Tools and Supplies for Making Greeting Cards

In addition to the fun of making greeting cards, there is also the fun of acquiring supplies and tools. Sure, you can spend a lot of money, but that's certainly not necessary. You can still accomplish much on a small budget.

Paper is, of course, a main ingredient of our projects. There is an abundance of commercially-made and handmade paper available. Whether it be the card blank, the insert, or a decorative overlay, you can learn all about paper here.

Adhesives are available for all kinds of different applications. I have a page all about adhesives here.

Embossing powder, ink, and pens decorate our greeting cards in many ways. Heat embossing is fun because with little practice you can make spectacular images. Know how to get the most out of embossing ink, powder, and pens here.

Paint is not often used on cards and maybe we should change that - paint can add depth and interest. I introduce you to different kinds of paint here (coming soon).

Decorative embellishments add another dimension to your greeting cards. There are scores of different kinds of things to put on cards. And many of these items don't cost a dime! Read about decorative embellishments here.

Cutting Tools - Important parts, these are. Fundamental to greeting card making is cutting paper...(continued)

Rubber stamps and heat embossing - Rubber stamping has been around for a long time but in the last couple decades it has evolved into a large industry well-entrenched in the arts and crafts areas...(continued)

Everything Else

stylus and stencils Dry embossing tools (fig. 1) - styli and stencils - Dry embossing imparts an elegant look to paper by creating a design in the form of a subtle raised area. This is done by tracing on the back side of the paper or card through some type of stencil. The tool, a stylus, looks like a pen or pencil, usually with a point on each end. The points are tiny metal spheres of two different sizes.

Dry embossing is usually done where light can project through the paper and stencil so you can see where to trace. A light box is used for this, although there are alternatives.

Fiskars ShapeBoss There is one method that doesn't require a light source. The Fiskars ShapeBoss (fig. 2) is a double stencil system where the stencils are held in register with pins with the paper in between. Many different patterns are available to be used with the ShapeBoss.

Pens and pencils - Pencils are graded by the hardness of the lead. HB is the lead found in common pencils. If you want a darker line, go with a softer type like a 3B or 4B. The softer leads are also easier to erase. For a fine line, choose H or HH.

gel pens Gel pens (fig. 3) are available in many very vibrant colors and they work well with light or dark papers. They are highly versatile and great for use with greeting cards. For a very bright and bold line, try liquid gold and silver pens. These have an agitator ball (like a spray paint can) and I've had a pair for over ten years and they're still good. They are also available in copper.

Click here for information on embossing pens.

Brushes - There are way too many types of brushes to go into here. And they can be expensive - how about $150 for one paint brush? Brushes don't play a big role in greeting card making but they are handy to have around. My advice is to buy an inexpensive variety pack. However, if you intend to do stenciling, buy a small variety of sizes of stencil brushes such as 1/4", 3/8," and 1/2". You can get these inexpensively.

Rulers and such - A metal ruler is necessary for cutting against with a craft knife. It's also a good idea to have a cheap see-through plastic ruler and a center-finding ruler comes in handy too. A 45° and a 30°/60° triangle are useful for when you need to make angles and perpendicular lines. A compass is needed to draw perfect circles.

Light box - A big help (or sometimes necessary) for tracing or dry embossing. If you're on a budget you can try these light box alternatives. A small inexpensive light box can be had for possibly as low as $25.00 and you can spend a lot more than that if you wanted.

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