Find out when you should replace old craft supplies or when your craft supplies expire with this handy guide.
I was recently cleaning and organizing my office, which is also where I keep all of my craft supplies, and I realized that some of my craft supplies are OLD. Like, moved with me multiple times, old.
And that got me wondering, do craft supplies expire? Do you ever need to replace your craft supplies and tools just because they’re old? I mean, honestly, I have no idea how I never thought about this before. We replace our makeup, our spices, our cleaning supplies. Why wouldn’t we also replace our craft supplies?
Think about it, have you ever been excited to start a new project only to find that your paint is chunky, or your glue won’t stick or your stamp pad is completely dried out? I definitely have!
I know that I usually just wait until things are clearly useless to replace them, but there is definitely a decline in quality in a lot of craft supplies as they get old and I probably shouldn’t be waiting so long.
So I spent some time researching this and I’ve got some answers. Read on to find out when you need to replace your old craft supplies (and when you don’t)! Please note, most of these guidelines apply to craft supply products that have been opened.
When should you replace craft glue?
You don’t have to wait until it’s too dried out to get out of the container. Aleene’s tacky glue (the crafting glue standard) recommends using your craft glue within 1-2 years. Elmer’s school glue has a shelf life of 2 years. (Pro tip: Get the new type of tacky glue with the upside down bottle, it is 1000% better than the old bottle!)
When should you replace glue sticks?
I’m sure you’ve all discovered a dried out glue stick so of course, that should be replaced. But have you ever opened one that you haven’t used yet only to find that it’s also dried out? I sure have. Turns out glue sticks can dry out after 8-12 months even when you haven’t opened them. (Pro tip: never buy glue sticks from the dollar store, they are terrible!)
When should you replace hot glue sticks?
I didn’t find a definitive answer for this one, but in general, hot glue sticks are made of a type of plastic so they should not ever really go bad. Please keep in mind that plastic does degrade if it is heated and cooled repeatedly. So for example, if you stored your hot glue in an attic or garage where it got hot and then cold a lot. It may become brittle.
When should you replace Mod Podge?
While it has no official shelf life, Mod Podge is best if used within 2 years unopened and 6 months after it’s been opened.
When should you replace polyurethane?
If you have ever used water based polyurethane to seal a craft project, you know it can yellow over time after you apply it. But did you also know you shouldn’t keep an opened can on the shelf longer than a year? It can get chunky, cloudy or yellowed, so it’s a good idea to mark the date you opened it on the can!
When should you replace acrylic craft paint?
Acrylic craft paints should last between 2-5 years before they need to be replaced. They can separate, get chunky or even dry out. Acrylic paint can also go bad if it is frozen and then thawed so keep it in a temperature controlled environment!
When should you replace watercolor paint?
Tubes of watercolor should last 2-5 years. After that, the gum arabic can separate. Pan watercolors (the dried kind) can last a lot longer, up to 10 years or more!
When should you replace chalk paint?
Once it’s been opened, the official word is that chalk paint lasts for 1 year, though it has been known to last longer. Chalk paint will get too thick to use after time.
When should you replace milk paint?
You should replace milk paint after only up to 7 days. And that’s only if it’s been refrigerated during that time. Hopefully this one’s self explanatory, it’s milk!
When should you replace spray paint?
Spray paint expires about 2-3 years from its production date (depending on brand) though the internet will tell you if it still sprays, sure, go ahead and use it. I would worry that expired spray paint may peel, crack or otherwise not work very well after it was applied. When you dispose of expired spray paint, make sure you do NOT just throw it in the trash! Check with your local authorities to find out the best way to dispose of old spray paint.
When should you replace markers?
This one’s pretty easy, you should replace your markers when they dry out or run out of ink. There are no terrible consequences that come from using an old marker. To prolong the life of your makers, make sure the caps are on tightly!
When should you replace masking tape?
This might seem like a weird one but I have definitely had rolls of masking tape that “went bad”. The old masking tape became impossible to peel off the rolls, sticking to the other layers and only peeling off in thin strips. It was maddening. I’m happy to learn that the recommended shelf life for masking tape is one year.
When should you replace your craft knife?
You don’t need to replace the knife itself, but you need to replace the blades on your craft knife or x-acto knife WAY MORE OFTEN THAN YOU THINK. Craft knife blades cannot be sharpened and a dull blade will not only ruin your projects, they are much more dangerous to use. I could go on and on about this, but you should replace your craft knife blade, at minimum, every time you start a new project. If you are cutting a lot of something that dulls your blade quickly like foam board or thick matte board or lots of paper/cardboard, replace it more often, like every couple of hours. If you notice your cut edges are tearing or looking a little ragged, it’s definitely time for a new blade!
When should you replace your scissors?
If you take care of your scissors, you should never have to replace them! Did you know scissors can be sharpened? Yep, you can take your scissors to any place that sharpens knives and they can make them good as new. Apparently you should also clean and oil your scissors. Who knew?! One last tip, if you are a sewer, NEVER ever use your fabric scissors on paper, that will dull them faster than anything!
When should you replace your sewing machine needle?
I used to only replace the needle on my sewing machine when it broke. *cringe* I had no idea! But I learned a while back that you should replace your sewing machine needle after every 8 hours of sewing or after about 3 full bobbins of use. You can tell if it’s dull if there’s a slight popping sound as you sew. (P.S. don’t forget to oil your sewing machine and clean out the lint too!)
When should you replace your Silhouette or Cricut cutting machine blade?
The recommended amount of time to replace your cutting machine blade is 3-6 months of average use. Of course that depends on how much and which materials you are cutting. If your cuts aren’t clean and your material snags or tears at ALL, then it’s time for a new blade. Melissa at Silhouette school experimented with sharpening her blade with foil, have you tried that?
When should you replace your adhesive vinyl?
I found out that permanent adhesive vinyl (for example Oracal 651) should last for up to 6 years once it’s applied. But like all products that involve an adhesive, you would think that after an extended amount of time of sitting in your closet, it might loose it’s sticking power. Oddly, I can’t find an answer to how long that might be. But if you’ve had vinyl sitting around on a shelf for longer than that, I’d check to see if it’s still sticky before you start your next project!
When should you replace clay?
Unopened polymer clay should not go bad. Air dry clay (this is the best air dry clay) is a different story and will need to be replaced…when it’s dried out! If it’s in a completely sealed unopened package that shouldn’t happen. But if you’ve opened it and are trying to save it in a zipper bag, get as much air out as possible before you seal it.
When should you replace fabric dye or tie dye?
Did you know that tie dye goes bad?! I learned that this summer and was shocked. It loses its effectiveness quickly after you mix in the water and most fabric dye brands recommend that you use it within 72 hours of mixing it up!
When should you replace a stamp ink pad?
You should replace your ink pad when it starts to get dry or when your stamp impressions are not dark enough/not picking up enough ink from the pad. But wait! You can add more ink to refresh most stamp pads!
Has this been helpful? Are there any other craft supplies you have had go bad? Anything else you are wondering about? Let me know!
And just for fun, here are some art and craft supplies that pretty much never go bad!
- oil paints
- oil pastels
- pipe cleaners
- popsicle sticks
- pom poms
- wood shapes
- fishing line
- leather cord
- freezer paper
- googly eyes
If you liked this, you may also like some of my other posts…
- Crafting with Kids: Tips & Tricks for Fun and Successful Projects - June 7, 2023
- Sunrise Sunset Hat Knitting Pattern - June 6, 2023
- What To Do with a Total Craft Fail and How To Redeem Yourself - June 1, 2023
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