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August 31, 2015

Top 20 Non-Essential Crafting Tools

Everyday Moodlings-Top 20 Tools

I am sure you have seen them before....posts or threads listing the essential tools for scrapbooking, card making, mixed media and more.  They are fun to read but often contain the obvious.  Yes, to scrapbook I need paper.  To make cards I will probably need stamps.  To art journal.....I will need a journal. As my 12 year old son would say.....DUH!

Reading some of these lists made me think about what I truly feel is essential beyond scissors, paper cutters and card stock.  What do I reach for over and over again?  So I took a quick tour of my craft room and came up with a list of 20 items I cannot live without.  I really tried to rank them, but it was impossible.  They are all equally important and many I use on every project.  So I opted for alphabetically order instead.

I know the Bind it All would not make most people's list.  But it is essential in my studio.  All of my scrapbook albums are created using the Bind it All and Cover-Alls.  My preferred size is 8x8.
Binder Rings
Everyday Moodlings-Top 20 Paper Crafting Tools

As you might have guessed....I am not using them for binding.  But I could not live without them.  I use them to organize a number of items.  Including ink samples and card stock samples.

Blank Stencil Sheets

Everyday Moodlings-Top 20 Paper Crafting Tools
Blank stencil sheets are a great addition to anyone's craft room.  Obviously one can use them to make stencils and template.  But that is a bit limiting.

I used them to make punch guides for my punches.  Hmmm.....I see another binder ring there. :)

Blending Pen
I you like coloring then a blending pen is a must have.
Craft Mat
I must admit my craft mat is well loved and starting to show it.  For me, the craft mat basically functions as a large palette.  It gives me plenty of space to mix, spray, ink and more.  It is my get messy mat. :)
Daylight Light Bulbs
We joke that you almost need to wear sunglasses in my studio.  I have daylight light bulbs in both my overhead lighting and desk lamp.  
Oh dies.....my love of dies is well documented.  But even in the world of dies, there is a certain kind of die I love the most.  That would be stamp and die sets. Dies are so versatile I have written entire classes on them. 
Fantastix/Water Pens
Some of my most used tools are coloring tools.  Color mediums need an applicator and these are some of my favorites.  I will be highlighting Fantastix tomorrow for our Project Inspiration challenge.
Fuse Tool
I have fallen in love the pocket scrapbooking.  No, I am not a Project Lifer.  I don't have the time to commit to the process.  Plus....my life is kinda boring.  Since my favorite album size is 8x8, I can't always find the a wide selection of page protectors to work with, so I make my own.
I have only had the Fuse for a few short weeks (that bugger is hard to find) but I really like it so far.   
Heat Gun
Generally speaking, heat guns are used for heat embossing.  While I do a fair amount of heat embossing, I use my heat gun mostly for its drying properties.  I would be hard pressed to find a video or project where I did not use the heat gun.  So if you are the impatient type.....this tool is a must have.  
Ink Applicators

Everyday Moodlings-Top 20 Paper Crafting Tools
Back to those coloring tools.  Without ink applicators, we might be left with only stamps to apply ink.  Oh the horror!  My favorite.....Colorbox Stylus.

Each of these applicators serves a different purpose.  Ink daubers are great for apply ink to stamps.  Colorbox Stylus is an awesome tool for applying ink to your projects.  It is great for smaller projects like tags.  Ranger's Ink Applicator is perfect for larger projects, like a card background. (Still a small project, but you know what I mean.)

Palette Knife
We have talked a lot about color applicators in this post....well I have one more for you.  Palette knives.  Essential if you use paint or art mediums.  Maybe not as essential as paint brush, but still a ton of fun. 
If you're a card maker then circle punches on a must.  Others are nice too, like squares, ovals and borders.  But circles are at the top of my list.

