15 Craft Supplies That Are Actually FSA Eligible
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I know the title seems a little clickbaity, but what I have to share with you is anything but. Let me explain.
In an effort to use up the money leftover in our FSA before the deadline, I found myself scouring Google for ideas on what to spend the money on. I had already purchased first-aid items, OTC medicine, feminine hygiene products, etc., and was looking for some new ideas for the little amount that was left. (I would have loved to have purchased this enclosed scooter, but I digress.)
If I had my way, I’d be able to use the leftover FSA funds on fabric or yarn directly, but the items in this list are certainly a compromise that I’m not going to pass up. In a way, I guess I can use the money I saved by utilizing my FSA funds to purchase more yarn and fabric…
not that I need more.
Amazon FSA Store
My favorite place to shop for FSA-eligible items is Amazon, specifically, the FSA Store within the Amazon website. Items contained in this portion of the site are easy to find as they are all eligible for purchase with FSA funds, and most things have FREE 2-day shipping with Prime. No more wondering if that pain cream or breathalyzer can be purchased (they can). If it has the “FSA or HSA Eligible” notice, you’re good to go.
Amazon has also made it easy for those with FSA and HSA spending accounts to pay for their purchases, by allowing you to add your FSA or HSA card directly to your Amazon wallet. Adding your FSA/HSA payment card as an eligible payment method in Amazon means no more submitting receipts for reimbursement. Time saved not filing claims means more crafting time.
Alright, I’m not going to keep you from the reason why you’re really here: to find out what craft supplies you can buy with your pre-tax dollars. On to the list!
Medical Utility Scissors
Made to cut off bandages and remove clothing from emergent patients, you can bet that medical scissors are sharp, yet safe. Medical scissors remind me of this pair of Fons & Porter Chenille Scissors I own. Better yet, these medical scissors aren’t going to gum up if you use them to cut tape or something with adhesive on it.
They sell this exact product at your local big box craft store, it just has a brand name and price to match.
Forceps/hemostats are wonderful for turning items right side out and making corners sharp. I use the pair I own a lot in stuffie making, machine embroidery, pulling hand sewing needles through leather and other thick spots, beading, and most recently: mask making.
Medical tape is a widely known “secret” in machine embroidery for securely attaching fabric under the hoop, and in place of pins on top to secure the fabric to the stabilizer. Other common uses are in garment making to alter big box paper patterns, and in place of pins (again) while sewing in a zipper, as it will not gum up your needle.
A word of caution here: 3M Transpore tape is the brand most used by crafters. I cannot speak to other specific brands of medical tape. My research has shown that not all medical tapes are created equal, and other brands may or may not gum up your needle or leave an unwanted residue.
Pillboxes come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, and are great for organizing sewing machine feet, sewing machine needles, and bobbins. Honestly, I find pillboxes to be useful for storing a lot of my smallest crafting items like beads, buttons, snaps, safety eyes, etc.
They are usually small, so they take up very little real estate vs. how much organizational power they have. You might even have a pillbox or two in your medicine cabinet not being used.
It takes a lot of thinking outside of the box to come up with this one, that’s why it is so genius.
Imagine being able to sew straight, consistent seams, even if you’ve had a few cocktails beforehand. When placed on the bed of your sewing machine, moleskin can help with just that. Other advantages to using moleskin over a magnetic seam guide include:
- Buildable. Just place another layer or two of the moleskin on top of the original layer for consistent seams with thick fabrics and furs.
- Non-magnetic. Most modern sewing machines are computerized. I won’t get into any technical detail here, but electronics and magnets do not play well together.
- Fixed. The adhesive on the back of the moleskin keeps it adhered to the bed of the machine very well, i.e. it isn’t going to shift if you use too much pressure feeding your fabric through as magnetic seam guides can.
- The moleskin can be removed to be replaced by a fresh piece or to change the width of your seam. (You might need a small amount of rubbing alcohol or Goo Gone to remove residual adhesive.)
Bonus: My hands are always cold, and I find that when I wear my compression gloves they warm up because of the added circulation.
Grab a sharps container for safely disposing of used sewing needles, pins, rotary blades, X-acto blades, or anything else sharp that needs to be disposed of. When you consider the tiny size of needles and pins, a quart size sharps container could serve you for years and years of safe disposal.
