Why make it, if you can buy for less than $5? - Colorway Arts

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Why make it, if you can buy for less than $5?

Another day (actually in the beginning of the year, when we were free to go to stores), I saw a paper box on sale in a craft store, and I couldn’t believe in the price they were selling it….. ok, it was on clearance, that's why was SO cheap (less than $5), but even the normal price was really low for a box like that….. as a maker, I know how much material is used to make a box like that, and ok, probably that one was made by machines in big production line, but even though, there are some time involved in that production. I simply couldn’t understand that price….. but I bought it as an inspiration to make a similar one (in the picture below, you will see the one I bought (right side covered in paper), and the first one I made (left size covered in fabric).


When I got home, I was showing to my husband and we were talking about it. So, if there is such a box available with that low price, why would someone care about finding materials, spending time and making it (I mean handmade)?

I don’t know about you, but I asked that question to myself and I got some answers that I believe explain why I would definitely be making it…. Over and over…. And I decided to share with you, that may resonate with you, or, you may help me find more reasons for that.

You probably heard that famous quote in the craft area that says “why buy it for $7, when you can make it yourself for $92 craft supplies”?

So, first of all, if you are a maker, you know deep inside you the answer, right? At the end of the day, we make it because feels good, and what that means? It means that by making something with our hands and soul we are activating and keeping alive our children’s natural desire to create and have fun!

I can speak by myself, when I was a child and teenager, I loved crafting…. I made so many different arts, that felt so good. Once I went to college, I decided for a profession that wasn’t related to that and for so many years I simply forgot that I loved crafting….. I worked full week, busy days and not a single time for allowing my inner child to still have fun creating and crafting. I paid the price for that…. I had very bad time with depression…. and thanks God, I came back to crafting time, to use my hands again and I realized that I was still able to have fun, to create and feeling good!

So, making something special (that can be as simple as a small card, or complicated as a big handmade furniture or any other art), gives us satisfaction that can’t be find in another way, and it’s part of our basic emotional needs. Well, it’s hard to put this feeling into words, but you know what I mean, right?

Another basic emotion that is fulfilled by handmade is that by creating something special for someone we can also be recognized, and remembered as that person (mom, wife, grandma, friend), that cares, that make pieces that can “speak”, that shows love and affection and make both happy (the makers, and the receivers). My grandma (who passed away a few years ago), made some arts for me, and I have them here and keep them with much love and gratitude. Those crochet pieces somehow connect me with the deep feeling of love, and when I see those, I remember how beautiful and happy she was, I remember her singing her Polish songs to me and my kids…. So, handmade items speak by themselves…. Yes, we could buy for way less…. But we will never be able to buy the meaning and feelings that come wrapped with those handmade pieces!

There is also a whole lot more reasons that we may like making things, maybe is being part of a group of friends that get together, have fun and make unique pieces, maybe we want to reuse some sort of materials that we have, maybe we just want to do something to spend our time, or make personalized gifts, or make stronger or the size we want…..

I don’t know, but for me, for sure using my hands (and soul) to create things is essential to my happiness, to my emotional well-being….. and not only making them, in my case, I also love sharing with others, getting more and more people involved in creating projects that can bring Joy and satisfaction to their lives. That’s my mission, and I’m SO grateful you are with me in this Journey!

Well, the best time to make handmade gifts is coming (Christmas will be here before we know…..), and I’m preparing great projects, so, keep tuned because Cartonnage may be a great option for you to make your next handmade gifts!

Oh, by the way, here are so boxes I made inspired by the one I bought. Let me tell you that mine is so much stronger, covered with fabric, the drawers don’t get stuck (LOL), and I can make it any size I want (and members of the Cartonnage Club too, as I already shared this project with them).

For more info about Cartonnage, this great technique of making boxes, check my website.

Much love to you and may your days be full of Joy!

Happy Gluing!


4 Responses

Blair Smith

December 27, 2022

Very interesting post!
Colorway Arts replied:
Thanks, glad you liked it!Sent from my iPhone

Donna Duff

August 26, 2021

Cartonnage is such a wonderful art/craft!!! I can personalize the items I make and they makes such fun gifts. Plus they brighten up my house and keep me organized. Claudia is the best teacher, organizer, inspiring and talented person I know, plus she is SO fun and full of ideas!!!

Brenda Foreman

April 23, 2021

I had finished all my sewing projects and started asking myself what to do next. I am so happy I found you, Claudia, and the art of cartonnage. It has been like a breath of fresh air in my sewing room. I have made so many boxes since attending the workshop last November 2020. Creating boxes and journals has increased the joy in my life, and I am so happy to share it with others. Having beautiful storage feeds my soul, making it myself is like the most luscious frosting on a cake. I can craft boxes until my hands ache, and am so happy also. Thank you, Claudia, for your mission to share with others. I hope to meet you some day!

Barbara Plummer

January 21, 2021

It’s amazing I have discovered this art form. I have spent a lifetime of loving containers, never giving it the formal name of cartonnage. Really never knew my passion had a formal name. Yes I look at creating such beautiful things on here an art form. I’m going to spend a lot of time reading and learning at colorwayart.com. It inspires me to learn I can’t wait! Thank you……

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