Tools are the workhorses of the craft studio and the right tools make projects so much easier and more convenient. Whether I’m paper crafting, working in mixed media, or making dollhouse miniatures, these are the 10 tools I use over and over, year after year.
I’ve accumulated my tools over time and have had most of the items on this list for years. If you’re setting up a craft studio or are just looking to expand your artsy arsenal, here are my 10 must-have tools:
1. Paper Cutter
My Fiskars paper cutter is probably my most used tool after scissors. I usually position it upside-down because I’m left handed. Every once in a while I have to flip it over and use it the “right” way because I don’t get a clean cut when using it upside-down. This seems to be just with certain types of paper, the majority of the time it’s just fine the left-handed way.
The blade on this paper trimmer is easy to change and I try to have several in reserve. Bonus: you can also get a paper scoring blade.
Get yours: Fiskars Paper 12″ Paper Trimmer
2. Small Scissors
When you cut up as many books as I do in search of a certain word or letter, small scissors are essential. I also use them for sewing projects (embroidery scissors) and other detailed cutting projects. I try to keep the stainless steel ones clean while the rubber handled ones tend to get a bit messier. Both of these pairs of scissors work great for left handers.
3. Tacky Glue
I use tacky glue all the time for dollhouse projects. It’s great for holding trim, fabric, bits of paper, and small details like sequins. Tacky glue isn’t stringy like hot glue and holds up well over time. It’s fairly thick so it can be tough to get out of the bottle. I often dip a bamboo skewer or paintbrush directly into the glue which can be a bit messy but it works.
Get yours: Crafter’s Pick The Ultimate!
4. Glue Stick
Glue sticks are versatile and easy to use. They’re also great for craft projects with kids when you aren’t up for the mess of wet glue. I use glue sticks for scrapbooking projects and to tack down cut out text from vintage books. My current stash of glue sticks consists of Elmer’s, Recollections, and UHU but my favorite is probably the Coccoina brand glue sticks. Unfortunately my crafting budget doesn’t allow for bulk purchasing of Italian glue sticks but it’s a nice treat on occasion.
5. Bone folder
Simply put a bone folder is the secret to crisp, flat folds. Great for bookmaking and really any craft that involves folding, it’s so much easier than using the side of your scissors to get a flat fold. Ask me how I know…
Get yours: Martha Stewart bone folder
6. Paper Scoring Board
This tool is a game changer when it comes to making paper rosettes. You can indeed score “flawless, crisp lines in seconds”. The measuring guides along the top and side ensure evenly spaced lines. Just slide your bone folder along the groove and presto, a perfectly straight scored line, ready for folding. This is another tool I use all the time when doing scrapbooking projects.
Get yours: Bira Craft Scoring Board (similar to Martha Stewart one I have)
7. Xact-o Knife
I have 2 sizes of Xacto knife and use them mostly for cutting cardboard and foam core. The blades can get dull quickly, so I try to keep plenty of extras on hand.
Get yours: X-acto Knife
8. Mouse Sander
Initially I bought a mouse sander for furniture projects. The free furniture you find on the side of the road tends to be a dark wood and I prefer colorful painted surfaces. A mouse sander works great to rough up furniture for painting and other woodworking projects. Now I primarily use it to smooth out the wood I use for art projects. Leftover wood from construction projects almost always has to be cut down to size and my sawing skills leave much to be desired. The small and powerful Mouse sander makes quick work of rough edges though the vibration can be a little rough on your hands.
Get yours: Black & Decker Mouse Sander
9. Clear Plastic T-Square Ruler
Another indispensable tool I use all time in paper crafting projects, dollhouse miniature furniture making, marking lines for larger cutting jobs, and when I’m trying to line something up or position something along a straight line. I love the visibility the clear plastic allows. Somehow I still manage to end up with a few not so straight lines despite using this ruler but that’s not the ruler’s fault.
Get yours: T-Square ruler
The Crop-A-Dile is a hole punch (two sizes) and eyelet setter. It’s a bit bulky but so worth the space in my studio. This tool makes hole punching a pleasure. Multiple layers of paper, fabric, tin, and mixed media are no match for the Crop-A-Dile. Depending on the material you’re punching through the holes can be a bit jagged but overall a great tool that’s easy to use.
Get yours: Crop-A-Dile
There you have it, my top 10 go-to tools in my crafting studio. While these are my top tier tools, this is by no means an exhaustive list. However if I was starting from scratch, these are the 10 tools I’d purchase first. How about you? Do you have tools on your Top 10 list that I didn’t mention? Share in the comments, I’d love to hear!