New to crafting? Not sure what you need or what tools you should invest in? Here is my list of 12 (or so) essential items to help you complete all your future craft projects.
1 – Scissors
A good pair of scissors go a long way! They should be large and sharp, and ideally, used only for crafts. I invested in a pair of Fiskars scissors probably 15 years ago (maybe more!) and they are still going strong. Make sure they don’t get into the wrong hands though. A good pair of scissors used on wire or plastic will destroy them.
2 – Glue gun
A glue gun is also a must have. Unlike traditional glue, with a long drying time, a glue gun can quickly stick things together. If you are new to crafting, you may want to pick up a small glue gun from your local dollar store. However, the heavy duty glue guns from craft stores tend to heat up faster, and melt the glue to a hotter temperature, creating a stronger bond. *Pro tip – use the tip of a pencil or a wooden skewer to hold small items in place so that you don’t burn your fingers!
3 – X-Acto knife and cutting mat
When you need a little more finesse, an X-Acto knife is your best friend. I’m not taking about the yellow handled box cutters in your garage, but a pen shaped tool with a small pointed-tip blade on the end. This is a more expensive tool, but in most cases, the knife comes with multiple blades so you can switch the old one out when it becomes dull. Don’t forget a cutting mat to protect your work surface!
4 – Pencils, pens, and markers
A collection of writing, tracing and drawing tools are essential to crafting. A basic pencil is an important starting point for many projects. Get yourself a good eraser too. All too often the dinky pencil tip eraser destroys what you’re working on, or just simply gets used up quickly. A large white eraser always gets the job done, and won’t damage more delicate paper products you may be working with.
Most craft stores have a whole isle of craft pens and markers suited to all types of projects. Sharpie’s are my favorite marker, because they work on most surfaces and are permanent to some degree. I use their black fine tip and super fine tip markers the most.
5 – Paint brushes
Depending on the projects you are completing, you may need to start collecting an assortment of paint brushes. Not only are brushes used to apply paint, but also can be used to apply glue, and varnish. The dollar store is a great place to find cheap paint brushes for one time use applications (like glue or varnish). Just be aware, they often lose their bristles, so I wouldn’t use low quality brushes when painting.
6 – Ruler
Another important tool is a good ruler. There are many different types of rulers out there, most of which are geared more towards the back-to-school crowd. A good ruler for crafting needs to be solid and at least 12″ long. Metal rulers are great as a hard edge for an x-acto knife and as a guide for folding a straight line. Clear acrylic rulers with a grid are also handy because you can perfectly position them over what you are cutting, and can use the grid lines to make sure your cuts are square.
7 – All purpose glue
Glue guns are great, but don’t work for all materials. Styrofoam, plastic, wood, and certain papers just won’t stick. An all purpose glue dries clear and smooth, won’t melt plastic, and works great on many surfaces. Make sure to buy craft glue and not the white school glue, which doesn’t have as strong a hold and will yellow over time.
8 – Paints
You don’t have to go out and buy every paint in every colour, but you may find yourself needing paint for certain projects. Buy paint as needed. The great thing is, paint doesn’t really go bad. Worst case is, it dries out. Paint in tubes or squeeze bottles will last years as long as the lids are tightly closed, and spray paint lasts forever, as long as the tip doesn’t clog. *Pro tip – turn your spray paint can upside down and spray until no more paint comes out. This cleans out the tip.
9 – Papers and card stock
Another item I’ve collected over the years is a variety of paper. You can buy individual sheets of crafting or scrapbooking paper at craft stores and even dollar stores. The sheets are typically 12×12″ or 8.5×11″. The best option is to wait for a sale and get a paper pack. They often come in themes for holidays or various colour schemes. Card stock is also a must have. It is a thicker paper that comes in solid colours. White and black are the kind I use most often.
10 – Wire and pointy-tipped pliers
Wire is a good thing to have around especially if you are planning on doing any wreath or jewelry making. I have a few different gauges (thicknesses) and colours (most wires come in silver, gold or green colours). Remember to have some pliers around! The pointy, needle-nosed pliers work best to thread items, clamp ends, and also double as the perfect wire cutting tool (don’t ruin your scissors!).
11 – String, yarn and ribbon
String is a handy item to have around. Cotton, kitchen twine is practical for many craft projects. Depending on if you are making jewelry, you may need different types of string, like nylon cord, elastic string, and jewelry wire. Fishing line is great for hanging items. Yarn and ribbon can be very expensive, so purchase it based on the specific projects you are working on.
12 – A collection of stuff
My last suggestion is simply to save stuff. Wine corks, cardboard, extra buttons, wrapping paper, popsicle sticks…etc. Yes, you may feel like a bit of a hoarder, but really, you are being thrifty! My favorite thing to save is cardboard. I use it so often to create templates, and for constructing things. *Pro tip – wash and save your plastic yogurt and sour cream containers. They make great cups for paint or glue.
That’s it! Not so bad right? Crafting does take a certain amount of stuff to get started. This list covers the most general items and tools that I have used most. Some of these items are investments, but as long as your tools are properly cared for, they should last a lifetime. Happy crafting!