A craft room needs tools – we all know that. But which tools come first? The answer lies in what kind of crafter you are. Are you a mixed media artist? A seamstress (or “sewist” as we’re now called)? Do you work with wood? Decoupage? Knit or crochet? I do all of these, but my first love is paper crafting, and I’m sharing with you the tools I turn to the most. These are the building blocks that I can’t craft without (and don’t want to). Let me introduce you to my top 5 favorite paper crafting tools.
The top five are…
There’s a reason this paper trimmer gets a 4.8-star rating (out of 5). And it’s why it’s the first tool I turn to when I sit down at my work space.
It’s the bomb diggety of paper trimmers, and after trying others, it’s the one I’ve stuck with for nearly 10 years. And for good reason. It cuts all sizes of paper, from the tiniest 1/4″ strip to a full 12″ square card stock using the swing-out measuring arm. The trimmer blade cuts smooth and straight, and there’s a thin wire to mark the cut line, giving a crystal clear location of where the cut will be for pinpoint accuracy. Best of all (my favorite feature), there’s a grid-cutting mat printed underneath the clear surface for durability. The printed measurements mean you can cut a variety of projects without fussing about dimensions. To name a few…
- 2 x 3.5 – vertical and horizontal – the perfect size for standard business cards
- 3 x 5 – vertical and horizontal – flash cards, recipe cards, index cards
- 4.25 x 5.5 – standard A2 cards
- 4 x 6 – fits standard photo frames
- 5 x 7 – fits standard photo frames
No more measuring or marking, just line the paper up with the built-in measurements and off you go.
Bonus: The Fiskars trimmer also uses an embossing blade which saves you from having to measure for accurate placement. For example, when making a greeting card, simply align the paper for the cut, switch from a cutting blade to the embossing blade, realign the paper and presto, you’ve embossed your fold line. No measuring, and no missing the placement point. This little baby saves frustration and wasted card stock.
#2 – Silhouette Cameo
OK, you knew it was coming. If you’ve read some of my other card posts, you know how I adore my Cameo. That’s because it saves me a ton of money buying dies and stamps, plus it gives me full control over the design of my projects. And when it comes to design, I’m a major control freak.
After creating paper projects for years, I still don’t have a single, solitary word die. Why? Because I don’t need them. I have the Cameo which can cut any words I want, in just about any size, in dozens of fonts. Show me a word die that can do THAT.
The Cameo saves on storage, too. Can you imagine how much space a truckload of dies takes up? But with the Cameo, you can cut any shape you want. I have a tutorial on how to make a side step card by measuring and scoring. With the Cameo and a 99-cent design file from the Silhouette Store, you skip the need to measure and let the machine do all the work for you – including score line placement! The Cameo takes all of the guesswork out of fancy fold cards!
And the Silhouette Cameo isn’t limited to cutting paper. It also cuts vinyl (both adhesive and heat transfer, which is ALL the rage), magnet paper, vellum, fabric, felt and even faux leather.
Paper projects aren’t limited to what’s in the Silhouette Store, or line drawings you create in the software. You can also use the “print and cut” feature which lets you print, then cut, virtually ANY image from your computer. The fan image on the Chinese New Year card above was first printed on card stock, then cut with the Cameo. So were the two tags, the candy cane and the front banner on the side step Christmas card. And so was the tag on the side of the “hello” card. All were printed first, then cut on the Cameo, which saved me all sorts of aggravation trying to “fussy cut” them by hand.
The Silhouette Cameo is worth its weight in gold and chocolate in my craft room.
This is the tool I go to when I want to add texture and pattern to my cards.
For those times when you want texture in your paper, this is the tool to use. Not only that, it’s also a manual die cutter. It cuts and embosses many different materials up to 6″ wide.
This “machine” is powered by your own strength as you roll the the pressure plates through. And even after all the years of use, I never get tired of seeing paper transformed on the other side. Especially embossed paper. It’s almost like magic. Here are a few examples:
Texture is yours with the Sizzix Big Shot. And shapes. The ovals in the duck card, the oval, scalloped layer and flags in the masculine card, and the shaped tag in the birthday card were all cut with dies in the Big Shot.
This is the newest kid on the block in my arsenal of can’t-live-without paper crafting tools. That’s because it solves the problem of hand-shake (where your hand slightly shakes at the last nanosecond before plopping the inked stamp on paper). I don’t know if it’s nerves, or age, but I invariably miss the mark ever so slightly when I’m freehand stamping a greeting or an image. And I never manage to get a perfect re-stamp. Ever.
This little baby fixes that.
Even more frustrating than a slight mis-stamp is stamping a “weak” image. You know, where the ink doesn’t make full contact with the paper, leaving un-inked areas? Talk about vexing. And just try stamping it again in exactly the same position. I had a tool that was supposed to help with stamp placement, but the Misti blew it out of the water. With its magnetic bar system, you can stamp the image on top of itself over and over and over in the exact same location. Never again will you have to throw a stamped image or sentiment away because of imperfect placement.
For precision layering and advanced creative design (think: spotlighted or telescoped designs), the Misti Creative Corners Placement Tool (sold separately) is the answer. Together, these tools will have you putting out professional designs faster than the Dixie Chicks’ fall from grace.
Last but not least is this tool that has saved my bacon more times than I can count.
No matter how many fancy schmancy tools and machines you use to cut paper, there’s always that one piece that requires a little extra attention. The die cut that didn’t completely cut. The image too small to cut with scissors. The inner corners and outer curves that scissors just can’t manage properly. That’s where the craft knife comes in. This tool is the perfect low-tech solution to an age-old problem. With its razor sharp point and anti-slip grip, the craft knife completes any and all cutting jobs with micro-fine precision. Furthermore, it comes with its own self-healing mat with grid lines and angles as well as 40 replacement blades in three shapes and a metal ruler.
It’s the simple, budget-friendly tool no craft room should be without.
And that wraps up my top five favorite paper crafting tools. These are the workhorses of the craft room. Paper and fabric trends come and go, but these superior tools transcend the test of time.
Talk to me!
What are your favorite paper crafting tools? Which gadgets or machines do you reach for first? What paper crafting tools do you keep under your pillow? (Just kidding. Sort of). Tell me in the comments below or on the G&B Facebook page. Or both! Better yet, share some visuals of what you create with those tools.
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