Having the Essential tools for your paper crafting projects will not only save you time and money but will help inspire your creativity by having the right tools at hand.
If you had 100 sheets of cardstock to cut in half, which tool would be the quickest between the following tools.
- paper cutter,
- or scissors?
Without a doubt, a paper cutter will always be quicker. Using the right tool for the job will not only give you the best results but you will save so much time.
When you first start in the art of crafting you don’t need to go out and buy every tool you see, start small and only buy what you need to get you going, and the rest will come in time.
The list below is what I believe are the essential tools you will need for your paper crafting projects that will save you time and money when you first start.
A cutting mat is one tool I use with most of my projects. Without this tool, I would have been on my 50th dining table by now lol, well I did scratch the crap out of our first dining table. Let’s say my wife wasn’t too pleased but a box of chocolates and a new handbag helped. Anyways, where was I? Oh yes! cutting mats.
This isn’t only used for cutting and measuring but its role is also to protect the work surface from getting damaged from your cutting tools. The mat will also prevent your craft knife from dulling quickly. A good quality cutting mat will last you a very long time.
The one I use currently, I’ve had for over 3 years and it still looks good.
Cutting mats come in different sizes and a few colors, usually green and white. You can find a decent cutting mat for around $25, you can find them cheaper but I find that they don’t last long and you end up having to replace them every few months depending on your workload.
For the perfect fold, a scoring board is a must-have tool for your papercraft toolkit alongside a bone folder tool. With a scoring board, you are guaranteed to get straight lines, each and every time.
This is usually a plastic board that has measurements on the sides and top. The board has indentations that you use a bone folder to score down the indentation to get the perfect fold for your cards and envelopes.
Depending on your project these boards come in different sizes, but this tool isn’t only for making the perfect fold for cards or origami, you can get specialized boards that are designed to make envelopes and different size boxes to name a few.
I did wedding invitations for many years as a living, and this is the tool that helped me create the perfect wedding invitation each time.
This simple but essential tool is perfect for creasing paper, scoring, and much more. So, if you’re into making handmade cards, scrapbooking or origami, etc. then this is a must-have tool for your papercraft toolkit.
I have used this tool to make countless gatefold wedding invitations and envelopes, I truly believe without this tool there is no way I could have made each invitation perfect.
My bone folder is probably the only tool I have in my papercraft toolkit that I haven’t had the need to replace. So, once you buy a good quality bone folder it will last for many years to come.
There is more than one type of scissor that paper crafters need to have in their toolkit. Each scissor has its own benefits.
Cutting through paper, tape & adhesives over time with certain scissors will stop giving you a clean and crisp cut. There are scissors (nonstick coated scissors) that are designed to cut through tape and adhesives without losing the quality of the cut.
Some other types of scissors include
- Decorative or Paper Edge Scissors: these cut a pattern (zig-zag, waves, etc.) instead of a straight line.
- Detail Scissors: these are used for intricate cuts.
You can also get a scissor with large handles. I’ve been told the larger the handle the less you will suffer from hand fatigue. So, if you suffer from arthritis in your hands then these will be more comfortable for you.
Double-sided tape is designed to stick two surfaces together usually paper and cardstock in a way that it is invisible in the finished product.
Double-sided tape is the best idea ever! With double-sided tape you can avoid any messy gum from adhesives. This can be used with certain papers where glue isn’t an option because of the thickness of the paper.
There are many benefits for using double-sided tape such as;
- It comes in different widths,
- No drying time, unlike glue,
- Gives a strong bond.
This tool isn’t only great for paper crafters but can be used for a wide range of projects. For example, I used this tape to make furniture for my niece’s dollhouse.
No need to cut strips of tape or wait for the glue to dry, glue dots are quick and easy to use. To make things even easier you can buy a glue dot runner that makes it even easier to apply glue dots to your projects.
These are so useful when your making cards and need space between the different layers to give that floating effect. They come in different sizes which is so helpful.
The great thing I find with glue dots is, if you place them in the wrong position, they can simply be removed without leaving behind any sticky residue or mess.
I love paper punches, they make any papercraft project more visually pleasing with little effort needed. They work similar to a paper hole punch.
This is probably one tool I have too many of and I still need more designs.
Martha Stewart’s paper punch collection is amazing and can take any papercraft project to the next level.
What I love about these little gems is that they come in different forms, such as;
- Corner punches
- Edge punches
- Inline punches
If looked after properly paper punches can last a long time, you have to be aware that you don’t use the very detailed punches on heavy cardstock otherwise they can break under the pressure.
From so many designs to choose from I recommend everyone owning a rounded corner paper punch. These make any card-making projects look more elegant.
Nowadays nearly everyone owns a printer. With their prices so affordable it is a must-have tool for any paper crafter.
The type of printer you need will depend on the projects you will be doing?
So, if you make personalized greeting cards then you need a printer that can handle the weight of the cardstock you plan to use.
There are 2 main types of printers; inkjet printers and laser printers.
