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12 Workshop Supplies You Should Always Buy at the Dollar Store

The DIY attitude embraces affordability and accessibility for everyone, no matter how tight your budget. Here are 12 items to stock your workshop that are readily available at the dollar store.

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Chip Brushes

Chip brushes are intended to be used once and thrown away. Often sold at dollar stores under the label “craft brushes”, they’re ideal for applying stains, epoxies, or other applications where cleaning the brush would be difficult to impossible after you’re done.

Dollar store chip brushes are the same quality as the big box store version, but are often half the price. Plus, here’s how to use a chip brush to make new wood look old.

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workshop sticks

Craft Sticks

Sure they’re great as kids’ art supplies, but craft sticks can do a lot more! Pick up large quantities at the dollar store and use them to mix epoxy, spread glue, or serve as an improvised shim.

Here are more of our favorite uses for craft sticks.

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Dixie Cups

From mixing up small batches of material to keeping screws and fasteners organized, waxed paper cups can handle it all. But the actual Dixie brand can be pricey. Dollar stores often have an off-brand paper cup that will do the job just as well and at a reduced price.

As a bonus tip, consider slipping a paper cup over your drill bit the next time you’re working on a ceiling in order to avoid drywall dust falling in your face. That’s just one of many of our favorite drill hacks!

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hot glue gunLightField Studios/Shutterstock

Glue Gun and Glue Sticks

Glue sticks are a dollar store staple, and great to have on hand in your workshop or garage. Some dollar stores even sell glue guns (but usually priced a little higher than a dollar). Grab both for your workshop and you’ll never look back.

The glue gun is a versatile tool that can help with all your gluing needs, check out our favorite hot glue tips here!

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woodworking tableclothFamily Handyman

Tablecloths

Dollar store vinyl tablecloths work great as drop cloths that are resilient to spills, and offer enough padding to be gentle on finished surfaces.

Stock up on a few to protect your work surfaces. We especially love them for catching glue drips during woodworking projects.

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wrapVincent Photos/Shutterstock

Wrapping Paper

Another dollar store surface saver is wrapping paper. Wrapping paper isn’t padded or wipeable like tablecloths, but it will keep your surface clean of messes. When your project is finished, simply crumble up the paper for an easy one-step cleanup.

Plus, it comes in rolls that are the perfect length to cover most tabletops. When you’ve used all the wrapping paper, here’s how to reuse the cardboard tubes!

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spongesShutterstock/Potapenko Ivan

Sponges

Dollar store sponges can come in handy all over the house. Depending on your local store’s inventory, you may find cleaning sponges, dish sponges or finer-pore “car wash” sponges.

The latter is terrific for smoothing out grout on tile projects. You can never have too many sponges!

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planUfaBizPhoto/Shutterstock

Notebooks

Although there are all kinds of apps and digital solutions to help you work on DIY projects, there’s nothing like classic pen and paper.

Stock up on cheap notebooks from the dollar store and you’ll always have a place to jot down measurements or sketch out concepts. Here’s our favorite workshop pencil!

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Plastic Containers

Plastic storage containers of all sizes are available at the dollar store, at a much cheaper price than the brand name versions found in other stores. They’re great for organizing your garage or workshop.

Use them to corral nails and screws, paint supplies, drill bits, and more! Just make sure you use a labeling system for optimal organization.

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cutdaniilphotos/Shutterstock

Reading Glasses

We know how expensive eyeglasses can be; and unfortunately, it’s easy to damage your glasses in a workshop environment. Rather than risk your pricey designer frames, stock your workshop with multiple pairs of dollar store reading glasses.

You’ll always have a pair at hand, and you won’t worry if you scratch a lens or snap a frame. But remember that reading glasses are not a substitute for safety glasses. Here’s a tip for keeping glasses safe in your shop!

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sweepAzami Adiputera/Shutterstock

Mops, Brooms, and Buckets

Cleaning your workshop can be tough on your supplies. The nature of DIY projects means that you’ll be cleaning up wood, metal and other debris that will eventually wear out any mop or broom.

Keep this expense to a minimum by picking up replacements at the dollar store. Here’s our list of tips to keep your workshop clean and tidy.

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Family Handyman

Wax Paper

You should wipe down your woodworking tools and equipment with paste or wax to keep friction to a minimum and prevent rust. For a quicker and cheaper method, use dollar store wax paper!

Tear off a sheet and wipe down any surfaces that you’d normally treat with a wax paste. The wax paper will transfer some of its coating to your equipment’s surface, and you don’t need to go through the full cycle of waxing and wiping.

Check out more of our favorite affordable workshop updates.

Dan Stout
With over a decade spent on residential and commercial construction job sites, Dan Stout has the hands-on experience to speak to builders, contractors, and homeowners with the voice of authority. Much of his work centers on demystifying the building industry by simplifying construction jargon for homeowners and laying out best business practices for contractors. Dan's non-fiction has appeared on numerous blogs and vendor websites, while his prize-winning fiction has been featured in publications such as Nature and The Saturday Evening Post. His debut novel Titanshade is scheduled for a 2019 release from DAW Books.