When I started cardmaking/stamping 8 years ago I remember the overwhelming feeling of looking at all the different tools, card stock, ink, stamps, dies, powders, glitters, buttons, etc. And if I’m being honest, it can still feel that way at times when I’m browsing different sites online and trying to find that stamp set I’ll use all the time, or what coloring medium do I want use today, or which circle die set really is the best? So today I am starting a Cardmaking 101 series on my blog and Youtube Channel where I will cover the basic supplies (tools I reach for on EVERY card), different types of stamps and inks, their properties and why I like and use them, and standard and simple techniques that seasoned cardmakers tend to glaze over (myself included). Today I will covering the basic supplies I find myself reaching for on EVERY card I make. ****If there are any techniques or simple cardmaking basics that you would like me to cover and make a video for, please feel free to leave a comment here, on my Youtube Channel, Instagram, Facebook or a private message as well!!***
Included in the video above are what I would consider basic cardmaking and stamping supplies, excluding stamps of course (I will cover those in another video). These are supplies I believe any cardmaker sees themselves reaching for no matter what kind of project or the style. Let’s go over them below!!
The first, and arguably, most important element in cardmaking and stamping is cardstock. Alot of stampers swear by high end cardstock, however, I find that the cheap Georgia Pacific 110 lb White Cardstock that you can buy at your local store works just as well for me. Obviously, this isn’t as thick or sturdy as the higher end cardstock, but it allows me to make many cards and experiment a lot more without feeling the need to be conservative. Also, using this cardstock I don’t feel the need for people to save my cards. In my own opinion, the cards I make people can be tossed (I’m not a clutter person) and this just makes it a bit easier to accept that!
Dependent upon your style colored cardstock or patterned paper might be something you use on all of your cards as well. I would suggest starting with a sample pack (many companies carry them) of colored cardstock. This will allow you to not only sample all of the colors, but also see which colors you use the most. You can then repurchase certain colors as needed.
A paper trimmer is a tool that I (literally) use on every single card and project I make. It is also something that I use quite often around the house, believe it or not. I use a Fiskars Paper Trimmer, linked below, and have used this same trimmer for years. A few pros for this trimmer is the wire guide, small compact size, and also the cutting groove allows for me to use it for scoring as well. A few cons are replacing the blades in the trimmer and also the fact it can only handle about two sheets of cardstock at a time. I would suggest thorough research and also figuring out what you want from paper trimmer before purchasing one. Perhaps you don’t want to purchase and repurchase replacement blades and you have quite a bit of space, a self sharpening guillotine trimmer. This is one of those items where a little research and deciding what best suits you will really help you in making the right decision. (You may want to think about little hands in this case as well. The main reason I don’t have a guillotine trimmer is because my kiddos quite often play with all of my supplies. Their fingers won the argument for me.)
On every card there is always an instance in which I need my scissors or craft knife and a trimmer just won’t do. It may seem excessive, to have so many cutting tools, but each one does have it’s individual cutting purpose. The long blade scissors are the best tool for trimming off slivers of cardstock to create flush edges, the fine details are what I use for cutting masks and fussy cutting as well, and the craft knife I use for cutting inside of stamped images and don’t want to cut through the edges.
A good black dye ink, preferably waterproof, will be your best friend in cardmaking and stamping. It is the absolute best choice for a nice crisp clear sentiment stamp and is also wonderful for solid stamping and also outline stamping that is going to be colored with a coloring medium that works with it, like watercolor. One of the best qualities about this ink is that it dries so quickly and doesn’t smear, that’s why I would recommend it for beginner stampers. I will have a video in this series that covers inks more in depth, but for a basic supply kit this is the first ink I would recommend.
Acrylic Blocks are a supply you may or may not need. The majority of stampers will use these at some point, however, if you only plan on using wood mount stamps this won’t be a supply you need. Acrylic blocks are using for mounting clear and cling mount stamps. They are basically a replacement for the wood block on these other types of stamps. The advantage here is that while each wood block stamp has a wood block of its own that takes up quite a bit of space, you can continuously change out the stamps on your acrylic blocks which means less blocks to store, which means more space, which means MORE STAMPS!! Acrylic blocks come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can also come with or without grid lines and a wavy border (meant for your fingers and a more comfortable grip). They are easily cleaned with soap and water, a baby wipe, or an alcohol wipe for a more intense cleaning. For a basic starting supply kit I would suggest buying a variety pack of acrylic blocks (linked below).
