Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Beginners Guide 101 : Materials

I wanted to start by taking some time and share some tips and techniques that I have learned along journey and since this is my first post in my new "techniques & lessons" series I figured I would start off pretty basic.If you are new to card making or scrapping or any type of paper crafting then I hope this post helps get you set up and if you are seasoned then hopefully you can find a good trick or two or even share a trick or two in our comments section.

 I also want to note that if you do not have the materials on hand (or can't locate a "mimic" from something you have laying around the house) then please do not run out and purchase everything at once, believe me your stash will start to build and it will build very quickly. Also keep in mind a lot of your tools can be substituted out for something similar. So for example, instead of running out and buying a bone folder (which becomes quite essential and is relatively cheap) you can start off by using the back of a spoon.

Ok, so let's get started. There are four main pieces of equipment that you should work on building up to. Of course there are other pieces of equipment out there but these four things are a great place to begin. Please also note equipment is different than your materials (paper, embellishments, adhesive, ect..) which will be covered in another post.

The first piece of equipment which I wanted to touch base on is the cutting mat. I currently have a smaller one (for glitter and messier projects), one for my cricut cutting machine, and a 6 1/2 X 6 1/2 paper cutter which has a grid on it.  I use all three of mine and I suggest every crafter have one for convenience and to save whatever surface you choose to work on. 

A cool trick that I recently picked up is to use the cutting mat to help line up ribbons, sentiments, or any other layer on top of the card by simply following the grid line across the project. I know brilliant, right!!

The next piece of equipment that I want to talk about is your cutting tool. I touched briefly on the small paper cutter I have because it was not only a life saver but it also has a nice grid line for cutting on. Going beyond the paper cutter you will also need a nice pair of scissors and maybe even a craft knife. I have a pair of small sharp "sewing" shears that work perfectly. They are small and sharp enough to cut the details that I need cut out. There are also specialty scissors which you can purchase for giving your project fancy edges.

Moving on to the Bone folder. Everyone told me how essential this tool was and at first I did not listen, however, here I am preaching that this is an essential and cheap tool to purchase if you are going to be making cards. The bone folder is a small tool that allows your projects to have nice finished folds and if you are like me then you are thinking that I can just fold my card over gently but please believe me when I say that this will create breaks, creases, and horrible looking folds.

 A cool trick that I learned if you are not interested in running out and purchasing a bone folder would be to use the back of a spoon. I personally (and magically) found this really nice plastic scrapper which is rather thick and works wonderfully to clean off my mats and to fold my cards so feel free to experiment and get creative with your tools.

Finally my last piece of equipment advice is the ruler. I currently have a cheap wooden one and its a little bit of a pain to use because the sides are not even. I have heard that a metal one is the best one to purchase because the craft knives will not knick into the side of the ruler. The best personal advice I have on this one is whatever ruler you choose to use just make sure that there are both inches and centimeter readings because having both will make your life easier.

So there you have it, my basic equipment list for any paper craft that you plan on doing. Of course there are many other things that are helpful to have, but I feel as though this is a good essential beginning list. I also want to make it a point that you do not have to run out and purchase everything that I mentioned. You will be simply amazed at how much you can find laying around your house and then once you get further into paper craft making you can better determine what equipment suits your style the best