Over the years, I’ve seen a great many “This stuff is so expensive! Where can I buy for less?” and “Where can I get good quality stuff that won’t break the bank?” threads in various kink websites.
New people want to join the fun, but the sticker shock is real. I hear you. This stuff is expensive, and there’s really no way around it when it comes to things like latex outfits, leather pants, big shoes, corsets. If you want to wear the “uniform” of kink, those pieces are going to be expensive no matter what. Corsets and leather pants don’t show up at thrift stores very often, certainly not in MY size. Now and then I find a pair of shoes, but not often enough to rely on it as a source.
Most of the other people answering the “where do you buy toys?” threads say this vendor or that vendor, sometimes with links to the person’s website or profile page. Then there’s me saying that if you like impact play (spanking), you have an entire HOME full of toys sitting there right now. You just have to know what they look like.
First, go to your tote closet. Everyone has one. It’s either the closet or under the bed. A place where you stash all the empty totes you have that you never use. You swore, when you bought it, that it would be great for this or for that; but you never actually used it for anything. It went with all the other empty totes you had to have (or were given) but never used. Same with backpacks.
Grab one. Make it the ugliest one, so you can easily recognize it if you take it to a party. If you want to eventually work up to something fancier, great. But for now, a simple tote or backpack will do you just fine. If you intend never to take your kink outside the home, it doesn’t matter what the bag looks like. No one else in the world is going to see it.
So, you’ve got your tote. Let’s start in the kitchen.
First, reach for that wooden spoon with the hole in it. The one that came in the 3- or 4-pack of wooden spoons you bought but you don’t know what it’s actually used for (measuring servings of spaghetti). It’s a butt-beater now. It’ll make terrific little circles on someone’s butt. Grab a wooden spoon you’ve never used. Put it (them) into the bag. Put the wooden fork in there too. You never use it for mixing salads anyway, and you know it. They all sit there taking up space.
Aside from the spoon/fork end, the handle can be used as a short cane. Should they break over someone’s butt, they are easily replaceable with a quick trip to the dollar store.
Next, look at your collection of rubber spatulas. If you have one little dinky one for getting into little jars and one big one for scraping bowls, anything more is probably superfluous. Take them. They are inexpensive and easy to replace.
Want to get a little more intense? Grab the metal hammer meat tenderizer. You know you never use it anyway, and even if you do…you can easily buy another. I know a number of people who love to use them as impact tools.
What else can we find in the kitchen?
Ah, that tiny little square frying pan you bought because it was SO CUTE!!! but used to make a grilled cheese exactly ONCE because you realized it’s too tiny and your aim in flipping over the sandwich isn’t that precise. It makes an excellent paddle that can be used on buttocks, thighs, and breasts, bottoms of the feet.
Do you have any plastic cutlery? A spoon can be used to imitate a blade edge for knife play. A plastic fork makes for interesting sensory play. I you have a set that came with a takeout dinner, wrapped in plastic, that’s perfect. Throw it away when you’re done and put a new set into the bag for next time.
Go under the sink. You know that bag of scrubbie sponges? Or those thin green scrubber pads? Grab one. Abrasive sensation play can be tremendous fun. Do you keep the sandpaper down there? Grab one of those. Even MORE abrasive sensation play. WOOHOO! I know people who put strips into their bra or panties when they go out on a date.
While you’re under the sink, do you have a bag or a box of inexpensive kitchen gloves? They’re like surgical gloves, but you can get them at the dollar store. I find bags of 25 to 50 for a buck or two, and always have them in the house. Grab a dozen and put them into a baggy and then into the tote.
Do you have some fresh ginger? Okay, don’t put that into the bag. It may rot in there and that wouldn’t be good. So that you keep in mind for when you want to do chemical play. (Peel it, touch to vulva or anus. Inserting the tip into the anus is called figging. It gives a burning sensation.)
Moving on to the living room. Go to that drawer where you keep all the extra phone/usb cords and the extra coaxial cable left behind by the previous tenant/owner when you moved in. USB cords are very whippy. Coaxial, you’ll need to use duct tape to cover the ragged ends. I hold the ends of either type of cord in one hand and use it in a loop shape, like a rug beater. Fashion a simple handle by wrapping the duct tape around a few times.
Do you (or does someone else in the house) knit? Got one of those really long metal knitting needles? They work as a mean caning implement too, and can be used all over the body. Rosewood versions are beautiful as well as functional.
Do you have a telescoping metal pointer you never use? It may be one-use, because you will probably destroy it when you use it, but it’ll be great fun while it lasts! An old car antenna works the same way. I got through a thick diaper with one, and made the wearer stand up and say ow.
