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Crafting 101: Basic Toolkit

This is the first article in my series series on how to get started in the crafting world.

Through my crafting, I may very well be living out the childhood I never had. While my family supported my art career, this did not include a love for all things glittered and glued.

The great thing about starting out, in general, is that you have the opportunity to try a lot of different crafts before you find your niche. You may find that sewing is your forte, or scrapbooking, or even jewelry design. You’ll also find that there are crafts that you never, ever want to touch again. The best way to practice is to try a little bit of everything and let your crafting personality show itself as you go.

Today, we’ll cover the basics and leave the advanced crafting tools for future posts. The tools and supplies needed ultimately depends on the project. This is, however, a good list to start with. You can do a surprising amount of crafts with the tools below, especially taking into account any upcycling types of crafts you might want to try.

Let the crafting begin!

  • Glue Gun – Crafters could probably write poetry devoted to this nifty little invention (oh, wait, they already have). This is one of those things you may want to invest in. The cheaper ones don’t always get as hot, so you may find yourself scrambling to get your pieces together before it dries. Stay tuned for a future article devoted to this handy tool.
  • Mod Podge – Think Elmer’s Glue, but more versatile. I use this primarily for collaging, or if I want to seal something in. It dries clear, and you can either get it in matte or glossy. You can find 20 easy crafts that center around Mod Podge at Mod Podge Rocks.
  • Super Glue – I use E-6000, an industrial strength glue that’s a little less scary to use because it dries at a slower rate. It sets within an hour, though it takes 48 hours to completely dry. Make sure to use it in a well-ventilated area, and follow the instructions for best results.
  • Tape – A variety of tape is a must-have. Clear, masking and/or painters, and of course, the ever popular duct tape are all a must. You’ll find they all have their strengths and weaknesses, and it’s best to cover all of your bases.
  • Scissors – Invest in a good pair of scissors or you’ll find that thicker materials are harder to get through. Fabric scissors are usually the best quality for the price.
  • X-acto Knife – This is one crafting item you want to keep away from children, but for adult crafting, it’s very handy. It can cut in places that scissors can’t. Just be very careful.
  • Acrylic Paint – In my opinion, acrylic is the best paint for crafting. It’s waterproof, dries hard like plastic, mixes quite well, and dries fairly quickly. Watch out for a future article on the dos and “˜don’ts of acrylic paints.
  • Brushes – Get a variety of brushes. You don’t necessarily need to go for high-grade artist quality, but don’t just stick to the crafting brushes you can find at Walmart. Definitely get ones that are different sizes and hardness. If you find some of your brushes are losing hairs in your paint, it’s time to toss them.
  • Sponge Brushes – These are their own group because they’re so useful. In some cases, if you use a regular brush, the brush strokes become very apparent. Sponge brushes give a smooth finish, can cover a lot of area quickly, and can also be used when stenciling (like this Ribcage shirt) because it doesn’t grab the fabric as badly.
  • Markers – Get some permanent markers. Sharpie is a good brand, and they have a variety of nib sizes. Try different colors, especially the metallic ones or the white sharpies that can draw over darker colors. Feel free to keep some of the Crayola type markers as well. They don’t bleed through paper as easily as the sharpies do, and you can do some fun crafts with the washable type.
  • Construction & Scrapbook Paper – This is one part of crafting that you may be tempted to go overboard with. Try getting a variety of papers with different textures, patterns, colors and thicknesses. Construction paper’s weight is great for instances when you need something to keep stiff, but not so good for wrapping around things or layering.
  • Sewing Kit – Ideally this would include a sewing machine, but with patience you can do the same things with needle and thread that you can with a sewing machine. This kit should include a variety of different needles and threads, a thimble, pins, and a pin cushion. When choosing a pin cushion, make sure to get one with a weighted top so you aren’t struggling to remove needles or pins with one hand.
  • Measuring Tools – Measure twice, cut once. Don’t forget a cloth measuring tape as well as a metal ruler, preferably with the cork bottom.

Once you’ve established yourself and find the type of crafts you enjoy, feel free to invest in better equipment for that particular type of craft. It will make the process easier and the results even better.

By Bipolar Gurl

Bipolar Gurl is an artist and... well, that's about it really. Multi-talented she is not.

3 replies on “Crafting 101: Basic Toolkit”

E-6000 is the shit. Have you seen the new spray version? It comes in a bottle with a little pump. Amaze-balls. There is also a new jewelry one that comes with little skinny tips, which is a huge help for my crafts. I will sing hallelujahs to E-6000 for all my days.

Excellent list!

There’s a spray version? I have to go to the craft store tomorrow anyway, so I’m going to look for that. And man, the jewelry version sounds awesome- that’s what I use it for a lot of the time.

A friend also mentioned another type of glue to me- JB Weld. Have you heard of it? I think I’m going to try that as well. =)

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