Everyday Moodlings-Top 20 Paper Crafting Tools
Through the years I have been amazed at how many people have told me they don't feel comfortable using a rule.  One day I will do an entire blog post on the subject.
  1. This is my favorite ruler of all time.  I received in a gift set of desk supplies as a graduation gift.  I love it because of the high contrast between the numbers and the background and because it is 8 inches long.  That is about the length of most of my projects.
  2. Steel ruler with a cork back.  Perfect for cutting a straight edge with a craft knife.  I have one 6 incher and one 12 incher.
  3. Tim Holtz ruler.  I love that you can see through this ruler.  Helps to line things up.  Plus it has a row of holes at the bottom for lining up brads or sewing on your projects.
  4. Steel ruler with a magnet back.  This works specifically with We R Memory Keepers self-healing mats.  They are great for holding work in place and tearing the edges of your paper.
Self-Healing Mat
Pretty much a necessity if you use a steel ruler and craft knife.  Plus I love that they come with lines on them for measuring.  I have a thing for rulers. :)
Spray Bottle
I actually have two water bottles.  One that drips and one that sprays.  I use them for all kinds of techniques.....including cleaning up my work surface.
My love for stencils is relatively new....I was late to the party.  But I tend to catch up quickly.  They're one of my favorite tools for adding interest and texture to my projects.
Stamp Positioner
This is one of those tools I thought....what do I need that for?  It took me years to purchase the Fiskars Stamp Press.  After getting it, all I could think was.....what the he** took me so long.  I love my stamp press. 
If I have to list my tools in order of importance, my Mrs. Grossman tweezers would be number one.  Hands down.  I could not create a single project without it.  And when it is lost all else stops until I've found it.  As the years go on it has become even more essential to me.  My hands shake a bit (a side effect of my thyroid medicine) and I need it to position elements, small and large.  
X-acto Knife
Since I already mentioned self-healing mats and steel rulers, it would be hard not to include my X-acto knives.  I have a straight blade and swivel knife.  
So that's my list.  I am sure you will agree with some of them and others not so much.  So what's your favorite, beyond-the-basics tool?  Did you ever wait on purchasing a tool, only to have it become one of your favorites?

Thanks for stopping by,


  1. Great list! Couldn't craft without my Cuttlebug! I don't have a Bind-it-All but I've looked at it and it's on my wish list for the future! I had to google your tweezers - looks like they've been discontinued.

    1. Thanks for adding your input KT. You can find similar tweezers in the jewelry section of a craft store. I prefer it much more than a reverse tweezers. I cannot get comfortable with those. Might be some kind of mental block. :)

  2. I would add bone folder and scoreboard to the list. My arthritis makes creasing and flattening card stock a bit of a problem, so the bone folder is a big help. And I need the scoreboard because it makes folding cards, boxes, envelopes, etc. so easy - without it I'd waste an awful lot of paper! Oh, and how could I live without my Fiskars Centering ruler? It has an 0 in the middle to make it easy to center stuff.

    1. Oh....those are great additions. The Tim Holtz ruler also has a 0 in the middle to center items. Love my scorboard and bone folder. :)

  3. I would add my Misti to the list - although at this point, I love it so much that I'm not sure it's non-essential, LOL. It's definitely given me back my stamping mojo. I waste less paper - get crisper stamps (due in part to the do-over aspect of the Misti) - and am toying with the idea of trying two-step stamping because I don't think I would hate it anymore.

    1. Hi, I have been intrigued with the Misti, but the bad press makes me hold off. Just don't know if I need it that badly. Glad to hear you love it and that it has made stamping easier for you. :)

    2. What bad press? Everyone I know, including me, adores the MISTI....sooooooo versatile! An amazing tool!
      Paper Hugs,

    3. There were some issues early on with rusting around the screws and cracking on the edges of the plate. They may have worked those problems out by now. And I know some we unhappy with the way the owner handled the problems. So I am holding off for now. At this point my stamp press works for me, but I can see the value of the MISTI. Glad to hear such a positive review. :)

  4. Not sure if you'd call it a tool, but I know one thing you left off your list that you love...baby wipes!

  5. OMG....you are correct. How could I have forgotten my beloved baby wipes. :)

  6. I love my spinner carousel. I keep my pens, scissors, tweezers etc. on my desktop for ready use. What kind of craft mat do you like? It's on my wish list. Thanks.

    1. I just purchased a new magnetic mat from We R Memory Keepers. I purchased one about 8 years ago, but the ends split. (I live in a very humid area of the county.) So I went back to my old stand by. A large quilting, self-healing mat. You can get these much larger than a traditional scrapbooking mat. They are a little more expensive, but you usually find them at big box stores so you can use a coupon. I decided I wanted to give the magnetic mat a try again. I like using the magnets to hold things down while I work. And I like the measurements on their mat. Hope that helps. I still have the larger mat, it is now on the opposite side of my work table. :)

  7. I love all the information on what we need to make our books and cards, now that I am a hoarder I just have to find a place to keep it all so that I can find it. Thank you for such wonderful information.

    1. You are most welcome. I struggle to keep track of everything too. Thankfully, I am not a hoarder, I do regularly purge old supplies. But that just means I purchase new ones to take their place. LOL! It is a vicious cycle. :)