for framing vintage artwork. I especially keep my eye out for brown, wooden frames (cost: 25¢-$1) because you can easily paint them (black) and distress them for a great vintage look.
I buy up every vintage grater I can find–both flat ones and the more box-shaped ones (especially if rusty)–because I turn them into very simple Christmas decorations that are great to decorate with and sell very well (cost: $1.00).
3. Bingo games
Bingo cards make great home decor just as they are. Set one on a bookshelf or tie a bundle with baker’s twine and use them in a vignette. But keep in mind that they can also be used for crafting projects, like this one I made for the Shaker Christmas craft show (scroll down).
And I’m sure you’ve seen them with buttons sewn over the numbers. I’d like to try that one some time. The number circles make darling earings or use them as bowl or jar filler. That red is just fabulous (cost: $2).
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Belts can usually be had for a dollar or less at garage and estate sales. They are the basis for a couple of my projects, including belt bracelets and straps for old crates. I also use them with my Big Kick die cut machine to make leather bird ornaments, which I’ll post about some day.
Bonus idea: Buy metal belts made of links and turn them into necklaces!
Who doesn’t need a few jingle bells for one project or another? I regularly use them for a number of Christmas projects, like my atlas paper stars, but I was especially thrilled to find these large bells for a song (cost: $1). I’m not sure how I’ll use them, but you know there’ll be a post about it.
I have a definite weakness for scarves. I’m always scanning thrift store bins for those I can wear personally and those I can use for DIY projects like rice-filled heating pads or darling gift bags (cost: $1 each).[NOTE: The two projects mentioned here require 2-ply scarves, whereas those pictured are only 1-ply. I have another project in mind for them. Coming soon.]
7. Miscellaneous Doodads
This category is not easy to describe, but I think you all probably know what I mean. It’s basically cool supplies for unknown future projects. You’re sure you need them, but you don’t know exactly what for (cost: $1-2).[NOTE: These are the things your husband either laughs at you for or raises his eyebrows at, depending on the personality of said husband.]
8. Miscellaneous Super-Cute Doodads
Basically the same as above, just add “super-cute.”
9. Hooks, Knobs, & Handles
If you’re dealing with vintage and antiques, whether for yourself or a business, it’s a good idea to have a least a few hooks, knobs, and handles on hand (cost: 25-50¢ each).
I turn all sorts of things, like yardsticks and levels, into racks by attaching vintage hooks that I pick up at sales. And handles like the one you see here, are perfect for turning breadboards and frames into trays. Having an assortment of these in your supply closet will always serve you well.
10. Small Display Units
Small shelving units come in handy for display, whether in your home or your shop. This one, similar to a printers tray, can hold a number of small items. Paint it or leave it as is (cost: 50¢).
11. Regularly Used Consumable Supplies
I’m always on the look out for supplies that I use regularly, like glue sticks, which are expensive at retail, and nails of all shapes and sizes. Similar items that I’ll grab whenever I see them include steel wool, mineral oil, and cleaning supplies (cost: 50¢ each).
12. Photo Shoot Supplies
I keep a few small things on hand to use in “photo shoots” for my weekly projects. I picked up this package of paraffin wax, for, you guessed it, 4th of July. But I also bought it to have wax on hand for sticky wooden drawers. It works great for getting them to slide in and out easier.
13. Furniture-Related Products
Watching out for products that can help you improve the look of vintage and antique furniture makes sense because they tend to cost quite a lot new, like these two containers of Tibet Almond Stick, which retail for over $10 (cost: $1 each).
Other products to buy: water ring remover, lemon oil, Howards Restore-a-Finish (not my favorite, but a lot of people swear by it), and paste wax.
14. Vintage Thread
Have you noticed that thread has gotten pretty expensive lately, as in $3-4 a spool? Crazy right? Especially when you can pick up beautiful cotton thread for pennies at most vintage sales.
What you see in the photos above (along with a few more that didn’t fit in with the color schemes) cost just $1.00 at an estate sale, and they were in a nice case that I’m going to sell separately. I use them for the cutest Christmas craft and have a couple more DIY’s in mind that, of course, I hope to post about soon.
There’s really no end to the sorts of supplies that you can buy at vintage sales and thrift shops, but sometimes we’re so focused on finding the “good stuff” that we overlook the useful things that are right in front of us.
I’m not recommending that you spend hours sorting through garage or basement cupboards filled with cleaning supplies or boxes piled high with “miscellaneous.” But when you do see them sitting out or bagged nicely, scoop them up and save yourself some cool cash. Happy hunting!
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