Inkjet printers are not only cheap to buy but they are also cheap to run (ink cartridges) compared to laser printers. There are many models available on the market that can handle thick cardstock.
These printers are great for printing on most types of paper, however, from personal experience I find that they don’t print well on pearlescent shimmer paper, that I used for wedding invitations.
Epson has a good range of printers that do a fantastic job, they also have a few models that have ink tanks instead of ink cartridges, which means even cheaper running costs.
Laser printers are more expensive compared to inkjet printers, however, their price has dropped over the years. Unlike inkjet printers, their ink cartridges, or toner as they are known, are a lot more expensive to replace but the quality of the print is much more inferior compared to the printing quality of the inkjet printers.
If you plan to use metallic foils in your projects then owning a laser printer will open new doors for projects such as metallic writing for your cards etc.
Rhinestones are a great touch to any papercraft project although they are impossible to handle without a rhinestone picker tool. This tool makes it so much easier to lift and place the stones where you want them to go.
In the beginning, I didn’t know this tool existed and using rhinestones took so much time especially when I had to complete an order of 150 wedding invitations and each invitation had 5 stones on it. You can imagine how long this would take without this tool.
This simple tool has many uses and is a must-have for your paper crafting toolkit. You would be surprised how often you would use this tool and not just with rhinestones.
Without glue in your paper crafting kit, no kit is complete.
When it comes to paper crafting, we need the right type of glue for our projects. Using the wrong glue can actually ruin a project. I have learned this lesson the hard way many times.
There are many forms of glue
- Glue sticks
- Glue Gun
- Spray, etc.
If you are unsure which glue you should use for your project, test the glue you plan to use on some extra paper and wait and see how it looks when it dries, only then add it to your project. Using the wrong glue on certain types of papers can actually make the paper wrinkle when the glue dries up, so test it first if unsure.
Storage containers are amazing if you’re an organizational freak like me. These containers are great for keeping order in your paper crafting toolkit.
Not only do they make your kit look so much neater but make it so much easier to find what you are looking for.
In the beginning, I had one large storage container for all my bits and bobs but that was a bad idea, I could never find what I was looking for.
However, nowadays I have multiple storage containers for the different tools and accessories I have.
Not being able to find the tool you need can cost you time and money but also affect your creativity.
I love my metal ruler, the truth is every time I buy a plastic ruler that says on it “Shatterproof Ruler” I like to test that statement, and we all know how that ends up.
So, I can say with confidence that steel rulers are “Shatterproof”
Steel rulers are not only for measuring but they are great for using alongside your craft knife.
I keep different sizes of steel rulers in my paper crafting kit depending on the project I’m working on.
This inexpensive tool is a must-have.
I like to keep plenty of pencils in my paper crafting kit. Pencils are great and a must-have tool for most projects. They are great for marking measurements on paper and easy to erase.
I prefer to use mechanical pencils. I use them all the time not just for my paper crafting projects. The point is always sharp, and they look great too.
I also have a complete set of art pencils that I use for shading and in-depth details.
Not everyone will need a full set of pencils, it all depends on the type of projects you will be making.
A Paper cutter without a doubt is one of the most used tools you will have in your paper crafting kit. This is one tool that can half the time of any project.
Paper cutters are also known as paper trimmers, they are the perfect tool for making those straight clean cuts.
This tool comes in many different forms such as;
- Guillotine paper cutters
- Rotary paper cutters
- Stack cutters, etc.
In my paper crafting kit, I have 2 different paper cutters; a guillotine paper cutter, for when I have more than 5 sheets of paper to cut at once and a rotary paper cutter for less than 5 sheets.
Both these paper cutters save so much time.
Having a paper cutter will give you crisp clean cuts every time. Many paper cutters are available on the market that are ok for thin paper but struggle with heavier cardstock.
So if you plan to use a paper cutter for heavy card stock then I recommend using a Fiskars paper cutter, I have used this brand for many years and have never looked back. I’m using a Fiskars rotary paper cutter at the moment and have no problems cutting 4 sheets of heavy cardstock (400gsm) at once.
A craft knife is used for cutting out intricate and detailed shapes. There are many different styles of blades available depending on what you are trying to achieve.
- Straight edge pointed tip,
- Curved edge rounded tip.
When choosing replacement blades avoid purchasing the cheap ones, I find the tips easily break.
Choose a craft knife that fits comfortably into your hand rather than the cost of it. The ones I use are made by ‘Fiskars’ and ‘We R Memory Keepers’ and I highly recommend these.
So, there you have it, my recommendation on the essential tools for your paper crafting projects. There are so many other tools that can be added to this list, but I believe these are the ones you need in the beginning to get you started with paper crafting.
Do not despise small beginnings, in time you will see the fruits of your hard work and you can invest in more tools.
We hope you have found this list of essential tools for your paper crafting projects helpful.
If you think we missed something on our list or if you have any tips or advice, please share them in the comments.
Let’s share and learn together.
Happy Paper Crafting!