When I first got interested in making cards, I watched a bunch of YouTube videos for recommended supplies especially since I had 0 experience with all the supplies and tools that were out there. And, 80% of my supplies now have come from those recommendations. Even today, almost a year later, before I think of buying a new tool, I go to my list of cardmaking experts to see their reviews and favorite tools.
So when I thought about writing this post, I decided to list my favorite tools for making cards rather than recommendations. Two reasons for this is (1) cardmaking and paper crafting is so personal to each designer so some of the tools I use may not work for the next crafter; and (2) I still consider myself a newbie in this field so I don’t feel qualified to make specific recommendations, come back in another year LOL! That said, the supplies that I reach for the most that help me do my job and that I can’t do without are listed below as well as why I like them so much. You may find a specific tool that’s on my list that you’ve been wanting to try out.
Because I have a LOT of supplies, this blog post will be broken into 3 parts.
A LITTLE HOUSEKEEPING…
For this Part 1 post, and for the remainder posts that I’ll share, my supplies are categorized because I think it’ll be easier for you to follow along. Keep this in mind: hubby and I run a card business so we need a lot of supplies. You may not need all of these so don’t feel like you have to go broke if you want to be a cardmaker. Also, I may not list some supplies or tools and that doesn’t mean I don’t like it, it just means I either don’t own it or don’t have a current need for it. Finally, I’ve linked to these supplies (some of them are affiliate links which means any purchases made through them will earn me a small commission that we use to run our small business. And, there’s no additional cost to you.) So… onto the list:
This list are the supplies that I need and rely on:
- Scissors. A good sharp pair of scissors is essential. Tim Holtz makes a nice one, for me I just purchased several pairs at my local grocery store. I have one specifically to use for paper, one for fabric cutting and a no-sticky pair scissors that I use with dry adhesives like foam or double-sided tape. Tim Holtz Scissors (Amazon) https://amzn.to/2JZ2Ljd; Scotch Precision Ultra Edge Non-Stick Scissors (Amazon) https://amzn.to/2Yq0ceb;
- Bone folder. I love the Teflon bone folder, I like the size and how it feels in my hand and there are several designs available now. Teflon Bone Folder Large size (Amazon) https://amzn.to/2LKVNAE; Simon Says Stamp (SSS) Teflon Bone Folder
- Score board. I have two, I started with the mini Scor-buddy and it’s great for cards but I wanted something larger so I purchased the Martha Stewart one. I’m not sure it’s available anymore. But We ‘R Memory Keepers has one similar on Amazon – https://amzn.to/2SN7iIu; Couture Creations 12 x 12 Scoreboard (SSS)
- Paper Trimmers. Now… I struggled to find the right trimmer. I ended up going with three different ones. My first was the Cricut trimmer with the extended arm. It’s a great trimmer but as I need to mass produce cards, I needed a way to cut several cardstock sheets at one time. That’s when I bought the big daddy, “Carl Heavy Duty Rotary Trimmer” and I love this baby. Jennifer McGuire did a video in 2017 talking about trimmers and this was on her list, watch the video here (fast forward to 25:46 to see the Carl Heavy Duty in action!). I break this baby out when I need to cut up a bunch of card bases. The third trimmer I went with is the Tim Holtz Tonic Guillitone Comfort Trimmer and I love this for small or quick cutting. It is very accurate and can cut even tiny, tiny pieces of cardstock. I only use two now and that’s this one and my Carl Heavy Duty and they work well for me. Tim Holtz Guillitone Trimmer (SSS); Carl Heavy Duty Paper Trimmer (Amazon) – https://amzn.to/310wuOA; Cricut Portable Trimmer (Amazon) – https://amzn.to/2YoF489
- Craft pick. I can’t tell you how many times this little tool has come in handy. I poke everything with it! The other side of it is a scooper and there’s times that I need that too but mainly I use the pokey side. It works really good with removing the sticky side of double sided tape, poking the pieces when cutting intricate dies, I even use it to poke holes in the plastic wrap to open up supplies that I’ve ordered. Can’t function without this little do daddy! Kaiser Craft Die Release Tool – Lawn Fawn
- Tweezers. These little gems are a necessity in a craft room! I use them to hold cardstock while I heat emboss to protect my hands from getting burned. I also use them to pick up things that are hard to do with my hands. EK Tools Craft Tweezers (Amazon) https://amzn.to/2YsWTmm
