The outlets below are good sources of art making or crafting materials in or around Chicago. Some of these organizations offer educators deep discounts or free educational materials for their classes. I will try to update this when new organizations start up and others close.
1. The WasteShed - "The Wasteshed is a nonprofit with creative reuse centers in Chicago and Evanston. We collect reusable art and school materials that would otherwise be thrown away... and make them available to teachers, artists, and anyone who needs them, at low or no cost.
2. Chicago Creative ReUse Exchange - At the Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange (CCRx) we believe that "trash is just a failure of imagination."
"We are a 501c3 nonprofit that redistributes donated surplus materials, equipment, and supplies. We keep good things out of the landfill and get them into the hands of people who can use them. We focus on Chicago teachers and their students, non-profit organizations, and arts and community groups, but we're open to everyone. We promote creativity, a circular economy, and environmental stewardship through creative reuse programming, products, and partnerships.
Our goal is to educate and empower people to reduce waste, reimagine surplus and make creative reuse a fundamental part of our collective infrastructure."Location and Hours
Envision Unlimited Frick Center
2124 W. 82nd Place
Chicago, IL 60620
Open by Appointment
Wednesdays + Thursdays 10am - 5pm
Saturday 10am - 4pm
3. SCARCE - "We help people discover how easy it can be to make a meaningful difference for our kids, for our environment, for our future…and often for all three at once."
4. Zero Landfill Chicago - "ZeroLandfill™ is an award winning upcycling program held seasonally that supports the supply needs of local artists and arts educators while reducing pressure on local landfill capacity. Since 2008, the ZeroLandfill™ Chicago team has partnered with the architectural and interior design community in identifying, diverting from local landfills and re-purposing back into the community over 500,000 pounds of expired specification samples that hold value for other audiences. Contact email@example.com for more information."
5. ReUse Depot - "To keep reusable building materials from entering the landfill. We are able to do this by promoting environmentally friendly deconstruction over traditional demolition, thereby saving the embodied energy that went into the making of the original building materials. These materials are then harvested from our deconstruction sites, brought to our warehouse, and offered for sale to the general public at a fraction of their original cost. Together, Reuse Depot Inc. and Blue Earth Deconstruction work to provide you a tax-deductible donation method for any size donation of reusable building materials that we are able to accept. No donation is too large or too small for us to consider. From a kitchen or bathroom sink that is no longer needed to a full house deconstruction, we have the means and methods to assist you through your donation."
6. All American Reclaim - Reclaimed wood and salvaged material.
7. American Science and Surplus - This outlet is a mix of surplus and retail.
8. Ebay, Facebook MarketPlace. Warning! These can be good places to find what you need, however, some entrepreneurially-minded folks are grabbing listing photos from some of the sites above and posting the items at a high markup on these online marketplaces. Proceed with caution.
9. Thrift Stores.
10. Garage/rummage sales.
11. Flea Markets
Julie Mars' current events, projects, & inspirations.