How To Shop For A Budget Altar!(*Updated*)

[Visual Description: A heart-shaped metallic tray is filled with crystals and a mercury glass tealight candle holder. It sits on a wooden table next to a lantern and long vines with leaves on them.]
[Visual Description: A heart-shaped metallic tray is filled with crystals and a mercury glass tealight candle holder. It sits on a wooden table next to a lantern and long vines with leaves on them.]

Adorning your altar is a very personal process, one that many witches may be intimidated by—especially after seeing the dozens of amazing photos on Tumblr or Pinterest of decked out sacred spaces covered in crystals and other magickal goodies. But shopping for your altar doesn’t need to be an intimidating or expensive process.

First, select the space you want to work with. Where you keep your working altar will depend on your current housing situation. Those who can, usually use a nightstand, side table, mantle, or even a bookshelf to place their altar. But witches still in the broom closet may consider making a pocket altar as they are very discreet and can be hidden when not in use.

Next, decide on what will go on your altar. You can either sketch this out, create a shopping list, or make a Pinterest board such as this one for inspiration. As long as you have an idea of how you’ll be utilizing the space, you are ready to go.

Where To Shop

While shopping on specialty sites like 13 Moons or The Magickal Cat is a great way to engage and support the witch community, the prices are usually quite inaccessible. So to find your altar tools you need to use that renowned resourcefulness that all of us poor folk are born with (yes, even you) and hunt them deals DOWN.

Take altar cloths, for example.

Altar cloths can be used for practical purposes, such as collecting fallen candle wax or dust, or for the color correspondences one could incorporate into the magick of the altar itself. They can be found on specialty sites for around $15-$30 (yikes). But remember what an altar cloth is—fabric. Don’t be afraid to shop around your local Joann’s for a $3-$4 yard of fabric to use as your altar cloth!

Go to the Dollar Store and find a nice scarf with a cute pattern to use as an altar cloth (or repurpose one of your own!) I personally love using long scarves as altar clothes and sometimes even tissue paper, the size is so convenient and the material makes it suuuper convenient to clean up.

Anything made of fabric can be turned into an altar cloth! Here I’m actually using a folded curtain panel that I got from Fallas (one of my favorite shops) for only $2.99!



I really recommend thrift shops for those like me that love all that vintage witchy aesthetic for a fraction of the cost, a very small fraction I might add. You never know what you might find at a thrift shop and that’s half of the fun right there!

With thrifting you are not only helping to reduce waste, but you are leaving your finds almost entirely up to chance. There is just something beautiful about finding something on accident and just knowing it was meant for your altar space.

Goodwill is a favorite thrift shop of mine and I have found many an altar tool there. It actually has an online auction site similar to eBay which you can find at!

If you prefer to feel your items before purchase though, you can visit to see if there is a Goodwill store in your area.

Dollar Altars


Another commonly overlooked source are dollar stores. The Dollar Tree has a great selection of glass bottles, storage jars, herbs, spices, and so much more to stock up on!

Willow, author of the blog Flying the Hedge, has an amazing blog post called Dollar Store Witchcraft that details just about everything you can find at your local Dollar Tree!

Daiso—a Japanese dollar store in my area (actually a $1.50 store, but that doesn’t have quite the same ring to it)—has a ton of items. In the past, the store has stocked adorable mini mortar and pestle sets, various jars and glass containers, funnels, candles, cauldrons, boxes, crates, incense, oils, figurines, and an enormous variety of decor miniatures to use to adorn your altar with.

You can check out a bit of their selection at, but remember that not everything is shown and the store is much more amazing in person!

Unfortunately, with most dollar stores you usually have to buy things in bulk quantities if you shop for them online, but if you and a few other witches are all looking to get things from the same shop you may want to consider a sort of group funding situation where a designated person can collect everyone’s money and order it for the group.

The most important thing to remember while you’re shopping is to be creative with your interpretations! You can use sheets as altar cloths, shot glasses as candle holders, bootlegged ‘Darbies’ as symbols of deity, and so much more.

You can always upcycle your items with a simple and cheap bottle of paint, glitter, feathers, rhinestones, or whatever the hell else you want!

 Remember, the only limit here is your imagination (it’s corny, but it’s also true).

Peace, Love, and Spoons


☽ ♡ ☾

Relevant Reads: 

Altars – Pinterest Board ||

The History of Communion Linens ||

Altar Cloths – Catholic Online ||

Dollar Store Witchcraft ||

How to Make a Wicca Altar on a Dollar Store Budget ||


Author: NoahMilan

Noah is a jack of art trades based in Gardena, California. He is an illustrator, a storyteller, an intersectional feminist, and one of the most queer people you will ever meet. He is also a creative writer with a passion for mental health advocacy and gender and racial justice.

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