Essential Tools Part 1

Dear Fellow Crafters,

For those of you who are seasoned paper crafters, these tools are surely in your craft room. For those of you who are just beginning then these hints may help.

Bone folder: This tool has a pointed tip for scoring and a hard, blunt edge for increasing paper folds.

Craft knife: For years, I only used scissors, but soon found that this handy tool allows you to cut out intricate shapes from paper more easily. Popular brands are made by XCut and Fiskars.

Cutting Mat: A must have! This is usually made of heavy plastic and is used to protect your work surface when cutting with a craft knife. A bonus is that they  usually have measured grids.

Die-Cutting Machine. I have written about these wonderful machines for years. One hint I will pass along is to clean it our occasionally. Tiny pieces of paper can clog the inside and cause the blades to jam.

Embossing tool: This tool has rounded edges. You use it to emboss a pattern on paper or rubbing over a pattern that has been embossed. You can also use it to enhance paper flower petals.

Eyelet setter: Tool used to set eyelets.

Glue Eraser. Ever use too much adhesive? This handy tool erases the excess.

Part 2 next week.



What is a crimper?

Dear Fellow Crafter,

“Corrugators” – that word sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Well, back in the day, this is what modern crimpers were called. I used to use crimpers all the time, but then forgot about them until I found them in a drawer while cleaning and re-arranging my craft room. Corrugators and crimpers (of today) consist of a set of rollers and a handle. The rollers can be of 5 different patterns You simply insert the paper and cardstock and roll it through. These tools can be used for foil, tissue paper, construction paper and card stock. Patterns vary between wavy lines and diamonds to hearts and bubbles. Marvy is the most recognized maker but Fiskar’s makes them too.

The biggest problem I had when using the crimper was making sure that the paper was inserted straight in the beginning. I found that if I put the paper in against one of the sides of the opening the side guided the paper.

So, what can you do with a crimper?

a) You can crimp your desired paper then punch or die cut for customized shapes.

b) You can add strips to your card for texture.

c) You can use in place of ribbon and finally

d) You can use I for galvanized roofing on a Sizzix die cut house.

Happy Crafting,



Everything is new again

Dear Fellow Crafters,

When was the last time you bought a paper trimmer/cutter? I bet you just buy blades and maybe the strip bar when the need arises. Most of our tools “keep going and going” like the Energizer Bunny commercials. We see a newer version of our crafting tool and we say to ourselves, ‘mine is just fine’. Well I found out recently that the new and improved version can be better.

I was shopping in a Joanne’s recently and saw a display for Fiskar’s Paper cutters. Now I’ve had mine since I became a certified Fiskar’s Demonstrator (about 10+ years ago) I think. Anyway, the company now makes several portable ones and my eye found the perfect one for my husband. He likes to cut stiff felt and uses it to line wooden boxes. The one I bought was a Triple Track paper trimmer. It has rubber feet, drop down blade, swing arm for larger size paper, and best of all, there are guidelines permanently etched for sizes 2 x 3.5, 3 x 5, 4.25 x 5.5, 4 x 6 and 5 x 7. I may be borrowing that paper trimmer often!

Happy Crafting,


When I have time, I'l organize my _________________

Organize – K-L

Dear Fellow Crafters,

The organizing tips for June are about keeping Key supplies close and labeling. Lets face it, there are some things we use every day when we craft. I use markers and my Fiskars Cutter. Both items are on my craft table. When re-organizing  your craft room put your most used items “up close and personal”.

Creative labels make it easy to identify your craft supplies. This is especially important if your supplies are in boxes or jars. I have regular office supply labels on plastic drawers but I created Sizzix labels for my photo boxes. These boxes contain my 3 D embellishments like Jolee’s . I use smaller labels for my mason jars. Since discovering mason jars, I now put buttons and ribbon in them.

‘Til next time,


Adventures in Card-Making

Paper Crafting 101 – Punch Happy

Dear Fellow Crafters,

Craft or paper punches for use in rubber stamping are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Punches vary from tiny, intricate designs to large bold shapes. In Part One of this post, I’ll talk about punches in general and some ways you can use punches. In Part Two, we’ll get into the different manufacturers and the type of punches they make.

The most common punch is the table punch. You place the punch on a hard, firm surface, place the paper inside and press down firmly. If a punch stops cutting clear shapes, they may need sharpening. Punch  a sheet of aluminum foil several times to sharpen the punch. You can also use wax paper to lubricate. The more intricate the shape of the punch, the more force is required to punch a clear shape.

In the beginning, I amassed a great many little punches: apples, stars,hearts etc. My collection grew when I visited The Great American Stamp Store in Westport CT. I was overwhelmed by the choices! There were so many small and big punches as well as stamps and paper products.

Here are a few uses for paper punches:

1.  Cut 3 or 4 green hearts to make shamrocks.

2.  Punched out circles make buttons

3.  Confetti

4.  Flower petals

5.  Background paper

In Part Two, we’ll explore the different shapes such paper corner, basic, extra-large multi-shape, border punches, squeeze punches, lever, and the ones I’ve bought.

‘Til next time,





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