You would be surprise at how often I use my rulers in cardmaking. And yes, I have more than one. For a basic supply kit I would highly suggest the Tim Holtz ruler. It is a bit more expensive than your typical ruler, however, with everything it offers it is most definitely worth the price. It has a metal edge side to use for cutting, a tapered edge to use for your pencil line, but also is great for tearing. The ruler also has ALOT of grid lines for exact measurements no matter where you are on your paper. Also, unlike most rulers, the “0” or where you should start your measurements begins at exactly the end of the ruler. It also Zeros out in the center on one side for easy middle measurements. This is one tool that was really and thoroughly thought out! For a few extra dollars I would also suggest investing in a T-Square ruler. They are roughly about $3 US, but worth every cent. I don’t really use this as a ruler but it has become my go to for a straight edge to make perfectly straight, perpendicular (or horizontal) lines anywhere on my paper.
A pencil and (good) eraser are two indispensable tools to have in your basic cardmaking/stamping kit. Again, I pull these two very basic supplies out on almost card I make. And yes, I do like “fun” erasers LOL!!
For a long time I would’ve said tweezers weren’t a tool that I just had to have, but I was wrong. While you can just use your fingers for the majority of things I use my tweezers for, they have saved me countless masks, burned fingers, and smudges. They truly are a basic tool that every cardmaker should have in their kit! My only suggestion is to have purchase a pair of reverse action tweezers with a plastic end. The reverse action allows the tweezers to stay clamped down and closed tightly until you pinch them to release whatever it is they’re holding. This along with the plastic end will save you from burning your fingers while heat embossing. It also allows you to put down the tweezers and still have them holding paper, ribbon, etc.
Obviously, every cardmaker needs adhesive and again this is going to be a personal choice. I would suggest that you have two types of adhesives, however, and that would include a wet and a dry adhesive. For my wet adhesive I really love Ranger’s Glossy Accents. Not only is this a super, and I mean SUPER, strong glue that dries really quickly, it can also be used for MANY techniques. Think adding dimension, masking, creating faux gems, etc.
For dry adhesive I would suggest iCraft’s double sided adhesive tape. This adhesive is strong, tears easily, and comes in a variety of widths. It can be used to quickly adhere panels together, buttons to paper, die cuts, etc. without adding any bulk. I also use the adhesive tape along with fun foam (like you find in the kid’s section at the craft store) for all of my dimensional mounting. This allows me to add dimension to panels, die cuts, etc and not have them crinkle or crease in the mailing process. You can also use foam adhesive for this, but find I like the fun foam better, and it’s cheaper. There are many brands of foam tape and tape adhesive, it’s all about finding what adhesive works best for you, in your climate and humidity, and also your style of cardmaking will alter the types you use.
There are a few other supplies that don’t quite fit into any category, I find myself reaching for them, if not on every card, quite often.
The first is a boner folder. This is what I use, along with my paper trimmer, for all of my scoring. I also use this tool to make creases nice and sharp, burnish glitter, and also rub down my tape adhesive so the backing paper comes off easily. This is a cheap tool that has so many uses and really is irreplaceable is your basic supply kit.
A sanding block is another versatile tool with many uses. I use it to sand off any little fuzzes that might be on the edge of my paper (from a dull cutting blade), remove ink smudges, file off color from my paper stumps, and prep my clear acrylic stamps. An emery board can be used in the same way as a sanding block for the same exact uses. To be honest I have a few of each in my craft room and I use them all!
The last “tool” I would suggest every cardmaker have in their basic supply kit would be Post-It Notes. These little pieces of paper can be used for so much more than note taking, which I still use them for in my craft room (supply lists are a must for me). Post-It Notes can also be used for holding dies in place while running them through your machine, masking, temporarily holding things together, etc. For such a cheap item, they are such a great addition to your kit!
This is obviously a very basic supply kit, but that is exactly what I wanted it to be. I feel like this list is a great starting point for a beginning crafter/cardmaker/stamper and alot of the items you probably already have in your house. This list is a very manageable shopping list and will allow you to start playing and creating. The only thing I did leave off this list is stamps. Next week I will go over all the types of stamps, along with what I would suggest to start with so be sure to check back in next Friday!
I have linked all of the supplies I suggested below, but be sure to shop around for the best prices! Thanks so much for stopping by! Happy Crafting!!