Grab bundles of craft supplies from £1 via scrap stores

From tinsel to textiles, buttons to bubble wrap, ReusefulUK scrap stores let you grab dirt-cheap craft materials that might otherwise have been sent to landfill. With over 50 locations across the UK, the stores are ideal for families looking to work on fun art projects over the summer holidays. They're also handy for artists, schools, childminders and community groups.

Prices vary by location. At some, there’s a small annual fee, then you can get what you need at a small extra cost. Others just charge per bundle or price items separately. This deal was mentioned on The Martin Lewis Money Show on ITV last year, and many got in touch to ask for more info, so we’ve written this blog.

Who can do this?

Most scrap stores let anyone join, but for a few you need to be part of a relevant community group (for example schools, childminders, Brownies, art therapists).

To check, just find your nearest Reuseful scrap store on its map. There's also a directory.

What are scrap shops good for?

ReusefulUK's goal is to find new homes for clean, usable waste donated by companies and individuals. What’s on offer depends on location, but scrap stores are Aladdin’s caves of craft goodies. We’re talking paints, brushes, playdough, balloons, tubes, corks, felt, rubber gloves, bicycle tyres, and so on. Expect to rummage through gift wrap, lace, ribbons, wire, fabric, and even knicker elastic. The list is endless.

Redecorating? It’s worth noting many scrap stores also sell drastically reduced leftover paint (check out a list of stores here).

How much does it cost to join?

Prices vary by location. For example, at Recreate Cardiff membership is free – you just pay £1 per visit. Resource Centre Swindon charges £6 per basket (£15 a trolley) or you can join for £40 per year and take as much as you need.

Gedling Play forum charges £5 a year for membership, which includes your first basket – further baskets are £3. At North Somerset Community Scrap Store, membership is £15 a year, then there’s a suggested donation of £5 per half a large basket. 

Of course, the spirit of scrap stores is you choose carefully and only take what you'll use. A few fancier items may have limits on how much you can take. Check opening times, as hours can vary.

Some inspiration...

We've heard from many keen scrappers who've got their hands on goodies:

@martinslewis Visited Children’s Scrapstore Bristol today and picked up some art supplies for Christmas stocking presents. It's a great place to visit, supporting local charities too.

- Ruth, via Twitter

I’ve been getting lots of crafty stuff, including stuffing really cheap from my local scrap store in Plymouth. Ours has huge variety of things, including fabric, thread, wool, buttons. It's a great way of being green and saving some money too!

- MSE Forumite donna73

The scrap store is my favourite place of all time. I made the Jamaica part of a carnival float entirely from its offerings. I also usually manage to find some bits for my crafting too.

- MSE Forumite Wogglemaker

Consider giving as well as getting – how to donate

Don't worry if you've nothing special. Check with your local scrap store, but they’re usually after anything that’s clean that can be reused with a bit of imagination. Fill out this form or contact your local store to find out how to drop off.

For more ways to grab freebies for crafting and keep things out of landfill, see Freecycle, Olio and Preloved's free section. On Facebook Marketplace, as well as selling, people often give away items too – try searching for the word 'free'.