This is the place to start if you want to know what I use to make my cards
and, often, where I buy it.
Where I buy my “stuff!”
I get most of my card making materials at either Joann’s, Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. (Don’t forget their coupons. I think each will honor the others coupons.) All three are within a half hour drive of my home. I also order quite a bit online, though for everyday items I find the local prices are about the same and are usually easily available. Some of the larger items I buy online just because I can compare the various choices easily that way and shipping is often free and quick. I also find my choices of stamps are somewhat limited in the stores but never ending online.
Where I get my ideas.
I spend quite a bit of time each week checking out “Pinterest.” (http://www.pinterest.com) Since I signed up they send me frequent suggestions of things I might want to look at…and I do. From there with a simple click I can find out how something was made and often even see a tutorial on how it was made on You Tube. (http://www.youtube.com) Once there I sign up to follow various card makers and once signed up there I receive emails telling me when they have a new tutorial available. There is a seemingly unending supply of ideas available for me to copy or make my own. Copying is not frowned upon and, in fact, encouraged.
Some of my favorite tools for card making
One of the more expensive items I have purchased for coloring is my set of ZIG Clean Color Real Brushes. I bought a set of 36 of them. I am not sure how much I paid for them but I now see them “on sale” for $89. It was a real jump of faith to buy them, online, but I did a great deal of research, much of it on You Tube where I watched a number of videos comparing the various types of markers. I have not regretted my purchase and have even bought over a dozen more colors, which I found online for $2.49 each. I use them many times each week and they are wonderful for blending colors. They work best on watercolor paper as it holds up to the water you need to blend the colors well. I also use a water pen, another item made by Kuretake, the makers of my Zigs. It works great for blending and softening the colors when I use the Zigs. It is a little pen that you fill with plain water with a fine point brush tip.
I use a number of kinds of ink for my stamping. I have quite a few from Stampin Up. (www.stampinup.com)They are what is known as “juicy” which is good in many ways, and bad in a few. You don’t have to worry about having enough ink on your stamp but occasionally I find myself with ink all over my hands and, soon after, my cards. I also have a couple of dozen of Tim Holtz Ranger Distress inks in the little square containers which fit into metal boxes of a dozen which helps keep them from being lost. They allow you to have a great many colors available at not a great cost. Then I have various other inks made by various companies. Momento makes good fade resistant dye ink in many colors. I always have some of their Tuxedo Black on hand and use it any time I need black ink. All the above are dye inks and dry quickly but can smear if water gets on them. I also have quite a few pigment inks which don’t smear with water but they dry slowly unless set with a heat gun.
I have just recently started using Copic Markers. I initially thought they were too expensive but now find that if I use the Ciao Copic Markers and buy them from Carpediemmarkers.com or Merriartist.com I can afford them and they are fantastic. (Elsewhere they cost more than $6 each but they only charge $3.59 and have free shipping if you buy at least $35 worth of their products. They sell many other art supplies there also.) The markers have vibrant colors and a huge selection of them. By taking some on-line courses on how to use them I have found I don’t need to buy as many as I thought I did as they can be mixed in various ways. Their only drawback is that they are alcohol markers and will smear the ink if you use regular ink on your stamps. You can print digi stamps on a laser printer or use Momento Tuxedo Black ink on your stamps and they will not smear.
One other type of “ink” Versamark, is an “ink” you use when you want to emboss your card. It is actually a clear pigment ink. It comes in clear and black. Embossing powders come in many colors, and clear, and have to be set with a heat gun, which melts them so they become permanent and shiny. Embossing looks great by itself but it also allows you to paint inside of your design without leaking into other areas as the embossing serves as a little dam. You can also use regular pigment inks in the same way, with embossing powders on top of them. Heat guns are inexpensive and are required for heat embossing powders. A hair dryer does not get hot enough.
Cuttings and Scoring Tools
A good paper cutter is a must for card making. Don’t even think you can just use scissors if you are into any kind of volume at all. It not only saves time but it gives you clean, straight cuts which make your cards look professional. I tried several but I am very happy with my Xacto paper cutter which will cut 12 inch paper in one swipe. Its base has a grid with lines in 1/4 inch increments, both horizontally and vertically. It also has a ruler at the top in both inches and mm. I also have a flat cutter made by Tonic Studios that comes with both a cutting blade and a scoring blade. It has a grid divided in 1/4 inch increments also and a ruler both top and bottom with measurements in both inches and mm. Recently I purchased a flat cutting board that is very good. It is the Cricut cutting board. It does an excellent job of cutting and comes with an arm that swings out to make it easy to cut large pieces of paper. I was able to get it very cheaply through the Cricut web site, on sale. I think I paid about $8 for it. Both work well but I find I use the Xacto the most as it is quick. I also have a Martha Stewart Score Board which I use often. They come in two sizes and I have found the small one very useful. Although it does not work well with large sheets of paper it fits easily on your desk and works great for standard card making, which is what I do the most. It can be used also for making envelopes, but for those I almost always use my We R Memory Keepers envelope punch board. It makes making envelopes a cinch. I would not want to work without it! It tells you exactly what size paper you need for making an envelope no matter how large or small your card is and it is easy to use. You can also use it to make boxes and some types of bows.
A good set of small scissors is a must for card making. They need to be very sharp and have a good point for cutting in small places. I have several pair of EK scissors and use them every day. You also need one pair of larger scissors. Any brand of good sharp scissors will do for this.
