Crafting is something I’ve been doing almost as long as I can remember. It was an activity my mom and I often did together when I was a child, and, obviously, something I never really gave up as I got older. While I love to try crafts in all kinds of mediums, there are definitely some particular areas I have gravitated more toward as I’ve merged my passion for graphic design with my love for crafting. Today I thought I’d share some of my favorite crafting tools and supplies to give you a better idea of how I bring my designs and creative projects to life.
If I listed everything I keep in my craft room, this blog would be a mile long; so, today I’m just going to highlight the tools and materials I make use of most often in my craft projects.
Adobe Illustrator – Illustrator is definitely the number one tool I use for design and crafting. I originally learned the program while obtaining my degree in graphic design, but soon came to realize its almost limitless application to the “crafting” side of design. Especially once Cricut and Silhouette started allowing users to upload their own files, instead of relying on cartridges!
I realize that Adobe Illustrator is a slightly intimidating program for beginners, and I’m also aware that the price tag may seem like too much of an investment for a hobbyist. Canva is a free, user-friendly program that is great for anyone just wanting to dabble in design, and doesn’t mind a few restrictions. I’ve even recently created a short tutorial on how you can change the color of graphics using Canva, if you want to check it out.
If you are interested in taking your design/crafting skills to the next level, I have some tutorials available on my YouTube Chanel that you might find helpful.
Cricut Maker – It’s no secret that I LOVE my Cricut Maker. I got started in the die cut world with a Cricut Explore Air (which I also loved), and I continue to enjoy the creative freedom these machines give me each and every day!
Scoring Tools – Most all of the projects I make with my Cricut utilize paper. With my Cricut Explore Air, I utilized the scoring stylus quite a bit. While it didn’t make particularly deep score marks, it was nice to at least have all my fold lines in place when I’d take a project off my mat.
Now that I have a Cricut Maker, I make use of the scoring wheel in many of my die cut projects. It tends to score more deeply than the scoring stylus, which has been quite nice!
Premium Fine-Point Blade – While I have made use of the Deep-Point blade in the past, and I’ve been anxious to try out the Knife Blade, I can almost always get by with the good old-fashioned, Premium Fine-Point Blade. I did once try to buy some knock-off replacement blades off of Amazon to save some money, but it was a total bust! They couldn’t cut through anything, and I was forced to revert back to my dulled Cricut blade until I finally got a REAL replacement. So I don’t recommend doing that!
XL Scraper – This puppy wasn’t around when I first started out, but, let me tell you, the XL Scraper is far superior to the tiny one they use to include in all of the accessory sets. If you are someone who spends any amount of time cleaning off cutting mats, do yourself a favor and get one of these guys. It’s a simple tool, but it’s freakin’ awesome!
Weeder – When I first got my Cricut, I made sure to get a toolset that included all the needed accessories to go with it. The Weeder is literally the only tool I still use from that set. Maybe others feel differently, but I’ve never personally found much use for the tweezers or spatula to be honest.
Standard Grip Cutting Mat – I think it’s great that there are mats with varying levels of grip available, but I tend to stick with the Standard Grip Mat for most all of my projects. For more detailed cuts, I make sure to use a mat with less adhesive on it, though, and save the brand new ones for simpler projects.
Cardstock – This one is pretty much a given, but I do get asked fairly often which kind of cardstock I use. The answer (most often) is Recollections brand cardstock. I usually try to stock up at Michaels when they put it on sale, but sometimes I get it on Amazon when I need a specific color.
Vellum – Vellum is what I use to line all of my paper lantern designs, so I always make sure to have it on hand. I use plain, white vellum most often, but I’ve also used gold (found at Hobby Lobby) in the past.
Felt – I love doing felt projects! Felt is my go-to material anytime I have an idea for a craft that requires a little more sturdiness than paper. Every craft store has varying hues of felt, so I try and stock up a little at a time with each store I visit. Even Walmart often carries some unique felt colors, so maybe swing by the craft section next time you’re there and check it out.
Sticker Paper – I always like to keep sticker paper on hand. It’s great for making fun, crafty sticker designs, but also comes in handy when I’ve needed a quick way to label things.
Miscellaneous Crafting Tools & Supplies
Bone Folder – I think bone folders may be the single most understated crafting accessory out there. In the past, I would just use my fingernail to make sharp creases in paper, but once I got one of these bad boys, there was no going back! I’ve been using this trusty bone folder since college, and it’s been great. It’s not real bone (some are), but I think it’s just the best!
X-Acto Knife – Since I have a cutting machine, an X-Acto Knife may seem a little redundant, but it actually comes in handy fairly often. Whenever I need to cut large prints or posters, my X-Acto Knife is where I turn. Personally, I prefer the knives with a retractable blade that you can simply snap off piece by piece as it dulls, compared to the pencil-shaped ones where you have to change out the blade by hand.
Metal Ruler – What’s an X-Acto Knife without a metal ruler? There’s no way I could cut precise, straight lines without a metal ruler on my side. If you’ve never had the pleasure of using a metal ruler, be sure to get one with cork on the backside! You don’t want the ruler slipping out from under you while you’re doing a third pass on a piece of foam core. Also, I must say, there is just something oddly satisfying about a high-quality metal ruler, in my opinion.
Pom Pom Makers – My mom taught me how to make pom poms when I was young, but we always just used a book to wrap our yarn around. I couple of years ago, I bought these pom pom makers, and they are freaking awesome! If you’re into pom pom crafts, I’d definitely recommend these puppies—way easier (and better) than using a book.
Baker’s Twine – Baker’s twine is another fun craft supply I always like to have around. It’s great for gift wrapping, bunting banners, and anything to do with mason jars! And do you know where I always find bakers twine in different colors? Dollar Tree! That’s right, the dollar store is where it’s at when it comes to cute bakers twine. They are wound on mini spools and even come in a pack of three.
There are so many great crafting tools on the market! I just love the seemingly endless ways there are to turn creative ideas into beautiful, handmade projects.
It’s been fun sharing some of my favorite crafting tools and supplies with you. I’d love to hear what your favorites are as well! What are some of your go-to crafting gizmos and gadgets?
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Mischelle SmithJune 25, 2019 at 9:08 am (4 years ago)
It is nice to see what other crafters consider their favorite tools and “stuff” use. It is nice to know I’m not alone in having favorite tools. I have so much, I get caught up in watching You Tube videos and running out to purchase stuff so I too can make it! Yet, no matter what, there are a few items I seem to fall back to.
Have a crafty day, Mandee
MandeeJune 25, 2019 at 9:23 am (4 years ago)
You are definitely not alone Mischelle! I know what you mean. Every time I walk into a craft store there are new temptations; but, ultimately, there are a just a handful of go-to items that I use regularly.
Thanks for your comment! Wishing you a happy, crafty day as well!! ^_^
AngieFebruary 5, 2021 at 11:42 pm (2 years ago)
What do you use to adhere your paper crafts together? I saw in your YouTube video you use hot glue for the paper lanterns, do you use hot glue for your cards and 3D designs as well?
Thank you for your time!
MandeeFebruary 8, 2021 at 10:34 am (2 years ago)
I use hot glue for just about everything, haha. I like how quickly it dries and that it doesn’t warp my projects. Occasionally, I use a glue stick for really tiny details. 🙂