Free or Inexpensive VBS Craft Ideas

Answers VBS Leaders Share Their Secrets
by Answers VBS February 16, 2016

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VBS children can’t wait to see what crafts they will make throughout the week, but buying all of the supplies can quickly diminish the children’s ministry budget at your church. We polled some VBS leaders to hear how they make free or inexpensive VBS crafts each summer.

Our church has used Oriental Trading a lot over the years for inexpensive crafting supplies. . . . The Dollar Store is [also] a good place to go.

–GM, Oregon

Ordering in bulk through a company like Oriental Trading can be an economical way to get some great VBS essentials for craft time. You can find some of your last-minute VBS craft purchases at the dollar store and can even get additional ideas as you walk through the aisles.

Repurpose commonly found items. For example, we use a product that comes in a canister that is the perfect shape for a bank.

–KR, Tennessee

If you pick your theme early and have the crafts picked out, you have a lot of time to start collecting inexpensive materials. In fact, when you pre-order your Answers VBS kit (between June and December of the year it’s released) you’ll receive free leader PDFs in your online account beginning that October. The leader PDFs will give information that you can use to start collecting craft supplies. We also post lots of photos and ideas on, so you can get a jump on your supplies. You can even ask your friends or church to save cans or paper towel rolls early on, meaning you’ll get free craft supplies for your summer VBS program.

We use the recycling center in town. Lots of great items for crafts!

–GP, Indiana

Some places will donate. . . . Sometimes all they need is a letter with the church’s letterhead . . . and they are happy to help. You can also acknowledge them on [a] family night, program, or social media. Free publicity . . . drives business.

–EH, Virginia

Craft Ideas

Photo courtesy of Grace Fellowship Church, Florence, Kentucky.

Getting donations from recycling centers or other businesses can be a great way to get free materials, plus you may get a neat opportunity to promote your VBS program, invite people to come, and even open the door for a gospel conversation. On Day 4 of Answers VBS “Ocean Commotion,” your kids are invited to create an Ocean of Thanks Box. Find a pizza restaurant that donates boxes, and they may even be willing to hang VBS flyers in their store or place flyers on their delivery boxes.

For the more expensive craft items that you need, use coupons from [craft stores].

–AP, Kentucky

This is another great way to plan ahead for VBS crafts at your church. When you know what materials you need, you can watch for sales and coupons to purchase these supplies inexpensively at a nearby store.

We ask our congregation to help bring in recycling items. . . . Asking on Facebook, in the church bulletin, or asking people to donate supplies works well too.

–JH, Saskatchewan, Canada

People in your church congregation may want to help out with VBS but don’t know how they can help. By asking for donations of materials they have at home, you can allow these people to make a difference in the children’s lives, and you get free craft supplies to use during the summer.

If you need more inexpensive or free craft ideas, find an online forum like Answers VBS Discussion Group to ask questions and get suggestions.

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