Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Let's Talk Tools

Hey everybody! Did you miss me? Heehee. My sister-in-law is still visiting so I haven't been able to get into my craft room/spare bedroom but I thought we could could still chat about crafty things. So let's talk tools!

I've been asked about the basic tools of cardmaking, and after much deliberation, I was finally able to whittle my list down to my top 5 essential tools that I absolutely could not craft without. So here they are.

#1. Self-healing Cutting Mat

At Christmastime last year, when I was making my famous wishlist of supplies for my husband, having decided to venture into the world of papercrafting, this was at the tippy top of my list. There are a number of self-healing cutting mats on the market and I think they pretty much all do the same thing, so brand doesn't really matter. I chose this one from Martha Stewart Crafts for myself, because it came in a three pack at around the same price for a single and he could use a coupon at Michaels for it. Also, my office is kind of a vintage ice blue and taupey gray, so it matches. ;o)

#2. Paper Trimmer

Newbie or would-be card makers, save yourself the hassle and the uneven cuts you'd get with scissors and get yourself a paper trimmer. There's just no comparison if you want your cards to look professional. My first paper trimmer was a Fiskars, that was on clearance super cheap -- I now know why. It was discontinued, and the blades can no longer be found! About a month ago, realizing that my blade was dull and knowing that I would have to invest in another, I started researching. And researching, and researching. Because that's how I am. I don't like to waste my hard-earned, heavily budgeted cash on something that isn't going to work well. I finally settled on this one from Fiskars (also highly recommended by Jennifer McGuire, among others) and I could not be more pleased with it. It's sturdy, lightweight, and makes a perfectly straight cut every time. I love that I can line up the guide wire so I know exactly where I am cutting. I also love that I could get it at my local A.C. Moore with a 50% off coupon! Came to a whopping total of $15. Worth every penny and then some.

#3. Paper snips (small scissors)

Nothing cuts out fine detail like a good pair of small scissors. I personally love these black-and-yellow striped pair from Cutterbee. I use them on pretty much every card, and they still seem to be as sharp as when I got them for Christmas. They're comfortable, they cut through adhesive like a dream and never get gummed up. They also come with a snug-fitting safety cover, which is great if you've got little kids around like I do.

I later invested in the pink handled pair (which will get gummed up with adhesive) to use as ribbon scissors. But since I'm sticking to the top 5 tools, we'll leave those out for now.

#4. Craft knife/X-acto knife

Let's face it. Sometimes you need to cut in a place where your trimmer and paper scissors can't go. A window, on the front of your card, for example. For this you will need a craft knife. I prefer one with a retractable blade because I have small children and also because I have an intense fear of super-sharp objects. Again, there are a number of these on the market, all of which basically do the same thing. I've heard good things about Tim Holtz's, but I have this one from Cutterbee and it works just fine. And it matches my office. ;o)

#5 Tape-runner adhesive

If you want a quick, clean, and easy way to adhere your paper and embellishments to your card surface, tape-runner adhesive is a wonder to behold. It's like the sticky part of tape without the actual "tape." Lol. I've tried a few different ones before latching on to this one, which I absolutely love. It's Tombow Mono's Dot Runner adhesive. It's the turquoise one, not the blue (regular permanant) or the green (removable). What's different about this one is that the glue is distributed in little dots, which only go where the paper or surface goes. With the regular blue adhesive, it comes in a solid strip, and if you run over the edge by accident (easy to do) the glue runs over the edge too, and you have to fold it back or worry about it sticking all over your mat. The body of the tools are all interchangable, so I actually just kept my original blue body (half of the tool) and snapped the turquoise dot refill half in. Since I won't go back to the blue, I don't have to worry about getting them mixed up.

I also have the green for times when you need removable, but we'll save that for another post as well.

So there you have it -- my top five essential tools list. It was really hard to limit it to just five, believe me. If I had space for just one more, that would of course be a bone folder. That will definitely be on the top of my next 5 essentials list.

I hope you all are having a wonderful week! Looking forward to coming back with a card in the near future!


  1. Great post! I have 4/5 things on your list. Pretty good taste, we have. :) Don't you just love that paper trimmer from Fiskar?!! As for adhesive, I used to use Tombow. But now I use mainly Scor-Tape. I like how it comes in different sizes and strong enough to hold ribbons.

  2. I have #4 and it works pretty well. I have the solid strip tape from #5, which works alright and is nice because if you run over you can just rub over it a few times with your finger and make it come up, but I am not always thrilled with its adhesive powers. I shall try the dots :) I've been looking at 2 & 3 for a while and have just refused to pay the money - But I just found an ACMoore and with my next coupon I think I may just get myself one because I CANNOT cut a STRAIGT LINE TO SAVE MY LIFE!!!!! and it always shows in my cards! I plan to eventually get #1. Up until now I've just used the chip board at the back of my paper packs, which works decently until you start pressing too hard and cutting into the chipboard!

    Thanks for the tips Christy!

  3. Thanks for talking tools, I always love to hear what everyone else is using. I have found adhesive from Staples both perm and temp that I love, comes in a two pack and lasts forever. I still need to invest in a better paper trimmer. Enjoy your visit with your SIL.

  4. Ashley, if you're thinking of getting this paper trimmer, watch this video from Jennifer McGuire. It tells you better than I can, all it's great features.

  5. Ah, it would help if I actually posted the link, wouldn't it? ;o)!

  6. Hey there! For some reason, your posts aren't making it into my updates on my dashboard. Lots of good recommendations, if I could afford them I'd go shopping, lol!

  7. Sounds like you would make a great Stampin' Up! Demonstator. Have you ever considered it.


Thank you so much for taking a few moments to brighten my day!


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