Where do you keep your collection of carabiners? Take four of them. (Or get them at the dollar store for cheap. You aren’t going to be climbing a mountain with them, so they don’t have to be ultra strong.)
Do you have an old sewing kit that you inherited from your grandmother or great aunt? Open it and see if you find a wartenberg wheel. Doctors use them for checking nerve response; but tailors use them to mark where stitches are going to go in leather. So you just might find a couple. Or there might be one with a smooth wheel rather than a pokey one. If she embroidered, you may also find “locking embroidery clamps”, known in the kink world are as “locking” nipple clamps. Embroidery clamps can usually be found in sewing and crafting stores/sites for a couple bucks each. Sure beats the $20 on a kink site!
Next, the bathroom. More chemical play. Grab the old tube of Ben Gay or Icy Hot that has been there so long it’s almost expired. It’ll still do the job. A little dab’ll do ya!, and will have the bottom squirming and squealing until the burning subsides. (Note to self…fuck first. Chemicals AFTER. Unless you like that kind of thing yourself.)
Do you have one of those long-handled wooden bath brushes? They are WICKED paddles! If you don’t have one but you want one, the last time I looked, my local big name pharmacy had one for about eight bucks.
Also in the bathroom. Do you have a package of toothbrushes waiting their turn? Grab one. More sensation play! Also good for applying the Ben Gay or Icy Hot if you don’t want to use your bare finger or a glove.
To the laundry room (or wherever you keep your laundry supplies). Grab that pack of 50 clothespins you bought, and the hank of cotton clothes line you SWORE you were going to start using to save money on electricity. Clothespins are great fun and can be used all over the body. A lot of rope snobs will scream at me about the cotton clothesline. Well, lemme tell you something…if you’re not intending to do a suspension, then plain ol’ cotton clothesline from the dollar store will do you JUST FINE! My former dom/husband never used anything on me but cotton clothesline, the entire 19 years of our relationship and I didn’t die. He was perfectly happy with it. It liked to cut the rope here and there as he worked. If the rope is three bucks for a hundred feet, there’s no guilt. If you’re paying five bucks a foot, you don’t want to cut it.
Bag’s getting heavy, isn’t it?
Now we can go into the bedroom. YAY!!!
No, we’re not going to take your entire sex toy collection. Just a few things.
First, the spare tube of lube. Put it in the tote. It’s a good idea to have handy when using the gloves. One never knows when one might be inspired to fit one’s entire fist into an orifice.
Got a drawer with a pile of bandannas? Grab one. Instant blindfold. If you have six, then you have an instant collar/cuff set with blindfold. Remember those carabiners? HEY! Instant hogtie set!
Dresser. Grab a hairbrush you never use. They make great paddles, but also sensation play when you turn it over and use the bristles. Take a comb from the bag of combs while you’re there. Sensation play with the teeth, or snap the end down onto the skin in various tender places.
Go to the closet. Grab a leather belt from the snazzy hanger thing you bought to keep all your belts on but don’t actually wear them.
Where do you keep the shoes you don’t wear? You know those flip flops you bought last year at the end of the season because they were dirt cheap? They make great paddles too. Put them into the bag.
Sit down a minute and look at your full tote. You just spent about half an hour going through your own home and pulled out an entire bag of simple toys. You may have seen other things along the way that might be fun. I don’t know everything in your home, of course.
And you didn’t spend a dime to do it. The money was already spent. You just needed to see these things in a different light.
Now put on your shoes and take $20 and go to the dollar store to fill in anything that was missing from my list when you went around your home. Maybe you didn’t have the clothesline. Or maybe the spoon with a hole in it also had an ugly crack in the head. You wouldn’t want to use that. Little plastic butterfly hair clips that cost ten cents each are fairly brutal nipple and skin clamps. I used to put them on the insides of my thighs.
Take a good look through the kitchen section to see what else you might find. Take a look at the selection of kitchen gloves. They come in sizes from extra small to extra large. I cut the fingers off one or two and put them in a baggy. Then I can use just a finger instead of using (and throwing away) an entire glove when it comes to applying a little cream or ointment, or inserting a suppository.
They will have hair brushes of all sizes, in case you didn’t have an unused one. Not to mention flip flops on the cheap.
I have a lovely olive wood spatula that I purchased for $12 at the Olive Wood stall at the winter market in Bryant Park. I love this thing. It has a satiny smooth feel to it, but smarts well enough on impact.
I once looked over the kitchen section of Target and found an immense wooden spoon that was on clearance for $12. It made an excellent paddle also. After Christmas one year, I found a set of “naughty/nice” rubber spatulas. The end of a summer, they had a small pizza peel that made an excellent paddle. The other day, I was in Kmart and found a narrow rubber spatula that has a metal center. Cost: $4.
