I don't know about you, but I don't live close to town. You look any direction out of my home's windows or doors, and you are going to see fields. This has its advantages, and its disadvantages. One disadvantage, if I am working on or planning a new craft project, I can't just run to the craft store real quick. It is much more convenient for me to find what I need online.
Convenience is not the only reason to shop online. You can find some great deals online that you may not find in a craft store. However, before you rush to your computer, there are some things that you should always keep in mind when shopping online.
Check the websites of craft stores you typically shop at. Michaels, JoAnn Fabrics, and Hobby Lobby all have websites. You can also look at other reputable online stores like Amazon.com. Other websites geared directly toward selling craft supplies include Moore's, Create for Less, and sunshinecrafts.
If you haven't checked out ebay before, now may be a good time to start. Lots of crafters who have extra supplies, fabrics, or other materials that they are not going to use will put those extras on ebay for a very reasonable price. The key is – shop names that you know. If you don't know the names of any good online stores, ask around. See where your friends or colleagues have had good luck finding quality supplies at good prices.
There are other things to consider before you skip the craft store for an online store. What is their return policy? Make sure that you are able to return a product before you purchase it. Know whether or not it has to be returned within a certain amount of time, unopened, and if you are responsible for paying return postage. What payment types do they accept?
You are not going to be able to pick up and examine the product as you would in a craft store, so be sure you read everything about the product. Pictures are great, but also read all the information they have listed. Check their shipping rates. It's not a great deal if the cost of shipping is outrageous. Keep in mind that heavier and larger items are going to cost more to ship.
Websites, much like physical craft stores, can give you great ideas for new projects. You can find a lot of really good ideas, and free directions. Often, these sites will give you a supply list that you can then use to order your products.
The downside to ordering your supplies online? You have to wait! If you put together a good shopping list, and need to be in town anyway, you could get the things you need from the craft store today, then you can get started on your project right away!
My recommendation is that you shop at both the craft store and online. You never know what deals and what products you are going to find where. It is always best to look at all your options. Besides, what is better than spending an hour in the craft store looking at all the great things you could do!
For more information on crafts, try visiting http://www.craftguidance.com - a website that specializes in providing craft related tips, advice and resources to include information on craft store.