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If you’re a fan of crafting, then you’ve probably stepped foot inside all three stores that make the craft-store trifecta: Michaels, Joann, and Hobby Lobby. But just because you’re a craft fiend doesn’t mean you know which shop has the cheapest fabric, the trendiest home decor, or the best coupon policies.
That’s why I decided to do a little digging. One thing I can tell you off the bat is that, whether I’m buying paint supplies from Michaels, fabric and quilting supplies from Joann, or home decor and jewelry-making kits from Hobby Lobby, I always aim to get everything at least 30% off at all three stores. Knowing each store’s sale cycles and coupons is a big part of getting the best prices.
Read on for the low-down on which store of the three has the best prices on yarn, picture frames, holiday decorations, and more. For more money-saving deals, tips, and coupons download the KCL app.
1. Joann wins the coupon challenge because you can stack and use competitor coupons!
Joann accepts Michaels coupons. The craft store also allows you to use more than one discount coupon within the same transaction, as long as each coupon is from a different source (for example, a newspaper insert coupon with a website coupon).
Subscribe to Joann emails and download the Joann app for iPhone or Android to get exclusive high-value discounts (like 60% off any regular priced item). But remember, you can only use one coupon promo code when making online purchases.
2. But you can always find a 20% off one reg. price item coupon at Michaels.
Michaels.com basically always has a promo code that will earn you 20% off any regular-priced item (at time of publication it was 20MADEBYYOU). You can find it right on the homepage or in the Michaels app.
A word to the wise: Michaels revised their coupon policy and stopped accepting competitor coupons in early 2020, but they will price match if the same exact product is cheaper at Joann or Hobby Lobby.
3. Hobby Lobby loses on couponing, but everything goes on sale.
Hobby Lobby did away with their 40% off coupon in March 2021 and doesn’t accept competitor coupons. So, they lose the couponing game. Hobby Lobby claims this move will allow it to do more storewide discounts, which can be found via the Weekly Ad.
New ads drop every Monday and run through Saturday. Expect sales ranging from 30 – 50% off across a wide range of departments including home decor, craft books, yarn, paper crafts, fabric, jewelry making, and furniture. Items rotate on a weekly basis, but the departments stay the same. The one bummer: Hobby Lobby doesn’t price match.
4. Get seriously discounted patterns at Joann or Hobby Lobby.
Never pay full price for a pattern. Ever.
Simplicity, Butterick, and McCall patterns are regularly priced between $11 to $23 but often go on sale for $0.99, 10 for $10, or $1.29 each at Joann.
Vogue patterns can cost up to $35, but you’ll see Joann mark these down to just $5.
5. Joann is the queen of fabric (and fabric discounts!).
Joann is the queen of fabric, and Hobby Lobby is a close second (standard sales are 30% off with seasonal fabrics at 50% off.) Vow to never pay full price at Joann — always shoot for 40% to 50% off whatever cut of fabric you need. Your patience will (literally) pay off in the end.
Yes, you can use a coupon on your fabric, but the sale prices are often just as good. When there’s a fabric sale at Joann, remember to use your percentage-off-your-total-purchase coupon or reward card and stock up!
Check out our optimal price guide for popular fabrics:
- Flannel: 50% – 70% off at Joann (look for 70% off in November).
- Minky: 30% off at Hobby Lobby (every other week).
- Cotton: 30% off at Hobby Lobby (every other week), or wait for a 40% off sale at Joann.
- Tulle: Wait for Joann “3 yards for $4” sale (there’s one in March).
- Fleece: 50% off at Joann (look for this in September).
- Home decor fabrics: 40% off (look for the sale in August).
- Licensed character fabric: 40% off — the biggest selection is at Joann (look for the sale in the first week of May).
- Quilt batting: 50% off at Joann.
6. Get scrapbook supplies from Hobby Lobby, unless Joann is running their 10/$2 promotion.
Hobby Lobby’s scrapbook section is arguably the most modern, and the company runs regular 40% off sales on paper craft and scrapbooking supplies. Specific deals change week to week, but Hobby Lobby employees told me that Tim Holtz products, single sheets, and planner stickers go on sale at least every other week.
However, when you see Joann mark down their scrapbook paper to 10/$2, it’s time to shop. These sales happen three or four times per year.
