Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tools and Supplies for Beginners (part 3)

This is the last (and final) part of my tools for beginners series.

In the first part, I talked about cardstock, paper trimmers and adhesive. In the second part, I talked about stamps, ink and paper scissors.

7- Score Board
 Like the name implies, a score board makes it easier to score cardstock. You will find this very useful when you're making  and folding your own card bases. It's also useful when you want to create other kinds of paper objects such as decorative boxes that hold your cards or treat boxes.

I recommend Martha Stewart's Mini Score Board. You will generally only need the 6-inch score board for making cards - both because of the general card size, and because 6 inches is very easy to carry and store. The board comes with a bone folder, so you won't have to purchase an extra tool straight away.

I got the large score board as well just in case I wanted to make larger boxes. It happened to be on sale for 75% off, so it was a good deal. But I've yet to use it, so it's mainly just sitting in the back of my crafting closet.

8- Patterned Paper
 Patterned paper is a great way to add color and shape to your card, and it's also one supply that there are a HUGE variety of themes, sources and materials. Some patterned paper you can purchase is thin (like printer paper), while other kinds are thick like cardstock.

Patterned paper also comes in different sizes. You can use 12x12 scrapbooking paper, or buy the smaller 6x6 paper pads (which are cheaper and only require trimming a little). One great thing about 6x6 paper pads is that the patterns are scaled down, so you don't end up with large patterns (though there are times where you might want a larger pattern, too, so check out both 12x12 and 6x6 sizes when buying paper).

My first suggestion for patterned paper is to buy at least one solid "general" pack. This is your base pack that you can use for most occasions. I would recommend the following:
- Polka-dot and stripe paper pad, in various colors: Simple Stories Color Vibe pack
This is my second polka-dot and stripe pad. My favorite pad is the AC: Dots & Stripes 6x6 paper pad that I cannot seem to find online. I bought it at my local Target store, and I continue to buy it any time I see that they have it stocked. Its's a great basic pad with pleasant colors and a combination of white and craft base.
- Christmas-themed paper pad: BasicGrey 25th & Pine 6x6 paper pad
I originally got into card making because I wanted to make some Christmas cards for my family. I try to do something hand-made every year (besides the cookies, of course). I thought I was getting ready for the holidays early, but I quickly learned that Christmas is a HUGE cardmaking holiday, and that Christmas-themed supplies are quick to sell out as early as October. So, you want to have at least one holiday-themed paper pad that you can fall back on for those hand-made Christmas cards.
- One paper pad in your favorite color scheme, pattern or theme: Fancy Pants Memories Captured and Fancy Pants Down By The Shore
Sometimes it's fun to just have pretty paper that you just love and feel inspired by. If you're like me, you'll either buy it and never use it (Down by the Shore) or buy it and use it all the time (Memories Captured). Regardless, it's good to have a paper pad with your favorite things.
 - If you're on a budget, check out the Recollections Bold Basics at your local Michael's

 9- Embellishments
Embellishments are little bits and pieces you can add to a card as decoration. They come in many varieties: from stickers, to twine, to charms and more. And this is not counting some unusual crafty supplies that card makers can use!

The biggest challenge with embellishments is to find ones that match the rest of the card. A lot of companies have embellishments that match the colors and shapes of their paper packs, which is a huge help. But they can get a little pricey, so they're not always an option if you're on a budget.

My suggestion is to pick up a few of the following:
- Ribbon
I can pick up several yards of ribbon for 50 cents at my local craft store, and they have a HUGE variety of colors. A piece of ribbon can make a card pop or add a small feminine touch.
- Buttons
Like ribbon, you can find cheap buttons at the craft store or even at Walmart. I suggest getting a few neutral colors (white, black, brown, grey) at first, then moving onto colors and patterns. Look for button medleys that offer different sizes for the buttons, as this can make them very useful.
- Bakers' Twine
Thinner than ribbon, bakers' twine can add some visual interest to your card. You can also tie it around boxes for easy carrying or simple decoration.

10- Card Kit
I only recently signed up for Simon Says Stamp card kits (this is the current one), but it's been a really fun experience. Monthly card kits are a collection of papers, stamps and embellishments that coordinate together. SSS card kits also come with a few images of finished cards for inspiration. You do have to supply your own glue and ink, but that's usually something you have on hand anyway.

There's two big reasons why a card kit is useful. The first is that it has coordinating supplies. So you know that you will get a card base that matches the patterned paper, which in turn matches the sentiments and/or images from the stamp set.

The second is that it tends to have products you might not have otherwise picked up yourself. For example, January card kit came with these little paper tickets. I probably wouldn't have picked them out, myself, but they turned out to be just what I needed for this card.

There are several companies out there that make card and paper kits, and you might also find card kits in a store. I know Hero Arts has a few adorable card and tag kits, as does American Crafts. If you're just getting into card making and don't have many supplies, a card kit will give you the basic tools you'll need to make some awesome cards.

And that ends my supplies for beginners series! Thanks for reading, and hopefully it will help someone out there.

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