I’ve seen this question asked a million times in forums and groups as well as by my blog readers and youtube subscribers.
“I’m a new card maker and there are so many tools and products available that I don’t know where to start”.
This hobby is so product extensive that you can get lost in supplies and spend a lot of money if you don’t know what you need and don’t need when getting started. So I thought I’d put together a blog post sharing what I think a beginning crafter/cardmaker needs to get started creating. Please keep in mind this is not replacing my “Kat’s Favorites” series of blog posts, it’s just a brief “getting started” list for new crafters. If you want to invest in the “best” quality products, click here to see my “Favorite Products“. If you are on a budget and just getting started, keep reading.
Let’s Get Started!
To begin with you need the basics, a paper trimmer, adhesive, paper, ink, stamps and a few crafting tools. So let’s take start with paper trimmers:
There are three basic styles of trimmers:
- Blade, Rotary and Guillotine
For those on a budget or just starting out and not wanting to invest in a lifelong quality trimmer, these are the two paper trimmers I recommend:
Basic: Fiskars 12 Inch Portable Scrapbooking Trimmer – This is your basic 12″ paper trimmer. The good thing about Fiskars is that all of their products come with a life time guarantee so if it breaks, they will replace it at no cost if you contact them. The downside to this trimmer is that you have to regularly replace the blades when they dull. The price point is around $14.99 so it really can’t be beat.
Better: Fiskars SureCut Deluxe Craft Paper Trimmer, 12-Inch Cut Length – The same pros and cons as the first trimmer, however, this trimmer uses the SureCut™ wire cut-line which makes it easy to see where blade will cut for unmatched accuracy. The price point for this trimmer is just a few dollars more at around $17.91 which makes this my favorite choice of the two blade style trimmers.
There are SO many different types of adhesives for different projects that it’s hard to choose just a few to get you started but we are talking basics here so this is what I recommend for beginners.
Tombow Mono Dot Adhesive Runner – this is my favorite and the one I use on a regular basis. It is permanent, however, you have time to move and “remove” your layers before it gets stuck permanently. And best of all, if you make a mistake, you can use your finger to “roll” off the adhesive off your paper/project before it becomes permanent. It is easy to use and simple to refill. Here are the refills I use: Three Pack Refills
Ranger Multi Medium Matte – There are some projects that call for liquid glue. This is by far the best liquid glue around. It not only dries strong but also clear and matte so if it “leaks” out from behind your project, it won’t show once it’s dry. You can get it here or here.
Okay so this is a difficult subject for me because I am a self admitted “Paper Snob”. I don’t believe in scrimping on paper which is the basis for all of our projects. While you can find cheap cardstock at any craft store (Michael’s, Joann, Hobby Lobby, etc), I recommend investing in GOOD quality cardstock right from the beginning. You will end up saving money by not wasting on lower quality products.
For Card BASES, this is the cardstock I use and recommend:
Gina K Designs Pure Luxury Heavy Base Weight Card Stock – If you are just starting out, you do NOT need every color under the sun! In fact I recommend four color basics which are:
You won’t find thicker, smoother cardstock anywhere. You can also copic color on this and it will NOT bleed through to the other side. Great for cards bases, coloring with markers, colored pencils, you name it, this stuff is the magic of the paper industry!
This is a BEAUTIFUL color kraft, not too dark and not too light and has enough of a “specked” look to make it interesting but not too much to make it non neutral. I LOVE it!
The same weight as Gina’s White, this is a beautiful Ivory color, perfect for those “not quite white” cards.
Black Onyx – Gina K Pure Luxury 100lb Card Stock
This is a nice true black cardstock, without the gray or blue tints you sometimes see in black cardstocks.
Now for layering, die cutting, etc., you can use any colored cardstock from your local craft store.I recommend getting a variety pack of colors. I personally use Gina K card stock for all of my projects but if you are just starting out or on a budget, it’s not necessary. The good card stock should be saved for your Card Bases!
This is another area where you don’t want to skimp on quality. If you do, you will end up wasting money on products you won’t end up using long term as well as getting frustrated with poorly stamped images. There are just a few basic ink pads you need to get started. Again, you don’t need every color available when you are getting started in this craft.
A Basic Black Ink is the most important ink pad you will ever use and own.
Waterproof Black Ink
If you will be watercoloring, you will need a waterproof black ink pad and I recommend Ranger Archival. It stamps crisp and cleanly every time. The downside is that it can stain your stamps as many high quality inks will do, (but staining does not harm them or affect the quality of your stamped images at all).
Heat Embossing Products
If you will be heat embossing, check out my favorite heat embossing products here.
The most important thing to remember when choosing stamps is QUALITY. You can choose any brand you’d like as long is is good quality. I have two blog posts/tutorials explaining stamps. Click here to read all about them and how to choose high quality stamps.
OOOH My favorite category! I love me some Crafting Tools! LOL They make life so much easier. I will limit myself to what you really need though when just getting started.
Acrylic Blocks for Stamping
If you are going to stamp, you will need an acrylic block. I prefer both round with finger grips and grids.
Fiskars Stamp Press – I love my Fiskars Stamp Press – the foam feet make it easy to line up and adjust the images before you stamp. This tool is one every stamper should have in my opinion!
There are many stamping tools on the market, like the Stamparatus by Stamping Up, or the Misti by My Sweet Petunia. They make stamping much easier!
Everyone needs a good pair of scissors! These are two pair that I have, use and recommend:
Fussy Cutting Scissors
Fiskars Micro-Tip Easy Action Scissors, 5-Inch – use these for fussy cutting stamped images. They are easy to use and get into the smallest of nooks and crannies and best of all they are easy on the hands (I have RA).
All Around Scissors
Fiskars 8 Inch Non-stick Titanium Softgrip Scissors – These are the BEST all around scissors because they are non stick (your adhesive covered paper won’t stick to them and they are titanium so they will last a lifetime!
Everyone needs tweezers when crafting and these are my favorite.
EK tools Craft Tweezers – These tweezers are non stick, have a precision tip and a reverse grip. Perfect for crafting!
There are SO Many other tools and products I didn’t cover in this list so make sure and check out Kat’s Favorites (which I will be updating for 2016 VERY soon!) for more information, ideas and links.
The products mentioned in this post are listed and linked for your convenience below. If you’d like more information or to purchase any of them, simply click on the link/image.