Michael's Sells $5 "Mystery Boxes"—Here's What You'll Get in Them

It's not guaranteed your store will have them, but there are some tricks.

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Inflation is trying its hardest, but if you head to Michael's, you can still nab a bona fide treasure trove of goodies for just $5. The popular arts and crafts chain sells so-called "mystery boxes," which are sometimes referred to as "grab bags." They gained a ton of traction on social media, on TikTok in particular, where it's not rare to see posts from shopping-savvy influencers showing off what's actually in these boxes go semi-viral. But what specifically is in the mystery boxes? Are there any logistical limitations around this killer deal? And most importantly, how do you actually go about getting them? Read on to find out.

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Why does Michael's sell mystery boxes?

inside michaels craft store
ZikG / Shutterstock

It's more than natural to question why Michael's is selling mystery boxes in the first place. Deals that sound too good to be true usually are too good to be true, after all. But the chain obviously sticks to the strategy for a reason.

"Logically, it probably came about because it's an easier way to get rid of items that are on clearance and need to be sold off," Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst with DealNews.com, tells Best Life. "[Michael's] can essentially throw a selection of items together into one package."

They're really just $5?

michaels store fall
Sundry Photography / Shutterstock

In an Instagram post, @thefreebieguy explains, "At the end of a clearance cycle, Michaels takes left over clearance items and put them in mystery boxes or bags." This occurs when items have already spent time for sale at 90 percent off, he added on Tik Tok.

Though all previous accounts have the boxes at just $5, recent Instagram posts from Jan. 2023 show $10 mystery boxes, so it's possible stores have increased the price this year.

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What do you get in Michael's mystery boxes?

A display of Christmas ribbon at Michael's
arsija / Shutterstock

The whole point of Michael's mystery boxes is that you have no clue what you'll get. You shouldn't hold your breath for big-ticket items, though; it's a good bet most will be smaller items like beads, thread, tiny activity kits, basic kitchenware, or other run-of-the-mill crafting supplies.

According to Tik Tok user @gabesmom454, who posted a video showing two of her boxes, you also tend to get items from the most recent season or holiday that's ended.

"You won't typically know what you're getting, hence the mystery, but it'll be items that the store sells and probably items that have recently hit the clearance racks," Ramhold says. "It can truly be a grab bag situation, though, with supplies for various crafts included rather than a particular theme."

How do you get a mystery box?

michaels store

There's no surefire way to get a mystery box at Michael's. Some stores have them, others don't, and some carry them one week but not the next. Ramhold recommends calling up the store and seeing if they have any available at the moment.

The day of the week you call could matter as well. "Some anecdotal reports say the boxes are put out on Monday and Tuesday mornings, so you may also want to check on those days specifically to see if it's something you can pick up," Ramhold advises.

Ari Notis
Ari is an editor specializing in news and lifestyle. Read more
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