For those who can’t purchase craft supplies locally, buying online is the perfect solution. Shipment can take some time depending on where you live, which isn’t ideal if you need the materials now, but you can save a lot of money and time.
Even though I love to visit local hobby shops, they are usually cramped and there are so many things inside that I never see all they have to offer and it’s even worse if there are other people inside. Carrying the heavy shopping basket around and trying not to bump into everyone is definitely not my favorite thing to do. One of those shops is no bigger than a two room flat. Now imagine ten people inside and around thousand products on old shelves. It’s not a pretty sight, so shopping often turns out to be frustrating.
For those who are like me and like to spend quite a lot of time inside checking out new products, I think it’s better to stick with online shopping. There are only a few drawbacks which aren’t a bad thing for everyone, it just depends on your location:
- shipping takes about a week or more
- you never know what you are going to get (photos and description don’t always match the product)
- you are revealing credit card information online ( but there is an easy solution: get a prepaid card)
- some sellers don’t ship to certain countries or have very high fees
It sounds like a horrible idea now that I’ve pointed all those things out.
Still, about 95% of the products I bought online came quickly, in good or excellent condition and they matched the description.
Another thing to keep in mind is local tax or post fees. In my situation, I have to pay a small amount of money when the postman arrives with a package. The fee is only for small packages, so it’s better to buy more things. For those living in the US, shipping is almost always free (with or without a coupon).
Now that I’ve covered the basic things about online shopping, let’s take a look at these websites.
Ebay is my favorite site to use for craft supplies. As I usually only have to buy small things, from beads to washi tape, it’s perfect because shipping is usually free for them. If you are ordering from China, don’t always expect the best quality, at least not for products like embossing powder or inks which are usually expensive. Prices are decent and there is always some sort of discount going on. At first, 6% discounts were a bit funny for me, especially on things that cost a dollar, but it’s still a good deal and you can spend the rest of the saved money on other things.
Amazon is similar to Ebay, but I think Ebay’s layout is a bit more attractive and easier to use for the buyer. Ebay also has more craft and art supplies, but you can find some higher quality things on Amazon. I have heard from other crafters that, if you have Amazon Prime, shipping is extremely fast.
I believe I’m not the only one who thinks of fabrics when someone mentions JoAnn, but they offer a lot of other supplies as well. There are also classes and project ideas on the website. Supplies categories differ – from fabrics, party, baking to paints and floral products. Plus, they have a great section for home decor.
If you are into card making, papercraft, knitting or even baking, you will love this website. I find it easy to use, categories are well-organized and there are many filters which is useful. It can be pricey sometimes, but the quality and the customer service are great.
I was a bit sceptic at first with this site, I still haven’t used it, but I’ve heard many others talk about it so I wanted to include it in this list. I found an item I liked on Ebay, and it turned out that there is an exact match on here as well, even the price was similar (but not the same). I definitely recommend comparing these two to save money as there are many identical things on both sites.
Utrecht sells art supplies, from painting, drawing and drafting to printmaking and sculpting. They ship to over 100 countries, so make sure to check the list to see if yours is eligible. I love the products they offer, they are often professional and are presented in a good way. This might be better for those who dedicate a lot of time to art, as it’s more suitable for artists than for those who like to craft from time to time.
Etsy has recently launched Etsy Studio, dedicated to craft tutorials and supplies. All sellers that already have a shop don’t need to open a new one on this site, their items will appear on it automatically. They are still managing one shop, but their supplies are also listed on Etsy Studio. I think this is great for diving finished products from supplies, those who visit the site will find what they need faster.
If you don’t live close to their store, grab the opportunity to visit them online. They often put up deals for free shipping which is related to a specific amount of spent money. It’s so easy to spend loads of it on art supplies, though, so it won’t be a problem. They also offer gift cards.
Craftsy offers great tutorials, especially for quilting, sewing, knitting, photography and baking or cooking, but there is also a section for craft supplies. I like the concept of being able to purchase classes (tutorials) as well as the supplies on the same website.
Blick is another art supplies website aimed at artists, but even crafters will find something for themselves. They offer gift cards (several other websites on this list also have this option), which is a great idea if you have a creative friend. This site accepts Amazon payments as well as Paypal and you can also visit their physical stores in the US.