ScrapDC: (Re)Fashion for a Song

Heather of Scrap DC
I read in the paper about a new local non-profit thrift store with a unique focus:  it's a thrift store exclusively for craft supplies.  Well, I had to check this out for myself!  I am totally spoiled because it's a 10 minute walk from my house.  By metro, it's accessible from the New York Ave. metro stop on the Red line.  I live at Shaw/Howard U on the Green line and found the walk easy and safe.

ScrapDC was sparked by the original Scrap in Portland.  Co-Directors Karen and Heather were so inspired that they had to bring the concept to DC!  That's Heather at left, playing in...I mean organizing...the pretty paper collection.  The organization is 100% volunteer run.

Scrap DC Entrance

As you approach the store--a ground level unit in an artists' building--you are greeted by a colorful bulletin board.

Boutique Necklace Detail

The door opens to reveal the RE-Boutique in front of you, where local artists have gorgeous pieces for sale (at great prices).  I love the detail on this wool felt and bead necklace--definitely a statement piece!


As you turn to one side and then the other, you are amazed at how much can be available for your browsing pleasure in such a small space.  To the left are beads and patterns (25 cents!!!), with an ingenious yarn caddy over in the corner.


When you turn the other direction, there is so much to see I can't list it all!  Pretty papers, paint, clay, not to mention fellow crafters!  So much inspiration.


And oh, did I mention fabric?  This isn't even all of it, there's more opposite this wall.  There is bad news/good news for us fabric stashers.  The bad news is that Scrap has had so much fabric donated that they're not accepting any more.  The good news is that they have a ton of fabric and it's all $1.50/yd!  There are some fun, funky, vintagey pieces, as well as some standard sewing fabric.  I was looking for a nice cotton to muslin a woven pullover top I am adapting from a Burda pattern to be a TNT, and found the perfect piece.

If you're not a fabric stasher, (1) well, bless your heart, and (2) how about vintage notions?  Can you resist those?  Check out these metal teeth zipper!  And read it and weep on my vintage notion haul:  adorable navy microdot bias tape and TWO vintage belt kits.  I felt too guilty to completely clean out all the awesome stuff, so there's plenty left.  Notions are 50 cents each.  Seriously.  There is also a big box of laces and trims.

Gift Bags

You don't even need to actually craft to take advantage of Scrap.   Making up goodie bags for a birthday party or shower?  Be green *and* economical by raiding their huge selection of gift bags.  Throw in some of the fun vintage stationery for good measure.

And speaking of parties, are you planning a kids' birthday party in the DC area anytime soon?  Because Scrap will do parties!  At the bargain price of $120 for 8 kids and 4 adults ($10/person!) they will provide all the supplies for a craft the kids will love and you won't have to clean up after.  In Heather's words, "We want them to be a fun celebration that engages the creativity of the kids (or adults). We'll make a festive atmosphere with decorations (reused of course) and each party will select a project to work on. Then we'll make an organized, or not so organized, mess with the materials and just enjoy!"

Heather was kind enough to do an interview with me.  Here's what she has to say!

If money, time, and space were no impediment, what would your vision be for Scrap within the community?

"This could fill pages...but in a nutshell...I see SCRAP as an organization that encourages a culture of reuse and creativity. Physically, this involves a huge warehouse that:
- serves as a space to drop off/pick up awesome materials
- serves as a gallery and boutique space to support local artists
- serves as a workshop/class/party location for anyone who wants to play and learn"

Laces and Trims
I recall that you have a day job. Can you describe how you fit everything in?

"My co-director is awesome and does a lot of the more immediate things that I can't take action on to right away. We also have a handful of committed volunteers who take responsibility for running store hours or working on outside projects. So really, the team of people surrounding SCRAP is what makes it happen."

What is your favorite craft or craft supply? Has that evolved as you've gotten deeper into reuse through Scrap?

"I like making functional things...bags, stationary, journals etc. I generally find myself inspired by a material--cool fabric or textured paper--that I decide I need to take home and make something out of. Feeling inspired by the raw materials is what made me fall in love with creative reuse in the first place and it's still a big part of what I love about it today!"


Here's a sneak peek of my ScrapDC project.  The fabric and bias tape for the top are both from Scrap.  The fabric was $1.50 and the bias tape was $0.50--a $2 top!

All photos from Scrap are here.

ScrapDC is located at 52 O Street NW.  It's open every Thursday from noon to 8 pm, the first Friday of each month from 6 to 9 pm (April 5 is the next one), and the third Saturday of each month from 10 am to 1 pm.  Which means it's open this Saturday!  Check the calendar for special events.

When I visited on the third Saturday last month the store was hopping.  Everyone was so inspired and there was lots of brainstorming about challenging and unusual projects.  DC is a career-focused and somewhat serious town, and it's easy to forget that it has an art scene at all.  My visit was a great reminder that there is definitely more to DC than 9 to 5.

For those of you not in the DC area, check out this list of Creative Reuse Centers in the US and share what you discover!


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