It might seem counterintuitive to spend money on something you’re just going to throw away, but even my frugal heart understands it’s in the name of safety. Although you’re not disposing of biohazardous waste, the sharps container is already affixed with the proper warning label, which serves as a layer of visual protection;
“Stay away! This container is full of dangerous stuff!”
Ph Testing Strips
pH testing strips are useful when dyeing fabric or yarn to determine the acidity of your water. If you don’t already use them and would like to learn more, Rebecca from Chemknits has a ton of information regarding the science behind dyeing.
The video below focuses mainly on pH levels.
Keeping with the dyeing theme for a moment, medicine droppers are great to have in your dye kit for precisely placing color… or going crazy and making random drops all over.
Although these items look like tiny prophylactics, they are not. Traditionally, finger cots are latex sheaths worn to protect open cuts and wounds. For those with latex sensitivities, a non-latex option is available as well.
In crafting, they can serve the same purpose and more. In addition to protecting the wound on the finger, finger cots have the added benefit of protecting whatever you are working on from your finger. For instance, a finger cot can be worn over cuts or rough skin as a means of protecting delicate fabric or yarn from snagging.
Finger cots are also useful when worn while machine quilting or sewing with slippery fabrics for extra grip.
Have a small cut or wound and don’t want to wear a finger cot? A liquid bandage could be the product for you. It is usually applied in a few seconds like clear nail polish. This is one product I have multiple of, and keep one in the sewing box for small cuts and pokes.
Liquid Bandage can also be used “off label” by applying a few layers to healthy skin as a way to create an artificial callous for hand-sewing, quilting, and loom knitting.
Self-Adhesive Bandage Wrap
Self-adhesive bandage wrap‘s crafty use is in machine embroidery to keep stabilizers and/or fabrics from slipping when it is wrapped around the hoop. It also makes clean up easy if using spray baste.
Check out this video from Di Scarrott that explains it better than I can.
The self-adhesive bandage wrap also has the added benefit of being quick and cheap custom grips for pencils, marking pens, hooks, and anything else that could benefit from being bulked-up.
I figure magnifiers are pretty self-explanatory as far as their use is concerned, but not many people are aware that FSA funds can be used to purchase them.
In case you were curious about their crafty use, magnifiers (especially lighted ones) are great for reading patterns, charts, and stitching or working small items.
I think Aquaphor or any other healing lotion should be a staple in everyone’s craft kit. Our hands do a lot for us. We should at least keep our hands happy, healthy, and snag-free.
Video Baby Monitor
Admittedly, upon first glance, this item seems a bit superfluous. But hear me out. First, for those with infants and small children, a video baby monitor is, in my opinion, a necessary item for childrearing. I’ve had my video baby monitor since before the birth of my daughter, and use it to this day, 7 years later.
While it might seem like a stretch to go from baby item to craft item, it is completely within the scope.
Having a video baby monitor allowed me to get more
housework crafting done when my little was more dependant on me. I felt comfortable running my sewing machine on the other side of the house while she napped, as I could check in on her frequently with the push of a button.
On the opposite end of things, a video baby monitor can be used when you need to be away from your crafting.
Machine embroiders and die-cut machine users are probably the first ones to know exactly what is meant by “babysitting my machine”. The machine might do most of the work for you (sewing and cutting, respectively), but you can’t just leave and do something else while it is running.
Because the moment you leave your machine unattended, chaos ensues. Your embroidery machine makes a bird’s nest out of your project; your die-cut machine puckers or shifts, so now all remaining cuts are off.
With a video baby monitor, you can well, monitor your machines and jump in at the first sign of trouble; possibly averting a disaster situation.
So, there you have it. Fifteen FSA eligible products that moonlight as craft items. I hope this list has inspired you to look at everyday objects with a new eye.
Most of the items on this list are cheaper than the same products marketed to crafters. Of those that are more expensive than their craft store counterparts, I would advise you to weigh your options if the price is a factor and you aren’t using money that is “use it or lose it”.
Let me know if you have an idea for other crafty FSA-eligible items, and I’ll add them to the list.
Until next time!