Papercraft – Basic Tool Kit

10 Jan

Well folks the new year is already underway and what better time to start some new projects and try new crafts.  I hope to try lots of new things myself and have already begun with some art journal pages.  I will post the photos soon, a couple of them are swaps so I want to send them off first.  I really enjoyed it though at first it was hard not to “scrapbook” the pages if you know what I mean?  More on that later!  I thought I would do a little post today for any paper crafting newbies out there who have decided to give it a red hot go.  I’ve made a wee list to help guide you through setting up a basic tool kit.

I remember when I started out I pretty much had no idea what to buy and I spent a lot of money on things I didn’t really need.  I wish I’d had someone hand me a list of basic tools to help clear the confusion.  So I’m going to give you a quick run down on the tools that every paper crafter should own as well as a little explanation (in case you haven’t heard of them before).

Basic Tool Kit for Paper Crafters

Scissors – Paper and scissors go hand in hand really!  While you don’t need to spend a small fortune on scissors, steer clear of the real cheap ones as you’ll be using them a lot.  I find a smaller pair is great for papercraft and look for some with pointed tips for getting into corners.

Paper Trimmer – While you could start without one this tool makes light work of cutting clean, straight lines in sb paper and card stock and is definitely worth forking out for.  I have owned several paper trimmers in my time and my favorite by far is the EK Success Cutterpede rotary trimmer.  The rotary blade is the circular one and is usually a more expensive trimmer however the straight blades don’t seem to last very long and tend to tear the paper rather than cut it.  Oh and make sure your trimmer has measurements in both millimetres and inches, especially if you live where the metric system is in use!  Though traditionally only inches were used it’s becoming more and more common to find instructions in centimetres these days.  Don’t bother buying anything smaller than 12 x 12″, you will find it totally useless rather quickly.  Also the cheaper ones are often right on 12 inches long and you will find that occasionally scrapbooking papers are not perfect 12 x 12″ size so grab one that has a bit of extra space lengthwise.

Adhesives – Now this is where you can come unstuck (pardon the pun!) as there are so many tapes, glue and sticky things out there.  Make sure all your adhesives are acid free if you’re concerned about photo longevity (although a lot of modern crafters aren’t these days).

Double sided tape is essential, I’d recommend around 6mm wide and as clear as possible.  Try to get one that is re-positionable to some degree, trust me, it will happen!

I can’t go past Glossy Accents for it’s double duty; you can use it to adhere small things like flowers and rhinestones but it’s also fantastic used over the top of embellishments as a clear, hard laquer.

You can pick up acid free Glue Sticks for only a couple of bucks these days and they are very helpful for sticking down large pieces of sb paper as they won’t bubble and wet the paper.  Great if you want to do some off the page projects that involve covering chipboard.

A great way to add dimension is with a little double sided foam tape like Magic Mount.  It’s thick so will give whatever you are sticking some lift.  It’s fairly inexpensive and will give your projects more interest.

Craft Mat – You can pick up craft mats just about anywhere these days, just make sure that’s it’s self healing so if you cut into it this won’t affect future use.  A craft mat not only helps your projects by proving a firm, flat work surface but it will save tears when you realise you’ve cut into your dining table!  See below for another option.

Ruler – If you can pick up a cheap metal ruler with both inches and mills grab it!  It will be a really handy addition to your tool kit.  If not just use the ruler on your paper trimmer for now.

Pencil & Eraser – You probably already have these kicking around in a draw somewhere.  If you want to buy some especially for your kit grab a softer leaded pencil so that when you rub it out it hasn’t left score lines in your paper.  You might be able to find an eraser that works for pencil as well as adhesives; this is useful when you have to reposition something but it’s left a little gunk behind.

Black Gel Pen – these are the best for hand written journaling, you can write on photos with these to, as well as use them for doodling.

Hole Punch – Try and find a single hole punch at an office store (not the two hole punch they usually sell).  This tool is handy for making tags and punching holes for ring bound mini ablums.  See below for another option.

Stapler – I like the mini ones for attaching and embellishing, these are pretty cheap and can be found in discounts stores and chains.

Foam Sponge – These are great for ink distressing and a cheap alternative to ink blending tools.  Kaszazz has a nice one that you can cut into smaller pieces, they rinse out well and last for ages.

Nail File – Just one of those cheap cardboard ones will do.  A fantastic tool for distressing photos and papers.

So that is about all you will need to begin your paper crafting journey, however if you have some extra cash to splash check out the optional extras I’ve listed below.

Bone Scorer – Here’s a funny story; when I got my bone scorer in my consultant kit from Kaszazz I thought it was going to be one of the least used tools I’d ever own…Boy was I wrong!  I love my bone scorer and I don’t know how I lived without it.  This tool is indispensable for making cards and off the page projects.  What it does is help you make crisp, clean indents in the paper so you can fold or bend it without it becoming creased and horrible.  Use it with your metal ruler or for lots of measured scoring place your paper in your trimmer (keeping the blade out of the way at the bottom) and use the edged that your blade usually glides against to score.  Magic!

Craft Knife – A word of caution; don’t buy a cheap one as they can be very unsafe.  I like the Cutterbee as it has a retractable blade and you never have to touch the blades when changing them over ~ genius.  Always make sure your blade is sharp, putting a new one in at the start of a project is a good idea.  Just like kitchen knives, a dull blade is more dangerous than a sharp one!

Glass Mat – This is a fantastic alternative to the craft mat.  It will still protect your table top whilst allowing your craft knife to glide smoothly through paper.  It’s also great to use with your ink blending tool and easily wipes clean.  if you can’t find a good priced one try a glass chopping board from one of the cheap shops, just remember to grab a smooth one.

Eyelet Punch and Setter – If you love using brads and eyelets then get yourself a kit that has different size punches for making holes and the co-ordinating eyelet setters.  I like the Silent Setter or similar as you can do both jobs by just pushing down and twisting the handle rather than waking up the neighborhood hammering in your eyelets!

I’m not going to delve any further into tools as once you’ve got your basic kit sorted and you start completing your projects you will know yourself if there’s anything else you really need.  If you’re on a budget always think about a purchase and don’t rush into it, I’ve wasted many a pretty penny because “I just have it right now”.  Another idea is to attend crop nights as you will be able to borrow other peoples tools and test them out to see if they really are worth getting.

I hope this has helped any newbies out there, now go have some fun making stuff!


PS Stay tuned for more paper crafting tips coming soon – “how to not waste money and overstock your craft room”.


2 Responses to “Papercraft – Basic Tool Kit”


  1. February Workshops: card making and beyond the page! « - January 18, 2010

    […] like me to come to you that can also be arranged.  For info on what a basic tool kit includes click here.   I will post the workshops again with some sneek peak photos and more information, but if you […]

  2. February Workshops 2010 « - January 26, 2010

    […] These are the workshops I will be running from home in February.  For workshop costs and more info please email me krismarr(at)iprimus(dot)com(dot)au. Info on Basic Toolkits can be found here. […]

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