Monday, 30 September 2013

Beginners Guide To Paper Crafting Lesson #1 What to take to a Class, Workshop or Crop






Once you get the scrapbook bug you never really look back. You take it for granted that everyone knows what you mean when you say you are "cropping" or "distressing" something. We don't expect terms like "bling" and "bone Folder" are mysterious or misunderstood but to a new crafter this new lingo and vast array of products, tools and techniques can be a bit foreboding. If you are an experienced papercrafter this post is not for you.  This post is for all my lovely friends out there that have boxes and SD cards brimming with photos that they promised themselves they would put into albums someday.  Ok Ladies, someday starts today. Many people would say to go gather your pictures and decide on an album. Forget that.  You know what photos are hiding in there and having the album already purchased is just going to add more pressure to the situation. I think that you should begin where every other recipe begins.  Assemble your utensils....or in this case....the tools.

Step #1 Your Basic Tool Kit


  • Pencil and White Eraser

  • Ruler: You are going to want to get one that is metal so that the edge stays true even after hours of abuse with sharp edged blades and pointed pencils.

  • Scissors: any fine tips scissor is a good place to start.  If you have to purchase a pair you will want to invest in a pair that does not stick.  I personally have two pairs of CutterBee scissors and a pair from Close To My Heart.  Look for terms like non-stick micro scissors. I love both styles and they have lasted several years of extensive use.  Make sure you keep the cover as these babies are sharp!


  • Adhesive: There are many types of adhesive available.  Match your glue to your project.  If I am working on a card that I know won't be kept much past its initial presentation (Hello Kids Cards) then I often work with plain old white school glue.  It does not cost much, it has no offensive odour and its pretty easy to work with.  If your are working with Scrapbooks or Cards that need to be kept in archival quality then you will need to invest in glue specifically for scrapbooks.  Look for terms life Acid and Lignen Free or Archival Safe on the packaging.  Tape Runners are a must have for scrapbooking and cardmaking (basically they are very thin double sided glue on thin strips wound like tape in a plastic dispenser). You can purchase these very inexpensively at your local Dollar Tree, Walmart or big box store. Double sided sticky tape can also be purchased there and you will want to throw 2-3 rolls of it into your pack. Don't get lured into glue dots or foam squares yet. You are just starting out, no need to get crazy.


  • Pen: find a fine tip black pen that does not bleed.  You don't have to spend a fortune on a a top of the line pen. Just experiment and find one that suits your style of writing.  Ink that dries quickly is a bonus as you don't want to be waiting around for it to dry while you could be creating.

  • Bone Folder: Often this is not included in a beginners tool kit but I think it should be.  A bone folder can be anything from a deluxe ergonomically designed, beautifully decorated plastic tool to a popsicle stick...sticky free of course.  Start the habit of using a bone folder right from the beginning and you will always be pleased with the professional look of your cards and layouts.  It seems like something as simple as the crease on a card could not be important but I assure you it makes all the difference in your final result.

  • Black and Brown Ink: this is where you start.  Invest in good ink like Memento and save yourself the frustration of dealing with cheap ink that does not give you a crisp image.  Starting with the basics of black and brown opens the world to endless possibilities using supplies you likely have in your supply drawer. Images can be coloured with pencil crayons, watercolour paint, markers or even Sharpies or Bic's if you have them. Resist the urge to splurge on your favourite shades of pink and lilac. They just won't get the use and you will be frustrated by being limited. Once you have all your basic supplies then you can gradually add to your colour palette.

  • Plastic Storage Box: again this is a personal addition to the start up tool roster but there is nothing more frustrating than spending 2-3 hours on  a layout only to find that you have crinkled it on the way home from a crop or threw the contents of your purse on it when rummaging for a pen or paper to write down the important phone number.  Make it then place it flat in a 12x12 paper storage box. You can get them at most craft stores for about $5. Make sure to use those 40% off coupons.

Thats it. You are ready to sign up for a workshop or class right now.

As you become more familiar with working with paper crafts you will want to expand your kit to include a paper trimmer, craft knife and other goodies. For now keep it simple.  Master the basic tools before you get caught up in all the fancy gadgets that glitter from the store shelves. Set a budget up front for how much you can invest each month in your hobby and divide it between consumable products (paper, adhesive, ink) and tools. Stick to your budget as many of us have gone astray in our love of all things crafty.  A good way to budget is to become a member of a crop group or kit club where you receive supplies every month at a set price (usually $15-30). These gatherings also allow you to try new tools without having to make the commitment of buying them and realizing you are not going to use them.

Try to find a group to crop with. Your knowledge in scrapbooking and cardmaking grows exponentially when you are in a room of creative types. Ask questions! crafters love to share.  Give it a try! Like anything else it takes practice to create masterpieces. The fun is in the journey.