Secrets to Success: Basic Papercrafting Toolbox That Will Make Your Work Easier and "Better"


I'm not an artist, but a simple crafter who would like to make her crafts look "professional."  The saying is true about being "handmade, not Hallmark" but I put a lot of time and thought into my cards, etc. and want them to look the best they can.

Sometimes, there is an element of "talent."  But often, the products you use are what make the biggest difference.  I would fight with the wrong supplies because that is what I already had on hand and spend too much time on a failed attempt.  You don't need tons of things to be "successful," but you need the "right things for the job!"  They are usually not more expensive than the wrong things either.

I will get into different papers/markers/paints, etc. in other posts.  There are specific papers that work well with alcohol markers, some for water based markers, some for outright watercoloring, etc. I don't want to bog you down with those details...yet.

As you will also later see in a craft room tour, I have an enormous amount of supplies.  Most I don't use much, some I've never opened the package.  I've collected supplies for almost 30 years--(Yep, I was crafting when crafting wasn't cool--wish I wouldn't have thrown away my macrame owl....)  The only paper crafting "tools" around were from office supply stores or for children.  I think having a lot of stuff actually makes it harder for me because I can't decide what to use on a given day, so I wind up being overwhelmed and making nothing.

Below is a list of supplies for everyone's everyday crafting arsenal:  They are also linked to stores that carry them (I am an affiliate which helps me, but costs you nothing.)  For other supplies, please see the stores on the right margin for everything under the sun!

These are in no particular order:

Versafine Onyx Black is a pigment ink.  It is great for intricate details and is alcohol ink friendly.

Memento Tuxedo Black is a quick drying dye ink.  The one most folks use for Copic marker coloring (alcohol ink.)

Versamark Clear Watermark embossing ink is a slow drying sticky ink great for lots of techniques.   Mainstay for heat embossing--pen is used for hand drawing, correcting boo-boos, etc.

Hero Arts Unicorn White Pigment Ink is probably the most opaque white.  Great for heat embossing, then watercoloring images.

Wow! or Hero Arts Clear Embossing Powder are two common ones.  You don't need a ton of colored powders because you can coat with clear.  I also recommend getting a white.

Ranger Multi-Medium Matte is a very strong liquid adhesive that doesn't show if any oozes out.

Sizzix Big Shot Machine this is the main die-cutting machine on the market, though there are others. The wafer dies are made by zillions of stamp companies to coordinate with their stamps sets, but there are lots of stand alone ones, especially by Sizzix.

Double-sided adhesives are a much neater alternative to liquid ones in most cases.

Neenah Solar White Classic Crest card stock in 80 and 110 lb. versions is smooth and the gold standard in paper crafts.   The lighter one is for stamping and die-cutting, the heavier is best for card bases.  The other color I use a lot is black.  Neenah Desert storm is a popular kraft color as well.

Misti tool is one that kind of revolutionized stamping.  You can repeat stamp if you mess up as it will be in the same position as long as you don't move the paper.  It helps line up patterns and placement and so many other things.  There are others like it now, but I think I'd stick with this.

Heat Guns/tools are necessary for heat embossing.  They are way hotter than hair dryers and the two aren't interchangeable.  Also used for quick drying projects with ink, paint, etc., so one can speed to the next step.

Diamond Glaze/Glossy Accents are clear adhesives also used to bring a shiny, dimensional look.  Good for glass effects, shiny balloons, etc.

Black Glaze or Gel Pens are used for special shiny accents to darken black eyes, noses are any part of a stamped image you want to pop out in black.

Tonic scissors come in a variety of styles, but are teflon (non-stick is a must with foam tape) with cushion grips.

Bone folders really help to fold a crease.  I have an old cheap one.  If you smooth paper with the flat side it will not leave the shiny mark.  However, you can invest in the teflon one that's $20 that people love.  I just can't justify it.

T rulers are super cheap and great for keeping things straight on your card, especially if you aren't using a Misti tool.

Uniball White Signo Gel Pens are by far the best I've used.  Great for covering boo-boos on white card stock and adding accents to stamped images.

Micron Pens come in various thicknesses.  I have an 05 and an 08 I use for tying images together or fixing a little spot that didn't stamp right. Works great!

Hero Arts Ultra Clean Stamp Cleaner is the most popular of cleaners.  Works on all types of stamps, but especially good for clear polymer ones.

Lawn Fawn Stamp Shammy helps you save on baby wipes and paper towels, but more importantly,
you can clean your stamps and not have to contend with lint residue.

Foam Tape and Fun Foam allow you to add dimension "popping up" elements on your card.

Wink of Stella Glitter Pen puts shimmer on your images.  Be careful to not get too wet as some inks will reactivate.  I use it on almost every project!

EK Success Powder Tool eliminates static on paper prior to heat embossing.  A must for clean images.

I hope this was helpful to you!

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