Stamps and Dies and Embossing Folders
I have more stamps than I can count and daily I see others that I wish I had. Many companies make stamps. Some are of good quality and make a nice sharp image, others are not so good. Stampin Up seems to make a good quality stamp. One of my favorite companies is Penny Black. (Pennyblackinc.com) Her stamps are of good quality and I personally love so many of her whimsical stamps. They are just fun to use and others are just plain beautiful. If you get into making cards with any amount of volume at all you will want to try out many different kinds. There are a great many web sites that offer hundreds of different stamps. Simon Says Stamps offers stamps made by many companies, plus all kinds of other items needed for card making. You will want to get stamps with text as well as illustrations so that you can stamp a sentiment on your card. You will never have all that you would like to have. I have albums with over 55 plastic envelope pages, each with many stamps in them, plus a couple of dozen boxed sets, and another dozen or so separate stamps. If you look at the blogs of those really into card making and scrap booking they often have pictures of their craft rooms and you can see they have spent a great deal of money buying stamps, inks, papers, embellishments, ribbons, and dies. It is hard to resist. I also have purchased “digi stamps” online. (Just type in “digi stamps” on the search line of your computer and you will find quite a few to chose from. I love those from “Tiddlyinks“, “Bugaboostamps“, “Vera Lane“, “Mos Digital Pencil” and A Day for daisies. )These are stamps that have been designed by various artists which you purchase, download on to your own computer, and then print on card stock or water color paper and complete as you wish. (If you are using alcohol markers such as Copic Markers you have to print them on a laser printer or it will smear. I also suggest printing them on X-press It Blending card for the best results with alcohol markers.) They are usually not expensive and you can often just buy the one stamp you like without paying for a whole set which may include stamps you would not use. Like regular stamps, once you buy them they are yours to use as often as you would like. Using “digis” is fun and you can even sell your cards using these images as long as you don’t manufacture them in mass amounts. Some of them want you to credit them somewhere on your card as the images are copyrighted. I now find I am using them even more often than I use the regular stamps, in fact I am using them almost exclusively.
Dies are designs that have been formed into a metal “die” that can be used to cut out the designs on paper (or other materials.) They can be fairly expensive, at least they seem so to me, and require a machine to use. I have a Cuttlebug which can cost anywhere from $35 or so on up. I also recently purchased a Big Shot, made by Sizzix. It is more expensive but also can use larger embossing folders and in some instances seems to do a better job of both cutting and imprinting the embossed image. Other companies make machines that do the same thing. Most of them are more expensive but some can cut larger pieces of paper etc. The dies are placed on a platform with the paper on top of it with another heavy piece of plastic on top to hold it in place. This sandwich is then placed in the machine and, with a crank, rolled through rollers which press the die into the paper thus cutting it into the design on the die. The dies are often sold in sets along with stamps that go with the die. I wasn’t using mine often but others use theirs every day. Since I purchased my Big Shot I find I am using it more often.
Another use for the Cuttlebug or similar machine is to use embossing folders to imprint designs onto paper. They are used in much the same way as the dies but do not actually cut the paper. They only imprint the design into the paper. The folder has both a negative and positive side which align when you put your paper between the sides forcing the paper to form to the shape of the design. They are not too expensive and add a lot to a card. Many people use them a great deal. I was lucky enough recently to find a terrific bargain from Cuttlebug. I found out about it on You Tube and quickly placed my order. For about $38 I received, with free postage, well over $150 worth of embossing folders by Anna Griffin. It was like having an early Christmas. I have since made samples of all the embossing folders and I am learning, once again through You Tube, how to add color to my embossed images. YouTube is a terrific place to get the training you need in order to expand your abilities in this field.
Glues and adhesives
There are many types of glues and adhesives available for crafts. Tombow makes a very good product, both permanent and repositionable. You will need both kinds, in both glue and adhesive. I am particularly fond of the Tombow dot adhesive in putting my cards together. It allows me time to reposition my card stock if needed. I use the Scotch Extra Strength Adhesive Roller for my envelopes as they need to be sturdier if you are mailing your cards. Other glues that are good are made by Aleene’s. Her tacky glue dries clear and comes in various sizes and shapes. You might also like glue dots for applying ribbons and embellishments easily. They are made by various companies. One other that I find extremely useful is Ranger’s “Glossy Accents.” It works well as a glue but can also be added to illustrations to make them appear shiny and 3 dimensional. It can be used in a needle nosed bottle when just a dot is needed for a sequin or tiny jewel or to place tiny dots or lines of glue or accents on your cards
Card stock and Paper
My “go to” card stock for making my cards in the past has been the 65# Recollections for the front. Since I have started using the Copic Markers I find using Neenah #80 Solar White Classic Crest card stock is fantastic. It allows you to blend beautifully and the ink does not leak through very much, as it does in most other papers. I then glue that on 110# card stock, for the whole card, as otherwise it is too floppy. Recollections makes makes many colors and can be bought fairly inexpensively in packs of 50 sheets, either all one color or a variety of colors. Other companies also make them, in pads, packs and as single sheets. They can be bought in 12″ x 12″, or 8 1/2″ x 11″ sizes. Both paper and card stock can also be bought in pads with many different designs. Hobby Lobby, Joann’s, and Michael’s sell them, often at discounted prices. They also sell various specialty papers in single sheets in designs, velum, sparkles, gold, silver, etc.
That is not all that I use by any means. There are hundreds of embellishments to be bought or found and used, ribbons by the yard, lace, punches, inks that add sparkle and shine, brushes, Mod Podge, sponges, laminators, containers to hold all this stuff, rulers, utensils to line up stamps exactly, colored pens, gel pens, ink and stamp cleaners, water color paper, etc. etc. etc. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The limit is only in how much you want to spend. It is hard to quench the thirst once you get started.