Looking to save on home repairs and renovations? Furniture? Art supplies? Last weekend I made a great frugal discovery: Habitat for Humanity ReStores. If you are looking for cheap paint, doors, sinks, desks, windows, cocking, putty, or really any kind of home repair equipment or furniture, start here before you go anywhere else, as it almost guarantees you the very best price.
How did I find out about this hidden gem? It all began when I was thinking out loud about how to find an affordable canvas for my latest art project. I want to do another great big painting – one that will fit nicely above the bed. Unfortunately, large canvases can cost upwards of $100. I started wondering if I could find a cheap piece of wood from Home Depot when Josh mentioned building supply stores. We soon found the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, a short drive from our house.
What is a ReStore? They describe themselves this way:
Habitat for Humanity ReStores are building supply stores that accept and resell quality new and used building materials. They generate funds to support Habitat’s building programs, while reducing the amount of used materials that are headed for overflowing landfills! They are an environmentally friendly store that makes sense!
They almost sell themselves short in this description, as they do not only contain building materials, but furniture, too. I even found a certified working sewing machine for $15.
As we walked into the store, we were greeted with large 50% off signs, due to a moving sale. I found the perfect piece in minutes – a closet door that was painted on one side. The raw wood side was in reasonably good condition and had no doorknob hole. The price? $5 – with 50% off it came to $2.50. The best part? The money was a donation to Habitat for Humanity.
Lucikly Josh remembered to bring bungee cords and we got the door home safely. Nevertheless, while driving I worried that the door was going to slip out and crash through someone’s windshield. I told Josh that I didn’t want my $2.50 frugal find to turn into a million dollar lawsuit. Thankfully, it did not.
So, what kind of work did this peice of wood require? First, I needed to remove the hinges.
Easily accomplished. I also trimmed down the area that was peeling.
Next, I needed to do a little sanding. Even though I was working with a little piece of sandpaper, it didn’t take long. If you were using a brick sander or electric sander, it would take even less time.
Although there were only a few rough patches and scratches, I ended up sanding the entire thing.
Needless to say, it needed a bit of a washing. A damp rag was all that was needed.
If you were using the door for its original purpose, then your next steps would be to paint it and replace the hinges. But since I was using this for a canvas, the next thing I did was take a big brush and laid a good coat of gesso down to cover it entirely.
Since I was making a textured canvas for a multi-media peice, I laid down some of the fruit and vegetable netting and other materials (all free of course) and stuck it to the gesso.
Above is the final prepped canvas. (I will show you the final work when I’m done. I have plans for an abstract winter night rolling around in my head.)
I used about 1/10th of my gesso. A big jug costs about $26 so I used about $2.60 worth. That combined with the cost of the sandpaper (I used approximately 1/4 of a peice worth $1.50 (or 38¢ worth) and the canvas ($2.70 including tax) gave my canvas a total price of $5.68. Not bad for a starving artist!
Do you have a frugal tip to share on home renos, repairs, or art supplies?