Make A Custom Wreath For Under $20

Christmas is the best time of year for an Arc craft project. The aisles are packed with goodies and colorful, potential, craft materials. Today I wanted to show you how to take these “potential” items and turn them into a beautiful holiday adornment.

My door is lacking a cheerful Christmas wreath and I thought it would fun to make one using old wool sweaters and give an old grapevine a new life.

The first step to create a wreath is to find a form at your local Arc store. Anything can be used, but I found a lovely grapevine wreath that was begging to be up-dated. The cost of this form was $4.99.


The next step is to find wool sweaters that are 90% to 100% pure wool. Since this is the Christmas season, I hit up all the red sections over and over again until I found the perfect sweater. I then grazed through the rest of the knits and found a lovely soft gray sweater made of merino wool and another in gold. Each of these cost $8.00, $7.00 and $5.00 respectively.

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When you get them home, tear off the tags and bag them in pillow cases. Toss them in the washer on high heat for your longest cycle with just a small amount of detergent. Don’t let the spin cycle run. I would do separate loads to avoid having the colors run. If you have a front loader like me, throw in a couple bouncy balls, tennis balls or a tennis shoe. Check the sweaters after the cycle and if you can’t see the knit stiches anymore you are good to go. If not, run them through again. This whole process is basically wool care blasphemy.

After felting the wool (the process above) it is time to cut the sweaters up. Cut circles and flower shapes and spirals and leaves. Just go to town and make a giant pile.

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Pull out your hot flue gun and put your flowers together and then glue them to your wreath form. My finished product is below. I had some fun adding a bow and mixing up the types of flowers.


Written by Jessica, aka Colorado Momma.

Building your own unique Halloween costume on a budget

It is October, which means it’s time to find Halloween costumes. There is no better place to find a creative, DIY, costume than the arc. So last Saturday I paid a visit to the arc for some Halloween inspiration and affordable goodies. The spooky spirit was in the air and the arc was crowded! Everywhere I turned, someone was searching for the perfect costume. There were racks all around the store loaded with Halloween odds and ends.



One thing to keep in mind when searching for costumes in a thrift store is flexibility. I went in with the goal of finding a train conductor outfit for my son and a cute ladybug costume for my daughter. Well, that changed very quickly when I came across the perfect tiger hoodie and a fun, whimsical skirt that had obviously been handmade. All I had to do next was find the right accessories.



I decided that my son was getting a tiger costume. I needed a pair of tiger striped pants and shirt. I couldn’t find anything in his size, but no worries, I’m at the arc! I just went up and down the aisles and found a great tiger striped ladies shirt that I could cut up and re-sew to fit him. I also came across a toddler sized, tiger ear headband he could have fun with.


Now that my son’s costume was taken care of, I needed to finish my daughter’s. Next to the great skirt I found was an orange fairy tutu that I could add on top. I looked around and found a small hula skirt that would serve as the straw in a scarecrow outfit. I went to the baby section and found an adorable pair of skirted overalls that were her size and she could wear any time outside of Halloween. Now all I needed was a cute straw hat to complete the scarecrow look and, luckily, the arc had an amazing selection of straw hats. Right on top was a hat just her size.





I took my goods home and proceeded to cut up the tiger striped shirt. I used a pair of pants that fit my son for the pattern. I used the sleeves of the shirt to make his pants. The bodice of the shirt had enough fabric to sew tiger sleeves, but not a whole new tiger shirt. So I cut out the shape for the sleeves and then rummaged through my closet for an old black shirt that could use. I made a new bodice and sewed my tiger sleeves to it. My son was thrilled and he put the new outfit on right away.








Everything that I got at the arc totaled under $30. Similar costumes would have cost around $40 for the tiger outfit and upwards of $20 for the scarecrow costume. Oh and did I forget to mention that I also found some cute Halloween baskets at the arc, and I still came out under $30!


Written by Jessica D, Colorado Momma.

Pinterest-Worthy Baby Shower…on a Budget

All this was done under $20 thanks to arc Thrift!

All this was done under $20 thanks to arc Thrift!

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Here’s the truth: I’m in the stage of life when all of my friends are either getting engaged, getting married, or having a baby.  I love to party plan as well as attend parties, so this time of life ain’t too shabby!  However, party décor is expensive, my friends.  Plus, I’m on Pinterest every day and just wonder about the income of the people who can recreate these freaking adorable parties.  I, on the other hand, opted for a career that won’t ever pay well a career in the school system, so I need all the help I can get planning these Pinterest parties.

Then came the day that my best friend got preggers.  With the now impending baby shower, I knew that I was in a pickle.  I wanted to do a cute DIY baby shower, but not have to donate blood to do so.

I immediately got on Pinterest for baby shower inspiration.  So many cute ideas, so little time (and money)!  Days went by as I thought about how I could pull this off.  Then it dawned on me:  I have an arc Thrift Store right around the corner!  They were bound to have some of the items I saw in the pictures.

I headed to arc that night.  I was nervous.  I was excited.  I was nervously excited.  As I walked through the aisles, I began to get a vision.  I walked by vases, baskets, serving trays, and so much more.  I pictured these items in my house, and all of a sudden, I knew I could do it.  And by golly, I could afford it.

– Guest blogger, KW

DIY arc thrift

Platters, vintage frames and vases were perfect for decor.





