You don’t need a lot of expensive tools and materials to make cards. Start with a basic kit and add to your collection as you become more proficient.
A blank card is essential for card-making whether shop-bought or homemade. Using a pre-folded card gives a neat, professional appearance to your work and saves time. They are available in a range of colours, shapes and textures and come with apertures (pre-cut holes) that are ideal for displaying needlework, peel-offs, die-cut shapes and toppers.
Never underestimate the lowly craft knife. This toolbox classic needs to be teamed with a straight-edged metal ruler and a self-healing cutting mat for it to really come into its own. Use it to cut out stamped images, create stencils and trim paper to size. Round-handled types are best, because they are comfortable to hold and well balanced. Keep a spare set of fresh blades handy, there’s noting more irritating than a blunt edge – it will tear your creation and spoil the look.
You will need scissors for cutting different paper surfaces, so invest in a large and small pair. Comfort is always paramount when selecting the right tool for the job, so make sure that the type you buy fits snugly into your hand. To achieve eye-catching results, try decorative paper-edgers which come in an array of patterns and are easy and safe to use. Round-nosed pliers and wire cutters are vital when working with wire and thin metal sheets. The pliers will help you to bend wire strands into arty embellishments and are also useful for attaching beadwork to card surfaces. Use the wire cutters to trim mesh and metal sheets into decorative shapes for mounting or embossing.
A punch is an extremely handy tool and can create quick and easy decorative effects on paper and cards. Worked directly onto the card surface or a panel mounted onto paper, the result is elegant and understated. Punches come in all shapes and sizes, from dinky models for adding tiny detail, to hefty, jumbo versions for cutting large motifs. Borders punches offer an array of different effects and can transform envelopes and paper with neat repeat patterns.
A heat gun will give you the opportunity to create some really exciting finishes, Traditionally used for melting embossing powders, the gun is also ideal for warming shrink-wrapping and friendly plastic, drying ink and curing puff paints and liquid appliqué. It’s a good idea to protect your surfaces from heat damage. Keep the tool away from small children when in use and afterwards while it is cooling down.
Whether you want to attach an embellishment, secure mounts or make your own envelopes, you’ll need multi-purpose craft adhesive. PVA or white glue is a good store-cupboard basic. It’s easy to apply, just pour a little onto a piece of paper and dab the required amount onto the card using a cocktail stick or cotton bud. Once dry, the glue becomes transparent.
A bone folder is used to score and fold card to achieve neat and crisp folds.
Pencil and Rubber
An HB pencil and good rubber are needed when measuring out card or paper before cutting.
A good angle poise lamp with a daylight bulb should be an essential part of your tool kit. Without good light you can’t see what you are doing and you will damage your eyes – preventing further cardmaking!