7. Michaels wins for picture frame selection and discount. Buy when you see 50% off.
The framing selection at Michaels can’t be beat. If there isn’t a 50% off sale going on, 40% off is still a bargain. If there aren’t any deals listed under the website’s coupon tab, check the “Online Deals” section of the website, where I found 40% off Aaron Brothers Frame Collections.
Michaels also offers an everyday sale on custom frames that range from 65 – 70% savings on the entire purchase (the frame plus the service).
Don’t see a frame sale? Use your 40 – 60% off a single custom frame coupon, which is pretty much always available online or in the app.
8. Joann is the best place to find 30% off craft books.
Joann used to be a real one when it came to craft books with its 50% off sales. Their book sales only hit 30% off nowadays, but Joann still takes the top spot for a one crucial reason: Craft book sales don’t really exist at the other stores. One Michaels employee told me he’s never put crafting or quilting books on sale. Hobby Lobby has sales around 40 – 50% off memoirs, Christian books, and self-help titles, but nothing that’ll help you on your next project.
Although Michaels boasts a solid in-store selection of product, I found that most options were not available to purchase online. The opposite was true with Joann.
One more thing: Those Michaels coupon codes we told you about? I was never able to successfully apply them to a book purchase.
At Joann I was able to buy Encyclopedia of Classic Quilt Patterns for 40% off regular price by stacking an online promo code to an existing sale. Final price: $15.05.
9. Give Michaels a slight edge on crochet thread.
When it comes to the basics, Michaels and Joann are practically identical. Both stores typically price Aunt Lydia’s Classic Crochet Thread at $3.99, and both Joann and Michaels allow you to use a 20% off promo code on your purchase.
Michaels pulls away slightly only because I found more brand variety and had better luck buying in bulk — especially online, where Joann had only a few bulk options.
Hobby Lobby is the spot if you’re into micro crochet, though. One week each month, you’ll find thread 30% off, which makes this multi-color thread set $20.
10. Skip Hobby Lobby’s yarn. Go to Joann or Michaels instead.
Both Joann and Michaels offer excellent selections of high-quality yarn. (If you don’t care about quality wool yarn, head to Walmart for cheaper polyester blends.)
Look for Caron Super Soft skeins to go on sale at Joann for $2.50 and Lily Sugar ‘N Cream Cotton yarn to hit $0.99 at Michaels (I’ve seen it as low as $0.19 online). When either item is priced that low, be sure to buy it first thing the morning the sale starts, or you’ll likely miss out.
Both stores regularly have sales on Bernat Blanket Yarn, but watch the size. Joann will often offer better prices on bigger skeins.
PRO TIP: See a yarn sale in the Michaels flyer? Read the fine print. Michaels is notorious for putting “50% off Yarn!” in big letters, so you think every brand is on sale. Most of the time it’ll only be one or two brands while the rest is either full price or a disappointing 10% off.
11. Get 50% off ribbon every week at Hobby Lobby.
Every week, you’ll see the type of ribbon sale rotate at Hobby Lobby.
Solid-colored and patterned ribbon by the spool — including faux fur options — will be 50% off one week, and the next week, trim ribbon by the yard will be 50% off. Time your ribbon purchase based on what you need.
12. Buy premium threads like Sulky and Gütermann for 50% off at Joann.
Depending on your machine, the more affordable Coats & Clark brand thread will work for you.
But if you need premium brands like Sulky and Gütermann, you won’t have any luck at Michaels. Fortunately, Joann stocks these brands, and it’s normal to find these products on sale for 50% off. Be sure to use your highest-value coupon from either Michaels or Joann to bring the price down.
Same goes for embroidery or bobbin thread, but wait for either a BOGO free or 50% off sale.
13. Use a coupon on clearanced seasonal decor and crafts at Joann and Michaels.
Each store has their own seasonal decor markdown schedule, but they’re all similar. The merchandise starts at 40% off and inches up from there every week until it hits 90% off after the holiday.
But, you can use a percentage-off-your-total-purchase coupon on these clearance items at Joann and Michaels.
14. Wait until buttons are BOGO free or 50% off at Joann.
Joann remains the undisputed button champion, but it mostly seems to be because no one else has taken a shot for the throne. The word from a Michaels employee was that she had never seen a sale on this item in the year she has worked at the store.