Make Your Own Mug

So the other day I went by arc Thrift and I bought a white mug for my latest (affordable) craft project!  I wanted to make my own custom designed mug.  These are great for gifts, special occasions or just for plain fun.  Next, I hand drew on the white mug with a sharpie (preferably a sharpie paint marker), you can find these for cheap at any arts and crafts store. You can use all kinds of colors and designs on your mug, get creative and crafty Colorado! Be sure to wipe the mug off with a damp cloth and dry it before you start drawing.  Once you have completed your artwork its ready to be baked.  Heat the oven to 365 degrees and put the mug in there while the oven is heating up, this will prevent it from cracking.  Now once the oven heats up you will want to bake to start a timer and bake it for 30 minutes. Afterwards let it sit in there while the oven cools.  Take it out. Wash it. Enjoy it! Image


– Lian, arc Thrift’s college blogger


DIY Crafts

Sometimes in the world of crafting, I bite off more than I can chew. This is a pattern even from when I was a kid.  I’d start projects and then leave them lying around after being distracted by something else…as my parents like to remind me.  But no more! After seeing this amazing vintage lamp at a nearby arc thrift store (for only $6.99!!!) I knew I wanted to rewire it and had to see it through.  There were several vintage lamps that caught my eye but this one won my heart :). Untitled1

The lamp has such beautiful shades of blue and green and I LOVE the 1970s drip glaze.  The only problem was that the plug was bent and the wiring looked rough.  Usually I’d let a little thing like fear of a painful shock turn me away from such a beautiful lamp-but not today! I figured rewiring a lamp couldn’t be that hard, could it?  Could it?!  I’ve seen so many amazing vintage lamps at arc, but I’ve never known how to rewire them-now I will!

The first step was buying a lamp kit from a local hardware store (around $10) so that I could figure out what all of this entailed.  Then when I couldn’t read the miniscule print on the back of the package I resorted to the internet.  Here’s what I had to do (the abbreviated version):

I unscrewed the ornament at the top of the lamp and then popped the oval harp off. Untitled3

After that I flipped the lamp over, pulled off the cardboard bottom and unscrewed the nut on the underside of the base that holds it all together.  With that undone I slowly took the whole thing apart and then threaded the new cord all the way back through the base up to the socket.  So far so good!

Things got a little trickier once I had to strip a bit of the wire at the top in order to actually rewire the socket.  I’d like to tell you that I did this no problem and then easily wired each side of the wire to the correct screw.  But that would be a lie.  I needed help! Untitled5

I was so worried that I wouldn’t do it correctly and would somehow make something explode that I wimped out.  I don’t even have a picture for you of me completing the job with help.  I should be ashamed…but I’m not.  Because as soon as I plugged this puppy in it lit up beautifully!  (Sorry for the lousy picture, though.)  Another arc treasure to satisfy my love for vintage, and for such an amazing price; I’ve seen drip glaze lamps like this being sold for tons in antique stores.  Arc always hooks me up with fabulous vintage wares for super low prices.  Plus I never feel guilty shopping because it goes to such a great cause.  Now all it needs is a lamp shade.  Wonder where I might find one…

Julie W.

Burlap and Berries

ImageA year ago my husband and I bought our country vacation home in Kansas, a dream we have had for years. In just a few short weeks we will be hosting the first large family Christmas gathering in the house. Wanting it to be very festive but on a budget I went to work.

I love all things rustic and vintage. In order to save money I looked around the house for things that I have and could use as part of the décor. Then a trip or two to arc Thrift was in order. Trying to add a touch of Christmas to every room in the house would be the challenge.

Some of the ordinary things I gathered up included mason jars, cookie cutters, red bandanas, vintage red pyrex pieces, galvanized and metal containers of all sizes and old Christmas light bulbs. On hand I also had craft paint, raffia, miscellaneous wood letters and an assortment of ribbon and Christmas ornaments.


In the kitchen cookie cutters and some gingham check ribbon added a little touch of Christmas to the cabinet handles. Adding red towels also added pop and a Christmas feel.

The hutch in the dining room was super fun to pull together. My dinnerware is an assortment of different patterns but all white. It’s so easy to change the look of the table with white as the anchor. I added a few vintage red pyrex serving pieces and bake ware. White hobnail candy dishes, 50’s era Christmas angels and some ornaments gave it a festive look. Using cotton kitchen towels as napkins, placemats or runners is another great way to save a few dollars.

On the mantle candle holders were given a touch of Christmas being surrounded with evergreen garland and burlap ribbon. A red bead garland was taken apart and the beads used in a candle holder for a pop of color. Wooden letters were painted red and tied to the stockings with ribbon to identify which family member the stocking belonged to.


Mason jars have been put to use in so many different ways. They make cute snow globes using epsom salt as the “snow”. You can fill them with old Christmas light bulbs, ornaments, bells or pine cones. One of my favorite uses is as luminaries. They are beautiful and very sturdy even standing up to wind.

I found so many great things at arc Thrift that helped me create a rustic and vintage Christmas in the country. Merry Christmas everyone!


Decorating for Christmas a Much Needed Distraction

arc is thrilled to introduce our brand new guest blogger, Lian.  Lian enjoys being thrifty and crafty as a CSU college student.  We look forward to many more ideas and great finds from her at arc Thrift Stores.

It’s finally December, and do you know means?  Well, at least for us college students it means finals and usually stress. There is one consistent way I have found to help make it all more bearable:  bringing Christmas cheer to your very own dorm room! I went over to my local Arc Thrift Store in search of such cheer.  I had some great finds such as Christmas lights, a wreath, Christmas ornaments (CSU colors, of course), some gold bows and some alphabet letters. All of these decorations only cost me $17 dollars! I had a great time crafting this stuff together while listening to Christmas music.  I proceeded to glue on the CSU letters onto my wreath and took the gold bows and glued them on as well; a very simple but festive result! After I finished, I had a grand ole time hanging all of the Christmas lights in a crisscross pattern across my ceiling and staging my homemade wreath on the outside of my door. All of a sudden, my room was now a winter wonderland!  Thanks to arc for making this cheery moment possible during a stressful time for a poor college student.