Post by Katie, who runs the Reusable Party Kit Fareham and also a local scrapstore
If you love the idea of a reusable party kit then you’ll be just as excited about the potential of your nearest scrapstore. Found the length and breadth of the UK, scrapstores are Aladdin’s caves of low cost recycled art and craft resources which help give a second life to materials which would have otherwise been binned.
Similar to the Party Kit Network, there is a national network for scrapstores called Reuseful UK.
Cereal boxes? Toilet rolls? Sure, we stock the staples like paper, card and fabric, but think BIGGER! An army of volunteers collect and sort clean waste or surplus materials from hundreds of different businesses across the country. Stock is ever changing and magnificently random; one day it could be 20 pallets of corrugated card, another day it could be rolls and rolls of gold paper and cellophane or 100 sacks of wool - beat that Baa Baa Black Sheep!
For a low cost annual membership fee you can gain access to the extensive range of materials on offer - for example, The Waterside Scrapstore in Hampshire charges just £6 per year for individuals.
Each time you visit simply pick and mix the materials you’d like and pay by the bag-full (for example £1.50 at The Waterside Scrapstore).
Here are some ideas for how using materials from your local scrapstore can make your party special...
All scrapstores will have an abundance of beautiful fabric for making your own bunting. There are loads of tutorials online if you’ve not done it before. Scrap vinyl can be used to personalise bunting with lettering or make it occasion specific.
Cellophane pom-poms and bows are a really fast and fun way to decorate a room. It can also be used to make great chocolate and lollipop bouquets. You can buy a roll of cellophane from The Waterside Scrapstore from just £1 (plus postage).
Yes it is plastic, but as a by-product of photo printing it would otherwise end up in landfill so let’s reuse it.
Many scrapstores can provide really great value themed party bags for you - just contact your local scrapstore to discuss your requirements. One stress off your list. You can use scrapstore fabric to make simple drawstring bags, or if you want to make something with longevity, Morsbags are really quick and easy.
Or go the whole hog and fill your scrapstore party bags with crafty goodies from the scrapstore. It takes five minutes to put together mini craft kits for these sailing boats.
How about throwing in a couple of these fleece waterbomb-poms. Super absorbent recycled reusable waterbombs – AMAZING!
Or even let the kids go freestyle by simply putting in a selection of crafty bits so each child can create something unique when they get home.
Use beautiful fabrics to quickly and easily wrap presents. It takes a fraction of the time of wrapping with paper and can be used again and again. Check out this useful guide to Furoshiki fabric wraps.
As an alternative to single-use balloons, large recycled wool pom-poms provide just as much throwing and kicking potential as regular balloons but with the added benefit that they can be used again and again (even for numerous games at home after the party).
Try a game of Musical Islands using fabric "islands" for children to jump on or make your own “pin the tail” on just about anything!
Lots of scrapstores offer parties including large scale group craft activities or individual activities like making beanbags, bracelets, fabric flowers or mini STEM projects.
For babies and toddlers you can get a fabulous array of materials to create a big happy sensory group play activity (aka noisy vibrant mess!)
Last, but not least, why not consider a scrapstore membership voucher and give the gift of creativity for a whole year.
So many of the items stocked by scrapstores would otherwise end up in landfill so let’s use them to create happy memories and reduce the demand for new products (especially plastics) at the same time.
IS IT TIME TO VISIT THE SCRAPSTORE?
Hopefully you’ve been inspired to check out your local scrapstore. They are a wonderful resource and help keep a mountain of materials out of landfill while offering fun ways to make resources for a party and even keep the party guests entertained.
To learn more and find your nearest scrapstore go to Reuseful UK - they’re a friendly bunch!
All images are copyright of Katie Ryder, The Waterside Scrapstore and used with permission. The video is copyright of Reuseful UK.