Helpful Tools

Photo©2012, Grandma JeanB

Helpful Tools: 

  • Scissors Ordinary scissors are fine.  Later, a small, pointed and very sharp pair will become helpful. 
  • Craft knives are good but sometimes the blade becomes loose and also some of the blades are rather long and have more flexibility than you need in the beginning. 
  • Utility knives are a little too large and unwieldy unless you have large hands or perhaps cannot grasp a narrower tool. 
  • Thin Box Cutters are good for most beginning and intermediate cuttings as the part of the blade that sticks out is smaller, more rigid and secure and less likely to cause injury. 
  • Craft knives with snap-off blades are also available. 
  • Ruler A heavy metal ruler with some sort of backing material will keep the ruler from sliding around.  Plastic and wood is not a good idea if you plan to use it as a straight edge for cutting. 
  • Vinyl Cutting Mat  Cutting mats come in several different sizes and styles. If you don't have one, you can use heavy cardboard instead, but it's a good idea to eventually purchase one.  I have several sizes. 
  • Bone folders are great for creating a crisp edge when folding cardstock and paper and can also be used for scoring.  
  • Scoring Embossing Tools  You can score with a shallow cut if you want to, but I prefer to score by indenting because cutting, no matter how shallow, weakens the paper.  There is a variety of scoring tools available in art and craft stores.  If you have a ball point pen that is completely out of ink, it can be used as a scoring tool as well. I actually prefer those sometimes. Just make sure it is completely out of ink. 
  • Bent Craft Tweezers come in handy for a variety of uses in card making, paper models  and also for narrow strips that need folding in origamic architecture.  The craft tweezers pictured above open by squeezing the handles and then clamp down when you let go.  An old pair of regular tweezers is fine - just make sure that it isn't rusty.  
  • Items to Secure Patterns: 
  • Drafting Tape If you use paper patterns over your card stock, you will need to secure them.  Drafting Tape is a low tack removable tape you can buy at art supply stores.
  • Paper Clips Paper clips can be used to secure the pattern to the paper, however they may leave an indentation.  You could always trim off the edges if that happens.  Many patterns are set up to allow for edge trimming.
  • Kneaded erasers are great for removing graphite pencil marks and for cleaning up fingerprint smudges.  They erase light marks gently without damaging the paper surface.
  • A Rubber pickup is a great tool for removing frisket (a rubbery masking fluid used in painting) and rubbery adhesive residue.  Sometimes when I use tape runners in a hurry, the adhesive ends up where it shouldn't.  A rubber pickup will help remove the excess residue to prevent the card from sticking together. You can buy them at any art supply store.  They won't work on non-rubbery types of adhesive.

Card Stock: Card stock comes in a variety of sizes and weights. 110 lb weight is nice for origamic architecture pop-up cards and for the outer cards for pop-up greeting cards.  If the pop-up or origamic OA card  you create is not too demanding, the 65 lb weight can work for the outer card as well.

Adhesives: The list of available adhesives grows daily.  Double sided tape dispensers (Tape Runners) are great but do get a little pricey.  They leave a thin strip of adhesive on the card.  Some tape runners have colored adhesive.  Be careful about using them for white paper as the color may show through. For some paper craft you will want to use either PVA glue (archival quality) or regular white glue.  Both of these glues soak in and become one with the paper and create a very strong bond.  Be careful about using too much as they could wrinkle or cause deformity in the bonding area.

Photos and text ©2012, Grandma JeanB