Product Recommendation: Best Paper-Crafting Supplies
Hi everyone! Today I thought I would tell you about my papercrafting staples. (Pun not intended, but call it a happy accident.)
I've actually been avoiding this type of post because I don't feel very fancy at all and I don't feel like an expert on this stuff! Which is funny because I have been writing letters for more than a decade and I definitely have preferences; the thing is: they're not fancy or expensive, which I guess is a good thing! But I compare myself to other Instagrammers, letter artists, and paper crafters who have expensive gadgets, special tools, and fancy taste. The truth is, I use washable kids markers just as often as I use the all-popular (and incredibly expensive) Copic ones. Sometimes I don't even use a ruler, but make a straight line with one edge of a heavy cardstock. What can I say? I am a low maintenance crafter. There are other things to worry about.
I am also a penny pincher and professional re-user. I often re-use paper that comes in the mail, that I've cut out of magazines or off of packaging, or sheets that I've found on clearance at craft stores. I like to re-use notions from my pen pal letters if I can. I also use wallpaper a lot! I like to make envelopes from it and with the excess margins that get cut off, I usually try and cut out some paper notions to glue to the [letter] paper inside. I try to use as much recycled or upcycled paper and stickers as possible, because of environmental and financial reasons. Buying stickers and paper all the time can add up! I'm sure you all know that :)
One thing that I've done a lot of, and you'll see by looking at my web shop, is using vintage sewing patterns (usually around $0.25 a piece at a thrift store) to cut out and decorate my cards and letters with. It's trendy to use stickers of girls reading books or dressed in cute outfits to decorate envelopes, and this is my more affordable option!
Pictured: "Western Girl" 100% Recycled Notebook $24 in the web shop
If you find and use vintage sewing patterns, you'll have fun, expressive people in all sorts of cute outfits, and it's a lot of fun finding out how to incorporate them in your paper designs.
Like with this card I sent to my pen pal in Boston last year. Photography is one of her hobbies :) I started this card with no real idea or direction, but I was inspired by the little guy (fully pictured below) and the pose card is just what came out of it.
I've also used thrifted books. I use the text pages for envelopes and backdrops, and if there are nice illustrations, I cut those out to use in my crafting.
It all depends on your taste and where you find inspiration. You can find and create your own paper notions with any paper you run into!
Besides paper, you'll need other supplies.
Scissors: I don't have a preference on brand of scissors per se, but if you are going to be cutting out a lot by hand, they should feel comfortable. One of my biggest pains is that it actually hurts my hands to cut things out. I don't have a pair of ergonomic scissors, but the day I do, I'll be living in luxury! Besides this, small scissors will work better for intricate cutting than large scissors.
You might not be able to tell from this picture, but the corners are much cleaner with the smaller pair of scissors.
If you are going to be cutting complicated shapes, try an Xacto knife and a cutting board.
Glue: Adhesives can be very expensive. Tape runners and glue dots are usually a few dollars a box and it seems like they run out quickly. Surprisingly, I've found that glue sticks work just fine. I never considered this as a viable option until recently. I always thought that since kindergarteners use them, they must be cheap and not very effective, but actually, if you are generous when putting on the glue, it sticks very well.
For the wallpaper and heavier cardstock, however, I do use a liquid glue. It wrinkles a bit, so if that really bothers you, you can always use a tape runner in those instances, but I find that the liquid glue works best with the wallpaper. I use a tacky glue or craft glue for that.
Pens: Now we get to the all-important pens. My favorite writing pen right now is the Sharpie S Gel (pictured below). They write smooth, in an interrupted line, and they last for a long time. I have two white ones; I keep one in my backpack and one at my desk..
Back to pens...
Because I also try to cut down on my single-use plastic (they take ages and ages to break down in a landfill), I have also used fountain pens. Okay, not just because of the landfill thing. They're also very fun to use, I always feel very prestige doing so. *drinks tea with pinky in the air*
My favorite fountain pen that I've ever used (and I've had a few) is from a brand called Ooly.
They are fun, colorful, made out of silicone so they feel good in your hand, and the refilling process is suuuuuuuper easy.
I even found a package of 20 ink refills from a local store (HEMA in the Netherlands) for a great price. They fit, (it makes a satisfactory clicking noise when you replace the cartridge) even though they're not made by Ooly! So there must be some sort of universal size for these things.
You can also buy the tiny inside refills for most regular pens, so it's nice to cut back on plastic waste in that way, too!
What I make up for in sustainable crafting with pen use, I lack in the types of markers I buy. I usually go for cheap, double-sided art markers that are made in China. That's just what my budget allows, unfortunately. I got these particular ones from a discount art and home goods store called Action (popular in the Netherlands).
Plus, I have access to a few Copics that my boyfriend got as a gift years ago.
I like the double sided markers because it gives you a variety in brush shape. Some of these are double sided with a watercolor brush on one end and a fine tip on the other, and some of the are double sided with a chisel tip on one end and fine tip on the other. It's ideal for creating different fonts and lettering effects.
Speaking of fine tip, I have one more recommendation for you:
Felt tip pen:
Sometimes, you need to ink something in, and the writing pens don't always work that well for that. In this case, I recommend that you buy a felt tip pen. Maybe a few in different sizes, so you can round out your paper crafting designs beautifully.
And that's all for now!
Those are my biggest paper-crafting staples that I use absolutely the most of!
I hope this post has been helpful and inspiring for you. Now get out there and create!