Alternatives to blocking rods/wires:
String blocking at Knitting on Circular Needles.
At a welding supplier, ask for stainless steel "tig" rods (approx. 30 or so, each 3' long in a plastic tube for about $16)
DIY board using homosote and gingham at Yarn Maven.
Flexible Interlocking Blocking Tiles by Coco Knits and at KnitPicks.
EZ Blocking Boards,
Large Bi-fold Format.
Wondermat, a thrifty alternative
Other uses of blocking:
Add a zipper with blocking wires photo-tutorial at Split Yarn