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 iStockphoto.com. 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: http://www.envelopemall.com/. 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!