- Jewel Picker. After trying a few other tools for picking up sequins and gems, I heard about this little miracle and I love it! It has a sticky end which keeps the sequins until I lay it down, not so with other tools and I struggled putting gems on my cards until I bought the QuickStix. We ‘R Memory Keepers QuickStix Precision and Pickup Tool (Amazon) https://amzn.to/2LL5crW – or at SSS
UPDATE (5/2/2020): After using the QuickStix for awhile, I found that it didn’t release the gems/sequins as easily so I heard about a new tool, “Studio Katia Embellishment Wand” and I bought it and been using it for a few months and I absolutely LOVE it! It holds my gems while I put down my liquid glues and it releases them easily so I recommend trying this if you’re looking for a good jewel picker. SSS – https://bit.ly/3b0J4BU or Studio Katia – https://bit.ly/2SuSO0X
- T-Square ruler. Measuring was never my favorite or best subject in school, however with all the rulers out on the market, I don’t have to be a whiz at it! I have several tape measures coming from crocheting but I had not thought I’d need a T-ruler until I got into cardmaking. The T-ruler really helps me to line things up straight. Just be sure you purchase the one with the inches on the left side if you are using American terms. I made the mistake of buying the one with the centimeters on the left side, so I have to flip it to the right to read it in inches which can be a little disconcerting, but I kept it cause I’m too lazy to order the other one. UPDATE (5/2/2020) I eventually bought the one with the inches on the left side! – T-square Ruler (Amazon) https://amzn.to/2SPpHVc or at SSS
- Notebook. I love journals and books to write in. I keep one for our crafting business to write down upcoming designs, note taking for card classes I attend, to-do lists, plus I keep notes for how I designed certain cards or measurements that I can refer back to later. I love to write down ideas I have for future cards too. These can be picked up anywhere!
Any cardmaker will tell you the paper matters and they are absolutely right! Depending on the technique you’re going for, having the right paper is key to get the best results for cards.
- Card bases. Ninety percent of the time, I reach for Neenah Solar White 110 lb. Card crest for my card bases. I love the thickness of it, it’s smooth, you can use alcohol markers on it and it’s possible to do light watercoloring on it. It will die cut nicely and go through my Brother ScanNCut machine but it won’t go through my regular printer, I use the 80 lb. for that. Neenah 110 lb. Solar White Cardstock – https://amzn.to/2yxWEfs
- 80 lb. Neenah cardstock, a little less thick than the 110 lb., but still a really nice cardstock and perfect for die cutting, embossing and coloring on. Neenah 80 lb. white cardstock – SSS https://bit.ly/2YT5QWA or an alternative just as good that I use: https://amzn.to/2KkHTU4
- Hero Arts Hues Cardstock. So beautiful and strong cardstock comes in various colors and perfect for card bases or panels. Take a look at their collection >> https://bit.ly/2StI6HQ
- Desert Storm / Kraft cardstock. I don’t own any Neenah Desert Storm cardstock, but I do own Kraft cardstock from WPlus9 and I love it! It’s heavyweight just like the Neenah but it’s brown which I wanted to try out and I’m very happy with it! Neenah Desert Storm – SSS (100 lb.) https://bit.ly/2NHc5aZ; 80 lb., here – https://bit.ly/2YLsSyf; WPlus9 Kraft Cardstock – https://bit.ly/2OIpMeU
- Colored cardstock. 95% of the time, I use white cardstock for my card bases but every now and again, it’s good to use colored cardstock. I’ve worked with Gina K. Designs and Neenah colored cardstock and I like them both. Gina K., also has inks that match her cardstock as well: Gina K. Designs Spring Rainbow Color Cardstock (SSS) – https://bit.ly/2M20N3N; Neenah Double Color 70 lb. Premium cardstock – (SSS) https://bit.ly/2Ki2yrD
- Pattern paper/cardstock. I LOVE pattern paper especially the double sided packs because you can do so much with them. A 12 x 12 can make several cards. I also love the 6 x 6 card packs. They come in so many different designs and most times also comes with stickers. It also comes in various weights. You can use it for scrapbooking, journaling and cardmaking. I have several packs and two of my favorites are: Burlap & Lace 12 x 12 theme paper – https://amzn.to/31mBlJZ; Watercolor Ombre 12 x 12 – https://amzn.to/2YR6io2; also I subscribe to the monthly card kits from Simon Says Stamp and they always come with pretty pattern papers. If you’re interested in signing up for your own kits, go here.
