A – Z challenge: T is for…

T is for tools of the trade.

There are many items that people claim are ‘essentials’ when crafting. Realistically, when you’re starting out all you really need is some scissors, a glue stick and some coloured pens. But I thought I’d share with you my ‘essentials’ – the tools in my craft room that I couldn’t live without.

Firstly, tools. Here I have my paper cutter, very useful for accurately measured straight lines when matting and layering or trimming things to match sizes. My ruler, for measuring construction marks (for example a straight line to write journalling on). A couple of pairs of scissors for cutting out smaller or more awkward shapes. A craft knife for trimming things like button backs to create a smooth surface, or for cutting thick card. Finally, tweezers for picking up and placing peel-offs accurately.

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Next, sticky stuff! Double-sided tape, sticky foam pads, a glue stick and wet PVA glue. The tape creates a good bond for paper, card or lightweight embellishments. I usually use the glue stick for similar work, mainly when I’m running low on (or can’t be bothered with) the tape. Foam pads (which I have in several different thicknesses) I use for Card Candy and for raising up aspects of a card to add depth and interest. The wet PVA glue I use infrequently as I am almost guaranteed to get it everywhere. It’s necessary for sticking heavier embellishments like buttons. If you are making a scrapbook which is going to be kept for a long time, it is important to use good quality adhesives. Some glues, and especially sticky tapes can contain acids which will disolour and spoil your work. When working on a major project, it is worth checking to ensure that your glues, tapes, and even papers are acid and lignin free to avoid this risk.

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Next up, pens. I have many more different pens in my stash than the ones in this photos, but these are the ones I return to again and again. Permanent markers I use for colouring peel-offs and edging cards. The fineliners are great for journalling and doing borders. There’s a mechanical pencil, useful for drawing construction lines or for trialling journalling fonts. And finally, I love my white pen, which writes beautifully on even the darkest surface.

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Finally, my scissor carousel! Eighteen different patterned scissors (patterns below). I do keep forgetting I have this (despite it being really obviously right in front of me while I work!) so I tend not to use it much. However, it’s lovely to be able to create such lovely patterns so easily, and you can even use some of the bumpy shaped scissors to create flowers by simply cutting in a circle.

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So there you have it – my own personal craft essentials. I’m sure that everyone has their own view on what is ‘essential’ (my mother-in-law for example would be shocked that I have no stamps or ink pads in here!). What do you regard as your ‘essential crafting equipment’?