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And don't forget that you can tie your own flys with materials not sold as "fly tying material".
White shag bath mats make for a lifetime of craft fur if you are willing to dye your own colors.
Polyester yarn and two dog brushes will give you a lifetime of dubbing in every color under the sun
Bonnie macrame cord and two dog brushes will give you a lifetime supply of something very similar to EP type fibers.
Salvation Army & Goodwill usually have some beat-up fur coats, muffs, or hood collars from time to time (but PITA has kind of tapped out that source)
Squirrels and other furry critters are abundant, hunting buddies can usually come up with deer hair for you if you give them a heads up in fall and I will admit that when the neighbors moved out and left their fancy chickens behind, well you get the idea. You can also buy fancy chicks pretty cheap at TSC in the spring. It takes a while for that solution to materialize though.
I love my local shop but fly fishing/tying has been around longer than online shopping and most fly shops.
Learning to process your own materials can be another aspect of tying your unique fly.

View attachment 212214
I usually go to hobby lobby to buy my foam sheets, Walmart to buy skirts/jigs for crazy legs, and I have snagged the bead chain eyes off a broken pen at the hardware store. I have never seen that Idea with the bath mat though, I'm sure you could dye it with RIT dye. Do you know of any alternatives to foxy brush or tarantula brush? That is my biggest cost at the fly shop.
 

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And don't forget that you can tie your own flys with materials not sold as "fly tying material".
White shag bath mats make for a lifetime of craft fur if you are willing to dye your own colors.
Polyester yarn and two dog brushes will give you a lifetime of dubbing in every color under the sun
Bonnie macrame cord and two dog brushes will give you a lifetime supply of something very similar to EP type fibers.
Salvation Army & Goodwill usually have some beat-up fur coats, muffs, or hood collars from time to time (but PITA has kind of tapped out that source)
Squirrels and other furry critters are abundant, hunting buddies can usually come up with deer hair for you if you give them a heads up in fall and I will admit that when the neighbors moved out and left their fancy chickens behind, well you get the idea. You can also buy fancy chicks pretty cheap at TSC in the spring. It takes a while for that solution to materialize though.
I love my local shop but fly fishing/tying has been around longer than online shopping and most fly shops.
Learning to process your own materials can be another aspect of tying your unique fly.

View attachment 212214
Don’t forget roadkills!
 

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I usually go to hobby lobby to buy my foam sheets, Walmart to buy skirts/jigs for crazy legs, and I have snagged the bead chain eyes off a broken pen at the hardware store. I have never seen that Idea with the bath mat though, I'm sure you could dye it with RIT dye. Do you know of any alternatives to foxy brush or tarantula brush? That is my biggest cost at the fly shop.
Sure, tie your own brushes. Look online for brush tying machines and clone your own. Takes about an hour or two, maybe $15-20 worth of supplies to make. Most important feature is the spring tension must be light enough for the brush wire to shorten as the wire wraps tight. The springs I used first were too strong and the wire kept snaping before the wire got tight enough.

Once you finish the machine, sit down for an hour and make a dozen or so brushes and your good for a years worth of fly tying for pennies a brush.
 

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I usually go to hobby lobby to buy my foam sheets, Walmart to buy skirts/jigs for crazy legs, and I have snagged the bead chain eyes off a broken pen at the hardware store. I have never seen that Idea with the bath mat though, I'm sure you could dye it with RIT dye. Do you know of any alternatives to foxy brush or tarantula brush? That is my biggest cost at the fly shop.
Make your own dubbing brush tool/rack. I used 32g stainless steel (316L) from Amazon and you can pack them with any material that you want
They are pretty basic and plenty of them to look at on youtube. Only need basic shop skills to make one.
I don't really make brushes that much anymore. I made a heavy and long dubbing spinner that works great.

For me spinning the brush up as a dubbing loop on the fly as I tie it is easier than making a bunch of brushes. This way you can tweak the brush to the fly, mix materials, and section the flash and taper colors per fly. I guess it all depends on how many you tie at once and how much consistency you want between flies. Making up your own brushes can result in some pretty cool flies.

