Are Craft Kits Really Worth It?

I was in the craft store this weekend. I was looking at some kits for various crafts, and as I considered which one I wanted to buy, I kept hearing this voice in my head from when someone told me that kits are more expensive than simply buying the materials you need.  That got me thinking…is it really more expensive?  I think it depends on the situation, and on the kit.

Look at what materials, and how much of each, come in the kit.

This is the soap making kit I picked out!

I was looking at soap making kits, most of which were in the $20 range.  I looked at what came in the kit I wanted—16 oz clear soap base, 16 oz white soap base, fragrance, 3 colors of dye, a plastic mold with 4 shapes, 4 metal cutters (different shapes), and an instruction sheet.  The box tells me that I have enough material for 10 bars of soap.  As someone who does not make a lot of soap (and has yet to experiment with this type of soap making), that sounds pretty reasonable.  I suppose if you were going to be making lots of soaps, maybe to sell at a flea market or on Etsy or something, this would be an impractical way to buy supplies.  But, if you’re like me and you just want to try something new, I think that kits are the way to go!  Especially if there’s a reusability factor, like being able to reuse molds.

Want more proof that kits aren’t always more expensive?

This is everything that came in my kit

The kit I chose comes with a package of clear and a package of white soap base.  You can buy this independent of a kit, with the smallest package costing around $10.  Granted, that $10 package is double the size of what you would find in the kit, but you would have to buy two of them (clear and white) in order to create the same soaps that you would with the kit.

Also in the kit are 3 bottles of dye—red, blue, and yellow.  The same amount of dye would cost around $5 if purchased separately.  The same goes for the fragrance—about $5 or $6 for what you would find the kit.

Most of the molds, like the one in the kit, were about $2.50 in the craft store where I was shopping.  I didn’t see the metal cutters, but they’re basically the same thing as small cookie cutters, which aren’t usually expensive.

Being a soap making novice, I knew I would need instructions of some sort.  The kit I chose includes some basic instructions.  The instruction books in this store were $15.

It’s starting to sound cheaper to just buy a kit…isn’t it?

Aren’t craft kits too specific to allow creativity?

Some people don’t like kits because they feel locked in on a certain project and think they have to do everything a certain way.  Don’t be afraid to customize!  The box might show pink soaps with darker pink hearts inside, but don’t let that limit you.  Green hearts could become a nice shamrock!

I’ll certainly let you know how my first real soap making experience goes! I had a kit when I was youngerThis is the kit I had when I was young...yes, I still have it!, but it was a much different method, and that’s another story for another time.

I found a really great resource that I will probably make good use of as I try my hand at soap making.  A woman named Cathy has a blog where she posts soap recipes and answers questions that people have as they make soap.

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6 thoughts on “Are Craft Kits Really Worth It?

  1. Thank you for sharing your experience with craft kits. I used to get craft kits all the time when I was younger but haven’t tried one in years. I found your break down of what you actually getting out a kit very resourceful. I agree that using a kit would be appropriate for someone who was just making soap as a fun activity and not like a serious hobby. I’m curious to know what other craft kits you recommend. One of my favorites from when I was a kid were the mosaic tile stepping stone kits. I feel like you would have to have a lot of skill on your own in order to make a stepping stone without a kit.

    • When I was learning how to make jewelry, I found a good kit at Wal-Mart that gave you materials to make several pairs of earrings. I think it made 6 different pairs? It came with all the beads and findings (the term for things like earring posts or hooks, wire, crimps, etc). All I needed was a pair of jewelry pliers. The kit was $4 and I don’t remember how much the pliers were, but I’m pretty sure they were less than $10. I bought a 3-way tool, which is round-nosed pliers, wire cutters, and can also be used as needle-nosed pliers. My grandpa really loved paint-by-number kits, but I just don’t have that kind of patience!

  2. I don’t believe that buying a craft kit is worth it. Craft kits that I have bought in the past contain materials that are overpriced. For example, a Klutz Fancy Friendship Bracelets Kit runs for $15 and contains 40 yards of string and 6 charms. You could just buy a pack of string that contains about 315 yards for only $3. Regarding instruction on how to make the bracelets, google has endless free websites that will teach you how to make many different types of bracelets. However some craft kits may be worth the price, I believe most are not.

    P.S. I really enjoyed reading your blog!

    • I agree, friendship bracelet kits (and I would even go so far as to say Klutz kits in general) are usually not worth it. I’ve had plenty of Klutz kits when I was little (often at the tail end of some kind of dramatic display in a store), but I was never as happy with them as I thought I would be. It’s important to look at what comes in a kit, evaluate your own skill level and how much extra materials you may get stuck with, and whether or not you can good instructions online. There have been times when it has taken me almost a half hour to decide on a craft kit. Sometimes you just want to make one thing, and having to buy the regular size package of all the materials will be more expensive and leave you with a bunch of materials that will sit around gathering dust.

  3. I never even thought of buying a crafts kit. I usually buy the material on my own because I feel the kit is extremely overpriced. But after reading this, I may think twice about looking over the kits because I can reuse parts. Also, it may even have instructions so I won’t have to guess on how to do the project.

    By the way, I really like your blog.

    • You do have to be careful, because they can be overpriced. But if the situation is right, craft kits can be the best choice. Sometimes it takes a lot of mental math to figure out your best option. Or the calculator on your phone! Technology is great, isn’t it?

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