Cooking stores, in general, are fantastic. I took a picture in one once, of a table they’d covered with fifty different kinds of wooden tools and rubber spatulas. It was glorious.
Home Depot is often nicknamed Dom Depot. Chains and all sorts of other things! My personal interest, however, is in the dowel rod selection. They have 3 foot rods of oak and cherry. Hello inexpensive cane! Just don’t hit like you’re coming from Cleveland and aiming for China and it’ll last you for years. While you’re there, grab a couple of those FREE paint sticks. They have wicked sting. Also check out the ear protection aisle. They have ear plugs, but also headphone style ear protection. Sensory deprivation, anyone? (ear plugs may be found in more of a variety of sizes at your local pharmacy, however.)
I went to my local hardware store and found a two-inch wide chisel that makes an excellent little paddle, and cost me about five bucks.
People like to fawn over Delrin canes. Crafters selling them put on some leather or paracord wrap that took them ten minutes to do and charge $60 for a single cane. Well, I googled Delrin to see what it was made of and where I could buy it. Guess what I found? A place where I could buy it by the foot. I got four feet of quarter inch Delrin for .19 a foot. I got three feet of ½” for a dollar a foot. It’s super whippy and I love it. I trimmed the length so it would fit into my pool cue case ($20 on Amazon, and pink) and put the case for a Bic Biro pen on it. I used red duct tape with dragons on it to secure the two pieces and now it’s my “light saber” for my Darth Skreven character/outfit (because the pen is mightier than the sword!)…and it’s also one of my favorite canes. For the half inch piece, I wrapped one end with red duct tape that has dragons on it, to make a visible handle end. I don’t need anything more than that, and I love it. I bought a one-inch thick piece that is three feet long for about three dollars a foot. Unfortunately, it is too heavy for me to swing as a cane. However, if I add eyebolts to the ends, I will have an inexpensive spreader bar.
With shipping, these three lengths of Delrin (two canes and a potential spreader bar) cost me less than twenty bucks.
I have a Nightmare Before Christmas hair brush that I include in my kit now and then. I got it at Hot Topic on a buy 1 get 1 half off sale, I think. They have all different characters of Disney.
I found a finger length ring with a pointy tip at a comicon for around five or nine bucks.
I bought two wartenberg wheels on Amazon for about twelve bucks. Total.
You’ll see a lot of sites selling those jeweled butt plugs for $40 or more. Forget that. Amazon again. I got mine for about twelve.
You will see sites selling anal hooks for $60 or $70. Screw that. I got the exact same thing on Amazon for…under twenty.
Bigger pieces, like floggers and single tails, are the investment. You want to have this piece for years. At the same time, you don’t want to be ripped off. Yes, I’ll pay up to $120 for a short leather single tail whip (I have one that is 3 feet) or a four foot paracord flogger. I paid to have a custom paracord sjambok made, then twin 18” snake whips (one of which is almost always in the pocket of my sweat jacket). I don’t work with fiberglass. I have a friend who cuts and makes canes out of it. Over the years, I’ve purchased several very economical sets from her in different lengths and paracord color schemes.
Those implements require skills I don’t have or tools I don’t want to purchase. I’m happy to invest in an exceptional piece and support the crafters who make them.
You don’t have to break the bank building a play kit. You just need a good eye and some imagination. Save your money for the really special pieces you fall in love with and cannot live without.
About the Author
TylerRose. is known as Dame Tyler in the NYC public SM/Fetish scene. She is an award-winning author who has written two “lifestyle”, four cartoon, and twenty fiction books that you can find on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/TylerRose./e/B00HCPLSP2
You can find more of her work in Fetlife: https://fetlife.com/users/305828
She enjoys crocheting and baking, and will no doubt die with a thesaurus open on her thigh.
Excellent article! For additional sources I’d say those in large metro areas try Harbor Freight tools (always use the 20% off coupons) and Daiso which is a Japanese dollar store that has some unique items not found at Dollar Tree or Dollar General. Also check out AliExpress.com for lifestyle specific items at really reduced prices. Takes a while to get from China, but the savings can be huge (butt plugs for a couple of bucks each)
Could not agree more with the above comment
Mr. Mots says
GREAT article! The bulk of my toy bag consist of pervertables. With the exception of a Fenty crop and Sadistic Creation flogger, everything was converted. I still use Home Depot nylon for rope practice but I do have a few hanks of good jute I bought online for partner play.
Clothing is a different beast. My one piece of decent leather is a bit ill-fitting and you are right when you say second hand finery is had to come by. I’ve actually considered making my own.