When starting a new troop you may not have the funds to run out and buy a bunch of craft supplies. The easiest way to build up your supplies is to ask parents to look around their house and bring in any unwanted craft supplies they have tucked away. Once your parents get wind of your craft box they will be more than happy to donate that half skein of yarn left over from a afghan, the wiggle eyes that showed up out of nowhere and pieces of leftover craft kit’s the kids got for Christmas but never finished. Parents will also spread the word to grandparents, aunts and other people they know that may have some stuff to donate. Before long you will have a box full of craft supplies.
Your next step will to be find a box! A cardboard box works well for starters and then you can upgrade to a plastic tote when either the troop has the funds to purchase one or you find an empty one in your house. When purchasing any plastic containers with troop money I always bring them home and label them with Girl Scouts and the troop number. I keep a paint pen for that purpose. That way I can easily see what belongs to me and what belongs to the troop. Anything donated to the troop or purchased with troop funds goes into a labeled box.
I use smaller boxes to organize my craft box. I use plastic shoebox totes, pencil boxes, zip lock bags and various other small plastic containers that had no other use in my house. If you have a small child in the house, more than likely you have a handful of wipes boxes sitting around. Those make great craft organizers too!
Leftover school supplies that come home at the end of the year always haunt our houses. Too good to throw away but the kids will never use them is a common phrase. So you hang on to part of it. Then parents stock up at the next Back to School sale and purchase tons of supplies at rock bottom prices. At the end of the year Little Susie only used half of the bottle of glue and there are still three more bottles in the closet. These things are great for your craft box! There was very minimal investment to purchase the items, the items have sat unused for at least 9 months and the items will go to a great group of children who will use them.
Things like pencils, crayons and markers I keep in easy to travel boxes. If we have a meeting and we are doing puzzle pages instead of crafts there is no need to take the entire box and its contents – only a smaller box of pencils.
The basic things to look for when starting a box are:
Scissors – age appropriate for the girls using them.
Glue – sticks or bottles, tacky glue or glitter glue
Crayons – I put them all in a plastic shoebox so brand and usage don’t matter.
Markers – Verify they work and put them in a plastic shoebox.
Pencils – I keep pencils, erasers and a pencil sharpener in a plastic pencil box.
Colored Pencils – We use these for various projects but not very often.
Construction Paper – All sizes and colors accepted here – even the pack with all of the red and pink torn out!
Beads – What girl doesn’t have a box of beads that mom hates cleaning up?
Lacing – to make bracelets and necklaces
Pompom’s – all sizes and colors
Wiggle Eyes – all sizes
Pipe Cleaners – all colors
Foam – sheets, shapes, stickers
Stickers – all kinds
Paper Plates, bowls, cups
Plastic ware – knives are great for spreading glue
Paper lunch sacks
Card stock or other paper
Yarn, string or thread
Watercolors, paints and paintbrushes
Doilies – we use these to make cards
These are just a few ideas. I’m sure you will find this and so much more around your house. Your Girl Scout parents will be happy to donate things also. I also watch the clearance rack for craft items. Now and then I will find a bag of a dozen red pompom’s for ten cents. I may not have a craft idea in my head just yet, but I know that we will find a use for them. If I am on a shopping trip for my family I will pick it up and just give it to the troop. I’m really not going to miss that dime. It’s funny how some craft items are considered ‘holiday’ just because of their colors.
It is very rare that I take the entire craft box to any of my meetings. But I do once a year, at the end of the year. The girls get to have a “free for all” crafting party for one of their last meetings. They use their imaginations to use up some of the crafting leftovers from the year. The girls love it! And while they are using up odds and ends I am sorting through and getting the craft box reorganized for the next year. The girls talk about what crafts they loved, which ones bombed and what types of materials they never wanted to work with again. By the end of the meeting you will have thrown away excess packaging, cleaned out the broken pencils, weeded through the markers and will have a clean and organized craft box for your next year. You will also to be able to see what the girls could use more of. Let the parents know and watch for items on clearance.
It is pretty easy once you start to think outside of the box!