These are some of my most favorite things that’s I’ve found throughout the years. A few of these, like the Stitched Rectangle Dies and the Wink of Stella Clear Brush Pen, I use on nearly every card I make. They are just that good, y’all!
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First up, papers! I mostly use 110lb white or 80lb color cardstocks for cards. The Royal Sundance is great for coloring with pencils since it has a bit of ‘tooth.’ Neenah works really well with Copic and other alcohol markers, while white Basis is an excellent all-around cardstock. My favorite colored papers are Basis and the Card Shoppe cardstocks from Bazzill. And for watercolor designs – Arches paper, hands down!
Dies & Die Cutting
I’ve used several die cutting machines, and my favorite thing is the Big Shot. Partially because of its reliability, but mostly because it’s the first machine my sister-in-law and I purchased when we started this crazy craft thing. I have found no equal to the Texturz plates (you use them both together) when it comes to embossing with your metal dies. And of course, colored cutting plates – because teal!
The two dies I have linked are the most used dies in my stash. I trim all my card fronts with a stitched (or dotted) rectangle die… I dunno, it just doesn’t look right without a little something to finish the edges.
The other die here is a gift card sleeve from Lawn Fawn that fits right inside your card. It’s glorious, I tell ya – when they open the card, there it is: all tucked neatly into the slip, not in the way of the inside message, and no destruction necessary to remove it.
I’m picky when it comes to heat embossing. It annoys the heck out of me when I melt the powder, only to have it uneven or lumpy. I swear by these Ranger fine detail powders, and they are really all you need. To emboss in color, just use colored pigment ink and the clear embossing powder – you’ll get better results. Versamark is my go-to when I don’t want a background color on my embossed area.
Also, I know the industry standard is the Wagner Heat Tool, but I kinda like the Ranger version. Sure, it’s a slower melt, but I never have the paper warp nor do I accidentally burn the powders. It’s quieter, too. Win-win.
I’ve used the Hero Arts Midtone Shadow Inks since they first came out. Seriously, I’m still on the original pads, and I haven’t refilled yet, haha! They are great and come in a ton of colors. I was looking for a set of pigment inks to collect, but I had no luck finding any until the Versafine CLAIR line was released. Incredible crisp images & they dry almost as quick as dye ink. But… you can still emboss with them. Bam.
My favorite white ink is Unicorn White because it has the best coverage. Memento is my pick for use with Copic markers, and Staz-On is the go-to when you are water-coloring a stamped image.
My gotta-haves for stamping include the MISTI (honestly, I don’t know how I did it before I discovered this gem), Nuvo cleaning supplies, and of course some top-notch masking paper. To blend inks, I love me some small foam pads or the Stencil Brushes from Tonic.
Copic Sketch Markers are my favorite thing for coloring stamped images. I dabble in other mediums too, though. There’s been a lot of experimenting going on with the Polychromous pencils lately – I find they stand out really well on dark cardstock. For watercolor backgrounds, I like to use the Gansai Tambi sets with my favorite Black Velvet paintbrushes. And for detail watercolor, Clean Color brush pens.
To add a little sparkle without the mess of glitter, a Clear Wink of Stella brush pen will do the trick!
Ah, the means of keeping everything together. The Tombow Glue Tape is what I reach for the most when I’m making cards. You have to be careful though – there’s no repositioning after you lay down your cardstock! The Thin Foam Squares are my absolute favorite dimensional adhesive. You can stack them and create custom height for paper piecing.
I’ve found Scor-Tape to be the best at holding 3D projects together, like gift boxes, banners, and giant bows and flowers.
Odds, Ends, and Embellishments
Finally, here are some of the things I love to embellish with and a couple of tools that should be in everyone’s stash.
If you use loose glitter or embossing powder, the Sticky Roller is a godsend. For super clean heat embossing, rub the Antistatic Pouch over your paper before inking, and that bottle of Colorless Blender? Not only does it fill your Copic Marker, but it’s also one of the fastest cleaners to clean up ink on your hands or on non-porous surfaces (always test an inconspicuous area first please!).
The Wood Veneer bits are perfect for masculine cards where Sequins would be a little too glittery. And you can’t go wrong with Nuvo Crystal Drops – they can be anything from polka dots to flower centers.
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