My top 10 craft room essentials. This is for those just starting out on this journey we call crafting. These are the things I use every single day and cannot function without.
- Paper. I use paper all the time. For sketching, art journaling, paper crafting. This is my top item. I have watercolor paper, sketch paper, scrapbook paper, tissue paper, vintage paper, wrapping paper, craft paper, news paper-you name it and I have it. The paper you require depends on the art you are making.
- Adhesive. Another can’t-live-without-it supply. I have every possible adhesive known to man, but my three most used are: PVA glue (school glue), hot glue and Aileen’s Tacky Glue. I make gesso and Mod Podge with the PVA glue in addition to just using it as it is. I buy this stuff by the gallon. I purchased a 25 lb. box of hot glue sticks from Amazon and I have been using it like crazy. Barely made a dent in my supply. I buy Aileen’s Tacky Glue in the 16 fl. oz size three at a time when they are on sale. I decant a 1/4th to 1/2 of a bottle into a smaller, older bottle and fill the remaining space with distilled water. Shake well. This makes a nice, fluid glue which I use to attach the paper to my cereal box art journal covers.
- Scissors. I have a good pair of shears which I use only on fabric. It is marked so I don’t forget which one it is. I have several paper scissors-one very small one for fine detail fussy cutting, and then the larger ones I use most often. I bought 15 to 20 pair of scissors from dollar tree and have included them in each tote holding a project. This way when I’m in the mood to embroider, for example, I grab the tote and it holds every single thing I need. I don’t have to hunt for anything. When I’m finished I toss every thing back in the tote and put it back on the shelf-ready for the next time the mood strikes me.
- Paper Trimmer. I have a couple small paper trimmers, but the one I am referring to is the one my husband fished out of a dumpster behind a school which was remodeling. It is a guillotine-type cutter and is huge. It weighs a ton, but I use it all the time. It cuts cardboard, cereal boxes, several sheets of card stock at one time, plastic and fun foam. I’m guessing it would cut thin pieces of wood as well. I love this thing and don’t really know how I survived without it.
- My computer. I use this every single day to research, print copyright free images, watch tutorials, take my classes. This is my greatest money saver. Use this tool to enhance your art experience.
- Paint. I am a painter. I use acrylics and watercolors. I have a lot of paint and I use it every day. I also have a collection of the cheap craft paints. I use these in my art journals.
- Brushes. These go along with the paint. Keep watercolor brushes separate from your other brushes. Watercolor brushes will last a lifetime if you take care of them.
- Gel Medium. I use this on every art journal page I make. I buy it by the gallon. I currently am using gloss, but will buy matte in the future.
- Glycerine. I use this all the time. Here’s an explanation of the wonders of glycerine. I purchase mine in the pharmacy department at Walmart.
- Gesso. I use this on every art journal page, to prep my paint canvases, to tone down my paint vibrancy. I make my own but I also buy inexpensive gesso when it’s on sale. This is one of my most used items in my work room.
Some non-essentials but are really nice to have:
Distilled water-I mix this with everything. Won’t cause any bacteria to form in my stuff.
Denatured alcohol. A million uses.
A blow dryer or heat gun. Indispensable. Mine hangs right here next to my work table.
Good lighting. Absolutely vital to the success of your projects.
Metal ruler and craft knife.
Self-healing cutting mat.
Cheap plastic cutting mats from dollar tree-two per package. I put these between my art journal pages as I am working. Saves the other pages from getting messy. I have tons of these.
Obviously you need a work surface-whether that’s the kitchen table, a folding table in the corner, or a lap table you use in bed-you need a surface upon which to work. You will also need a chair if you sit while you work or a good surface to stand on if you stand while you work.
Wear good, sturdy shoes if you stand. You will be surprised how long you can craft or create, time runs away from you when you’re into it. Before you know it you’re sore and stiff from bending or being hunched over your project. Use good posture and be careful with your body.
Many of us have physical limitations. That’s alright. Adjust your art to your limits. Believe me, you can still make things. You just have to be more aware of what your body can take. Don’t push yourself so far you must take months to recover. A little at a time will work too. If you sit, get up every hour and walk around and stretch for 5 minutes. Get the blood flowing. If you are unable to get up and move around, wiggle your toes, move your legs, wiggle your fingers. Rub your neck, rotate your shoulders to release the tension. Be smart and be careful.
Now go forth and make the world a better place with your creative endeavors!