Friday, March 6, 2009

A few of my favorite things

Occasionally I get asked about the tools and materials I use, so I thought it might be helpful to post them, if anyone's interested in doing some of what I do.
  • Paper. The cardstock I use for most of my projects is made by Wassau. It is 140 lb. Exact Index, index with a smooth finish (the smooth finish is really important. I had purchased a ream of bristol cardstock once and was not happy with how rough it felt).

    I used to spend a little extra for 100% post-consumer waste recycled cardstock, but when the price of that went up to $24 a ream (and I was starting to seriously burn through reams) I just couldn't justify the added expense. This Wassau paper is certified 30% post-consumer waste (and, of course, I'm diligent about recycling all my own waste). I just bought a case from a local paper store.

  • Glue. I have tried a LOT of different kinds of adhesives: glue sticks, liquid glues, glue dots, sprays and verious brands of all listed.

    The one adhesive that I have found to be totally reliable for the type of paper work I do is Tombow Mono Adhesive (shown above). It comes with a rolling applicator that, basically, deposits a snail trail of adhesive (like double-stick tape, but without the tape part in the middle) where you roll it. It can go round curves pretty well.

    The downsides: as the roll gets used up, it occasionally sticks a bit and gets a little harder to dispense.

    I do like that you can buy the refills separately and save the rest of the applicator, thus consigning just a little less plastic to the landfills. I recently felt confident enough about this type of glue to order 20 refills from Discount Office Supplies, which, true to their name, things really were pretty cheap.

    I go through a couple of refills a week.
  • My Craft Robo, blogged about in a previous post. (I LOVE my robo and couldn't produce in quantity without it).

  • Bone folder. Look this up if you don't know what it is. It's essential to getting a crisp, sharp fold. Yes, you can use a pen or something similar, but nothing beats a good bone folder.

  • Adobe Illustrator. Wonderful piece of design software. There's a bit of a learning curve (but Adobe does offer a nice array of online video tutorials to learn from), but it is an amazing tool.

  • Adobe Photoshop. While most of my work is done with Illustrator, I'll occasionally need to edit some bitmaps (photographs), in which case, Photoshop is essential.

  • Artwork. I buy a lot of artwork to use on my cards at They have a nice selection. I'm not an illustrator and using professional-quality artwork makes all the difference in the world in how a piece looks.

  • Exacto-knife blades. Need a lot of them to finish off what the robo doesn't cut.

  • Envelopes. Love this vendor: They have a nice selection and the stuff gets delivered pretty quick.

  • A good printer. I'm not naming my printer as it doesn't work as well as I'd like it to.

  • Inspiration. I read a LOT of books about paper-crafting. looking for interesting new mechanisms. There are a few blogs I follow that teach some techniques. And I just am always looking, looking, looking at how things fit together and how that might be used in a card. It helps to be a bit obsessive about mechanical cards, because you see a lot of inspiration in strange places.

  • Miscellaneous. I occasionally buy nice, colored card stock. I use a lot of mini-brads and those 3-d dots that make parts of your cards stand out.

So, that's it! Get all of that and you, too, can become completely obsessed with papercraft and try to make a few bucks off of something like etsy!

Good luck! It's fun!


Handmade in Israel said...

I came to your blog via Etsy Greetings. Your work is gorgeous and you have some really interesting things to say! Glad I dopped in!

Molly said...

Thanks! I've seen (and admired) your work also!

I love how there's a whole community of cardmakers who sell on etsy... LOVE the sense of camaraderie!

Looking forward to being active in the group!

Cards By Jenna said...

Great post and blog. :) Thanks for sharing! I have to agree that the bone folder is essential in card making, so simple yet so useful!


QuirkynBerkeley said...

What an interesting blog topic! Bone folder -- check! Cardstock -- check!

I love the feeling of cutting into a brand new piece of heavy weight colored cardstock. Gotta check out your robocraft!

I got here via EtsyGreetings.

Molly said...

I LOVE etsy greetings! (

Thanks for stopping by!

Beth said...

Great blog post! I, too agree that the bone folder is a must. I use it for everything from cards to smoothing out air bubbles when I make journals.

I cannot live without my ATG adhesive dispenser. I go through too many of the smaller ones.

Moderncard said...

Great idea to blog about this. Thanks for sharing!