Wood Shipping box Cloud Rectangle Hardwood
Guitar Musical instrument String instrument Guitar accessory String instrument accessory
 

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Craft fur can be purchased as yardage goods in the material section of Hobby Lobby or most shops that sell material. Just check to be sure the fiber length is long enough for your purpose. A lifetime supply pretty cheap.
 

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Sure, tie your own brushes. Look online for brush tying machines and clone your own. Takes about an hour or two, maybe $15-20 worth of supplies to make. Most important feature is the spring tension must be light enough for the brush wire to shorten as the wire wraps tight. The springs I used first were too strong and the wire kept snaping before the wire got tight enough.

Once you finish the machine, sit down for an hour and make a dozen or so brushes and your good for a years worth of fly tying for pennies a brush.
Checkout Norm Norlander’s NorVice post about creating brushes! It’s pretty informative.
 

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I usually go to hobby lobby to buy my foam sheets, Walmart to buy skirts/jigs for crazy legs, and I have snagged the bead chain eyes off a broken pen at the hardware store. I have never seen that Idea with the bath mat though, I'm sure you could dye it with RIT dye. Do you know of any alternatives to foxy brush or tarantula brush? That is my biggest cost at the fly shop.
also, check this post on the forum from a few years back if you don't want to make a brush tool.
the 2nd link also in this thread is an overview of the dubbing loop method I use.
Reading the entire thread is a good idea. Happy spinning.
 

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Go check out glacierwear.com for the whole fur pelts and what nots they have every thing you could want, don’t sleep on their grab bag of scraps I liked mine, along with several whole pelts I ordered, bead chin bulk on Amazon for cheap, sucks ep brush went up it’s the best, it’s gonna be hard to duplicate but you can get close
 

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Hear ya on this. Definitely a sign of the times. I've started making crab claws with anticipation of selling them, but not sure if the time and cost of materials could even come close to making it worth it. I would have to charge too much. View attachment 212525
Interesting design...pretty cool.
 

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After using the hair in a dub loop I then take the normally discarded left over strip from the rabbit hair to do the same. You can cut as needed and tie two different colors together for the claw or use a sharpie.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Hear ya on this. Definitely a sign of the times. I've started making crab claws with anticipation of selling them, but not sure if the time and cost of materials could even come close to making it worth it. I would have to charge too much. View attachment 212525
Wonder how that bottom one would look on one of my crawdads.
 

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I've started making crab claws with anticipation of selling them, but not sure if the time and cost of materials could even come close to making it worth it. I would have to charge too much.
@flyfishingal941 ,

I had the same dilemma until I sat and thought about what I wanted out of it.

I tie more flies of a given pattern than I need and sell the excess and fishing flea markets around here from time to time. I don't make a killing but generally offset my materials costs so I'm tying and fishing my flies for next to nothing. I also tie teasers for putting in front of a plug. They are simple and cheap to make. Literally dozens from a bucktail. About 20 cents to tie and $1.50 a piece. I'll do $15 a dozen. I also take custom orders for whatever I tie and that brings in a little more.

Sure, I can't retire yet but my fly fishing habit costs almost nothing unless I buy more gear.
 

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@flyfishingal941 ,

I had the same dilemma until I sat and thought about what I wanted out of it.

I tie more flies of a given pattern than I need and sell the excess and fishing flea markets around here from time to time. I don't make a killing but generally offset my materials costs so I'm tying and fishing my flies for next to nothing. I also tie teasers for putting in front of a plug. They are simple and cheap to make. Literally dozens from a bucktail. About 20 cents to tie and $1.50 a piece. I'll do $15 a dozen. I also take custom orders for whatever I tie and that brings in a little more.

Sure, I can't retire yet but my fly fishing habit costs almost nothing unless I buy more gear.
Appreciate the insight and how you’re making it work! I think determining pricing is difficult. Do you just have people DM to order or do you have a little online shop setup where the platform takes a portion of the sale?
 
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