I thought I would do a post today to share with you what I use as ‘basics’. I’m not including things like Die cutters/embossing machines, etc- much as we ‘have’ to have them, I’m talking real nuts & bolts stuff here.These are all the things I use pretty much every time I do any crafting, and you will find that a lot are not ‘crafting’ tools at all- things I’ve seen that would be useful, or would do the same job as an expensive craft version.
The first thing to get a mention is the cutting mat- you will see it below pretty much everything, mine is A2 size, and (like a lot of stuff) came from The Works- I bought it around this time of year, in their sale, and I think it cost about a fiver.
My cutting go-to is a scalpel & blades- bought from Scalpels & Blades.co.uk. The replacement blades are very reasonable, and you can buy in a multitude of pack sizes, and blade types. The first I bought from them was a pack that came with a handle and a range of different blades, so I could find what I preferred to work with. You can find that HERE. You can also buy a special little gadget that removes, stores and replaces the blades, if you are worried about the sharpness of them.I just use a small pair of pliers and caution, lol. If you look at my scalpels, I use No. 11 blades (the pointed one) and No. 6, (the rounded one). I find they cover pretty much everything.
While we are on cutting, I have a small range of scissors, clockwise, they are:
A general purpose pair,with soft handles. A non-stick pair by X-cut, which are fine-pointed, a small pointed pair for fine work (somewhere I have a pair of the tweezer type too). Another non-stick pair, with a wider tip, and my Fiskars shear-type scissors. They have quite a fine point, and are brilliant if you have a lot of cutting out to do, as you don’t end up with cramped fingers.
Actually, that reminds me of my favourite niggle: Why do the finger holes in scissors get smaller with the size of the scissors? My fingers don’t get smaller just because I’m cutting out something fiddley!
X-cut guillotine,which will take up to 12″ paper, and Rotatrim Rotary cutter. The rotary cutter has 10 blades & a scoring blade (that I have never actually used), which store underneath in a container. I used to have a lot of fancy edged scissors, but the rotary cutter replaced them all. The X-cut is great if you need to cut a lot of card/paper to a certain size.
Not only for measuring, these clear rulers with a metal edge strip are what I use with my scalpels, for general cutting, layering,getting matts even-pretty much everything. Why do I have 4- well they were all bought at different times. The first I got was the short one, a quilters ruler, and it has a space between the bottom marked line on it, and the metal edge, that gives me a nice sized border on most projects.That and the one on its right are both made by Impex, and I got this one when I needed one longer than 6″. The Tim one I bought because it has a lot more divisions on its grid, so I get more choice for layers, also it has a row of holes along the top for pricking/positioning etc. It also has a set of markings from the centre out, as well as from end to end.Finally I got the X-cut one recently as its nice & wide, has measurements on its width, as well as length, and it also has a middle position marking system.
Next, a pair of pointed tweezers- the first aid sort. I do have some of the reverse grip ones, but I suppose I have been using normal tweezers for so long, I always do it wrong with them.
Those little clamps from Poundland – great for holding stuff together while they set, and some small electrical pliers- long-nosed ones, a normal pair and a pair of wire cutters. Electrical ones are quite small,the same size as jewellery ones- bought from Poundland/ general ironmongers.
Eyelet setter. This one is by Provocraft, the heads are magnetic and interchangeable.There are three sizes of hole-maker, and matching setters. You just push down on it to set them. Not quite like the Japanese screw punch, but very similar. I tried the spring ones- bloody hell they were awful! And the noise from hammering them flat was even worse.
Scoreboard, though the Hougie may be putting this one out to pasture, an embossing stylus, which I have always used in preference to the bone folder idea, and the chunk of plastic I use to flatten my folds- this came from a Clay Tool set that came from The Works again. Brilliant thing- big enough to hold easily, and broad enough to give a good crisp fold. Underneath is an A3 plain pad- the sort you can buy for the kids to draw in. I use it when I’m stamping to roll off the brayer onto, stamp off, etc.
Odds & ends now: The pokey tool came from the same clay kit as the folder, a small paintbrush for removing specks, a teaspoon for glitter/embossing powder sprinkling, and the spoon from an ice cream tub for the same thing.Post-it notes, and nail files for smoothing & distressing.
A wooden chopping board- protects my mat when heat embossing/ironing fusible fibres( probably the only thing I DO iron these days, lol) and my Heat-It heat tool. I love this one, its so quiet. Also a Non-stick baking sheet, Poundland again, for inking etc.
Next pic is my Speedball brayer. This is definitely the one you want for brayering backgrounds – NOT the hard version.
On to sticky stuff- and these are pretty much all I use.Clockwise, top pic, Glue dots in various sizes, sticky fixer tape, various sizes of sticky fixer pads, and DST. The next picture is Stix2 silicone glue, permanent tape roller(blue lid) Repositional roller (green) and a Zig glue pen.Oh, and glue eraser- Xyron make them, I think. Bottom picture, Repositional spray glue, Sticky stuff remover and Anitas 3D gloss, which is like Glossy Accents.
General odds & ends now-Kitchen roll & disposable gloves. I don’t mind getting inky fingers, but I always manage to put a mark somewhere I didn’t want it! And you get some strange looks in Tescos when you pay for your shopping when your hands are rainbow/muddy coloured,lol.Cotton wool balls & latex sponges(good old Poundland) for inking.Cotton wool buds & cocktail sticks, same place. Buds are useful for removing ink around the edge of a stamp, also moistened, great for picking up acrylic gems! Cocktail sticks for adding tiny spots of silicone glue to stick said acrylic gems down with.Baby wipes for cleaning anything & everything, Staz-on cleaner for their ink, Cheap toothbrushes for cleaning stamps/flicking paint, and an old towel for drying stamps and getting into all the nooks & crannies. Something else I use for cleaning stamps is a paint pad- you can guess where I bought it!
The one stamping tool I could not be without- my Stamp Positioner.
My final most important tool- my computer. I couldn’t imagine now not having my blog, and being able to communicate with all the wonderful friends I have ‘met’ through it. It provides me with so much in the way of inspiration, techniques,tutorials- and shopping,lol.It provides me with my music while I am crafting too. Also on my desk is my 2nd most important thing- a mug of coffee! Well, I think that has pretty much covered everything, I shall be interested to see what others think.