Tools Every Crafter Should Have
By Editorial Staff
by Catalogs.com Info Guru Kitty Price
Crafting is even more enjoyable when you have the proper tools.
The number and types of craft tools are nearly limitless. Look hard enough and you can probably find the precise specialized tool for whatever precise craft and specific project in which you’re engaged. Some tools, however, are more or less universal. Here are the top ten such crafting tools.
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10. Printer with flatbed scanner
Nearly every home has a printer nowadays, but if yours doesn’t have a flatbed scanner on top, consider adding this feature the next time you need to upgrade your printer. You’ll wonder how you ever got along without one! A scanner takes a digital picture of whatever you lay on it so you can save the picture to your computer for future use as is or after resizing, enhancing, changing the colors or tones, or otherwise “tweaking” it to your satisfaction in a graphics program like Photoshop. But don’t stop with just old photographs, maps, or the kids’ art from school. You can also scan reasonably small 3D items such as leaves, flowers, pebbles, coins, or any indoor or outdoor object that strikes your fancy. It’s a great way to create your own artwork and greeting cards.
9. Die cutting machine
Craft size die cutting machines come in both manual and electric models. Both are great for easily and accurately cutting alphabet letters, numbers, shapes, etc. from paper, fabrics, plastics, metals, and woods. Some die cutters even emboss as well as cut. There are many online tutorials for effectively using a die cutter to create all types of art work.
8. Bone folder
A bone folder a/k/a folding bone is a nifty little dull-edged hand tool that solves all your scoring, creasing, and folding problems. It works on paper, cardstock, heavy glossy photo paper, even fabrics, and is very easy to use. All you need do is hold a good ruler tightly against your material of choice where you want it to fold. Run the bone folder’s pointed tip along the ruler edge, pressing firmly, to create the score or crease where the fold will go. After folding the material along the crease and smoothing it down with your hands, use the bone folder’s broad side to finish the fold into a straight sharp crease. A bone folder is the perfect tool for folding scrapbook pages, greeting cards, and origami boxes.
7. Yarns, ribbons, trims
You don’t have to be into knitting or crocheting to need yarn. And you don’t have to be into sewing to need ribbons and trims such as lace, rickrack, etc. All sorts of crafts projects from string art to scrapbooks to greeting cards can use that special decorative finishing touch.
6. X-Acto knife
X-Acto is the brand name of a variety of cutting tools produced by Elmer’s Products, Inc. However, most people call any small craft knife a xacto knife, just as most people call any tissue a Kleenex and any copier a Xerox. Whatever the brand name, you need a craft knife – probably several of them to fit your various needs. When run along the edge of a good ruler, the razor-sharp blades of craft knives make a perfectly straight cut on the underlying material. They also make perfect curved cuts around patterns, especially those requiring tight inside curves or corners.
5. Cutting mat
A cutting mat is essential whenever you’re using a sharp tool on one of your craft projects. It’s the only way to protect the surface of the table or bench on which you’re working. Cutting mats are usually made of hard plastic, acrylic, or rubber. Most are printed with a grid that allows you to measure in either the standard (Imperial) increments used in America or the metric increments used in most of the rest of the world. The most useful mats are reversible with standard increments on one side and metric increments on the other. Many mats nowadays are self-healing, meaning that their surfaces resist scratching, scoring, and pitting from repeated use.
4. Hot glue gun and stand
It’s hard to imagine that any kind of crafter can survive without a glue gun and the stand to put it in. Saves time, money, and a whole lot of mess!
3. Paper cutter
Nothing beats a paper cutter for fast clean straight cuts. They come in a variety of sizes and materials, with either a guillotine or rotary blade, both of which are sharp enough to cut through vinyl as well as all thicknesses of paper. Many feature a grid surface for easy measurements. No scrapbooker or cardmaker can live without one, but other crafters will find one extremely useful, too.
2. Rulers and measuring tapes
Everyone has used the classical 12″ ruler since kindergarten, but crafters often need a variety of rulers to suit their various projects. Whether made of wood, plastic, or acrylic, a ruler is THE basic tool for measuring just about anything. The most useful rulers have the standard (Imperial) American increments along one edge and the metric increments along the other. And for measuring things that aren’t flat, don’t forget a good measuring tape. There are even centering tapes that measure out in both directions from a center point so you can easily center your picture on the wall or your project on your fabric.
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Whatever materials a crafter works with, they all need to be cut to size. Several pair of really sharp scissors in various shapes and sizes are the crafter’s number one necessity. And don’t forget the pinking shears for festive finished edges!
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