Joann’s sales happen a few times a year. If your timing doesn’t line up, though, remember that buttons at Joann are coupon friendly.
15. Look for 50% off jewelry-making supplies at Hobby Lobby every two out of three weeks.
Hobby Lobby’s jewelry making selection is vast. Expect to find everything you’d need for a jewelry-making class — but don’t expect it to be on sale all at once.
I was told that it can take as long as three weeks for everything to make its way to the sale rack. Once it’s there, you’re looking at savings of 50%.
16. Head to Joann for the top deals on craft machines.
Across the board, sewing machines or craft machines (like Cricuts) are listed as coupon exclusions.
That said, you’ll still catch good sales on Cricut machines at Joann, especially around the holidays. That’s when I found a Cricut Explore Air 2 for $179.99 — $20 cheaper than the best sale I saw at Michaels and $70 cheaper than its regular price.
I only recommend buying sewing machines if you’re looking for beginner-level machines, as higher-quality machines rarely go on sale. If simple works for you, then wait for Hobby Lobby to put sewing machines on sale (they go on sale once per month), and you should be able to find this 40% off New Home machine for $69.99.
PRO TIP: When getting your machine cleaned, smaller local shops typically have a shorter waiting period. Joann will often have an eight-week wait, while smaller shops can get your machine up and running within the week.
17. Buy baking supplies online from Michaels or Joann during free shipping promos.
Not only will your items ship free, but the online selection and sale prices for both stores’ cake decorating and baking supplies can’t be beat. Stock up on smaller supplies like sprinkles or cupcake liners when you see a “Buy 2 Get 1 Free” sale.
Once you’re signed up for store emails, you’ll be notified when free shipping promos begin.
If you’re already in the store, check the clearance bins at Joann. You’ll typically find some baking or cake decorating items marked at least 30% off. I didn’t have any such luck at Michaels.
And if you love a good deal, don’t even bother looking for baking supplies at Hobby Lobby. These never go on sale.
PRO TIP: Buy in person or do store pickup when you can — all three stores have a scalable shipping fee. Hobby Lobby’s standard two-day shipping charge starts at $6.95 but is based on your order total and can go up to, literally, hundreds of dollars. Joann shipping fees range from $7.99 to $11.99, and Michaels shipping fees start at $6.95 and can be as much as $17.95 for your basic ground method (two-day shipping is much pricier).
18. Aim for 50% savings on floral at all three stores.
Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and Joann rotate floral sales based on season, and 50% off a variety of floral supplies, including plants, pots, floral wire, and twine. Call this one a three-way tie.
In a pinch, a 40% discount is acceptable.
19. Wait for 50% off rubber stamp supplies at Michaels and Hobby Lobby.
IMO, Michaels’ selection beats Hobby Lobby’s, but you’ll see 50% off sales at both.
20. Buy drawing and painting supplies at Michaels during BOGO 50% off sales.
These canvases and sketch pads are high quality. Look for BOGO 50% off sketch pads, canvases, pencils, paint, and any other artistic mediums you love.
Looking for pen and ink kits to make your own? Hit up Hobby Lobby instead of Michaels for a better selection with similar prices. And if the brand of canvas doesn’t matter to you, every two out of three weeks Hobby Lobby puts their Fine Touch two-pack canvases on sale for 50% off.
21. Get quilting supplies at Joann and Hobby Lobby for 50% off.
You’ll find the best selection of high-quality scissors at Joann, though, which are also often marked 50% off.
22. Find the most durable storage solutions at Joann, but only buy when they’re 50% off.
While all three stores offer storage solutions, I’ve found Joann to have the most durable, high-quality selection.
If you don’t see what you’re looking for in the store, opt for free in-store pickup with an online purchase, and use a coupon if your item isn’t already at least 40% off.
23. Buy home decor at Hobby Lobby when it’s 50% off
If interior design is your craft, you already know Hobby Lobby has the best decor. Always wait for a 50% off sale. If it’s not on sale, stick it back on the shelf and wait a week.
My final tally shows Joann takes home a narrow win over Michaels with Hobby Lobby finishing in last place. Disagree? Let me know where I should have awarded more points in the comments below. Thanks for reading.