Waffle Flower has a beautiful new Rainbow and 2-tone pattern paper packs that are 80 lb.!!! Perfect for card bases or panels >> https://bit.ly/2SsmknY
Die cutting machines. I actually own a total 4. Two are manual die cutters (Cuttlebug Version 3 and the Sizzix Sidekick), one is electric (Sizzix Big Shot Express) and the other is my electronic (Brother ScanNCut SDX 125). I use my Big Shot Express the most.
- Cuttlebug. This machine is how I got started with embossing and die cutting. I upgraded to version 3, but I needed an electric machine to lessen the stress on my shoulder from manually cranking the handle to do all my die cutting. Amazon – https://amzn.to/2YRimWm; Magnetic platforms extended and regular sizes: https://amzn.to/2KkGhcF
- Sizzix. So, I bought the Sizzix Big Shot Express and I love it. I don’t mind pushing a button to feed my paper through plus it’s very quiet which is important to me since I mainly craft at night. Another bonus is that I can use all my Cuttlebug plates on my Sizzix machine. – Sizzix Big Shot Express – https://amzn.to/2Go3zeK
- Sizzix Sidekick. This little bugger is wonderful, it’s small, compact and can travel. The reason I bought this was to do really small die cutting easily. Since it’s small, I can die cut a bunch of little embellishments and sentiment strips to set aside for future cards. Sizzix Sidekick Starter Kit – https://amzn.to/2yDdBFo; extra cutting plates – https://amzn.to/2ZtSEbv; Sidekick Accessories bundle – https://amzn.to/2YFcLCC
- Gemini Jr. I began having more trouble with arms and shoulders so I invested in this machine as there is no button to push as with the Big Shot Express. This machine is the right size for cardmaking and it cuts intricate dies which other machines have some trouble with. I bought it on Amazon >> https://amzn.to/2WkwQij or Scrapbook.com >> https://bit.ly/3fcRqK7
- Spellbinders Platinum 6 – I think this manual die cutter is the best and it is such a cute machine, it’s smaller than its companion the Platinum. It comes with all the plates to die cut and to emboss. I like how it doesn’t take up much space. There’s a few places you can purchase this from: Amazon – https://amzn.to/3daqXeg, Scrapbook.com – https://bit.ly/2KVIA5q (bundle), Spellbinders – https://bit.ly/2YrDupD
- Die Cutting Accessories: I keep extra extended plates and metal plates. Also, for my Sizzix machine, I purchased the magnetic platform which keeps dies in place while cutting. Rubber mats are helpful too and you can purchase those here.
Gemini Jr. accessories >> https://bit.ly/2z054Qj
Spellbinders Platinum accessories >> https://bit.ly/3d880sM
Stamping for me is about 90% of my cardmaking and so I really needed to find the right tools.
- Misti. This stamp positioner is an investment, but for my job essential to have one as I mass produce cards for the Shop. I can’t afford to waste cardstock not getting good stamped impressions. So, if my first time stamping doesn’t come out as well, I can stamp again in the same position without ruining the card. There are other stamp positioners on the market so whichever one you like to use, I highly recommend having one even if you don’t make a lot of cards. It’s great for scrapbook layouts or making junk journals.
Hero Arts teamed up with My Sweet Petunia to offer the Black Misti and I love mine!
Get it here and also grab your accessories (especially the mouse pad) >> https://bit.ly/2z8LEIL or here >> https://bit.ly/2YtileU
- Clear Blocks. I still love my clear blocks and I have a bunch in different sizes cause they come in handy for quick stamping when the position for me isn’t a concern. I like using these for background and 2nd generation stamping. I have bought several on Amazon here >> https://amzn.to/3d6Im7N, here >> https://bit.ly/2SrH7s0
I’m stopping here for Part 1, look for Part 2 coming out soon. In the meantime, tell me what some of your favorite cardmaking supplies are by commenting below. Thanks for reading and Happy Creating!